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The Evolutionary Perspective
Daily Archives: August 4, 2021
Posted: August 4, 2021 at 2:27 pm
WASHINGTON, D.C. Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI) today released the following statement regarding a new House Foreign Affairs Committeereportthat shows the CCP covered up the COVID-19 outbreak in Wuhan, which likely began at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
I commend Rep. McCaul for his work to uncover the origins of COVID-19, pushing forward despite Democrat obstruction. His new report outlines the role Peter Daszak played in spreading disinformation during the critical early days of the pandemic. As evidence mounts in favor of the lab-leak hypothesis, Congress should use every tool at its disposal to understand what happened in Wuhan, why the intelligence community missed it, and how U.S. taxpayer dollars funded dangerous gain-of-function research in Wuhan. Issuing a subpoena to Peter Daszak is an obvious and appropriate next step to get these answers."
Rep. Gallagher has led the charge in investigating the origins of COVID-19. In recent months, he has:
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Sonoma County partners with private providers to expand COVID-19 testing opportunities | Press Releases | County Administrator’s Office | County -…
Posted: at 2:27 pm
Santa Rosa, CA August 3, 2021 Due to increasing case rates and testing demand, the Sonoma County Department of Health Services ispartnering with four trusted providers - Curative, LHI, Molecular Matrix, and Fox Home Health - to offer expanded COVID-19 testing services for Sonoma County residents.
As case rates have risen in recent weeks, the demand for pop-up COVID-19 testing has significantly increased. In the two weeks from June 22 to July 5, the DHS Field Services team administered 572 tests. From July 6 to July 19, DHS testing more than doubled to 1150 tests. In the last single week for which the county has data, from July 20 to July 26, the team administered 1054 tests in just seven days. Expanding the testing services of LHI, Curative, Molecular Matrix, and Fox Home Health raises testing capacity from just over 1,000 tests per week to more than 10,000 tests per week.
The Field Services team also has been limited in where it could effectively operate, hosting sites only in Santa Rosa. Partnering with these proven vendors will enable COVID-19 testing to expand beyond Santa Rosa to confirmed sites in Boyes Hot Springs, Rohnert Park, Cotati, Guerneville, Cloverdale, Healdsburg, and Petaluma, said Sonoma County Health Officer Dr. Sundari Mase. There are even more sites in the final planning stages that will allow us to expand locations and capacity even further. We strongly encourage everyone in Sonoma County to get vaccinated as soon as possible to limit the significant impact of the Delta variant in our community.
This plan allows the Field Services team to instead focus on outbreak and surveillance testing. Though DHS will not administer COVID-19 tests at pop-up events, the department is overseeing the placement of sites and working with these providers to ensure that as many community members as possible have equitable access to testing. The County will also continue to provide help navigating the many options available to community members through the testing and vaccine hotline at (707) 565-4667.
Appointments and walk-ins are accepted. Appointment openings appear on the Curative website three to four days before each event. Visit curative.com or call (888) 702-9042 to make an appointment. Beginning Aug. 2, Curative will host sites throughout Sonoma County:
Appointments are highly recommended. Visit lhi.care/covidtestingor call LHI at (866) 284-8788 to make an appointment.Beginning Aug. 3, LHI will test from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at:
Appointments are required. Visit molecularmatrix.com/covidtesting to make an appointment. In addition to the location below, Molecular Matrix is in the process of securing another site in Petaluma as well as several sites in Santa Rosa:
Fox Home Health
Santa Rosa Community Health ceased operation of the Roseland Community Center clinic at 779 Sebastopol Road on July 31. Fox Home Health has agreed to take over and offer vaccines and testing in southwest Santa Rosa beginning Aug. 3:
In addition, Fox has added testing to their existing vaccine clinic at 1400 N. Dutton Ave., Suite 17, Santa Rosa:
For the most up-to-date information about COVID-19 testing in Sonoma County, please visit socoemergency.org/test.
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Posted: at 2:27 pm
Posted August 3, 2021 | 7:38 PM
Walk-in locations will open on Saturday, Aug. 7
With COVID-19 cases increasing due to the Delta variant, Hillsborough County will temporarily open two free public testing sites.
