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Science behind the virus: Where is the epidemic going? – CGTN

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05:08

People hope the COVID-19 outbreak will come to an end as soon as possible. So what could be in store for the epidemic? We don’t have a crystal ball to show us the future, but we can get some clues from the past.

Both SARS and the virus that caused COVID-19 are known as coronaviruses, so it might be helpful to compare the 2003 SARS outbreak with the current one. This might present us with the best-case scenario, where the virus is put under control through public health intervention.

The best way to contain the virus in both outbreaks is to identify cases as soon as possible and put the infected in isolation. 

In both cases, large-scale control measures were carried out. In 2003, the SARS outbreak ended in China after about six months. And it was eradicated worldwide after infecting over 8,000 people, and killing almost 800.

In addition, some scientists argued that the warm, humid weather of early summer greatly contributed to the fight against SARS. The same argument is being made about COVID-19.

But the new coronavirus is more cunning. The latest research shows that its spike protein design allows it to hold its grip over a cell 10 to 20 times more firmly than SARS. That explains why the new coronavirus is more infectious than SARS. It also has an incubation period of potentially more than 20 days, much longer than that of SARS. All this suggests that containing it is much harder.

But this doesn’t mean it is a patient virus. It has to move fast because its single strand nucleic acid structure is so fragile that it could be easily torn apart by powerful immune systems. It, therefore, causes acute symptoms in the host in order to swiftly leave and jump to another, infecting as many people as possible in a shorter period of time. But at the same time, this strategy sounds alarm for humans to trigger more measures to fight against it.

That’s why SARS fizzled out so quickly and completely. Actually, there have been just three cases after 2004, all due to a lab leak. So, what happened to SARS? Where did it go? Scientists believe that the novel coronavirus was hidden in its natural host, the bat. In 2017, in a remote cave in Yunnan Province, virologists identified a single population of horseshoe bats. They harbor virus strains with all the genetic building blocks of the one that jumped to humans in 2003.

Furthermore, the government strictly banned the middle reservoir between bat and human, the civet, after the outbreak, preventing SARS from crossing the line. That could explain why MERS is still haunting humans in Middle East. The middle reservoir, the camel, is a major part of the local life in parts of the region. But, we still have no idea about the middle reservoir of the new coronavirus.

Another ending for an epidemic is what has been called “burn out.” That’s what happened to the Zika virus epidemic that hit South America between 2015 and 2016. Since Zika cannot infect the same person twice, thanks to the antibodies generated by the immune system, the epidemic reaches a stage where there are too few people left to infect for transmission to be sustained, just like fire flames consuming all the oxygen in a room and extinguishing itself. This is not a desirable scenario because it will cause more infections and deaths.

The last possibility paints a future in which the virus is not contained. The 2009 H1N1 pandemic virus could not be contained in the U.S. and therefore spread all across the world. Since then, this virus has circulated as seasonal flu. Evolution will enable the virus to find a balance between virulence and transmission. Many viruses, like HIV, will take on a milder form, trading off for wider spread. If that is the case, the new coronavirus may return seasonally and join the milder coronavirus strains that infect people as a common cold or pneumonia.

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Tougher COVID-19 measures in Sudbury/Manitoulin districts – My Eespanola Now

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The Medical Officer of Health for Public Health Sudbury & Districts is reinstating work-from-home requirements.

Dr Penny Sutcliffe also says strong recommendations for COVID-19 protections are being issued to area schools, businesses, and organizations and stricter measures for the follow-up of contacts of cases of COVID-19 are being enacted.

Public Health is reissuing its call to everyone to continue to limit outings, work from home, get vaccinated, wear a mask and keep two metres distance from those outside your household.

They say continued high COVID19 rates mean that the Public Health Sudbury & Districts area is among the top three most affected jurisdictions in Ontario.

As of Friday, the agency had 288 active cases with Health Sciences North reporting 38 admitted patients with seven in intensive care.

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First children's vaccination clinic in Chatham fully booked – BlackburnNews.com

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First children’s vaccination clinic in Chatham fully booked

10-year-old Lucy Gillette from Chatham was the first to receive a COVID-19 vaccine at the Bradley Centre Clinic in Chatham on Saturday, November 27, 2021. (Photo courtesy of CKPHU)

Lucy Gillette, age 10, Chatham


Hundreds of Band-Aids were plastered onto the little arms of kids in Chatham-Kent who rolled up their sleeves for their first COVID-19 vaccine.

Chatham-Kent Public Health Unit (CKPHU) says 550 doses were administered to children aged five to 11 on Saturday for the first day of the municipality’s pediatric vaccination campaign.

“Things went really well and there has been a lot of excitement,” said Jeff Moco with Chatham-Kent Public Health Communications. “People seem to be excited to start this next phase of the vaccination campaign.”

Appointments for Pfizer-BioNTech’s pediatric vaccine at the Bradley Centre in Chatham opened on Tuesday, November 23.

The clinic has been transformed into a youth-friendly vaccination clinic with a “Super-Kid” theme that includes bright colours, balloons, and costumes.

“It has a different vibe, we have the balloons and the superhero theme,” said Moco. “It’s a lot of fun and lighthearted.”

The vaccination clinic at the Bradley Centre will run Tuesday to Saturday from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Moco said another clinic has been added this Monday, which has a lot of spaces still available.

There are also three vaccine clinics planned at schools beginning next month.

The school clinics will be at Blenheim District Secondary School on December 6, 2021, Wallaceburg District Secondary School on December 13, and Tilbury District Secondary School on December 20.

All school clinics run from 3 p.m. until 8 p.m. and everyone is welcome to get the shot at those clinics.

“I don’t think any kid likes getting a vaccination but what we have been hearing is that they see other people in their lives get vaccinated and feel left out,” said Moco. “Some of them have been interested in doing their part and it’s kind of neat seeing that mindset in young people.”

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Kids COVID vaccine campaign ramps up in the capital amid concerns over new variant – CTV Edmonton

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OTTAWA —
Ottawa’s COVID-19 vaccination campaign for children ramped up on Saturday as thousands of kids between 5 and 11-years-old rolled up their sleeves for their first shot.

All seven of Ottawa’s community vaccination clinics are now offering paediatric doses this weekend.

The push to immunize as many as possible has been amplified by concerns over a new variant emerging from southern Africa.

Ottawa’s clinics were running full speed Saturday; there were lineups outside some sites.

“A lot of relief that we’re finally able to get the shots in the kiddos and excited about the next one,” said Toufic Zayoun, after their kids received the first shot.

More than 1,400 doses were administered Friday to kids between 5 and 11 in the capital. As of Friday afternoon, Ottawa Public Health said nearly 5,000 appointments had been booked for the first weekend.

This comes though as concerns of a new COVID variant emerge. The Omicron variant, first detected in southern Africa, appears to be more transmissible.

“I think it’s too early to panic,” said Dr. Kwadwo Kyeremanteng, an Ottawa critical care physician.

“We haven’t had any solid data to show it could evade the vaccine, it’s hard to gauge how it would respond in our setting where we have extremely good vaccination rates.”

For now, Dr. Kyeremanteng is pushing for continued caution and encourages immunization.

“To me the message that’s loud and clear right now is we need to think about global vaccinations very seriously,” he said.

The new variant of concern is already on the minds of parents too.

“Any new variant that comes up is always concerning and it’s just nice to have that extra layer of protection for the kids now too,” said Christie Cowan, after her two kids got their first shot Saturday.

She’s hopeful increased immunization will mean a more normal heart ahead for kids in the capital.

“If this means schools stay open, especially after Christmas, this means everything to them,” said Cowan.

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