Following a series of setbacks in the global vaccination campaign, the death toll from COVID-19 has risen to more than 3 million. The death toll from the coronavirus, calculated by Johns Hopkins University in the USA, is equivalent to the total population of the major city of Madrid. The actual numbers are believed to be much higher because many cases were overlooked in the early stages of the outbreak, which began in Wuhan, China, in late 2019.
To date, vaccination programs are in place in more than 190 countries, but progress in controlling the COVID spread varies across the world. Deaths are on the rise, averaging 12,000 a day, and new cases are rising and exceeding 700,000 a day.
Cases are accumulating, and hospitals are running out of resources and space. As a result, hospitals are facing a crisis-level shortage of beds and staff to provide adequate care for patients. Without immediate change, our hospitals will be too full to treat all of those with the virus and those with other illnesses or injuries. “Soon you or someone you love may need us, but we won’t be able to provide the lifesaving care you need, whether for Covid-19, cancer, heart disease or other urgent conditions. We are terrified of that becoming reality” says health care providers issuing a plea in The Wisconsin State Journal, asking state residents to help prevent further spread of the virus.
To date, Covax has delivered 40 million doses to more than 100 countries, enough to cover 0.25 percent of the world’s population. Only 8.7% of these doses went to rich countries. Only 1 in 4 people in richer countries have received the vaccine, while in poor countries it is estimated to be 1 in 500. Not everyone will experience side effects, but most people who do will have flu-like symptoms that resolve in a few days, including: Injection site pain and swelling, fatigue, headache, chills, fever, muscle and joint pain, nausea, delayed swelling, redness or a rash at the injection site, swollen lymph nodes (typically manifests as a lump in your armpit or above your collarbone). The side effects are similar for the three vaccines and are an indication that the vaccines are helping to build protection against disease. Since you may feel under the weather, experts recommend not making any big plans for a few days after you get a dose of the vaccine. So, is it true? Does the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine cause blood clots? There has been a link established between the AstraZeneca vaccine and a very rare but serious side effect called thrombosis in combination with thrombocytopenia. There is a very low chance of this side effect, which may occur in around 4-6 people in every million after being vaccinated. It is also true that the vaccination has an expiration date and therefore must be used before the date on the Covid expiration card given to you.
After successfully overcoming the first and second surge of infection and death, Europe is now in the middle of a third coronavirus wave as it moves into winter, raising questions over what went so wrong. Countries are bearing the brunt of the highly contagious strain. Just Britain alone reached over 4 million cases of COVID-19. Some 6,000 seriously ill patients are being treated in French intensive care units, the highest number since the first wave a year ago. Aside from the United States being the most impacted country from Covid 19 with 32,669,121 cases and 584,226 deaths (averaged about 700 new cases a day) have fallen sharply from a peak of 3,400 in mid-January, with Brazil coming in second, followed by Mexico and India.
In Brazil, there are 14.1 million confirmed cases and 381,475 deaths. The country has the second highest death toll in the world. More night shifts have been put in place at several cemeteries, with excavators working around the clock to bury the dead. One of these cemeteries is Vila Formosa, Latin America’s largest cemetery. This highlights the deadly cost of the pandemic in Brazil but despite the high rate of infection, the government of Brazil’s most populous state, Sao Paulo, announced that shops and places of worship would reopen soon.
Earlier this year, Tedros Adhanom, Director general of the World Health Organization said that hoarding vaccines is not only a catastrophic moral failure, but also keeps the pandemic burning, leading to a slow recovery in the global economy. Tedros has stated that priority will be given to improving global access to COVID-19 vaccines and ensuring that those most vulnerable receive first access.
Jonna Mazet, an epidemiologist at the University of California, who has worked with and trained with researchers at the institute in the past, said the spread of the coronavirus was probably not a lab accident. Their research in Wuhin concluded that the virus jumped from animals without an intermediate host to humans. Daszak said that various animal species such as zivets, badgers and rabbits, as well as local wildlife, can transmit the virus. Known from the US television show 60 Minutes, he said that the virus can be transmitted from bats on a wildlife farm to infected wild animals before they are put on the market. There needs to be more awareness surrounding this issue through brochure printing or news outlets in countries with lesser knowledge.
It is understandable to hope for an end to a global pandemic. However, we tend to be over-optimistic about how quickly things can be resolved and whether they can be resolved at all. (Most people, for example, thought the First World War would be over in a few months.) Instead, we need to come to grips with the likelihood that this will be an ongoing problem we need to prepare properly for. The first step is for our politicians and public health officials to openly communicate that this is the scenario we are facing and to be transparent. Something as simple as poster printing can give out informative advice. Second step is for society to listen to advice given by health experts. It is also essential that our hospitals and clinics have sufficient funding. Investing in things like hand sanitizer, healthy air flow systems or air compressors, masks, medications and so on. Other general use items include automatic water chillers, automatic hand dryers and taps, no-touch elevators or doors, and so on.
Countries that have begun distributing COVID-19 vaccines soon expect to see a reduction in severe illness. However, it will take longer to see how effective vaccines can reduce transmission. Data from clinical trials suggest that vaccines that prevent symptomatic infection might also stop a person from passing on the virus.