These walk-in locations will open on Saturday, Aug. 7. They will be open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
All testing will be conducted indoors. Five-hundred tests per day will be available at each site on a first-come, first-serve basis. Rapid tests will be administered; PCR tests will be available upon request. Appointments are not needed.
There is no charge to be tested. In accordance with federal guidelines, health insurance information will be collected; however, individuals who do not have health insurance will still be tested.
People being tested should bring a photo ID (driver's license, state-issued ID, or passport) with name and date of birth, as well as their health insurance card (if applicable). Face coverings will be required except during the brief time when the sampling is done.
While there are many private COVID-19 testing locations available in Hillsborough County, the County is opening the two temporary sites out of an abundance of caution and to enhance community testing capabilities. The number of positive cases in Hillsborough County has been increasing in recent weeks, and some residents are reporting wait times of up to three days to be tested.
For information, go to HCFLGov.net/COVIDTesting. Residents without digital access may call (813) 272-5900, the County's main information line. For other testing options, go to FloridaHealthCOVID19.gov/testing-sites.
People who are experiencing a medical emergency should dial 9-1-1 immediately.
Get Connected. Stay Alert.For more information on COVID-19, and any other potential emergency in the region, visit HCFLGov.net/StaySafe and sign up for the HCFL Alert system. Additionally, you can follow Hillsborough County on social media at Facebook, Twitter, and Nextdoor for updates. For general County information, call (813) 272-5900, the County's main information line.
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Posted: at 2:27 pm
Vanguard signage at a Morningstar Investment Conference.
M. Spencer Green | AP
Vanguard is offering its employees $1,000 to get vaccinated against Covid-19, the company has confirmed.
The asset management giant follows Facebook, Google, Microsoft and other employers calling on workers to get the coronavirus vaccine amid growing concerns about the fast spread of the delta variant.
"Vanguard recognizes vaccines are the best way to stop the spread of this virus and strongly encourages crew to be vaccinated," Charles Kurtz, a spokesperson for Vanguard, said in a statement shared with CNBC. "As such, we are offering a vaccine incentive for crew who provide COVID-19 vaccination proof. The incentive recognizes crew who have taken the time to protect themselves, each other, and our communities by being vaccinated."
Kurtz also confirmed the company's 16,500 eligible employees have until Oct. 1 to get the vaccine, which Bloomberg first reported Wednesday.
Walgreens Boots Alliance said Wednesday that the number of vaccines it has administered has surged by more than 30% in the past few weeks in certain states, including Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Kentucky.
That number could rise as the Food and Drug Administration gives full approval, versus emergency use authorization, to the vaccines, which it aims to do for the Pfizer vaccine next month. Still, businesses like Vanguard are encouraging employees not to wait.
Posted: at 2:27 pm
Mobile, Ala., paramedic Lisa Chestang recites the Pledge of Allegiance on Monday with nearly three dozen health care workers who arrived from around the country to help supplement the staff at Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center in Baton Rouge, La. Ted Jackson/AP hide caption
Mobile, Ala., paramedic Lisa Chestang recites the Pledge of Allegiance on Monday with nearly three dozen health care workers who arrived from around the country to help supplement the staff at Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center in Baton Rouge, La.
In Louisiana, which now has the country's highest number of COVID-19 cases per capita, Gov. John Bel Edwards ordered an indoor mask mandate and offered a stark warning:
"Nobody should be laboring under the misapprehension that this is just another surge," Edwards said Monday. "We've already had three of these. This is the worst one we've had thus far."
Dr. Joseph Kanter, an emergency room doctor and the top medical official of the Louisiana Department of Health, spoke with NPR's Morning Edition about the increasingly dire situation. Listen to the full interview.
Delta changed the game. Kanter says the state went from its lowest to highest number of cases and hospitalizations in just four weeks, and the surge doesn't show signs of slowing.
Hospitals have "never been busier." "We're on track today, short of a divine intervention, to exceed the peak, at any point prior in the pandemic, of the number of hospitalized COVID patients," Kanter says. Large hospital systems have had to cancel procedures and decline patient transfers, and he's heard stories of patients sitting in emergency rooms for four or five days while teams try, unsuccessfully, to find them a bed.
