Connect with us

Health

Time is everything: World braces for spread of new virus – Japan Today

Published

 on


China’s massive travel restrictions, house-to-house checks, huge isolation wards and lockdowns of entire cities bought the world valuable time to prepare for the global spread of the new virus.

But with troubling outbreaks now emerging in Italy, South Korea and Iran, and U.S. health officials warning Tuesday it’s inevitable it will spread more widely in America, the question is: Did the world use that time wisely and is it ready for a potential pandemic?

“It’s not so much a question of if this will happen anymore, but rather more a question of exactly when this will happen — and how many people in this country will have severe illness,” said Dr. Nancy Messonnier of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Some countries are putting price caps on face masks to combat price gouging, while others are using loudspeakers on trucks to keep residents informed. In the United States and many other nations, public health officials are turning to guidelines written for pandemic flu and discussing the possibility of school closures, telecommuting and canceling events.

Countries could be doing even more: training hundreds of workers to trace the virus’ spread from person to person and planning to commandeer entire hospital wards or even entire hospitals, said Dr. Bruce Aylward, the World Health Organization’s envoy to China, briefing reporters Tuesday about lessons learned by the recently returned team of international scientists he led.

“Time is everything in this disease,” Aylward said. “Days make a difference with a disease like this.”

The U.S. National Institutes of Health’s infectious disease chief, Dr Anthony Fauci, said the world is “teetering very, very close” to a pandemic. He credits China’s response for giving other nations some breathing room.

China locked down tens of millions of its citizens and other nations imposed travel restrictions, reducing the number of people who needed health checks or quarantines outside the Asian country.

It “gave us time to really brush off our pandemic preparedness plans and get ready for the kinds of things we have to do,” Fauci said. “And we’ve actually been quite successful because the travel-related cases, we’ve been able to identify, to isolate” and to track down those they came in contact with.

With no vaccine or medicine available yet, preparations are focused on what’s called “social distancing” — limiting opportunities for people to gather and spread the virus.

That played out in Italy this week. With cases climbing, authorities cut short the popular Venice Carnival and closed down Milan’s La Scala opera house. In Japan, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called on companies to allow employees to work from home.

Is the rest of the world ready?

In Africa, three-quarters of countries have a flu pandemic plan, but most are outdated, according to authors of a modeling study published last week in The Lancet medical journal. The slightly better news is that the African nations most connected to China by air travel — Egypt, Algeria and South Africa — also have the most prepared health systems on the continent.

Elsewhere, Thailand said it would establish special clinics to examine people with flu-like symptoms to detect infections early. Sri Lanka and Laos imposed price ceilings for face masks, while India restricted the export of personal protective equipment.

India’s health ministry has been framing step-by-step instructions to deal with sustained transmissions that will be circulated to the 250,000 village councils that are the most basic unit of the country’s sprawling administration.

Vietnam is using music videos on social media to reach the public. In Malaysia, loudspeakers on trucks blare information through the streets.

In Europe, portable pods set up at United Kingdom hospitals will be used to assess people suspected of infection while keeping them apart from others. France developed a quick test for the virus and has shared it with poorer nations. German authorities are stressing “sneezing etiquette” and Russia is screening people at airports, railway stations and those riding public transportation.

In the U.S., hospitals and emergency workers for years have practiced for a possible deadly, fast-spreading flu. Those drills helped the first hospitals to treat U.S. patients suffering from COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus.

Other hospitals are paying attention. The CDC has been talking to the American Hospital Association, which in turn communicates coronavirus news daily to its nearly 5,000 member hospitals. Hospitals are reviewing infection control measures, considering using telemedicine to keep potentially infectious patients from making unnecessary trips to the hospital and conserving dwindling supplies of masks and gloves.

What’s more, the CDC has held 17 different calls reaching more than 11,000 companies and organizations, including stadiums, universities, faith leaders, retailers and large corporations. U.S. health authorities are talking to city, county and state health departments about being ready to cancel mass gathering events, close schools and take other steps.

The CDC’s Messonnier said Tuesday she had contacted her children’s school district to ask about plans for using internet-based education should schools need to close temporarily, as some did in 2009 during an outbreak of H1N1 flu. She encouraged American parents to do the same, and to ask their employers whether they’ll be able to work from home.

“We want to make sure the American public is prepared,” Messonnier said.

How prepared are U.S. hospitals?

“It depends on caseload and location. I would suspect most hospitals are prepared to handle one to two cases, but if there is ongoing local transmission with many cases, most are likely not prepared just yet for a surge of patients and the ‘worried well,'” Dr. Jennifer Lighter, a pediatric infectious diseases specialist at NYU Langone in New York, said in an email.

