Day: 8 May 2021

U.S. States Turning Down Covid Vaccine Doses as Demand Declines

Demand for Covid vaccines continues to wane in the U.S., where states are requesting small fractions of their allotted doses from the Federal Government to save them from having to throw misused doses away. The Guardian has the story.

Reduced demand, which is contributing to a growing stockpile of doses, comes as nearly 46% of the U.S. population has received at least one dose of a two-shot vaccine and about 34% are fully vaccinated, according to the CDC.

Last week, Joe Biden announced a plan to get at least one dose of vaccine administered to 70% of the nation’s adult population by July 4th – a date also floated for a full-economic and social interaction re-opening of America.

But on Saturday, hours before a pre-recorded message from Biden to a Global Citizen Vax Live event, it was reported that the nation’s vaccination rate dropped to two million shots a day – a 20% decrease from the week before…

Reports that many states are requesting that the Biden administration send them only a fraction of their allocations is a clear indication of persistent vaccine hesitancy in the U.S..

According to the Associated Press, Wisconsin health officials have asked for just 8% of the 162,680 doses that had been set aside for the state next week. Julie Willems Van Dijk, a State Health Department official, has said demand is softening and vaccinators are reducing existing inventories before ordering more doses.

Iowa health officials have requested 29% of the state’s allotment. Kansas officials asked for 9%, as the state has about 647,000 doses on hand; and Illinois officials says the state has five weeks’ worth of doses on hand and plans to cut its request, also to 9%. Similar patterns were reported by Connecticut – 26% – and South Carolina, 21%. North Carolina and Washington have reduced their requests by 40%.

But some states are maintaining full orders, including Maryland and Colorado. New York City is taking its full quota despite seeing the number of daily shots administered drop by about 40% since a mid-April peak.

Unused doses are expected to be allocated to states with higher demands.

Worth reading in full.

Pubs Close Their Beer Gardens as Poor Weather Keeps Punters Away

Profits at pubs that have access to outdoor space have – as expected – been dampened by poor weather. A triple whammy of heavy rain, high winds and low temperatures has kept pub-goers away from exposed beer gardens today. MailOnline has more.

The Environment Agency had two flood alerts in place for England today – one for the River Sow and River Penk in Stafford, and the other covering the River Burn from Waterden to Burnham Thorpe in Norfolk.

The Met Office said parts of the Brecon Beacons in South Wales could see five inches of rain between 6am today and midnight tonight, while BBC Weather said wind gusts in County Antrim reached 59mph this morning.

Pubs across England – such as in North Staffordshire and the West Midlands – have been forced to close temporarily because of the weather, and not for the first time. A publican at The Fox in Shipley told the Express and Star that ongoing Covid rules are “really affecting the business”.

I would say the rain has stopped people from coming out.

If people are dining and it rains they’ve got nowhere to go because we can’t let them go inside because of Covid rules and so it’s really affected the business.

We’ve had to close and we’re only doing short days, too. We didn’t open on bank holiday Monday because of the weather and it’s affected us big time…

We made a decision to close on the bank holiday last Thursday when we saw the weather forecast.

We thought it’s silly staffing the place knowing full-well what was coming.

The weather is expected to improve a little tomorrow, but the uncertainty caused by Covid regulations is keeping many publicans on edge – highlighting the importance of legal challenges against the delayed reopening of indoor hospitality.

The MailOnline report is worth reading in full.

Just Five New Covid Deaths Recorded in Last 24 Hours

Britain’s daily coronavirus deaths fell by nearly 30% today, as the number of people who have received a second dose of a Covid vaccine soared past 17 million. MailOnline has more.

Officials also recorded just five lab-confirmed deaths within 28 days of a positive Covid swab, 28.6% less than the number recorded a week ago.

The latest figures show that nearly 35.2 million Britons have been given at least one dose of Covid vaccine, after another 119,349 first injections were administered yesterday.

The NHS also dished out a further 449,716 second doses, bringing the total number of people fully vaccinated against the disease to 17.2 million.

Some 66.8% of adults have had a first jab, while nearly a third have had their second.

Worth reading in full.

China was Preparing for a Third World War with Biological Weapons – Including Coronavirus – Six Years Ago

Chinese scientists have been preparing for a Third World War fought with biological and genetic weapons including coronavirus for the last six years, according to a document obtained by US investigators. MailOnline has more.

The bombshell paper, accessed by the US State Department, insists they will be “the core weapon for victory” in such a conflict, even outlining the perfect conditions to release a bioweapon, and documenting the impact it would have on “the enemy’s medical system”.