There's a staffing shortage. Many nurses have taken time off, pursued nonclinical jobs or gone back to school after a challenging year. Hospitals are struggling to recruit and retain new nurses and have had to call in federal disaster assistance medical teams what Kanter calls a "drastic move" that typically only follows natural disasters.
Vaccines have a new sense of urgency. About 37% of Louisiana residents are fully vaccinated. Up until now, Kanter says, there was a sense that a lot of people would get the jab at some point, just not yet. But it's a small state, and many people now know others who are getting sick and they're scared. The rate of vaccinations has increased fourfold over the past two weeks, and Monday saw 11,000 people opting to begin their vaccine series. He adds: "I guarantee each one of them would rather have done it five weeks ago."
This story originally appeared on the Morning Edition live blog.
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A Warning About The Future Of Covid-19 From The Scientific Advisory Group For Emergencies Of The United Kingdom – Forbes
Posted: at 2:27 pm
We have watched SARS-CoV-2 develop for 18 months and have some idea of its trajectory. The Delta variant is the prime example of strains succeeding each other, becoming progressively worse in waves of infection. According to a recent report from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) in the United Kingdom, the virus is very likely to evolve into a still more dangerous form. We must be prepared for this outcome, for we are already behind the curve as SARS-CoV-2 is outpacing our response.
Intended for reference by Prime Minister Boris Johnson and key public health decision-makers, the report compiled by leading physicians, scientists, and epidemiologists outlines what is known about viral evolution presents scenarios we are likely to encounter in the coming months and years as the Delta variant continues to evolve into something even more dangerous. The report assigns probabilities for each scenario and recommends strategies to limit the damage and control the pandemic.
The report outlines four scenarios:
Scenario one: The Delta variant mutates to a point of increased lethality. Under this scenario, the virus has the potential to kill between 10 and 35% of people infected, as did SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV, up from the 1 to 2% lethality, characteristic of the current strains.
Scenario two: The Delta variant mutates to evade vaccines.
Scenario three: The Delta variant mutates to a point of multi-drug resistance, challenging antiviral treatments designed to prevent and treat disease.
Scenario four: The Delta variant mutates to become less harmful, similar to the four coronaviruses circulating today, such as the common cold.
Before dissecting these scenarios, it is important to recognize the basis of their conclusions. The report is cognizant of the behavioral patterns of viruses and coronaviruses in particular. They can alter their genetic structures by mutation and recombination, leading to substantial changes in fundamental characteristics, including replication rate, transmission efficiency, and pathogenesis.
Wisely, the SAGE report considers the entire viral genome in its analysis, not just the potential changes in the Spike (S) protein, as is common in many other discussions on the topic. They note that the efficiency of transmission and evasion from immune surveillance is largely driven by the S protein. However, they also recognize that many other regions of the virus may contribute to both pathogenesis and transmission.
In considering how much more transmissible the virus can be, we note a study by Schreiber et al. that indicates that certain S mutations can increase avidity between the ACE2 receptor of the host cell and the virus by 600-fold, creating a far more transmissible variant. The progression from the original Wuhan virus to Alpha and then Delta seems to be following a path of increased avidity, as well as increased immune evasion. So far, the avidity appears to be increased by only four to eight-fold, far from the range that is theoretically possible.
In what follows, we provide a detailed summary and analysis of each scenario.
Scenario One: Increased Lethality
The SAGE report considers the development of strains with increased lethality a realistic possibility.
The Delta variant has driven a rise in cases to levels we have not observed in the United States since mid-February, and recent data shows a surge in deaths related to Delta variant infection in the UK, their highest rates since mid-March. The SAGE report highlights the possibility of recombination between two aggressive variants, resulting in a new, substantially more lethal and virulent virus. Specifically, the report highlights the possibility of an alpha and beta variant recombination. Were these variants to recombine, the variant could be comprised of the best of both worlds, forming a variant of dangerous transmission and immune evasion.
