U.S. Political Vaccine Gap Widens; U.K. Boosters: Virus Update
(Bloomberg) -- Britain will begin offering booster shots to people age 50 and over next week to avert a winter surge. On the other end of the age spectrum, Cuba will begin vaccinating children as young as 2 this week, the New York Times reported.
The World Health Organization said talks are underway with India for a resumption of vaccine exports to African countries following a pause. Roche Holding AG said it sees a high likelihood that Covid-19 will become seasonal and endemic, with 200 million to 500 million new infections each year.
Russian President Vladimir Putin will go into self-isolation after people around him fell sick. China locked down a coastal city of 4.5 million people to halt an outbreak as the country sticks to its zero-tolerance approach. China’s aviation regulator also advised against international travel during upcoming national holidays.
- Global Virus Tracker: Cases pass 225.58 million; deaths exceed 4.64 million
- Vaccine Tracker: More than 5.78 billion doses administered
- Thousands of Covid-like infections show risk of next pandemic
- Biden’s vaccine mandate risks overwhelming U.S. testing capacity
- Delta’s force hits economies from U.S. to China in real-time
- Broadway’s back as New York pins Covid comeback hopes on culture
Ohio Governor Backs Masks in Schools (4:15 p.m. NY)
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine said he’d impose a mask mandate in schools in response to a 2,000% increase in coronavirus cases among school-aged children since early August and hospitals getting overwhelmed, but the state legislature -- controlled by his Republican colleagues -- would just repeal it.
DeWine pleaded with states schools to require masks for students and staff at a press conference on Tuesday with members of the Ohio Children’s Hospital Association, saying the data is clear there’s a higher level of Covid-19 in the almost half of school districts that don’t require masks. “If I could put on a statewide mandate, if the health department could do it, I’d do it,” he said.
U.S. Changes Allocation Process for Covid Drugs (3:40 p.m. NY)
The Department of Health and Human Services has changed how it is allocating an in-demand Covid-19 treatment, as the delta variant stokes a surge in infections and hospitalizations.
Hospitals and other care providers will no longer be able to order their own supply of monoclonal antibody therapies, according to a Sept. 13 update posted on the HHS website. Instead, the federal government will determine how much of the drugs to ship to each state and territory based on Covid-19 case numbers and use of the treatments locally.
U.S. Vaccine Gap Widens, Kaiser Says (3:05 p.m. NY)
Dutch to End Social Distancing Rule (2:04 p.m. NY)
The Netherlands will say goodbye to its 1.5 meter (5-foot) social distance rule for the first time since the start of pandemic starting Sept. 25, “a symbolic move,” Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said during a press conference in the Hague. “This is an exciting but positive step”.
The Dutch government is also expanding the use of its vaccine certificate, making it a requirement for entry to cinemas, theaters and catering businesses. Nightclubs will be allowed to reopen with limited opening hours until midnight, as is the case for bars and restaurants. Outdoor events such as festivals and sport competitions can take place at full capacity. A 75% capacity limit applies to unseated indoor events.
People with severe immune disorders will be offered a third vaccination dose in October.
Montana’s Biggest Hospital ‘in Crisis’ (1:50 p.m. NY)
Montana’s largest hospital is “in crisis,” a top official said. Billings Clinic was caring for 70 Covid patients, the most since the first week of December, with overflow intensive-care unit beds added as the delta variant spreads, the Billings Gazette reported.
Typically the ICU has 28 beds, but more than 40 are now squeezed into the facility. As of Monday, there were 25 patients at the ICU level, with 13 on ventilators and six in overflow beds.
“It’s gotten to the point that we are in a crisis,” Billings Clinic Chief Executive Officer Scott Ellner said. Staff are “tired and incredibly frustrated,” he said. “We’re worried that the public doesn’t understand.”
India May Resume Vaccine Exports to Africa (12:40 p.m. NY)
The World Health Organization said talks are underway with India for a resumption of Covid-19 vaccine exports to African countries following a pause during a deadly wave of infections earlier this year.
“Be assured the conversation is ongoing, be assured that supply will restart this year,” Bruce Aylward, a senior WHO official, said at a briefing Tuesday. “We are hoping we can get assurance it can start even faster than later this year and in the coming weeks.”
India had been supplying doses to Covax, the equitable vaccine initiative on which most African countries are reliant. The government then moved to prioritize its own population after the delta virus variant began sweeping through major cities.
Cuba to Vaccinate 2-Year-Olds: NYT (12:35 a.m. NY)
Cuba will begin vaccinating children as young as 2 against the coronavirus this week, making it the only country so far to immunize children that young, the New York Times reported.
