Olympic grids viewers, the Delta variant continues to expand, and Pfizer plans boosters and third doses. Here’s what you should know:
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The Tokyo Olympics are banning spectators, while other countries are moving through the return of personal events
Yesterday, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga announced that there would be no personal spectators on it the upcoming Tokyo Olympics due to the increasing number of Covid-19 cases. The new state of emergency will take effect in Tokyo on Monday and last until August 22. The news is a reversal of the announcement from a few weeks ago, when the International Olympic Committee said that a reduced number of local fans would be allowed to attend personal games. Vaccination rates in Japan remain low compared to other countries such as the US and Britain.
Meanwhile, as vaccinations continue to rise in other parts of the world, some countries are moving with the return of major personal events, though not without a few hiccups. Singapore said it would allow larger gatherings for people who were fully vaccinated when more than half of its population made injections later this month. In the US, concert venues are filling up once more. And fans have gathered across England to watch the European Championship football tournament, although researchers think it could be associated with a sudden jump in cases.
The delta variant causes numerous cases in the U.S. and around the world
As of this week, the Delta variant is official dominant strain coronavirus circulating in the United States. While current vaccines are still in effect against mutation, unvaccinated Americans are at significant risk. Hospitalizations and new cases have started, especially in parts of the country where the vaccination rate is relatively low. More than 99 percent of Americans who died of the disease in June were unvaccinated. All of this happens like humans traveling more freely this summer and other diseases extinguished by pandemic prevention measures can return.
The delta variant continues to create problems around the world. South Korea, where the virus was once thought to be largely under control, is increased measures of social exclusion in Seoul as it faces perhaps the worst wave the country has ever seen. And the WHO said yesterday that Africa is experiencing the same its worst wave in cases, with an increase in cases in more than 16 countries across the continent.
Drug manufacturers are investigating boosters and third doses amid new research into the effectiveness of vaccines
Pfizer recently announced that it intends to do so seek urgent approval from the FDA in August for the third dose of a booster vaccine, especially amid a rise in the Delta variant. The drugmaker said that early data from his auxiliary study show that the level of antibodies significantly jumps after the third dose. That said, even if Pfizer gets FDA approval, it will be up to public health authorities to determine if the booster is necessary when many have not yet received initial doses of the injection. Pfizer and BioNTech are also specifically developing an enhanced hit targets the Delta variant.
Researchers are working hard to understand the new strain, as well as what continuous mutations could mean for immunity. A new survey released this week found that fully vaccinated people are well protected from the Delta version, but that just receiving one injection of two doses offers little protection, another reminder of how important it is to receive a full course of vaccination.
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