The report highlights another likely origin of a more pathogenic virus through the current advent of antigenic drift. Orf and structural proteins are particularly important in the suppression of host immune responses. Orf9b, for example, suppresses innate immunity by targeting mitochondria and the mitochondrial antiviral signaling protein (MAVS), TNF receptor-associated factor 3 (TRAF3), and TRAF6. In the alpha variant, a single amino acid mutation in the latter portion of the genome enabled the virus to replicate Orf9b mRNA to 80-fold greater amounts than in non-alpha variant samples.
As the report notes, the likelihood of genotypic change in internal genes...is high. So long as infections continue, the virus will continue to mutate to better adapt to its host environment: us. If a single amino acid outside the S protein could enhance an immune suppression function by 80-fold, imagine the evolutionary capacity of dozens of other fine-tuned mutations down the line.
Scenario Two: Evading Vaccines
The SAGE report considers the possibility that the virus will develop into what I call vaccine-busting variants to be an almost certainty.
Influenza is an effective model for their concern. In addition to successive antigenic mutations that avoid immune suppression, a coronavirus has the evolutionary capability of antigenic shift, which involves substituting one or more genomic segments from a prevalent strain to an unrelated strain of animal origin. Such antigenic shifts of Influenza have occurred three times over the past century, each time giving rise to a new strain of flu, which evades existing prior immunity.
We note that a number of human and other animal retroviruses make use of the same ACE2 receptor as SARS-CoV-2, and given that hundreds of millions of people around the world have been and will be infected with SARS-CoV-2, it is highly likely that such a recombination event could take place.
At present, we are witnessing real-time antigenic drift, which could also result in vaccine-busting variants. Each variant, as they arise, contains a series of point mutations in the exterior spike protein, which serve to reduce the potency of extant vaccines and monoclonal antibodies. Observations based on the annual recurrence of cold-causing coronaviruses indicate that the virus has nowhere near exhausted its capacity to reduce recognition by antibodies produced by previous infection or vaccine.
Scenario Three: Anti-Viral Drug Resistance
The SAGE report considers the possibility that the virus will develop antiviral drug resistance to be likely.
The development of potent small-molecule antiviral drugs has been slower than originally anticipated. A problem plaguing the development of antiviral drugs is a long asymptomatic period prior to the onset of symptoms. By the time symptoms typically appear, the concentration of the virus has rapidly dropped in infected people and further treatment by anti-viral drugs yields limited efficacy. There are two strategies to counter. One is much more vigorous, which is the early identification of the infected, contact tracing, and use of antiviral drugs for prophylaxis. That has been a successful approach with monoclonal antibodies. The Regeneron combination monoclonal antibody was recently approved by the United States for preventing infections in nursing homes and other congregate living settings.
Resistance to single and, in some cases, multiple monoclonal antibodies is already apparent. Many of the variants can no longer be neutralized by monoclonal antibodies that were produced early in the pandemic. Reports from separate laboratory studies show that single combinations of small molecule drugs also result in rapid adaptation and resistance. The lessons learned from successful treatment and prophylaxis of HIV show that combinations of antiviral drugs are critical for both the prevention and treatment of HIV infections. Combination treatment with two or more drugs dramatically reduces the possibility that the virus would rapidly develop resistance. Currently, there are more than 25 drugs, focusing on at least five or five to six different HIV targets that are used in combination.
It is likely that a successful program for chemoprevention and treatment of coronaviruses requires a similar large pharmacopeia to cope with the viruss propensity for developing resistance. The report urges dramatically increased research on the development of antiviral drugs. The model could be the recent drug, Xofluza, which was developed to prevent household transmission and length of influenza, and has been shown to reduce infection duration by 80% when administered promptly post-exposure to active Influenza infection.
Scenario Four: Decreased Virulence
The SAGE report considers the possibility that the virus will develop decreased virulence to be a realistic possibility, only in the long term.
It is possible, but by no means certain, that over time the virus could mutate through a form that is highly transmissible but far less lethal. This may have been the case for the four coronaviruses currently in circulation, although there is no hard evidence to support this speculation. The report mentions that it is unlikely that the virus will mutate to become less lethal in the near future. They suggest that if the virus does mutate to a less lethal form, such mutations may occur over a period of many years to many decades.
