Here’s what you need to know about the coronavirus right now:
Global infections up for first time in 7 weeks, WHO says
The number of new coronavirus infections globally rose last week for the first time in seven weeks, the World Health Organization said late on Monday, urging countries not to relax measures to fight the disease.
“We need to have a stern warning for all of us: that this virus will rebound if we let it,” Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO technical lead for COVID-19, told a briefing. “And we cannot let it.”
China, U.S. should lift travel bans if herd immunity reached
China and the United States should remove all barriers to travel between the two countries if the United States achieves herd immunity for COVID-19 with 90% of its population vaccinated, potentially by August, a Chinese epidemiologist has said.
Addressing an online forum organised by Tsinghua University and the Brookings Institution, a U.S. think tank, Wu Zunyou, chief epidemiologist of China’s Center for Diseases Prevention said he hoped the vaccination rate in the United States could reach over 80% by June. China, with a population of around 1.4 billion, had administered 40.5 million doses as of Feb. 9.
Fauci says U.S. must stick to two-shot strategy for vaccines
The United States must stick to a two-dose strategy for the Pfizer-BioNTech, and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines, top U.S. infectious disease official Anthony Fauci told the Washington Post newspaper, adding that delaying a second dose to inoculate more Americans creates risks.
Fauci warned that shifting to a single-dose strategy for the vaccines could leave people less protected, enable variants to spread and possibly boost skepticism among Americans already hesitant to get the shots.
Vaccines 80% effective at preventing hospitalisations in over-80s, UK finds
The Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines are more than 80% effective at preventing hospitalisations from COVID-19 in those over 80 after one dose of either shot, Public Health England (PHE) said on Monday, citing a pre-print study.
PHE said the real world study also found that protection against symptomatic COVID in those over 70 ranged between 57-61% for one dose of Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine and between 60-73% for the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine four weeks after the first shot.