COV19 cases hit a 7 month low in the US while spiking world wide, especially in India and Brazil

Axios reported on May 6 that 20 of the United States have declined in reported cases of COV19 and only 10 have increased slightly. The sharpest declines were reported in NJ (40%) and Connecticut (30%). The New York Post reported that as of May 2, less than 1.5 % of NY State’s population tested positive for Covid for the first time since Nov. 6, 2020. Hospitalizations and death rates continue to decline in the US as well. Axios reported that as of May 6, 41% of American adults were fully vaccinated. Both articles attribute the declining infections rates to this effort. A Bloomberg article posted on May 6 reports that COV19 incidence is down 96% in the UK and 99% in Israel due to high levels of vaccination.

View the Axios article

Meanwhile, in much of the world, there has been an alarming spike in new infections. According to the World Health Organization, the number of COV19 cases reported worldwide in the last two weeks of April exceeded the total of confirmed infections during the first six months of the pandemic (New York Daily News report, May 3) . India and Brazil have been the hardest hit and are severely lacking in resources to care for the sick. The WHO is calling on other nations to share vaccines and medical supplies with those being hardest hit. President Biden pledged to send multiple military transports to India with oxygen and medical supplies. Although the WHO states that the lack of vaccines are “part of the problem” these outbreaks have raised fears of new variants that may be vaccine resistant popping up across the world.

view the New York Daily News article

Surprisingly, the most highly vaccinated nation in the world, Seychelles, is among those experiencing a recent surge in cases. While over 62% of their adult population is fully vaccinated, they saw an almost 75% increase in active cases in the last week of April. Sixteen percent of those who became ill were tourists, two thirds of whom were not fully vaccinated, There was a slight relaxing of restrictions during Easter and the presence of the South African B.1.351 variant was found in Seychelle in February. In spite of these possible contributing factors, the question remains why this surge in Seychelles? Over 50% of the adult population received the Sinopharm vaccine and the remainder, a version of the AstraZeneca vaccine called Covshield, which in a study proved to be less effective against the South African Covid variant. Daniel Lucey, Clinical Professor of Medicine at Dartmouth Geisel School of Medicine, was quoted as saying, “Given the widespread international use of these two vaccines there are global implications to what is happening now in the Seychelles.” Much research remains to be done!

View the Seychelle article

No vaccine is 100% effective

The Los Angeles Times reports on an 80 year old clinical psychologist who contracted COVID one month after receiving the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine, and died in intensive care. Because he had been vaccinated, his doctors did not think to test him for the virus until he was hospitalized. The CDC estimates that less than .008% of those fully vaccinated have gotten infected with COVID of whom about 1% have died. Dr. John Swartzberg, an infectious disease expert at UC Berkeley, urges people to keep this report in perspective saying “No suit of armor is 100% effective,” and the chances of getting struck by lightening are higher than this. The article discusses and links to several studies of breakthrough infections, and some of the research questions being pursued about why breakthrough infections occurred and if there are commonalities in people for whom the vaccine was not effective.

View article LA Times, “Scientists scramble to see why, in rare cases, even the vaccinated can get COVID-19”