This report is not entirely pessimistic. It offers a number of different approaches; many of these involve additional research and vaccines which may produce better immune responses, capable of protection from many different viruses. The report also calls for major increases in fundamental and applied research of coronaviruses to fill in glaring gaps in our knowledge necessary to create new generations of vaccines and antiviral drugs. Finally, the report mentions that we are not helpless in the face of these viral changes. Human behavior is a driving factor in the spread of the virus. Behavior modifications including mask-wearing, isolation, lockdowns, contact tracing, all combined with vaccines and antiviral drugssomething I am calling Multimodal Covid Controlholds a prospect for effective management of the Covid-19 pandemic.
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Posted: at 2:27 pm
TOKYO, Aug 4 (Reuters) - After more than a year at the frontline of the coronavirus pandemic, Japanese emergency doctor Shoji Yokobori finds himself at the unlikely calm of the Olympics, overseeing a venue with strict protocols, no spectators and low infection risks.
A volunteer medical officer at the Tokyo Olympics weightlifting venue, Yokobori and a team of around a dozen other medical staff are yet to see a major injury, let alone a coronavirus outbreak.
It's a world apart from the strain of his regular job running the intensive care unit at Tokyo's Nippon Medical School Hospital, fighting a fifth wave of the pandemic that is pushing the city's medical care system to the brink.
"I am now living in two different worlds," said the 47-year-old director of the hospital's department of emergency and critical care medicine, wearing a pink medical vest as he stood in the quiet of a near empty Tokyo International Forum.
"When we go back to the real world, like in the hospital, we see the many patients of COVID-19," Yokobori said. "It is like heaven or hell, I don't know."
Yokobori's dual existence illustrates life at the two extremes of Tokyo's Olympic "bubble". Games organisers are running a village for athletes and coaches where more than 80% are vaccinated against the coronavirus, testing is compulsory and movement is stringently curtailed. In the broader Japanese capital, vaccination rates remain low and protocols around testing and movement are nowhere near as strict. read more
Yokobori's hospital was chosen to help with the Olympics given its reputation for emergency care and Yokobori, a fan of tennis player Naomi Osaka, said he was happy to volunteer.
He makes rounds of the cavernous venue's medical stations, checking in and sometimes assigning nurses to take athlete blood samples for doping tests. The lack of spectators cuts the workload, volunteers said.
But Yokobori also takes urgent calls from his staff at the hospital, seeking advice on issues like whether to use lung support for critical COVID-19 cases.
A spike in cases fuelled by the Delta variant this week led Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga to announce that only seriously ill COVID-19 patients would be admitted to hospital, raising fears of an increase in deaths. The government on Wednesday signalled it might consider rolling back the controversial policy. read more
Nippon Medical School Hospital's ICU doctor Shoji Yokobori watches weightlifting at a medical station of Tokyo International Forum, the weightlifting venue of Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, where he works as an emergency medicine officer overseeing the venue in Tokyo, Japan, August 2, 2021. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
BACK TO THE FRONT
Yokobori was back on the floor of the hospital intensive care unit on Sunday, when he had a day off from Olympic duties.
Just after he told Reuters there was only one ICU bed left for severe COVID-19 cases, another patient was admitted, taking the last of the allotted 10 beds.
Yokobori said he was particularly worried about the spike in cases involving younger patients, who took longer to treat, tying up beds longer.
"We still don't know when it will peak out. That's why we are afraid," Yokoburi said as he monitored live video of patients in the ICU's 60 beds.
One doctor at another Olympics venue is considering quitting his volunteer work at the Games to return to his hospital to ease the burden on colleagues, according to public broadcaster NHK.
As it stands, Yokobori plans to continue his volunteer work through the Paralympics after the Olympics end on Aug.8. Yet he is also ready to leave the Olympics should the situation at his hospital worsen.
"I don't want to see peaks during the Olympic period," he said, standing on the floor of the ICU. "But if that happens we will have to change shifts and put more firepower here."
