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COVID 19: Beyond the US and China

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  • To be fair there are some problems with the overall campaign here.

    There isn't one campaign. There are effetively three campaigns, and they're sorta competing with each other

    a) on-site vaccination teams - provided for senior citizen homes (residents and staff) and hospital staff.

    -> Campaign a) is basically finished now. They were at around 90-100% done depending on state in early February. In many states the mobile teams from this campaign transitioned into a roving campaign where e.g. convention centers are used to set up a vaccination center temporarily.
    Hospitals are also no longer provided vaccines for their staff, which are now supposed to use campaign b) and are thus suspect to external auditing of their prioritizaion. While there were some protests from hospitals about that, their reasonings were not exactly endearing them to the public ("we still have to vaccinate the med students interning here") ... especially when it got out that some places had been vaccinating e.g. administrative staff and board members already.

    b) central vaccination centers - pretty much one per county or city (about 400 total), vaccinating people who are mobile by appointment.

    -> Campaign b) is decentralized, which leads to some problems. In some places "leftover" vaccine has been used to vaccinate "volunteers" - which in quite a number of cases were employees or politicians of that county despite this being nominally illegal queue-jumping. In addition many senior citizens living at home are somewhat overwhelmed with the appointment booking process (in most cases through websites or call centers).

    c) vaccination at local doctors - started last week, instantly doubled the daily vaccination rate. Precondition for this campaign was that the EMA ruled it possible to store Biontech vaccine in normal refrigerators for two weeks, which they only did a short while ago.

    -> Campaign c) is problematic in that there is virtually no oversight and in that there are business interests involved. Which means lobbyists galore. Lobby organizations for doctors have already called this week to basically end campaign b), close all vaccination centers and hand the vaccine over to them.

    To my knowledge France similarly runs campaigns a) and b), with vaccination centers even more decentralized (1300 total). There are plans for a c)-style campaign later in the year. Unlike in e.g. the US hospitals or other central healthcare centers are not actively involved in the vaccination campaign here at all (Germany and France).

    Most major companies in Germany are preparing the fourth step, campaign d) now - vaccinations at the workplace by doctors hired by these companies. Won't happen until we scrap the priority list laws.


    • NPR also reported last evening that each state is running their own plan as well. Similar to was forced to do...

      At 62 I was able to go fairly early...and get my 2nd Moderna tomorrow afternoon at a local pharmacy.

      That's about 45 days ahead of work availability.
      “Loyalty to country ALWAYS. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it.”
      Mark Twain


      • Nut cases and anti-vaxers seem to be everywhere, eh Kato...


        • A report from Down Under.

          Bad news: the Federal government has completely fucked up the vaccine rollout. Part of this is due to supply issues & part due to the decision to restrict the AstraZeneca vaccine to over 50s, but mostly just incompetence. Despite having had over a year to work this out they still don't have a viable distribution system. We were supposed to have 4 million people vaccinated by now. the current figure is 250,000.

          The current plan is that selected General Practitioner clinics will vaccinate people. While there are many of these (I have 3 in my area), they just aren't set up to do this and they aren't getting paid well enough to do it properly. Even more so now that they have to answer questions about blood clotting. Further, not all of them may have appropriate storage for the Pfizer vaccine. So, it looks like they are going to throw it over to the the states, who will likely set up mass vaccination clinics in addition to GPs.

          One thing this government does excell at is avoiding responsibility, so shifting this to the states is not especially surprising. Given the virtual absence of COVID from Australian shores this isn't causing the political fallout it might elsewhere, but it is still causing some. A few months ago announcements on vaccines had the Liberal party logo attached to them. Not any more. If this isn't sorted by summer or there is another outbreak it will start to hurt them.

          Good news: As mentioned, the reason the government isn't being badly hammered for botching the vaccine rollout is that the only COVID cases here are returned travellers. This week we had the first COVID death in 7 months. We have had about 900 deaths in total from a population of 25 million. Life is virtually back to normal. In Melbourne we are still wearing masks on Public Transport, but that is it. Last Monday I went to my first AFL game since 2019 and sat in a crowd of 50,000. That was only half the capacity of the ground and a bit below the 75% permitted, but it felt normal. Lots of people are still working from home, but that is largely because they want to.

          We know how fortunate we are here. Anyone who doesn't have family and/or friends overseas knows someone who does, so we get regular stories of just how bad many places are. Good luck everyone.


          Win nervously lose tragically - Reds C C


          • Originally posted by kato View Post
            There is a bowl with more nails set up next to it. It symbolizes the 1500 additional deaths that occured between the installation being erected in the church and the memorial being formally opened with a small religious service

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            The group that organized that original installation organized a new memorial at another church for Easter this year, continuing the symbolism.

