COVID-19: What you need to know about the pandemic this week
- This weekly roundup of COVID-19 news brings you a selection of the latest news and updates on the coronavirus pandemic, as well as tips and tools to help you stay informed and protected.
- Top COVID-19 news: Pandemic leaves millions of children without routine vaccinations; Over 2 billion doses of vaccine administered in India; What is BA.5?
1. How COVID-19 affects the world
Confirmed cases of COVID-19 exceeded 562.4 million worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University. The number of confirmed deaths has now exceeded 6.36 million. More than 12.22 billion vaccination doses were administered globally, according to Our World in Data.
The Czech Republic to start offering second COVID-19 booster shot from now on. It will be recommended for people over 60 and for people in risk groups.
About 3.5million people in Britain had COVID-19 in the last week of data available, the Office for National Statistics said on July 15.
Canada authorized Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine for babies from the age of 6 months.
Japan warned that a new wave of COVID-19 infections appears to be spreading rapidly and urged people to be cautious. “Coronavirus is spreading across the country and in all age groups,” Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said.
New Zealand offers free face masks and rapid antigen tests in an effort to control the spread of COVID-19 and protect the country’s healthcare system.
Adapted versions of established COVID-19 mRNA vaccines that treat two variants in one shot will soon offer people better protection than currently available vaccines, a European health official said last week.
The Pan American Health Organization warned last week of the increasing number of COVID-19 cases caused by highly infectious BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron subvariantseven as the total number of cases fell in the Americas.
More … than 2 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccine have now been administered in Indiathe news comes as infections in the country hit a four-month high.
Australia will restore payments to casual workers who have to quarantine due to COVID-19.
2. Millions of children are missing out on routine vaccinations
Around 25 million children worldwide did not receive routine vaccinations in 2021as COVID-19 continued to disrupt healthcare around the world.
That’s 2 million more than in 2020, when the pandemic caused lockdowns around the world, and 6 million more than before the pandemic in 2019, according to new figures released by the United Nations Fund for Health. Childhood (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization.
UNICEF described it as the biggest drop in immunization levels in a generation, bringing coverage rates back to levels of the early 2000s.
“I want to push the emergency through,” UNICEF senior immunization specialist Niklas Danielsson told Reuters. “This is a child health crisis.”
3. What is the BA.5 variant?
The latest report from the World Health Organization (WHO) shows that The BA.5 variant was responsible for 52% of COVID-19 cases sequenced globally at the end of last month, up 37% in one week. In the United States, it is thought to cause around 65% of new infections.
BA.5 is not new, however – it was first identified in January and WHO has been tracking it since April.
It is a sister variant of the Omicron strain that has been dominant since late 2021 and, like BA.4, is particularly effective at evading immune protection afforded by vaccination or prior infection. “BA.5 has a growth advantage over other Omicron sublines that are circulating,” Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO technical lead on COVID-19, said during a press briefing last week.
However, Van Kerkhove pointed out that there is no evidence that BA.5 is more dangerous than other Omicron variants.
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