The U.S. and many European countries currently allow Covid-19 vaccinations for children 12 and older. U.S. regulators could authorize a vaccine for children 5 to 12 later this year.
DeSantis: I Don’t Recall Conspiracy Remark (12:30 p.m. NY)
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said he doesn’t recall a speaker at one of his events on Monday falsely telling a crowd that the Covid-19 vaccine “changes your RNA.”
Darris Friend, a Gainesville employee who rejects his city’s vaccine rules, was a featured speaker at the rally in Newberry, Florida, organized by DeSantis to criticize mandates. Friend delivered the remarks behind a podium with the official state seal, directly next to DeSantis. The governor watched Friend as he spoke, but after the conspiracy-theory comment DeSantis made no effort to correct it.
Roche Sees Up to 500 Million Annual Cases (11:30 a.m. NY)
Roche Holding AG sees a high likelihood that Covid-19 will become seasonal and endemic, with 200 million to 500 million new infections each year.
The disease probably won’t become another “common cold,” Barry Clinch, global head of infectious disease clinical development for the Swiss drug giant, said on a conference call with analysts. Roche will keep working on Covid treatments and diagnostics because it believes there will be a need for them, he said.
The virus will “become easier to manage over time” but will “still need management,” Clinch said. An optimistic scenario where cases plummet is less likely, as is a pessimistic one where constant mutations make the disease unpredictable, he said.
Delta Hampers Small-Business Recovery (11 a.m. NY)
Inflation pressures and a resurgence in coronavirus cases due to the delta variant are hampering the recovery of small businesses across the U.S., according to a Goldman Sachs Group Inc. report.
Among the 1,145 respondents surveyed around the end of August, about 75% worry about the impact of rising Covid infection rates on their businesses, Goldman Sachs said Tuesday in its report. Some 86% said they’re concerned about inflation, with 81% seeing an increase in pricing pressures since the firm’s last survey in June. The number of small-business owners who think the U.S. is moving in the right direction has declined in the period.
KLM Won’t Mandate Vaccines (9:15 a.m. NY)
KLM has opted to accommodate crew members who aren’t vaccinated, rather than issuing mandates as more global destinations require shots. The Dutch arm of Air France-KLM will ask pilots and flight attendants to register their vaccine status, but not require inoculation, it said Tuesday.
Schedules will be adjusted to avoid sending those who aren’t vaccinated to destinations where they’ll fail to meet entry requirements. Managers won’t be told why workers are being kept off of certain flights.
U.K. to Begin Booster Drive (8:22 a.m. NY)
The U.K. will offer booster shots to people 50 and over and other vulnerable groups starting next week, in a move to avert a coronavirus surge this winter.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid told Parliament on Tuesday the government had accepted the advice of its vaccine committee and would go ahead with the rollout. He also warned that contingency measures are being held in reserve if the National Health Service risks being overwhelmed by cases. They include mandatory vaccine certification in certain venues, legally mandating face coverings in some settings and asking people to work from home if they can.
The vaccine committee recommended Pfizer Inc.-BioNTech SE as the preferred brand for the extra doses, regardless of which one a person received previously. It should be given no earlier than six months after the second shot, it said.
German ‘Action Week’ Has Slow Start (7:58 a.m. NY)
Germany’s vaccination “action week” apparently failed to provide the immediate boost the government had hoped for, with significantly fewer doses administered Monday than on the same day a week earlier.
Just over 118,000 people received a shot, down from more than 150,000 a week earlier, and 62.3% of the population is now fully vaccinated, according to the latest health ministry data.
The government’s weeklong vaccine drive aims to make it easier for people to get shots by providing them at venues like sports clubs, playgrounds and shopping centers, as well as at the workplace.
Japan to Ease Off Curbs With Care (7:41 a.m. NY)
Japan will lift its virus restrictions gradually, in a process that will require the cooperation of businesses and the understanding of the public, the government’s top spokesman said.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato, in an interview with Bloomberg at the prime minister’s offices in Tokyo, said efforts to restart the economy would start from low-risk areas. The plans for a step-by-step approach are in contrast with the U.K. where the government lifted almost all restrictions in July, and with the U.S.
Putin to Self-Isolate (5:11 a.m. NY)
Russian President Vladimir Putin will go into self-isolation after people around him fell sick with Covid-19, the Kremlin said Tuesday. He has tested negative.
The leader canceled plans to fly to Dushanbe, Tajikistan, this week to attend the Collective Security Treaty Organization summit and will instead hold online meetings, according to a statement. The summit is set to discuss the situation in Afghanistan.
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