Health News Roundup: Merkel says COVID variants risk third virus wave; Biden administration to distribute more than 25 million masks and more

Covid-19 cases slow in Americas, but vaccines to take months to impact virus: PAHO COVID-19 cases and deaths in the United States declined by 30% in the last week compared with the previous one and most South American countries are reporting a drop in new cases, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) said on Wednesday.

Devdiscourse News Desk | Updated: 25-02-2021 02:31 IST | Created: 25-02-2021 02:28 IST
Health News Roundup: Merkel says COVID variants risk third virus wave; Biden administration to distribute more than 25 million masks and more
File Photo Image Credit: ANI

Following is a summary of current health news briefs.

Some common-cold antibodies may help fight COVID-19; vaccine side effects could hamper mammograms

The following is a roundup of some of the latest scientific studies on the novel coronavirus and efforts to find treatments and vaccines for COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus. Some common-cold antibodies might help fight COVID-19.

Merkel says COVID variants risk third virus wave, must proceed carefully

New variants of COVID-19 risk a third wave of infections in Germany and the country must proceed with great care so that a new nationwide shutdown does not become necessary, Chancellor Angela Merkel told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. The number of new daily infections has stagnated over the past week with the seven-day incidence rate hovering at around 60 cases per 100,000. On Wednesday, Germany reported 8,007 new infections and 422 further deaths.

Covid-19 cases slow in Americas, but vaccines to take months to impact virus: PAHO

COVID-19 cases and deaths in the United States declined by 30% in the last week compared with the previous one and most South American countries are reporting a drop in new cases, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) said on Wednesday. But vaccines are in short supply, PAHO Director Carissa Etienne said, and it will be months before vaccinations affect the rate of COVID-19 infections. As of this week, 78 million people have been vaccinated in the Americas, the vast majority in North America, she said.

Biden administration to distribute more than 25 million masks

The Biden administration will deliver more than 25 million masks to community health centers, food pantries and soup kitchens this spring as part of its battle against the coronavirus pandemic, the White House said on Wednesday. U.S. health authorities recommend mask wearing as a critical measure to help slow the spread of disease and the White House said low-income Americans still don't have access to masks.

Nicaragua says gets first vaccines with Russia's Sputnik V

Nicaragua on Wednesday received its first vaccines against COVID-19 with an initial donation of Russia's Sputnik V product, Vice President Rosario Murillo said. Making the announcement in a statement, Murillo did not specify how many doses of the vaccine had arrived.

Novavax expects U.S. trial data for COVID-19 vaccine at start of April

Novavax Inc expects data from a late-stage U.S. trial of its COVID-19 vaccine at the start of April, after which it will apply for emergency use authorization, the drug developer's R&D head Gregory Glenn said on Wednesday. "We are expecting results right in the beginning of quarter two and shortly thereafter we will be filing for EUA (in U.S.)," he said at a Washington Post online event.

British vaccine minister says confident in supply from manufacturers

Britain has confidence in its supply of COVID-19 vaccines and has good visibility on future supplies thanks to regular contacts with manufacturers over timetables for deliveries, the minister responsible for rolling out shots said on Wednesday. The country has accelerated its vaccine rollout plans with a view to easing lockdown, although Monday saw the lowest number of first doses given since daily figures were first reported.

Lockdown for Dunkirk, other areas under watch as French COVID-19 cases spike

France's government on Wednesday ordered a weekend lockdown in the Dunkirk area to arrest an "alarming" rise in COVID-19 cases, signalling extra curbs might also be needed elsewhere as daily cases nationwide hit their highest since November. Unlike some of its neighbours, France has resisted a new national lockdown to control more contagious coronavirus variants, hoping a curfew in place since Dec. 15 can contain the pandemic.

White House to roll out Johnson & Johnson vaccine doses next week, pending authorization

The United States expects to roll out three to four million doses of Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine next week, pending authorization from the Food and Drug Administration, White House COVID-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients said on Wednesday. A Johnson & Johnson executive on Tuesday said the company expected to ship nearly 4 million doses of the vaccine once it gained authorization.

Hospitalisation risk 64% higher with UK coronavirus variant: Danish study

A Danish study has found that people infected with a more contagious coronavirus variant first identified in Britain have a higher risk of being hospitalised, the country's Serum Institute said on Wednesday. Out of 2,155 people infected with the variant codenamed B117 in the institute's study, 128 were hospitalised, a rate 64% higher than people infected with other variants, it said.

(With inputs from agencies.)


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