Health News Roundup: Delta variant taking hold of Indonesia's Papua as hospitals near capacity; CIA probe of 'Havana syndrome' to be led by Bin Laden search veteran -source and more
The country's tally of infections now stands at 31.26 million, with the death toll at 418,987, according to government data. Biden says CDC will advise unvaccinated kids to mask up in school this fall U.S. President Joe Biden said Wednesday the Centers for Disease Control is likely to advise that kids who haven't been vaccinated against COVID-19 should wear masks when they return from summer holidays to school in the fall.
Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
Delta variant taking hold of Indonesia's Papua as hospitals near capacity
Hospitals in Indonesia's easternmost region of Papua are nearing full capacity amid a surge in COVID-19 cases, with health officials bracing for the full impact of the virulent Delta variant on one of the country's least-developed areas. The bed occupancy rate at some hospitals in Papua province had reached 100%, with emergency units and tents being used to treat COVID-19 patients, Dr. Aaron Rumainum, head of the Papua health agency's disease control and prevention unit, said.
CIA probe of 'Havana syndrome' to be led by Bin Laden search veteran -source
A CIA official who was involved in the search for Osama bin Laden has been chosen to head an agency task force investigating cases of an ailment known as "Havana Syndrome" among U.S. spies and diplomats, a government source said on Wednesday. CIA director William Burns named a career undercover spy, who was part of the search for the al Qaeda leader that ended with him being killed by U.S. forces in Pakistan in 2011, the source said. The Wall Street Journal first reported the appointment.
U.S. state officials urge support for landmark $26 billion opioid settlement
A group of state attorneys general unveiled on Wednesday a landmark $26 billion settlement with large drug companies for allegedly fueling the deadly nationwide opioid epidemic, but the deal still requires support from thousands of local governments.
Under the settlement proposal, the three largest U.S. drug distributors -- McKesson Corp, Cardinal Health Inc, and AmerisourceBergen Corp -- are expected to pay a combined $21 billion, while drugmaker Johnson & Johnson would pay $5 billion.
Hundreds of people protested in Paris on Wednesday against the introduction of a health pass for some activities and against compulsory vaccinations for health workers as the government seeks to curb the fourth wave of COVID-19 infections in France. From Wednesday visitors heading to museums, cinemas or swimming pools in France will be denied entry if they cannot produce the health pass showing that they have been vaccinated against COVID-19 or have had a recent negative test.
Taiwan orders a further 36 million Moderna vaccine doses
Taiwan has ordered a further 36 million doses of Moderna Inc's COVID-19 vaccine, the government said on Thursday, as it seeks to lock in deliveries for the months ahead. Taiwan has received about 9 million doses to date of Moderna and AstraZeneca Plc, including almost 6 million doses donated by Japan and the United States, enabling it to speed up its inoculation program.
India's daily COVID-19 cases rise by 41,383
India reported on Thursday 41,383 new coronavirus infections in the last 24 hours, while daily deaths rose by 507, health ministry data showed. The country's tally of infections now stands at 31.26 million, with the death toll at 418,987, according to government data.
Biden says CDC will advise unvaccinated kids to mask up in school this fall
U.S. President Joe Biden said Wednesday the Centers for Disease Control is likely to advise that kids who haven't been vaccinated against COVID-19 should wear masks when they return from summer holidays to school in the fall. The CDC is "going to say that what you should do is everyone under the age of 12 should probably be wearing masks in school. That's probably what's going to happen," Biden said at a town hall in Cincinnati, Ohio, in response to a question about school safety from a concerned parent.
Mexico in talks to produce Italy's GRAd-COV2 COVID-19 vaccine
Mexican authorities said on Wednesday they are in talks with Italian health authorities and Italian biotech firm ReiThera about the possibility of producing the GRAd-COV2 COVID-19 vaccine in Mexico. Deputy Foreign Minister Martha Delgado traveled to Italy to speak with Francesco Vaia, director of the Lazzaro Spallanzani National Institute of Infectious Diseases, and ReiThera executives to discuss the option of producing the vaccine in Mexico, the Mexican Foreign Ministry said.
China rejects WHO plan for study of COVID-19 origin
China rejected on Thursday a World Health Organization (WHO) plan for the second phase of an investigation into the origin of the coronavirus, which includes the hypothesis it could have escaped from a Chinese laboratory, a top health official said. The WHO this month proposed a second phase of studies into the origins of the coronavirus in China, including audits of laboratories and markets in the city of Wuhan, calling for transparency from authorities.
Pandemic goes on for the unvaccinated, Biden tells Trump-area town hall
President Joe Biden pleaded with Americans on Wednesday to get vaccinated, as rising COVID-19 cases threaten to undermine progress against the pandemic and slow the country's economic rebound. "Look, it's real simple. We have a pandemic for those who haven't gotten a vaccination. It's that basic, that simple," Biden said at a town-hall event in Ohio that was broadcast on CNN.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)