Monday, November 16, 2020

Covid - perceptions, statistics and hopes .. ... Moderna vaccine

 

Year 2021 dawned normally .. .. but after a couple of months life turned turtle. In early months, people would read Covid 19 statistics with fear and anxiety – those days it was Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Delhi which were contributing most .. .. in Tamil Nadu close 75% + was from the Capital Chennai city.  States and CMs of Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat were blamed, while some CMs were praised.  Kerala won International acclaim for handling the situation so well, while Delhi CM too was in limelight.  West Bengal was not cooperating in conducting tests .. .. ..

Herd immunity, new normal and other key words were heard everywhere .. .. now the situation appears far different with lot of change in perception learnt from facts !

Covid-19 is reaching the last places on Earth: By most estimates, just nine countries have not yet reported any Covid-19 cases- far-flung Pacific island nations—Kiribati, the Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Tonga, Tuvalu and Samoa. On Wednesday, Vanuatu, a Pacific island nation about 1,200 miles northeast of Australia reported its first Covid-19 case. Two other countries in the Pacific Ocean, the Marshall Islands and Solomon Islands, reported their first infections in October. In Samoa, workers who serviced a ship with Covid-19-positive crew members are in quarantine. Most Pacific island countries closed their borders early in the Covid-19 outbreak. But as infections surge around the globe, with cases surpassing 50 million, the coronavirus is beginning to creep in. 


Some news from our Nation on Covid front.  It is tough and  the Central Government headed by Shri Narendra Modiji needs special appreciation for the lockdown and for some stringent measures.  Life is never easy in a vast diversified country – here is a photo of two covid patients being  shifted from snow-covered Keylong in Lahaul-Spiti to Kullu by 108 ambulance service.  

Maharashtra today  registered 2,525 Covid-19 cases, taking the tally in the state to 17,49,777. The toll climbed by 60 to 46,304. This is the lowest daily case count in the state in more than five months.  Kerala registered 4581 while Tamil Nadu had 1819.  Delhi had 3235 .. .. Delhi's November surge in coronavirus cases is not just the worst that India has seen, but it is also likely the worst spike in cases that any city in the world has seen yet. India Today Data Intelligence Unit's analysis of available data from these countries indicates that since the beginning of this month, Delhi's daily Covid numbers on several days are among the 10 worst days experienced by any city globally. The only recorded days that come close are from Sao Paulo during Brazil's August surge. New York City's April surge also saw the city experience days with over 5,000 reported cases, but neither city comes close to Delhi's count of 8,593 on November 11. Some other days when Delhi recorded the highest coronavirus cases are November 10 (7,830), November 13 (7,802) and November 8 (7,745).

The touted Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal will meet Home Minister Amit Shah this week amid rise in coronavirus cases, sources  said. The Chief Minister is likely to discuss the need for more ICU beds at hospitals. Home Minister Amit Shah and Arvind Kejriwal have met at least twice in the last few months to discuss the coronavirus situation in the national capital.  The national capital, which has logged over 4.85 lakh cases so far, has hit the third Covid-19 wave, the AAP government had said earlier this month. The city registered over 7,300 new cases yesterday and 96 deaths linked to Covid. The national capital has about 44,456 active cases while 7,614 deaths have been reported so far.

Imagine how the media would have reacted, had this happened in Gujarat or Uttar Pradesh and how the CMs would have been trolled in the media.  For the media, Kejriwal and Pinarayi Vijayan were role models, not so long ago !

Miles away in Europe, Sweden was left unprepared for a second wave of coronavirus because of 'wishful thinking' by its top virus expert, his predecessor has said. Annika Linde, Sweden's state epidemiologist until 2013, said Anders Tegnell got it wrong when he predicted that herd immunity built up over the summer would protect the country when winter came. That approach has seen cases and deaths soar, and on Monday forced Prime Minister Stefan Lofven to announce that gatherings would be limited to a maximum of eight people.  Deaths in Sweden are now beginning to climb sharply  despite the country's virus expert predicting that it would fare better than others during winter.  Mr Lofven said Swedes should also avoid going to gyms and libraries, and cancel any dinner parties they had planned. 'This is the new norm for the entire society,' he said. 'It's going to get worse. Do your duty and take responsibility for stopping the spread of the virus.'  'The Swedish authorities have been slow all the time. Instead of being proactive, they've run after the virus, and the virus has been able to spread too much before they take action.'

Europe has been hit hard by the second wave of coronavirus, with infections soaring even as deaths remain below the level seen in the first wave. Leaders held off issuing a second lockdown orders, fearing the damage it would do to the continent's economy, but were forced to act as hospitals neared capacity. Former hotspots France, the Czech Republic, Belgium, Netherlands, and the UK are all now seeing cases fall after going into a version of full lockdown. Sweden, which has never been into full lockdown, is now one of the few places where cases are still rising sharply, alongside the likes of Italy and Poland.

 


Hopes for an end to the pandemic were boosted by trial results of a vaccine candidate by pharma giant Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech, which showed it was 90 percent effective. Ugur Sahin, BioNTech's co-founder, told the BBC he was confident of a return to normal life next winter if uptake of the vaccine is strong. Another coronavirus vaccine has been proven to work as US pharmaceutical company Moderna today revealed its jab is 94.5 per cent effective – but the UK hasn't bought any of it.  

Officials today revealed Britain won't get any doses of the vaccine until the spring, despite 'advanced discussions' between the company and Government. But the early results from the company's final stage of clinical trials bring another landmark success in the global race to end the pandemic after Pfizer's vaccine, which works the same way, was last week found to be 90 per cent effective.  Moderna's results show only five out of 95 people who tested positive in the study had been given the vaccine, compared to 90 who had not. There are around 30,000 people in the study in total, each receiving two doses of the jab or a placebo. And nobody in the vaccine group got seriously ill with Covid-19, compared to 11 in the placebo group, who were given a fake vaccine to compare against the real one. The results suggest the vaccine significantly reduces the risk of people testing positive for coronavirus or getting sick with Covid-19.

But Britain has not secured early access to the vaccine, meaning it will not get any doses of the jab this year. It may be able to buy some of the 500million to 1billion doses the firm plans to make in 2021, but no deal has yet been announced. The Government says it is 'in advanced discussions' and could get access from spring next year. The US, meanwhile, has already struck a $1.5billion (£1.16bn) deal for 100m doses, while the EU has an 'unsigned' deal for 160m doses. Japan, Canada, Switzerland, Qatar and Israel have all also secured deals, while the company continues 'discussions with a number of countries'. Moderna is expected to manufacture 20m doses this year for the US before beginning global delivery next year. 

The jab is expected to cost $15.25 (£11.57) per dose, so $30.50 (£23.14) per person, which is slightly cheaper than the $19.50 (£14.79) per dose charged to the US by Pfizer.  Moderna's may be cheaper to distribute, however, because it can be kept in a fridge for up to a month and transported in normal freezers at -20°C (-4°F). Nations will not need to buy expensive specialist freezers or the global supply of dry ice, which experts warned would be a drawback of Pfizer's jab which must be kept at -70°C (-94°F).

So, the hope is spiraling up and sooner the World should be out of the grips of Corona.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
16.11.2020.

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