Sinovac ‘modest’ defense against Omicron in children
Sinovac ‘modest’ defense against Omicron in children

Sinovac ‘modest’ defense against Omicron in children

Global: The global death toll for Covid has passed the grim milestone of 6 million, with a figure of 6,058,304 according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University. Meanwhile, infections remain above 463 million to a worldwide figure of 463,906,453.

Young children receiving two doses of China’s Sinovac Biotech Ltd. vaccine received a “modest” defense against Omicron infections, a study in Chile showed. Researchers estimated that the Sinovac shot has an effectiveness of 38% against Covid-19, 65% against hospitalization and 69% against an infection that is severe enough to require hospitalization in an intensive care unit. The study took place during the Omicron outbreak in Chile between December and February and was conducted by researchers who mostly worked for local universities as well as the country’s Ministry of Health. The results, which were uploaded as a pre-print on Research Square, have not yet undergone a peer review and provide further insight into how the vaccine performs in relation to the more transmissible variant. It also sheds some light on the effect of Covid-19 vaccines in children, as the spread of Omicron led to more pediatric hospitalizations.

News by region

America

U.S: Covid -19 infections have now passed 79.6 million. Meanwhile, the U.S. death toll from coronavirus has risen to more than 968,000 according to Johns Hopkins University data.

Irish Prime Minister Micheal Martin tested positive for Covid-19 while in Washington for St. The Patrick’s Day celebration, according to news reports. The press association reported on Wednesday about Martin’s positive test. Martin left the Ireland Funds Gala in downtown Washington after being told about the result, according to CBS News. President Joe Biden spoke at the event, but he was not in close contact with Martin, according to White House spokesman Kevin Munoz.

Asia and the Pacific

China: China’s Covid outbreak appears to be declining after it reported the lowest number of cases so far this week. A total of 2,432 infections were reported Thursday, according to the National Health Commission. The epicenter of the eruption, northeastern Jilin province, found about 1,100 cases, down from recent highs, after authorities closed the area to about 24 million people inside Monday. Tech hub Shenzhen reported 91 cases. Shanghai’s financial center found 158 new infections, 150 of which showed no symptoms. The city has begun mass-testing the population on a staggered basis by shutting down some residential areas and regions while authorities try to prevent the spread of Omicron. Beijing halted some incoming and outgoing trains at two stations after finding four new infections on Thursday.

Hong Kong: Hong Kong will provide updates on Covid measures Sunday or Monday, CEO Carrie Lam said, citing steps such as flight bans and school closures announced last month. The government has been preparing details of a mass test drive since late February, but has never said the blitz will start on March 26, Lam said. The city still has some way to go to reach a vaccination rate of 95%, she added.

The Hong Kong government said information is circulating online about the date and details of one mass test driving is not official and should not be believed. Universal testing “would be a large-scale operation that required precise execution,” a government spokesman said in a statement late Wednesday. The plan “is still being refined at the moment and once confirmed, it will be announced and widely publicized so that the public will be fully informed about the events,” the statement said.

Hong Kong last week indefinitely postponed a plan to test the entire population for Covid this month to prioritize vaccination of the elderly and reduce deaths.

South Korea: South Korea’s daily new Covid-19 infections reached a record 621,328, while the death toll rose to a record 429, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency. But as things rise, the country has one of those lowest virus death courses globally. The soaring caseload reflects the nation’s consistent implementation of mass testing, largely abandoned by many places as Covid becomes endemic, but a key cause of Korea’s sliding death rate, according to its virus fighters. Continuing to officially diagnose most infections allows Korea to identify high-risk cases and preventively treat or hospitalize these patients before their condition becomes serious. Combined with a vaccination rate of 88% – and one of the highest number of booster shots in the world, especially among the elderly – it has resulted in a mortality rate of 0.14%. That’s a tenth of the rates in the US and UK and down 0.88% two months ago, although cases have risen eighty times within the same timeframe.

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