In the U.S., a vaccine candidate is inching closer to first-step safety studies in people, as Moderna Inc. has delivered test doses to Fauci’s NIH institute. Some other companies say they have candidates that could begin testing in a few months. Still, even if those first safety studies show no red flags, specialists believe it would take at least a year to have something ready for widespread use. That’s longer than it took in 2009, during the H1N1 flu pandemic — because that time around, scientists only had to adjust regular flu vaccines, not start from scratch.

The head of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said the U.N. health agency’s team in China found the fatality rate between 2% and 4% in the hard-hit city of Wuhan, the virus’ epicenter, and 0.7% elsewhere.

The world is “simply not ready,” said the WHO’s Aylward. “It can get ready very fast, but the big shift has to be in the mindset.”

Aylward advised other countries to do “really practical things” now to get ready.

Among them: Do you have hundreds of workers lined up and trained to trace the contacts of infected patients, or will you be training them after a cluster pops up?

Can you take over entire hospital wards, or even entire hospitals, to isolate patients?

Are hospitals buying ventilators and checking oxygen supplies?

Countries must improve testing capacity — and instructions so health workers know which travelers should be tested as the number of affected countries rises, said Johns Hopkins University emergency response specialist Lauren Sauer. She pointed to how Canada diagnosed the first traveler from Iran arriving there with COVID-19, before many other countries even considered adding Iran to the at-risk list.

If the disease does spread globally, everyone is likely to feel it, said Nancy Foster, a vice president of the American Hospital Association. Even those who aren’t ill may need to help friends and family in isolation or have their own health appointments delayed.

“There will be a lot of people affected even if they never become ill themselves,” she said.

© Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Health

Vaccination plus infection offered most protection during Delta surge, U.S. study shows – CBC News

Published

 on


Protection against the previously-dominant Delta variant was highest among people who were both vaccinated and had survived a previous COVID-19 infection, according to a report published Wednesday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The report also found those who had previously been infected with COVID-19 were better protected against the Delta variant than those who were vaccinated alone, suggesting that natural immunity was a more potent shield than vaccines against that variant, California and New York health officials reported on Wednesday.

Protection against Delta was lowest among those who had never been infected or vaccinated, the CDC report continued.

“The evidence in this report does not change our vaccination recommendations,” Dr. Ben Silk of the CDC and one of the study’s authors told a media briefing.

“We know that vaccination is still the safest way to protect yourself against COVID-19,” he said.

The findings do not apply to the Omicron variant of the virus, which now accounts for 99.5 per cent of COVID-19 cases in the United States.

Study includes data from May to November

For the study, health officials in California and New York gathered data from May through November, which included the period when the Delta variant was dominant.

It showed that people who survived a previous infection had lower rates of COVID-19 than people who were vaccinated alone.

That represented a change from the period when the Alpha variant was dominant, Silk told the briefing.

“Before the Delta variant, COVID-19 vaccination resulted in better protection against a subsequent infection than surviving a previous infection,” he said.

In the summer and fall of 2021, however, when Delta became the predominant circulating iteration of the virus in the United States, “surviving a previous infection now provided greater protection against the subsequent infection than vaccination,” he said.

But acquiring immunity through natural infection carries significant risks. According to the study, by Nov. 30, 2021, roughly 130,781 residents of California and New York had died from COVID-19.

The analysis did not include information on the severity of initial infection, nor does it account for the full range of illness caused by prior infection.

One important limitation to the study was that it ended before administration of vaccine booster doses was widespread.

WATCH | Experts agree the science behind booster shots is sound:

The safe science behind COVID-19 booster shots

5 days ago

Duration 1:55

While some Canadians who have received their booster shots have later tested positive for COVID-19, medical experts agree that the science behind booster jabs is sound. 1:55

‘Clearly shows’ vaccines provide safest protection

Dr. Erica Pan, state epidemiologist for the California Department of Public Health, said in an email that the study “clearly shows” that vaccines provide the safest protection against COVID-19 and they offer added protection for those with prior infections.

“Outside of this study, recent data on the highly contagious Omicron variant shows that getting a booster provides significant additional protection against infection, hospitalization and death,” Pan said.

Silk said the CDC is studying the impact of vaccination, boosters and prior infection during the Omicron surge and expects to issue further reports when that data becomes available.

So far, Omicron has proven to evade some level of immunity from both vaccination and previous infection, but vaccines are still largely preventing serious illness and death.