Olympics: Best of August 4
Tokyo 2020 Olympics - Table Tennis - Women's Team - Semifinal - Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium - Tokyo, Japan - August 4, 2021. Sun Yingsha of China in action against Ying Han of Germany. REUTERS/Thomas Peter - RC22YO9HC2QK
Reporting by Ju-min Park; Editing by David Dolan and Jane Wardell
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
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Posted: at 2:27 pm
LANSING, Mich. (AP) Michigans weekly number of people getting an initial COVID-19 shot rose for the third straight week after having consistently dropped for two months.
The increase coincided with the spread of the delta variant the most contagious coronavirus mutant yet and a $5 million state sweepstakes designed to incentivize vaccinations.
There were about 41,000 first-dose immunizations last week, the most since the week of June 13-19. Fewer people received an initial dose in July than in June roughly 192,000 vs. approximately 167,000 but officials said vaccination rates always are lower in the middle of the summer.
The truth is that every single day when a certain number of people get vaccinated, the pool of people remaining by definition are harder to reach and harder to convince than those who made the decision before, said Brian Calley, president of the Small Business Association of Michigan and a co-chair of the Protect Michigan Commission, which is targeting a 70% vaccination rate. We have to work harder and harder to get an increasingly smaller number of people.
The panel on Wednesday announced the six latest winners of $50,000 prizes. Registration for the monthlong vaccine lottery ended Tuesday. More winners, including the recipient of $2 million, will be announced in coming weeks.
The $50,000 winners all were vaccinated after the MI Shot to Win Sweepstakes was launched. They include three women and three men a hospital cook from Port Huron, a West Bloomfield realtor, the manager of a welding and fabrication company in Kincheloe, a Grand Rapids resident who works in the construction and supply industry, a Ford Motor Co. machinist from South Lyon and a respiratory therapist from Grand Rapids.
The latter, Brianna Hrejsa, said she was hesitant because the vaccines have emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration but not full approval. Pfizer and Moderna have applied for full approval, and a Pfizer decision is expected soon.
She said she did more research because she has contact with patients and her partner is immunocompromised.
I want to do my part in ... helping keep myself but my partner, my patients and my community safe, said Herejsa, who plans to save most of the money, potentially for a down payment on a house, and to use some to pursue another degree. Im tired about being anxious about getting sick.
About 64% of residents ages 16 and up have gotten at least one dose. The states goal is 70%.
Follow David Eggert at https://twitter.com/DavidEggert00
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Posted: at 2:27 pm
A paramedic prepares doses of AstraZeneca vaccine for patients at a walk-in COVID-19 clinic inside a Buddhist temple in the Smithfield suburb of Sydney on August 4, 2021.
Saeed Khan | AFP | Getty Images
The World Health Organization on Wednesday called on wealthy nations to stop the distribution of Covid-19 booster shots, citing vaccine inequity around the world.
The agency said the halt should last at least two months, to give the world a chance to meet the director-general's goal of vaccinating 10% of the population of every country by the end of September.
"We need an urgent reversal from the majority of vaccines going to high-income countries, to the majority going to low income countries," WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a press briefing.
The request is part of Ghebreyesus' plan to vaccinate 40% of the world by December, according to his senior advisor, Dr. Bruce Aylward.
"The big picture here is as a policy not to be moving forward with boosters until we get the whole world at a point where the older populations, people with comorbidities, people who are working at the front lines, are all protected to the degree possible with vaccines," Aylward said at the briefing.
Vaccinating all the world's population is critical to ending the coronavirus pandemic, experts say. The delta variant that is now ravaging the U.S. was first detected by scientists in India after the original Covid strain was allowed to spread, replicate and ultimately mutate. The result was a highly infectious variant with a higher chance of vaccine evasion that has come to dominate in most countries.
More strains will emerge, posing more of a risk to all countries, vaccinated or unvaccinated, unless more of the world's population is immunized.
"The entire world is in the middle of this and as we've seen with the emergence of variant after variant, we cannot get out of it unless the whole world gets out of it together, and with the huge disparity in vaccination coverage, we're simply not going to be able to achieve that," Aylward said.