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            In the night from dusk on Maundy Thursday to dawn on Good Friday a total of 76,741 nails - again each symbolizing a corona death in Germany - were dropped into this metal bowl, slowly filling it and building up into an almost overflowing heap slowly over a space of 12 hours.

            The liturgic performance was called "Ruf" - "Call" - for each nail dropping into the bowl and onto the heap calls out with a noise and echoes through the empty church, each call different.

            While there is of course Christian religious symbolism involved - both the nails and the bowl, the location and timing - as an atheist i see it as a powerful ceremony transcending that. Especially when the two men's hands near the end look like that:

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            Germany will have an official ceremony of mourning tomorrow presided by the Federal President, with small local events and flags at half-mast throughout the country. By the time of that we will have passed 80,000 deaths.


            • Originally posted by Reuters_News

              Vietnam detects hybrid of Indian and UK COVID-19 variants
              by Phuong Nguyen
              29 May 2021

              (Hanoi, Vietnam) -Authorities in Vietnam have detected a new coronavirus variant that is a combination of the Indian and UK COVID-19 variants and spreads quickly by air, the health minister said on Saturday.

              After successfully containing the virus for most of last year, Vietnam is grappling with a rise in infections since late April that accounts for more than half of the total 6,856 registered cases. So far, there have been 47 deaths.

              "Vietnam has uncovered a new COVID-19 variant combining characteristics of the two existing variants first found in India and the UK," Health Minister Nguyen Thanh Long said, describing it as a hybrid of the two known variants.

              "That the new one is an Indian variant with mutations that originally belong to the UK variant is very dangerous," he told a government meeting, a recording of which was obtained by Reuters.

              The Southeast Asian country had previously detected seven virus variants: B.1.222, B.1.619, D614G, B.1.1.7 - known as the UK variant, B.1.351, A.23.1 and B.1.617.2 - the "Indian variant".

              Long said Vietnam would soon publish genome data of the newly identified variant, which he said was more transmissible than the previously known types.

              The World Health Organization (WHO) has identified four variants of SARS-CoV-2 of global concern. These include variants that emerged first in India, Britain, South Africa and Brazil.

              Officials at the WHO did not immediately respond to a request for comment regarding the variant identified in Vietnam.

              Long said laboratory cultures of the new variant showed the virus replicated itself very quickly, possibly explaining why so many new cases had appeared in different parts of the country in a short period of time.

              The Health Ministry told the meeting the government was working to secure 10 million vaccine doses under the COVAX cost-sharing scheme, as well as a further 20 million doses of Pfizer's vaccine and 40 million of Russia's Sputnik V.

              The country of about 98 million people has so far received 2.9 million doses and aims to secure 150 million this year.

              (Reporting by Phuong NguyenAdditional reporting by Stephanie Nebehay in Geneva and Brenna Hughes Neghaiwi in ZurichEditing by William Mallard and Helen Popper)




              • Originally posted by CNBC

                Rising Covid cases in Vietnam and India could push manufacturing back to China, says economist

                CNBC International TV
                24 May 2021

                Zhiwei Zhang of Pinpoint Asset Management says that if the supply chain disruptions in Vietnam and India go on for a long time due to Covid-19, China could see export growth continuing into next year.




                • About half of the European Union's member states have by now overtaken the US on first vaccination rate among the population.

                  The last ones to do so were Spain on Tuesday and Germany on Wednesday, Italy and the Benelux states are considerably ahead. The next one will probably be France in a few days. Trailing behind are mostly Eastern European member states. Overall the EU stands at 50.84% vs the US' 54.02%.

                  Worldwide, China claimed a data point of 43.21% on June 10th, which was virtually identical to the EU numbers for the same day. Among all other countries worldwide with at least 100 million population only Brazil has a noticable rate of 34.98% so far, everyone else stays below 25%. The global rate for Earth on this metric is 23.52%.



                    Katie Hopkins deported from Australia over quarantine rules

                    Katie Hopkins had her visa revoked before being sent back to the UK

                    Far-right British commentator Katie Hopkins has been sent home from Australia for bragging about flouting hotel quarantine rules.

                    Ms Hopkins - who has often drawn anger for racist remarks - had entered the country to star in the reality TV show Big Brother Australia.

                    On Friday she posted a video from her Sydney hotel room where she joked about putting frontline staff at risk.

                    Her comments sparked widespread anger.

                    In the video, Ms Hopkins said she planned to "lie in wait" for workers to deliver food to her room so she could open the door "naked with no face mask".

                    She also called lockdowns the "greatest hoax in human history". Australia's two biggest cities, Sydney and Melbourne, are both in lockdown after local cases of Covid-19 were detected.

                    The post has since been wiped from her Instagram.

                    On Monday, the Australian government confirmed it had cancelled her visa, after the TV programme sacked her.

                    Police said she had been fined A$1,000 (£537; US$737) for not wearing a face mask, and was escorted to the airport to be sent back to the UK.