An Israeli hospital on Monday also said preliminary research indicates a fourth dose of leading mRNA-based vaccines provides only limited defence against infection from the variant.

Adblock test (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Health

COVID-19: Go-Vaxx mobile vaccination clinic to return to Haliburton County with 3 stops – Globalnews.ca

Published

 on


Ontario’s GO-VAXX mobile vaccination clinic is making three stops in Haliburton County in the coming weeks, the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit announced Wednesday.

The retrofitted GO bus will provide first, second and boosters doses of COVID-19 vaccinations to any eligible residents, including doses for children ages 5-11. Moderna will be provided to individuals 30 and older, unless they have a documented allergy to Moderna.

Read more:

Pfizer’s Paxlovid pill not a replacement for COVID-19 vaccine, officials say

All appointments must be booked in advance through the Provincial Booking System or by calling the Provincial Vaccine Contact Centre at 1-833-943-3900. Appointments can be booked starting at 8 a.m. the day before the clinic.

Clinics will run from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.:

  • Saturday, Jan. 29 : A.J. LaRue Arena, 728 Mountain St., in Haliburton
  • Saturday, Feb. 5: Lloyd Watson Community Centre, 2249 Loop Rd., in Wilberforce
  • Saturday Feb. 12: A.J. LaRue Arena in Haliburton

“Being fully vaccinated with a booster dose has proven to be effective in preventing severe illness and hospitalization against the Omicron variant,” said Doreen Boville, health promoter with the health unit. “To ensure anyone needing a vaccine can get one, appointments are necessary for a smooth rollout.”

Individuals are asked to bring their Ontario health card. If you do not have a health card or your health card is expired, bring another form of government photo ID such as a driver’s license, passport, Status card, or birth certificate.

The health unit has appointments available at COVID-19 vaccination clinics being held throughout the region. A list of dates and times is available on the health unit’s www.hkpr.on.ca. Residents are also encouraged to check with local pharmacies or their primary health care providers for more opportunities to get vaccinated.

As of Tuesday afternoon, the health unit reported 822 active cases within its jurisdiction including 35 in Haliburton County.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Adblock test (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Health

Prior COVID-19 infection offered protection against Delta variant, but vaccines still best shield against the virus, study says – The Globe and Mail

Published

 on


People who had previously been infected with COVID-19 were better protected against the Delta variant than those who were vaccinated alone, suggesting that natural immunity was a more potent shield than vaccines against that variant, California and New York health officials reported on Wednesday.

Protection against Delta was highest, however, among people who were both vaccinated and had survived a previous COVID infection, and lowest among those who had never been infected or vaccinated, the study found.

Nevertheless, vaccination remains the safest strategy against COVID-19, according to the report published in U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

The results do not apply to the Omicron variant of the virus, which now accounts for 99.5 per cent of COVID-19 cases in the United States.

“The evidence in this report does not change our vaccination recommendations,” Dr. Ben Silk of the CDC and one of the study’s authors told a media briefing.

“We know that vaccination is still the safest way to protect yourself against COVID-19,” he said.

For the study, health officials in California and New York gathered data from May through November, which included the period when the Delta variant was dominant.

It showed that people who survived a previous infection had lower rates of COVID-19 than people who were vaccinated alone.

That represented a change from the period when the Alpha variant was dominant, Silk told the briefing.

“Before the Delta variant, COVID-19 vaccination resulted in better protection against a subsequent infection than surviving a previous infection,” he said.

In the summer and fall of 2021, however, when Delta became the predominant circulating iteration of the virus in the United States, “surviving a previous infection now provided greater protection against the subsequent infection than vaccination,” he said.

But acquiring immunity through natural infection carries significant risks. According to the study, by November 30, 2021, roughly 130,781 residents of California and New York had died from COVID-19.

The analysis did not include information on the severity of initial infection, nor does it account for the full range of illness caused by prior infection.

One important limitation to the study was that it ended before administration of vaccine booster doses was widespread.

Dr. Erica Pan, state epidemiologist for the California Department of Public Health, said in an email that the study “clearly shows” that vaccines provide the safest protection against COVID-19 and they offer added protection for those with prior infections.

“Outside of this study, recent data on the highly contagious Omicron variant shows that getting a booster provides significant additional protection against infection, hospitalization and death,” Pan said.

Silk said the CDC is studying the impact of vaccination, boosters and prior infection during the Omicron surge and expects to issue further reports when that data becomes available.

Our Morning Update and Evening Update newsletters are written by Globe editors, giving you a concise summary of the day’s most important headlines. Sign up today.

Adblock test (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Trending