This latest evidence that Beijing considered the military potential of SARS coronaviruses from as early as 2015 has also raised fresh fears over the cause of COVID-19, with some officials still believing the virus could have escaped from a Chinese lab.

The dossier by People’s Liberation Army scientists and health officials, details of which were reported in the Australian, examined the manipulation of diseases to make weapons “in a way never seen before”.

Senior government figures say it “raises major concerns” over the intentions of those close to Chinese President Xi Jinping amid growing fears about the country’s lack of regulation over its activity in laboratories.

The authors of the document insist that a third world war “will be biological”, unlike the first two wars which were described as chemical and nuclear respectively.

Referencing research which suggested the two atomic bombs dropped on Japan forced them to surrender, and bringing about the end of WWII, they claim bioweapons will be “the core weapon for victory” in a third world war.

The document also outlines the ideal conditions to release a bioweapon and cause maximum damage.

The scientists say such attacks should not be carried out in the middle of a clear day, as intense sunlight can damage the pathogens, while rain or snow can affect the aerosol particles.

Instead, it should be released at night, or at dawn, dusk, or under cloudy weather, with “a stable wind direction… so that the aerosol can float into the target area”.

Meanwhile, the research also notes that such an attack would result in a surge of patients requiring hospital treatment, which then “could cause the enemy’s medical system to collapse”.

Worth reading in full.

Government Scientists Want People to Continue Working From Home Indefinitely

The number of people working mainly at home rose dramatically at the beginning of the first lockdown, from 5.7% of workers in early 2020 to 43.1% in April, according to research by Understanding Society. The figure – while now a little lower – remains high and the Government’s scientific advisors would like this to continue indefinitely. The Telegraph has the story.

The latest figures show infection levels are now the lowest they have been for eight months, with just one in 1,180 people in England having Covid…

But Government scientists are understood to be concerned that progress could be undermined if people return to work in significant numbers, increasing social contact. 

They are calling for those who can work from home to continue doing so, saying employers should plan so that staff can stay at home or spend limited time in the office until the threat of the global pandemic recedes. One source said there was no reason to return to an office full-time after June 21st if work could be carried out at home. 

Boris Johnson is expected to set out the next stages in the exit from lockdown next week, with people allowed to mix indoors in groups of up to six or two households, and pubs and restaurants allowed to serve indoors from May 17th.

Under the current timetable, limits on social distancing will be lifted on June 21st, but the Government has yet to set out policies about the return of workers to the office. A decision on whether face masks will be required on public transport has also yet to be taken. 

Modelling produced for the Government suggests people will not go back to pre-pandemic levels of contact with others as restrictions lift.

The latest companies to move their staff to home-working are Google and KPMG. Some Government advisors suggest there is no reason for workers to return to the office after June 21st. Yet, along with questions about lower productivity, working from home is a contributing factor to loneliness which many have suffered from during lockdown. “People have forgotten how to be sociable,” said one worker whose business engagements have changed significantly because of “stay at home” orders.

The Telegraph report is worth reading in full.

Stop Press: Perhaps the Government’s scientific advisers viewed the December 2020 cover of the New Yorker magazine as a guide to how life should be lived, rather than as a warning.

Deaths at Home Rise by a Third as Patients Stay Away From Hospital

There were more deaths from all causes in homes in each month of 2020 than in a normal year, according to new data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), as treatment waiting lists and the “protect the NHS” drive kept patients away from hospitals. The Times has the story.

A total of 166,576 deaths in private homes from all causes were registered in 2020, compared with an average of 125,255 between 2015 and 2019, according to the ONS.

This means there were 41,321 extra deaths, or “excess deaths”, in private homes during the year, although Covid was responsible for 8% of the total.

The majority of deaths in 2020 where coronavirus was the main cause occurred in hospitals and care homes. In contrast, many deaths from other causes, such as breast cancer and prostate cancer, happened in private homes, to people who in a non-pandemic year would probably have died elsewhere, such as in hospital.

The figures show that deaths from diabetes in private homes were 60% higher in 2020 compared with the average for 2015-19, while those from heart disease and Parkinson’s disease were both up 66%.

For dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, deaths were up 65%, with increases of 44% and 37% for prostate cancer and breast cancer respectively…

The rise in deaths in private homes comes amid concern that during the pandemic people have not been receiving the medical attention for serious illnesses they would have in normal circumstances. In the early stages of the pandemic GPs and hospitals reported a drop in the number of patients and urged people to contact their doctor if they had a health issue.

Worth reading in full.

News Round Up