The duration of the moratorium request could be extended if vaccine rates in countries with low rates do not increase.
"Right now, if you look at how vaccines are being used globally, the uptake rate by high-income countries, upper-middle-income countries, is absorbing too much of the global supply for the lowest-income countries," Aylward said.
The move comes after Israel announced the country would give booster doses to its elderly population. The Dominican Republic has also been administering booster doses to its population, while neighboring country Haiti only recently secured its first batch of vaccine doses.
People in the U.S. are also finding ways to secure booster shots.
The San Francisco Department of Public Health and Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospitalsaid Tuesday that they would allow patients who have received the one dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine to receive a supplemental shot of an mRNA vaccine.
Vaccine giant Pfizer has maintained that people will need a booster shot, while the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said the data warranting the need for booster doses remains unclear.
WHO officials also said beyond December, they hope to have 70% of the world vaccinated by the middle of 2022, "and that's when we can really start focusing around the edges on just how high it needs to go beyond that," Dr. Kate O'Brien, WHO director of the department of immunization, vaccines and biologicals, said at the briefing.
Until that goal is met, global health officials hope that countries with high vaccination rates will comply with the moratorium request, and more importantly, the call to end vaccine inequity.
"We need a strategy of vaccines, and we need the public health and social measures at individual level and community level, we need everybody to step up right now," WHO Covid-19 technical lead Maria Van Kerkhove said.
Diversity+Design competition pays tribute to victims of COVID-19 – UB Now: News and views for UB faculty and staff – University at Buffalo Reporter
Posted: at 2:27 pm
UB students participating in the annual Diversity + Design competition generated a series of thoughtful proposals for a memorial to victims of COVID-19.
Their design concepts are the result of an annual competition organized by Beth Tauke, associate professor of architecture, as part her course, American Diversity & Design (ARC 211).
The general education course open to undergraduates from all majors introduces students to the everyday ways design can make visible and better accommodate the needs of an increasingly diverse population. Writings, films, products, graphics, electronic media, buildings and environments by and about diverse individuals and groups are examined, as are the histories of our diverse physical and media environments.
This years competition honors the more than 3.7 million lives taken by COVID-19, inviting students to focus their memorial concepts on victims from underrepresented groups, many of which have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic.
Tauke, an internationally regarded scholar and educator in inclusive design, organized the competition to raise awareness of COVID-19s impact on underserved communities in the U.S., while also advancing innovative, cross-disciplinary approaches to inclusive environments.
Working in groups, students targeted their proposals on a single underrepresented group (e.g., incarcerated individuals), and a specific site of installation (e.g., the exercise yard of Attica State Penitentiary). With memorial broadly defined, students were invited to consider formats as diverse as landmark objects, works of art, physical and digital environments, communication design and urban design.
The winning proposals, featured below, also can be viewed on the Diversity + Design competition website. Students also exhibited their concepts virtually at the UB Inclusive Excellence Summit on April 8.
Earning a tie for first place were Jun Woo Park (BS computer science), Hanna Ruth (BS architecture) and Yosi Hoffman (BA environmental design).
Park curates a website for his proposal, titled The Memorial, that shares stories of individuals who lived in poverty and lost their lives to thepandemic. Each story is poetically represented as a lantern brightening the night sky and never forgotten.
Ruths aptly titled Behind the Mask renders the inequitable and unrecognized experiences of those with physical disabilities through a design intervention along boardwalk.
In his proposal, Close to Tears, Hoffman depicts the narrative as an installation at Buffalos historic Gates Circle, with a water feature in the shape of tears and names of victims submerged to convey the distance felt by victims during the pandemic.
Tying forsecond place were A Memorial for African Americans Lost to COVID-19 by Rachel Ragonese, Attica Correctional Facility COVID-19 Memorial Basketball Court by Brandon Rau and Special Trees by Adam Dageshtani.
Receiving third place were One Piece of a Whole Puzzle by Julia Ferone, Trumpville by Mark Chen and Memoirs of voice by Hao Li.
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