About three-fourths of the people infected in a large coronavirus outbreak in the state of Massachusetts were fully vaccinated, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in a new report of Friday.
"During July 2021, 469 cases of COVID-19 associated with multiple summer events and large public gatherings in a town in Barnstable County, Massachusetts, were identified among Massachusetts residents," the report said. "Approximately three quarters (346; 74 percent) of cases occurred in fully vaccinated persons (those who had completed a 2-dose course of mRNA vaccine or had received a single dose of Janssen vaccine ≥14 days before exposure)," the report said.
The CDC said in the report that almost 80 percent of the vaccinated patients were symptomatic and most of them had contracted the Delta variant of the novel coronavirus.
"Findings from this investigation suggest that even jurisdictions without substantial or high COVID-19 transmission might consider expanding prevention strategies, including masking in indoor public settings regardless of vaccination status, given the potential risk of infection during attendance at large public gatherings that include travelers from many areas with differing levels of transmission," the report said.
CDC recommends event organizers and local health jurisdictions to continually assess the need for additional measures, including limiting capacity at gatherings or event postponement, the report added.
Canada is not yet ready to roll out COVID-19 booster shots amid concerns over the highly infectious Delta variant, Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam said on Friday.
Booster shots are increasingly being considered as an option to curb the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant - first discovered in India - which is showing increased resistance to available COVID-19 vaccines.
“Right now, there’s not enough data to suggest that in Canada we would go into boosting as of yet,” Tam said during a press briefing on Friday.
Canada’s chief medical officer did note that Ottawa is getting "operationally ready" for the possibility of booster shots.
On Thursday, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett announced that Israel would begin to offer booster vaccination for those older than 60 as of Sunday. However, Canada, which still has a sizeable proportion of its population still waiting for their second dose, is months behind Israel's vaccination program.
Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Njoo noted that increased vaccine uptake among approximately 3.6 million unimmunized Canadians is the preferred option to curtailing the spread of the Delta variant.
According to the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), over 80 percent of Canadians have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and two thirds are considered to be fully vaccinated.
Canada’s rate of coronavirus transmission is rising for the first time in weeks and could see up to 12,000 new infections by August 8, an updated epidemiology and modeling report revealed on Friday.
According to the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), the Rt - the basic reproductive number, which measures how many other individuals will be infected by a single individual carrying the virus - has stood above 1 since July 18 after several weeks of decline.
The PHAC warned that the resurgence in transmissibility could also lead to a spike in new cases. Canada is projected to log between 2,978 and 12,033 new cases by August 8, including 125 virus-related deaths.
In addition, the number of new cases could skyrocket in the fall if number of contacts is increased by 25 percent, PHAC said.
As of Friday, PHAC has reported nearly 1.4 million coronavirus cases and more than 26,500 coronavirus-related fatalities.
Prosecutors in the northern Italian city of Mantua said Friday they would launch a criminal case over doctor Giuseppe De Donno's suicide, who had actively promoted an alternative therapy against COVID-19 using plasma.
De Donno suggested hyperimmune plasma therapy should be used for creating passive COVID-19 immunity. He was first in Italy to launch the studies, which attracted many volunteers for treatment. However, the medical community expressed concerns over the innovative method, and some medical experts told Sputnik they had doubts about the therapy.
The Italian National Institute of Health proved the treatment was ineffective, followed by De Donno stepping down from the post of lead pulmonologist at Carlo Poma Hospital in Mantua.
On July 20, the 54-year old hanged himself in his house without leaving a suicide note.
The prosecutors intend now to find out if there was someone who pushed the doctor to committing suicide. The funeral was ordered delayed so that an autopsy could be performed, and De Donno's computer and phone were seized by the police.
Some media have reported that the doctor was an active social media user, where he told his followers about the plasma therapy. However, several months ago he stopped the discussions.
The New York Times indefinitely postponed the planned return of its employees to the newspapers’ offices due to the coronavirus Delta variant, an email by CEO Meredith Kopit Levien to the newspaper staff said on Friday.
"In light of the evolution of the virus, including new trends around the Delta variant and the updated guidance from the CDC this week on masking, we have decided to push out our plans for a full return at this time," Levien said.
The New York Times employees were due to return to the newspaper’s offices for at least three days a week beginning on September 7.
Levien said the newspaper’s offices would be open for those who work there voluntarily, but only employees who are vaccinated will be allowed in.
The New York Times is "not ready to specify a new date for a full reopening," she added.
