Today’s recorded cases in India dropped below 300,000 for the first time in almost a month, but its daily death toll still stands at over 4,000. And this caseload is overwhelming healthcare systems.
More than 80 patients died within a few days at one of the largest government hospitals in Goa state, after it had been experiencing oxygen shortages according to a local opposition party politician.
There is a hint of good news though: it looks like existing Covid-19 vaccines work against the variant .
He echoed scientists who have been cautiously optimistic about the efficacy of the vaccines.
Sir John Bell, Oxford’s Emeritus Professor of Medicine, told Times Radio that early lab results suggested the B.1.617.2 variant “will be susceptible to the vaccine in the way that others are.”
The university cautioned that the data is preliminary. Bell said the tests done using plasma serum from vaccinated people showed the vaccine had the ability to neutralize the virus. “That is a highly effective way of telling whether you’re going to be protected or not,” he added.
“If you do the lab experiment, it looks okay. It’s not perfect but it’s not catastrophically bad. There’s a slight reduction in the ability to neutralize the virus, but it’s not very great and certainly not as great as you see with the South African variant,” he said.
And while the UK government went ahead today with its reopening plans in England, relaxing many social distancing measures and allowing indoor dining, its plan to lift all legal limits on social contact from June 21 is far from set in stone.
Q: What’s the science behind the US decision to say fully vaccinated people don’t need masks?
One reason behind the decision was a study that found that real-life use of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines provided 94% protection for front-line workers immunized at the beginning of the vaccine rollout. A single dose provided 82% protection, the CDC-led team reported in the agency’s weekly report, the MMWR.
Taiwan was a Covid success story. Now it’s fighting its biggest outbreak
The democratically-ruled island off the coast of China, widely praised as a success for its handling of Covid-19, reported 207 new cases Sunday — a record single-day rise. One infection was imported from India, while the others were all locally transmitted.
Calls are growing for another nationwide India lockdown. That’s not realistic
Millions of Indians are living under a mix of locally-imposed coronavirus restrictions, as the central government resists calls from leading medical experts for a nationwide lockdown.
US is getting better and better news on the coronavirus
A new Axios/Ipsos poll finds that 67% of American adults have either gotten a Covid-19 vaccine or will get it as soon as possible. And it seems likely that some people who were initially hesitant are actually getting a shot, as the percentage of vaccine hesitant is at its all-time low at 14% in the Ipsos data.
Many people have developed a sense of comfort and safety while wearing a mask and maintaining distance and some are now expressing uncertainty about how to acclimate to an atmosphere free of masks after spending so much time focused on wearing one.
And if you feel the need to carry one with you for a time, if that provides you a degree of comfort, absolutely do so, he says.