                    Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews called Ms Hopkins' comments "appalling" and a "slap in the face" for Australians in lockdown.

                    "Personally, I'm very pleased she'll be leaving," she told broadcaster ABC.

                    Ms Hopkins has not commented on her deportation, but on Sunday said she had been "joking" in the video.

                    The controversial commentator was banned from Twitter last year for breaching its policy on hateful conduct.

                    Ms Hopkins, a favourite of ex-US President Donald Trump, has called migrants "cockroaches" and described Islam as "repugnant".
                    Ms Andrews said the decision to allow Ms Hopkins to enter the country had been made by the New South Wales state government "on the basis of potential benefit to the economy".

                    But opponents accused the national government of "allowing a far-right troll into Australia". Ms Hopkins was also detained in South Africa in 2018 for spreading racial hate.

                    "The decision… is particularly painful for the 35,000 Australians who remain stranded overseas," said Labor MP Andrew Giles.

                    Australia closed its borders in March 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic, preventing many citizens outside the country from returning. The policy has prolonged family separations.

                    But dozens of celebrities, sports stars and others with exemptions have been able to bypass the rule.
                    “Loyalty to country ALWAYS. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it.”
                    Mark Twain


                    • Originally posted by Reuters

                      Israel sees drop in Pfizer vaccine protection against infections

                      Reporting by Ari Rabinovitch and Maayan Lubell
                      Editing by William Maclean
                      Published 05 July 2021 - Reuters

                      (Jerusalem, Israel) - The Ministry of Health reported on Monday, a decrease in the effectiveness of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in preventing infections and symptomatic illness, but said it remained highly effective in preventing serious illness.

                      The decline coincided with the spread of the Delta variant and the end of social distancing restrictions in Israel.

                      Vaccine effectiveness in preventing both infection and symptomatic disease fell to 64% since June 6, the Health Ministry said. At the same time the vaccine was 93% effective in preventing hospitalizations and serious illness from the coronavirus.

                      The ministry in its statement did not say what the previous level was or provide any further details. However ministry officials published a report in May that two doses of Pfizer's vaccine provided more than 95% protection against infection, hospitalization and severe illness.

                      A Pfizer spokesperson declined to comment on the data from Israel, but cited other research showing that antibodies elicited by the vaccine were still able to neutralize all tested variants, including Delta, albeit at reduced strength.

                      About 60% of Israel's 9.3 million population have received at least one shot of Pfizer's vaccine in a campaign that saw daily cases drop from more than 10,000 in January to single digits last month.

                      This spurred Israel to drop nearly all social distancing as well as the requirement to wear masks, though the latter was partially reimposed in recent days. At the same time Delta, which has become a globally dominant variant of the coronavirus, began to spread.

                      Since then daily cases have gradually risen, reaching 343 on Sunday. The number of seriously ill rose to 35 from 21.

                      Data scientist Eran Segal of Israel's Weizmann Institute of Science said the country was unlikely to experience the high levels of hospitalizations seen earlier in the year since there were much fewer critically ill.

                      He said it was fine to "continue with life back to normal and without restrictions" while stepping up measures like vaccination outreach and ensuring testing for Israelis returning home from abroad.


                      Last edited by JRT; 20 Jul 21,, 18:46.


                      • Originally posted by CNBC

                        Israel says Pfizer Covid vaccine is just 39% effective as delta spreads, but still prevents severe illness

                        by Berkeley Lovelace Jr.
                        23 July 2021

                        KEY POINTS
                        • Pfizer and BioNTech's Covid-19 vaccine is just 39% effective in Israel where the delta variant is the dominant strain, according to a new report from the country's Health Ministry.
                        • The two-dose vaccine still works very well in preventing people from getting seriously sick, demonstrating 88% effectiveness against hospitalization and 91% effectiveness against severe illness, according to the Israeli data.

                        Pfizer and BioNTech's Covid-19 vaccine is just 39% effective in Israel where the delta variant is the dominant strain, but still provides strong protection against severe illness and hospitalization, according to a new report from the country's Health Ministry.

                        The efficacy figure, which is based on an unspecified number of people between June 20 and July 17, is down from an earlier estimate of 64% two weeks ago and conflicts with data out of the U.K. that found the shot was 88% effective against symptomatic disease caused by the variant.

                        However, the two-dose vaccine still works very well in preventing people from getting seriously sick, demonstrating 88% effectiveness against hospitalization and 91% effectiveness against severe illness, according to the Israeli data published Thursday.

                        "We have to be mindful that, with time, the effectiveness of these vaccines may wane," said Dr. Isaac Bogoch, an infectious disease professor at the University of Toronto.

                        He stressed that the shots are still highly effective in preventing severe infection, helping hospital systems not get too overwhelmed heading into the colder months. That being said, "we're still in the Covid era and anything can happen," he said.

