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World Coronavirus Dispatch: US Capitol riot could be a super-spreader event

WHO says Europe at the tipping point, Pfizer vaccine appears effective against new variants, Sweden's unique strategy had run its course and other pandemic-related news around the globe

Coronavirus | Coronavirus Tests | Coronavirus Vaccine

Akash Podishetty  |  Hyderabad 

Law enforcement officers guard the U.S. Capitol building after demonstrators earlier stormed the building on Jan. 6. Photographer: Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg
Law enforcement officers guard the US Capitol building after demonstrators earlier stormed the building | Photo: Bloomberg

US Capitol riot could be a super-spreader event

Thousands of angry Trump supporters, incited by the President himself, stormed the US Capitol in a chaos lasting several hours and unleashed unprecedented scenes of mayhem as lawmakers tried to enforce the peaceful transition of power. Members of Congress were forced into hiding, offices were ransacked. The riot amid a pandemic that is sweeping through the country, could be dangerous and might be a potential super-spreader event, warn scientists. Many of the intruders were seen without masks and social distancing was too much to ask from the mob. Experts warned even if some have been infected, the virus could have spread wildly among the group. Read here

Let's look at the global statistics

Global infections: 88,051,477

Change Over Yesterday: 820,254

Global deaths: 1,898,655

Nations with most cases: US (21,579,567), India (10,413,417), Brazil (7,961,673), Russia (3,297,833), United Kingdom (2,898,052).

Source: John Hopkins Research Center.

WHO says Europe at tipping point with Covid

Even as European nations have rolled-out vaccines, the is at the tipping point, with the rampant spread of new variants across the continent, said the WHO's regional director. Many nations are delaying the second doses of vaccines to maximise on the limited supplies and protect as many as possible. The highly contagious new variant is detected in more than 22 countries, according to the WHO. The European region recorded more than 580,000 deaths from Covid in 2020, with millions under lockdown entering into the new year. Read here

Why vaccinations in France are lagging so far behind

France has been slow in vaccinations as compared to many of the western nation as authorities struggle to convince the public to get vaccinated. Vaccine hesitancy coupled with a sluggish bureaucracy has made it difficult to administer shots at a rapid speed. A recent survey indicated that as many as 60 percent of the country is not willing to get vaccinated against the As pressure mounts over the slow roll-out, the French government said it has reworked the strategy, saying they would put in place a simple process and vaccine centers would be expanded through out the country to reach to a wider grouo of people in the initial phase. Read here

Sweden’s unique strategy had run its course

Sweden has announced an emergency lockdown for large swathes of the country, moving away from its unique and once successful strategy of taming the covid without harsh restrcitions. Having stung by the virus, that hit the country hard than most of the officials expected, there has been a change in Sweden’s approach to the virus. The Swedish have long believed that there is no profound difference with the use of face masks, arguing there was little evidence they helped cut infection rates and that it could lead people to relax on more important measures such as keeping distance and hand hygiene. But that is changing now. Read here

Pfizer vaccine appears effective against new variants

The vaccine developed by Pfizer-BioNtech could be effective against the highly contagious new coronavirus variants, according to a study conducted by the US drugmaker. Scientists have found in the study, which is yet to be peer reviewed, the vaccine is able to neutralise the mutations in the spike protein of the new variant. Pfizer shot is based on a revolutionary mRNA technology, where the dose has a thread of messenger, that triggers the immune response by duping the system with virus-like spikes. Read here

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First Published: Fri, January 08 2021. 15:30 IST