WHO chief censored in China after criticizing zero-COVID policy, and US cases have now risen 52% from two weeks ago
WHO chief censored in China after criticizing zero-COVID policy, and US cases have now risen 52% from two weeks ago

WHO chief censored in China after criticizing zero-COVID policy, and US cases have now risen 52% from two weeks ago

The head of the World Health Organization is being censored on China’s internet after criticizing its zero-COVID policy for being untenable.

“When we talk about the zero-COVID strategy, we do not think it is sustainable, given the behavior of the virus now and what we expect in the future,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters. It reported CNN.

“We have discussed this issue with Chinese experts and we indicated that the approach will not be sustainable.… I think a shift will be very important,” he said.

Last week, Chinese President Xi Jinping said he has no intention of ending his zero-COVID policy.

Separately a peer-reviewed report from Shanghai Fudan University published in the journal Nature Tuesday found that China’s immunity levels are not strong enough to combat an uncontrolled omicron epidemic that could cause a “tsunami” of 1.55 million deaths if the coronavirus was allowed to spread uncontrollably with the ascending strain.

It comes as China faces criticism and anger from some locked-in citizens over the country’s approach to virus control, which has included a strict shutdown in Shanghai that led to food shortages.

“We find that the level of immunity induced by the March 2022 vaccination campaign would be insufficient to prevent an omicron wave that would result in a critical care capacity being exceeded with an expected peak load on intensive care units of 15.6 times the existing capacity and cause about 1.55 million deaths, “said the study’s authors.

The head of the World Health Organization called on China to reconsider its strategy of trying to wipe out Covid-19 cases in the country in a rare challenge to a member state’s national Covid policies. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini / AFP / Getty Images

In the US, meanwhile, COVID cases are rising again, driven by the BA.2 variant of omicron and two sub-variants that appear to be even more contagious. The two, named BA.2.12 and BA.2.12.1, were highlighted by New York State health authorities recently.

Read now: What is Paxlovid, Pfizer’s COVID antiviral drug, and how effective is it?

The United States has an average of 77,092 cases per day, an increase of 52% from two weeks ago, according to a New York Times tracker. Cases are rising in all but seven states and territories and have doubled by more than 10 compared to two weeks ago. Hawaii, Maine and Puerto Rico are seeing case numbers that are at or ahead of the numbers seen during the delta wave last year.

The country has an average of 19,270 admissions per day, an increase of 19% from two weeks ago. The daily death toll has dropped to below 400 to 365 on average, but the official figure is expected to hit 1 million over the next few days.

Coronavirus Update: MarketWatch’s daily roundup has been curating and reporting on all the latest developments every day since the coronavirus pandemic began

As the fourth dose of Covid vaccines rolls out, some question whether the general population needs them. At the heart of this debate are mysterious T cells. WSJ’s Daniela Hernandez explains the role of T cells in Covid immunity and how they relate to antibodies. Illustration: Laura Kammermann

Other COVID-19 news you should know about:

• Microsoft
MSFT,
-1.62%

Co-founder Bill Gates said Tuesday that he has tested positive for COVID-19 and is experiencing mild symptoms, the Associated Press reported. Via Twitter, the billionaire philanthropist said he would isolate himself until he is healthy again. “I am fortunate to be vaccinated and boosted and have access to tests and good medical treatment,” Gates wrote. The Seattle-based Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is the most influential private fund in the world with a grant of about $ 65 billion.

• On the eve of the second global COVID-19 summit to be held by the United States, Senegal, Germany, Indonesia and Belize, COVID Gap, a collaboration led by Duke University, has a Evaluation of the progress towards commitments made at the first summit in September 2021 and found a mixed picture. Researchers found that significant progress has been made in ensuring that adequate doses and adequate supplies of vaccines are available to all countries and on a call for action for a global ministerial health and finance board. But countries are not on track with targets for testing and ensuring that all low- and low-income countries can access intravenous therapy by the end of 2021 and oral therapy by 2022.

Look now: WHO says the true COVID death toll is 15 million, far higher than the 6 million counted by Johns Hopkins

• The Food and Drug Administration has approved the use of Eli Lilly
LLY,
+2.37%

and Inctye’s
INCY,
-0.21%

Olumiant for the treatment of certain adults hospitalized with COVID-19. The treatment, also called baricitinib, will be used in patients who require oxygen, non-invasive or invasive mechanical ventilation or extracorporeal membrane aeration (ECMO) with a recommended dose of 4 mg once daily for 14 days or until hospital discharge, depending on what comes first. The treatment has been available in the United States under an emergency use permit since November 2020 for inpatient pediatric patients aged 2 to under 18 years who require varying degrees of oxygen support.

Look now: Veru share rises after FDA accepts COVID-19 treatment to be submitted to EUA application

• Leaders at contract vaccine manufacturer Emergent BioSolutions
EBS,
-3.03%

covered by quality control issues that led to more than 400 million doses of coronavirus vaccines being thrown out, congressional investigators said in a report Tuesday. AP reported. The number of damaged doses was far higher than previously thought, and senior executives had been warned for years that its quality systems were deficient, according to House Committee report. “Despite big red flags at their vaccine factory, Emergent executives swept these issues under the rug and continued to pull in taxpayer dollars,” the rep said. Carolyn Maloney, a Democrat in New York. The report said inexperienced staff and high turnover rates contributed to vaccine contamination.

Here’s what the numbers say

The global inventory of confirmed cases of COVID-19 peaked at 518.8 million on Wednesday, while the death toll rose above 6.26 million, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

The United States is the world leader with 82 million cases and 998,072 killed.

That Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tracker shows that 220.2 million people living in the United States are fully vaccinated, corresponding to 66.3% of the total population. But only 101.3 million are boosted, equivalent to 46% of the vaccinated population.

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