COVID-19 cases spike, global digest

After last week’s WHO epi update announced the ‘first substantial decline in weekly cases in more than two months’, the Sept 21 post has reported another seven days of falling new COVID-19 case numbers and deaths - the greatest decreases were in the regions of the Eastern Mediterranean and South East Asia. In our Western Pacific region, notable falls in the incidence of new case reporting applied to both Japan and French Polynesia. Singapore’s COVID-19 cases have surged to levels last seen in April 2020 after some restrictions were relaxed - approx 82 percent of the population is fully vaccinated. Read more  

The Sept 14 epi update also contained a summary of ‘the current knowledge around SARS-CoV-2 infection acquisition and transmission and COVID-19 disease in children’ from the ages of under five years up 19. The older adolescent and young adult cohorts (15-19 yo and 20-24 yo respectively) ‘had the highest proportion of the global cases’, however deaths across all groups covered in the focus ‘represented less than 0.5% of the proportion of global deaths’.  

In related news:

- A Pfizer news release this week announced the outcome of a trial of the Comirnaty vaccine for children aged five to 11 years in which the vaccine was found to be ‘safe, well tolerated and showed robust neutralizing antibody responses’. The vaccine was administered in a two dose regimen of 10µg doses with a 21 day interval. The next step is to present data to regulatory bodies such as the FDA and EMA ‘as soon as possible’. Meanwhile, children as young as two years old in the Cuban province of Cienfuegos are being given the locally produced vaccine Soberana-2. Both Cuban vaccines, Soberana-2 and Abdala, are yet to be submitted to the WHO for prequalification and emergency use listing (EUL). The Sinopharm vaccine is in use, or proposed (non-mandated), for children as young as six years in El Salvador and Chile, and three years of age in the UAE and China, according to the Sept 17 JH situation report. Read more

- November 2021 is to be the timeline for when fully vaccinated non-residents will be able to enter the USA, subject to enhanced contact tracing orders, a negative COVID-19 test and full vaccination – the vaccines deemed to be acceptable are still to be announced. Read more

- 14 of 54 African countries have reached the WHO target of fully vaccinating more than 10% of its population against COVID-19 by the end of September.

- Nobel Laureate Professor Peter Doherty explains what we know about the SARS-CoV-2 virus so far, why it is so different to the flu, and why the vaccines are incredibly effective, despite some transmission in fully vaccinated people: Setting it straight video edition

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