US COVID Hospitalizations Tumble As EU Reassures Public Vaccines Are Safe For Elderly: Live Updates

US COVID Hospitalizations Tumble As EU Reassures Public Vaccines Are Safe For Elderly: Live Updates

Summary:

  • EU regulators say vaccines safe for elderly
  • JNJ chief scientific officer says will apply for emergency approval in US
  • WHO team finally visits Wuhan
  • Tokyo and surrounding area hint at closures of bars, restaurants
  • Thailand’s tourism industry hit
  • India new cases continue to decline
  • China reports 52 new infections

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Regulators in Germany yesterday warned that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine shouldn’t be administered to minors or those older than 64. It appears the comments have sparked some kind of a battle between European regulators, as the European Medicines Agency, the top medical regulator in the EU, tells the public that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is safe for older people, as a Europe-wide review found, with no link between the shot and any kind of enhanced risk.

A Europe-wide review found no link between the shot and the deaths of elderly people exposed to the vaccine. However, the EMA review found no new side effects.

In the US, JNJ released its first COVID vaccine data, while its chief scientific officer, Dr. Paul Stoffels, appeared on CNBC to confirm that the company plans to apply for emergency-use approval in the US immediately, and hopes to have supplies of the vaccine being doled out within weeks.

But nevertheless, new cases and hospitalizations are already starting to decline, as new cases reported in the US were under 156K yesterday, while hospitalizations fell by 3K, with big declines across the major outbreak states.

In other news, the WHO team finally made its way to Wuhan on Friday, and visited the Hubei Provincial Hospital of Integrated Chinese and Western Medicine, where many early cases of the virus were located.

Zhang Jixian, director of the hospital’s department of respiratory and critical care, has been described by Chinese state media as the first to report the virus after examining an elderly couple in late 2019 whose CT scans showed differences from typical pneumonia.

With vaccines a big topic again Friday morning following the Novavax news Thursday night and the JNJ news Friday morning, WHO’s CoVax program said it plans to ship enough vaccines to cover 3% of the population of the developing world as of Friday.

In Japan, the governors of Tokyo and its three neighboring prefectures of Kanagawa, Chiba and Saitama have agreed to consider asking restaurants and bars to shut down operations if the central government decides to extend the monthlong COVID-19 state of emergency beyond Feb. 7. The local governments are considering asking them to close early. Tokyo just reported 868 new infections, down from 1,064 a day earlier, as the capital tries to slow the spread of the virus.

Thailand’s tourism industry is now being hit with a number of business closures and job losses as it suffers through yet another wave of COVID-19 infections while pleading with the government for aid. At least 1MM workers in the country’s hospitality sector have been laid off so far, according to one trade group.

India, meanwhile, reported 18.9K cases over the past 24 hours, up from 11.7K the previous day, bringing the country total to 10.72MM. It also reported 163 deaths due to the virus, bringing the country’s total confirmed deaths to 154K. Meanwhile, India has vaccinated about 2.93MM people against COVID-19 since it started vaccinations on Jan. 16.

Here’s some more COVID-19 news from overnight:

  • The Serum Institute of India, the world’s biggest vaccine maker, has applied with local authorities for permission to conduct a small domestic trial of Novavax’s COVID-19 vaccine (Source: Nikkei).
  • South Korea has delayed until Sunday any easing of social distancing measures because outbreaks involving mission schools are threatening to undermine efforts to keep new infections under control ahead of the Lunar New Year holidays (Source: Nikkei).
  • China reports 52 new infections for Thursday, down from 54 cases a day earlier. Of the new ones, 36 were locally transmitted infections. Asymptomatic cases, which China does not classify as confirmed COVID-19 cases, rose to 42 from 28 a day earlier (Source: Nikkei).

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As we first reported yesterday, now that cases of the South African variant have found their way to the US, there’s about to be a lot more talk about the 501. V2 variant/mutant, especially now that the latest vaccine data from JNJ has confirmed what Moderna’s follow-up study appeared to suggest: vaccines aren’t nearly as effective against the mutating virus as public health officials have promised.

Tyler Durden
Fri, 01/29/2021 – 10:40

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