                        "We have to be prepared and we have to be nimble that people may need a booster at some point," he added. "This close surveillance that's happening in countries like Israel, the U.K. and other parts of the world is going to be very helpful in driving policy if and when we do need boosters."

                        The delta variant, already in more than 104 countries, is concerning health officials in the U.S. as they see more breakthrough infections, which occur in fully vaccinated people, even though they are more mild.

                        White House chief medical officer Dr. Anthony Fauci said fully vaccinated people might want to consider wearing masks indoors as a precaution against the rapidly spreading variant in the U.S.

                        Health experts are concerned about the fall season, when delta is expected to hit states with the lowest vaccination rates the hardest — unless those states and businesses reintroduce mask rules, capacity limits and other public health measures that they've largely rolled back.

                        "That's something we obviously don't want to see," Fauci said Wednesday, noting the so-called breakthrough infections. "This virus is clearly different than the viruses and the variants that we've had experience with before. It has an extraordinary capability of transmitting from person to person."

                        Dr. Paul Offit, who advises the FDA on Covid vaccines, said while the vaccines still provide excellent protection against severe disease and death, they may not work as well against mild cases or spreading the disease to others.

                        He urged more Americans to get vaccinated, saying delta is a highly contagious virus and the shots will help people from getting seriously sick. Currently, less than half of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, according to data compiled by the CDC.

                        "That is a rich and fertile ground for the virus to continue to reproduce itself and continue to create variants that possibly become more and more resistant to vaccines or natural infection," he said.

                        WHO officials said Monday that the longer that people around the world remain unvaccinated and social mixing continues, the higher the risk of a more dangerous variant to emerge.

                        The report out of Israel, which began vaccinating its population ahead of many other countries, is likely to bolster arguments from drugmakers that people will eventually need to get booster shots to protect against emerging variants.

                        Pfizer said earlier this month it is starting to see waning immunity from its two-dose vaccine, and now plans to seek authorization from the Food and Drug Administration for a booster dose. However, federal officials say fully vaccinated Americans do not need additional shots at this time.

                        In a statement to CNBC, Pfizer said it remains confident its two-dose regimen is protective against the coronavirus and its variants.

                        Still, it said a third dose may be helpful after analysis from its phase three study showed a decline in efficacy against symptomatic infection after four to six months.

                        "Initial data of a third dose of the current vaccine demonstrates that a booster dose given at least 6 months after the second dose elicits high neutralization titers against the wild type and the Beta, which are 5 to 10 times higher than after two primary doses," the company said.


                        Last edited by JRT; 26 Jul 21,, 20:44.


                        • IMF: “Risks around the global baseline are to the downside.

                          The IMF now believes the world economy will expand 6% in real terms this year and 4.9% in 2022. . Although the 2021 headline number is the same as in the previous, April, prediction, the late July figure downgrades the less well-off while taking a rosier view of the more advanced economies. It should be noted that this forecast was done at a time when there was very little understanding about the extent of the current Nth wave of COVID-19. The outlook for 2022 is 0.5 percentage points higher than three months earlier.

                          Some key figures (real GDP growth, %)

                          _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 2020 _ _ 2021 _ _ 2022
                          World _ _ _ _ _ _ _ -3.2 _ _ _6.0 _ _ _ 4.9
                          United States _ _ _ -3.5 _ _ _7.0 _ _ _ 4.9
                          Euro Area _ _ _ _ _ -6.5_ _ _4.6 _ _ _ 4.3
                          China _ _ _ _ _ _ _ +2.3_ _ _8.1 _ _ _ 5.7
                          Japan _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _-4.7_ _ _2.8 _ _ _ 3.0
                          World Trade _ _ _ _ -8.3 _ _ _9.7 _ _ _ 7.0

                          Trust me?
                          I'm an economist!


                          • Australia Traded Away Too Much Liberty

                            People in South Australia will be forced to download an app that combines facial recognition and geolocation. The state will text them at random times, and thereafter they will have 15 minutes to take a picture of their face in the location where they are supposed to be. Should they fail, the local police department will be sent to follow up in person. “We don’t tell them how often or when, on a random basis they have to reply within 15 minutes,” Premier Steven Marshall explained. “I think every South Australian should feel pretty proud that we are the national pilot for the home-based quarantine app.”
                            I mean covid restrictions need to be taken seriously but this sounds like something from an Onion article. The entire govt. of South Australia must be high on Afghanistan's finest.


                            • Originally posted by Firestorm View Post
                              I mean covid restrictions need to be taken seriously but this sounds like something from an Onion article
                              Over here they do check whether you're at home if you're quarantined with random phone calls. It's also why they prefer if you give them a landline number.
                              Offhand i got three calls in ten days. First time they called me i was sitting on the toilet.