There have higher spikes in the new cases of COVID-19 infections in Europe but recently the US has also joined the league. Experts agree that the lowering of guard due to the reducing number of cases from the first wave and also change in weather conditions have largely contributed to the recent spike in cases.
The big question to ask is why are the figures on the northward swing rather than going down with several preventive measures or protocols put in place by the countries – wearing of masks, observance of social distancing in public places, and strict hygiene practices, etc.
In Europe, there has been an unprecedented rise in confirmed cases, fueling the fear that the second wave of the pandemic is already on the horizon, which could be worse than the first.
The US was almost coming out of the pandemic infections and easing the lockdowns is already in the midst of a second wave, as its daily new cases have even surpassed the daily benchmark.
No doubt there could be several other reasons for the new tide in the infections in Europe and the US; Experts’ opinions are that the lowering of guards/protocol standards and the drop in temperature are highly contributory to the upsurge in the new cases of the infections.
It is alleged that the cold, dry weather is capable of helping the virus survive longer and remain potent, though the evidence is still inconclusive.
What they are saying
According to Shahid Jameel, Director, Trivedi School of Biosciences at Ashoka University, “Europe does seem to have got a bit relaxed in June and July, once the numbers began to come down. People started traveling extensively, even for leisure. And this has contributed to the surge that we are seeing now. This is what we need to learn about this disease, and need to guard against. The virus has not gone anywhere, even when the numbers decline.”
Gagandeep Kang, professor at Christian Medical College, Vellore, also affirmed, “We are coming out of a time when most of Europe was on a holiday and had started traveling… within Europe, but still, traveling.
“In the United States, school holidays ended around the end of August, and colleges started to function. We are two months from all those events, and for the virus to multiply, it takes a bit of time – there is a lag.
“So, this surge is not entirely unexpected. What is a bit surprising is that one would have expected these populations, which are considered to be generally more aware, to have done a better job at doing the non-pharmaceutical interventions to control the epidemic, but that clearly does not seem to have happened.”
In his opinion about the change of weather in raising the numbers, Shahid Jameel said, “As the temperatures go down, more and more people remain indoors. The transmission of the virus becomes much more effective in these settings.
“So, while the virus was always present, the effectiveness of transmission is likely to have increased when people interact mostly in closed spaces. There are studies that have shown that the probability of infection increases during interactions in closed spaces.”
According to Kang, “It is not as if people are isolated at home. As is usual during this time, the activities shift indoors in winters. In places which are small and the ventilation is not good, the chances of the virus sticking around and infecting people is much more.”
What this means
- The second wave of the pandemic is imminent as a lot of people are much more relaxed with the preventive protocols as if the ravaging first wave of infections never happened.
- It is therefore instructive that every country sees what is currently happening in Europe and the US and brace up to the impending challenge, by consciously developing internal capacities and capabilities towards handling the pandemic should it arise.
Covid-19: WHO says the promise of vaccine is a game changer
The WHO has stated that the promise of Covid-19 vaccines is phenomenal and potentially game-changing.
The World Health Organization has said that the promise of Covid-19 vaccines is phenomenal and potentially game-changing.
This disclosure was made by the WHO’s Regional Director for Europe, Hans Kluge, during a press briefing at Copenhagen on Thursday, December 2, 2020, according to a report from Reuters.
Kluge said there are expectations that there would be limited supplies of Covid-19 vaccine supplies at the early stages and as such countries must decide who gets priority.
However, the WHO emphasized that there is a growing consensus among stakeholders that older people, medical workers, and people that share the virus with some other health conditions will be among the first recipients of the vaccine.
What you should know
It can be recalled that yesterday, UK regulator gave its approval to the Covid-19 vaccine, which was developed by Pfizer Inc in collaboration with BioNTech, moving ahead of the rest of the world, including the United States in the race to begin the most crucial mass inoculation programme in history.
- This follows the announcement by Pfizer that the vaccine proved 95% effective in a final analysis of clinical-trial data for its phase 3 study.
- In addition, Biotech firm, Moderna Inc, also announced that its Covid-19 experimental vaccine was 94.5% effective in a preliminary study.
- The United States and European Union regulators are sifting through the same Pfizer vaccine trial data, but are yet to give their approval.
- The WHO revealed on Wednesday it had received data from Pfizer and BioNTech on the vaccine and was reviewing it for possible listing for emergency use, a minimum condition for countries to authorize national use.
COVID-19 Update in Nigeria
On the 2nd of December 2020, 122 new confirmed cases and 1 death was recorded in Nigeria
The spread of novel Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19) in Nigeria continues to record significant increases as the latest statistics provided by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control reveal Nigeria now has 67,960 confirmed cases.
On the 2nd of December 2020, 122 new confirmed cases and 1 death was recorded in Nigeria, having carried out a total daily test of 7,101 samples across the country.
To date, 67,960 cases have been confirmed, 63,839 cases have been discharged and 1,177 deaths have been recorded in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory. A total of 779,708 tests have been carried out as of December 2nd, 2020 compared to 756,237 tests a day earlier.
