Fears are growing that the Delta variant will become the dominant COVID strain around the world, as the WHO says it is now in 74 countries – –

Fears are growing that the Delta variant will become the dominant COVID strain around the world, as the WHO says it is now in 74 countries – –

The Delta variant of COVID-19 has now been detected in 74 countries, raising concerns that it will become the dominant strain around the world as it continues to spread rapidly, including in the southern states of the United States which have fallen behind on vaccination.

The highly infectious variant that was first detected in India was found in countries like China, the United States and the United Kingdom, according to the World Health Organization, where it accounted for more than 90% of new cases over the past week. This prompted Prime Minister Boris Johnson to delay the UK’s planned reopening for another four weeks in an announcement at a press conference on Monday.

In the United States, cases caused by the variant are doubling roughly every two weeks, according to former Food and Drug Administration commissioner Scott Gottlieb and now account for at least 10% of new cases, he said. Sunday on CBS’s “Face the Nation”.

“It doesn’t mean we’re going to see a surge in infections, but it does mean it’s going to take over,” Gottlieb said. “And I think the risk is really… that it could cause another epidemic as fall approaches. “

Concerns about the Delta variant come as California lifts most of its COVID-19 restrictions and ushers in what it calls the “grand reopening” of Golden State, as reported by The Associated Press.

From Tuesday, there will be no more state rules on social distancing and no more capacity limits in restaurants, bars, supermarkets, gyms, stadiums or elsewhere. And masks – one of the pandemic’s most symbolic and weighty symbols – will no longer be mandatory for people vaccinated in most settings, although businesses and counties can still require them.

The United States has now fully vaccinated nearly 145 million people, or 43.7% of its overall population, according to a tracker created by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This means that these people received two injections of the two-dose vaccines developed by Pfizer Inc. PFE,
and German partner BioNTech SE BNTX,
-2,40 %
and the MNA of Moderna Inc.,
-2,46 %,
or a photo of Johnson & Johnson JNJ,
single injection vaccine. AstraZeneca AZN,

the vaccine has not been authorized for use in the United States

Among Americans 18 and older, 54.4% are fully immunized and 64.5% have received at least one dose. Among those aged 65 and over, about 42 million people are fully vaccinated, or 76% of this group. Over 47 million people in this age group have received a first jab, covering 86.8% of that population.

But as the map below illustrates, vaccination rates vary widely from state to state, and southern states, including Louisiana, Alabama, and Mississippi, have the lowest rates.

Only Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island have successfully inoculated more than 50% of their populations completely so far.

Source: Johns Hopkins University

Elsewhere, France is opening its vaccination campaign to those over 12 years old. In Russia, some regions are tightening restrictions again and Ireland is doubling the quarantine period for unvaccinated or partially vaccinated travelers from mainland Britain to 10 days, according to Transport Minister Eamon Ryan.

There has been disappointing news for AstraZeneca, which said that a Phase 3 trial to assess the safety and efficacy of a long-acting combination of antibodies, called AZD7442, for the prevention of Symptomatic COVID-19 after exposure did not achieve the primary goal, as the Wall Street Journal reported.

However, the drug reduced the risk of developing symptomatic Covid-19 by 73% in participants who tested negative in a polymerase chain reaction test, or PCR, at the time of administration, AstraZeneca said. In patients who were PCR negative, AZD7442 reduced the risk of developing symptomatic Covid-19 by 92% compared to placebo more than seven days after administration, and by 51% up to seven days after administration, the company said.

Novavax NVAX,
said a study evaluating co-vaccination against COVID-19 and influenza demonstrated similar efficacy to administration of the investigational COVID-19 vaccine from Novavax alone. “Separate health care visits to cover both COVID-19 and flu vaccinations will be onerous,” a Novavax executive said in a press release.

The news comes a day after Novavax said its coronavirus vaccine was 90.4% effective in preventing symptomatic infections in around 30,000 participants enrolled in the Phase 3 clinical trial. in the USA

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The global tally of confirmed COVID-19 cases topped 176.2 million on Tuesday, according to data aggregated by Johns Hopkins University, while deaths topped 3.8 million.

The United States continues to dominate the world for the total number of cases with 33.47 million, while the deaths total 599,963.

India is second in total number of cases with 29.6 million and third in deaths with 377,031, although those numbers should be underestimated due to a shortage of tests.

Brazil has the third highest number of cases with 17.5 million, according to JHU data, and is second in terms of deaths with 488,288.

Mexico has the fourth death toll with 230,187 and 2.5 million cases.

The UK has 128,171 deaths and 4.6 million cases, the highest number of deaths in Europe and the fifth in the world.

China, where the virus was first discovered in late 2019, has recorded 103,403 confirmed cases and 4,846 deaths, according to its official figures, which are widely considered massively underreported.

States across the country are offering incentives ranging from free beer to million dollar lotteries to encourage residents to get vaccinated against Covid-19. But is the effort to increase vaccination rates working? And is it worth the cost? Composite photo: Adam Falk / The Wall Street Journal


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