Similarly, the Washington Post recently announced that vaccination was the necessary condition for employment by mid-September.
Poland is witnessing a rise in COVID-19 infections, with 153 new coronavirus cases recorded over the past 24 hours, compared to 108 cases over the same period last week, according to the official statistics.
The latest data say 295 coronavirus patients are hospitalized, including 38 on ventilators.
In early April, the infections rocketed to over 35,000 cases daily, and a daily record of 954 deaths was recorded.
A total of 2,882,786 infections have been confirmed in Poland, with over 38 million residents, since the beginning of the pandemic, with the illness claiming 75,259 lives. Over two and a half million Poles have recovered from COVID-19.
The Polish authorities declared national quarantine in March. In May, the majority of restrictions was canceled, and shopping centers, galleries, museums, hotels, restaurants, cafes, theaters, and movies re-opened. Now, masks outdoors are optional, and family celebrations are allowed given a limited number of attendees.
The number of COVID-19 cases globally is likely to pass 200 million in the next two weeks, Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO) Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Friday.
"Almost four million cases were reported to WHO last week and on current trends, we expect the total number of cases to pass 200 million within the next two weeks, and we know that this an underestimate," Tedros told a press briefing.
France will send 50 soldiers to its overseas territory of Martinique to help local health workers fight the spread of COVID-19, French Defense Minister Florence Parly said on Friday.
This weekend, the Caribbean territory of France will go under a new lockdown and curfew for at least three weeks due to a surge in coronavirus cases.
"The army will be engaged in fighting COVID-19. Fifty soldiers will be deployed in Martinique to support health employees in Fort-de-France [capital of Martinique]," Parly wrote on Twitter.
Martinique medical workers will be allotted an additional 10 intensive care unit beds next Tuesday, the French minister added.
Martinique's current infection rate tips 1,000 cases per 100,000 people, which is the highest of all French territories and the mainland.
OBOLENSK, Russia (Sputnik) - Russia's new EpiVacCorona-N vaccine against COVID-19 is expected to be registered in August for administration under the two-dose scheme, Rinat Maksyutov, the head of the Vector research centre that develops the vaccine, announced on Friday.
"As of today, the intermediate stage of the two-dose vaccination scheme has been completed, and documents have been submitted to the health ministry to register the vaccine under the two-dose scheme. We expect to have the EpiVacCorona-N vaccine registered in August," Maksyutov told reporters.
"The share of the Delta coronavirus strain is growing sharply. If the surge in incidence continues, pressure on the healthcare system will increase. In this regard, a decision was made to introduce a state of emergency in Saitama, Chiba, Kanagawa and Osaka prefectures, and to introduce a regime of enhanced anti-coronavirus measures in Hokkaido, Ishikawa, Hyogo, Kyoto and Fukuoka until August 31. The state of emergency in Tokyo and Okinawa will be extended until August 31", Suga told the coronavirus response centre.
MOSCOW, July 30 (Sputnik) - Russia registered 23,564 COVID-19 cases over the past 24 hours, up from 23,270 the day before, taking the overall tally to 6,242,066, the federal response centre said on Friday.
"Over the past day, 23,564 COVID-19 cases were confirmed across 85 Russian regions, including 2,013 cases (8.5%) without clinical symptoms", the centre said, adding that the rate of increase stands at 0.38%.
MEXICO CITY (Sputnik) - The Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro will celebrate the lifting of sanitary pandemic restrictions with festivities from September 2-5, the city government said in a statement.
"If the city continues to experience a downward epidemiological scenario of the COVID-19 pandemic, the carioca [residents of Rio de Janeiro] will be able to return to the streets without restrictions based on a renewal [activity] plan. To mark this comeback, the city will promote ‘Rio de Novo,’ a calendar of events that will bring the carioca back to the city. The start of the festivities will be on September 2, when there will be a new phase of rule easing. The year of celebrations will culminate with a municipal holiday on September 2, 2022, during the Reencounter Day," the city government said on Thursday.
The city government plans to vaccinate 77% of the population with at least one dose of vaccine by September and 45% with two. In this case, on September 2, a three-stage resumption of activity in Rio de Janeiro will begin, with celebrations in view.
The Subject Expert Committee (SEC) of the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO), India has favoured a mix trial of two COVID drugs SII's Covishield and Bharat Biotech's Covaxin.
The Indian media reported that it has recommended that permission be granted to the Christian Medical College (CMC), Vellore, for conducting a clinical trial.
This will be the first mix and match study in India of the two domestically produced vaccines.