COVID-19 Case Updates- 2nd December 2020,
- Total Number of Cases – 67,960
- Total Number Discharged – 63,839
- Total Deaths – 1,177
- Total Tests Carried out – 779,708
According to the NCDC, the 122 new cases were reported from 11 states- Kaduna (37) Lagos (29 ), Plateau (25), Ekiti (9), Rivers (5), Ogun (5), Edo (4) Kwara (4), Bayelsa (2), Bauchi (1), and Kano (1).
Meanwhile, the latest numbers bring Lagos state total confirmed cases to 23,439, followed by Abuja (6,868), Plateau (3,902), Oyo (3,728), Kaduna (3,173), Rivers (3,001), Edo (2,703), Ogun (2,233), Delta (1,824), Kano (1,798), Ondo (1,728), Enugu (1,332), Kwara (1,110), Ebonyi (1,055), Katsina (1,030), Osun (947), Gombe (938). Abia (926), Bauchi (774), and Borno (745).
Imo State has recorded 677 cases, Benue (496), Nasarawa (493), Bayelsa (456), Ekiti (374), Akwa Ibom (339), Jigawa (331), Niger (298), Anambra (285), Adamawa (261), Sokoto (166), Taraba (163), Yobe (100), Kebbi (93), Cross River (90), Zamfara (79), while Kogi state has recorded 5 cases only.
Lock Down and Curfew
In a move to combat the spread of the pandemic disease, President Muhammadu Buhari directed the cessation of all movements in Lagos and the FCT for an initial period of 14 days, which took effect from 11 pm on Monday, 30th March 2020.
The movement restriction, which was extended by another two weeks period, has been partially put on hold with some businesses commencing operations from May 4. On April 27th, 2020, Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari declared an overnight curfew from 8 pm to 6 am across the country, as part of new measures to contain the spread of the COVID-19. This comes along with the phased and gradual easing of lockdown measures in FCT, Lagos, and Ogun States, which took effect from Saturday, 2nd May 2020, at 9 am.
On Monday, 29th June 2020 the federal government extended the second phase of the eased lockdown by 4 weeks and approved interstate movement outside curfew hours with effect from July 1, 2020. Also, on Monday 27th July 2020, the federal government extended the second phase of eased lockdown by an additional one week.
On Thursday, 6th August 2020 the federal government through the secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 announced the extension of the second phase of eased lockdown by another four (4) weeks.
OFFICIAL: UK Approves Covid-19 Vaccine made by Pfizer/BioNTech
The United Kingdom has approved Covid-19 Vaccine produced by Pfizer/BioNTech and will start distributing from next week.
The United Kingdom has approved Covid-19 Vaccine produced by Pfizer/BioNTech and will start distributing from next week. The approval by UK Regulatory authorities makes the country the first to approve the vaccine in the world.
The emergency authorization clears the way for the rollout of the vaccine which had been certified to be 95% effective in preventing illness in the final analysis of phase 3 trial, from early next week.
The vaccine is given in two shots (doses).
According to reports monitored by Nairametrics, the vaccine will be administered firstly to medical workers and home caregivers, frontline health workers, those aged 80 and above before being made available to the general public.
The vaccine was made by German company BioNTech in conjunction with US Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and is said to be 95% effective in preventing the disease. This is after it was tested on over 43, 000 people in the mandatory phase 3 trials.
The US Food and Drug Administration is currently reviewing the vaccine and could also approve its usage later in the month.
What they are saying
The government in its statement said, “The government has today accepted the recommendation from the Independent Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to approve Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine for use.’’
A UK government spokesperson also said:
“The vaccine will be made available across the UK from next week. The NHS has decades of experience in delivering large scale vaccination programmes and will begin putting their extensive preparations into action to provide care and support to all those eligible for vaccination.”
“I’m confident now, with the news today, that from spring — from Easter onwards — things are going to be better. We’re going to have a summer next year that everybody can enjoy.” Matt Hancock, UK health secretary.
Matt Hancock revealed that this is going to be one of the biggest civilian projects in history as 50 hospitals are preparing to administer the vaccine with 800,000 doses ready to be delivered from Belgium.
Hancock said, “I’m obviously absolutely thrilled with the news, very proud that the UK is the first place in the world to have a clinically authorized vaccine.’’
The UK regulator said on Wednesday, that the Covid-19, met its strict standards of safety, quality and effectiveness.
The UK had earlier given hope that it was going to act swiftly in approving a vaccine and then put doctors across the country on standby for a possible rollout. This will also come as a relief to the British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, who has been facing a series of criticisms over his handling of the pandemic that has killed almost 60,000 people in the UK.
The UK’s vaccine committee is expected to decide which priority groups will be given the shot first; care home residents, health and care staff, the elderly and people who are clinically extremely vulnerable will be first in line.
The United Kingdom is said to have ordered over 357 million doses from seven manufacturers.
What you should know:
Pfizer has earlier announced that the Covid-19 vaccine it is developing in collaboration with its German partner, BioNTech, was certified 95% effective in preventing illness, much higher than expected. The approval of the vaccine by UK regulator, ahead of US counterpart, who is set to meet on December 10, to decide on whether to recommend emergency use authorization, marks a historic moment in the fight against COVID-19.
The European Medicines Agency had disclosed that it could give emergency approval for the Pfizer vaccine by December 29.
China has already given emergency approval for 3 experimental vaccines and has immunized about 1 million people since July.
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