Summer begins in Europe with the new Covid wave

New studies have shown that the Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 sub-variants have a growth advantage over earlier variants and appear to be effective in evading the immune system. In other words, neither previous infections nor vaccines offer particularly strong protection against the subvariants, which is why they become the dominant strains. BA.4 and BA.5 do not appear to lead to more severe disease, but, as with previous waves, increased cases could lead to increased hospitalizations and deaths, the ECDC said.

The potential impact of one of the subvariants, BA.5, is most apparent in Portugal, where it fueled a significant rise in Covid-19 infections. This surge now appears to have plateaued, but is still higher than rates elsewhere. On Tuesday, the country recorded a daily average of 1,332 new cases per million people over the previous seven days – the fifth highest rate of new cases in the world. That compares to the German 760s and the French 747s, according to OWID.

The number of people hospitalized in Portugal, at 1,896, is almost as high as it was during the original wave of Omicron in January. BA.5 became the dominant strain in the country in May, shortly after it was first detected in late March, according to Portugal’s National Institute of Health (INSA). As of June 5, it accounted for 84% of all Covid infections there.
In France, the number of new cases per million inhabitants has almost tripled since the beginning of the month, and hospitalizations are increasing for the first time since the beginning of April. According to the public health agency Santé Publique France, in its latest update, BA.5 rose to 24% of cases sequenced in the week of June 6, compared to 18% the previous week.
France’s immunization chief Alain Fischer said on Wednesday the question was not whether the country faced a new wave of the virus, but how intense it might be, saying he was personally in favor of the reinstatement of certain restrictions to limit the spread.
“The epidemic is accelerating again and this is completely unexpected in this season,” Dr. Benjamin Davido, infectious disease specialist at Raymond-Poincaré hospital in the Paris region, told French radio on Sunday.

“With the new Omicron subvariants (BA.4 and BA.5), which are 10-15% more contagious, the epidemic has regained new energy, even though we have come through the winter,” said Davido, adding that the lifting of almost all restrictions – such as the wearing of masks on public transport and planes – combined with fraying immunity posed a real threat.

Davido and other health experts have warned that hospitals in France could fill up over the summer unless vulnerable people and those over 60 receive reminders as soon as possible. But while hospital admissions in the country are on the rise, it is not yet clear whether this is because the BA.5 subvariant is more transmissible or because it escapes the decline in immunity.

In the UK, where cases and hospitalizations are rising sharply, the start of a new wave also appears to be driven by BA.4 and BA.5, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). The latest ONS data, released on June 17, showed Covid infections were up 43% week-on-week, according to the British Medical Journal (BMJ), a peer-reviewed medical journal. reading.
Writing in the BMJ, Christina Pagel, professor of operations research at University College London, said: “We will be the first (but not the last) major country to have a BA.4.5 wave after having had two previous Omicron waves. This means that we could get some extra protection against the high number of infections we had in March, which will reduce the size of this wave to come.Nevertheless, a significant proportion of the country will fall ill, especially since reminders decrease.

It seems that the United States is not far behind. The latest data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that BA.4 and BA.5 caused more than one in three Covid-19 infections in America last week. The subvariants are also expected to dominate transmissions in the United States over the next few weeks.

YOU ASKED. WE ANSWERED.

Q: What are the side effects of the Covid-19 vaccine in young children?

A: Covid-19 vaccinations for children under 5 were rolled out this week after the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and CDC approved the vaccines’ safety and effectiveness. As with any vaccine, however, children may experience some side effects.

“The most common side effects of either vaccine are still the most common side effects that we see in just about every child who receives a vaccine,” said lead researcher Dr. Grant Paulsen. on site for Pfizer and Moderna Covid-19. vaccine clinical trials for children 6 months to 11 years old at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital.

These include pain, swelling and/or redness at the injection site and fever. In trials with younger children, myocarditis wasn’t found to be a problem, but Dr. Claudia Hoyen, director of pediatric infection control at UH Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital in Cleveland, says they will have “all the mechanisms in place once we start vaccinating children” just in case.

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READINGS OF THE WEEK

Covid-19 vaccinations begin for US children under 5

Covid-19 vaccinations for children under 5 began across the United States on Tuesday, marking a milestone in the nation’s fight against the disease and making it the first country in the world to offer vaccines to children as early as six months old. Around 17 million children under 5 are now eligible for vaccination.

Dr Sarah Schaffer DeRoo described how she felt after having her 7-month-old son vaccinated against Covid-19 in one word: thrilled.

Her active baby boy sat on her lap in an immunization clinic hosted by Children’s National Hospital in Washington, DC, while receiving his first dose. The blow was administered in his thigh. He cried for a few seconds, then his attention turned to a golden retriever who was on hand as a hospital-provided comfort dog.

These children lost their young parents to Covid-19

More than 202,000 American children have lost one or both parents to Covid-19, according to estimates from Imperial College London, reports Holly Yan.

Laila Dominguez, 13, has suffered from anxiety since her father died in January. When Covid-19 struck both of her parents last winter and her father was hospitalized, she helped watch over her two younger siblings and care for her critically ill mother.

Sometimes “it gets really, really dark. And sometimes it’s way too much for me,” Laila said. Her last experience caring for her traumatized siblings led to a panic attack.

Laila hopes more children will learn from her story and take Covid-19 seriously, saying that to bullies who taunt her for always wearing a face mask, she replies bluntly: “My dad is dead. “

“What I wish they knew about Covid is how dangerous it is…and to be more aware of what they’re saying.”

Macau closes most businesses as Covid cases rise, but casinos stay open

The world’s largest gambling district began its second day of mass Covid-19 testing on Monday after dozens of cases were detected over the weekend.

City authorities have begun closing schools, tourist attractions, cultural venues and all non-essential businesses. Restaurants have been ordered to suspend catering services.

But for casinos, it’s business as usual.

The Macau government depends on casinos for over 80% of its revenue, with most of the population employed directly or indirectly by the industry. As long as they remain open, analysts expect they will be affected as the government urges residents not to visit entertainment venues.

Testing of Macau’s roughly 600,000 residents is due to end on Tuesday. The Chinese-ruled former Portuguese colony adheres to China’s strict Zero Covid policy which aims to eradicate all epidemics at any cost.

Survive 70 days in Shanghai – the “strictest confinement in the world”

When CNN producer Serenitie Wang left Covid-stricken Hong Kong in March, she hoped to escape to safer pastures. Instead, she was simply trading the world’s biggest outbreak for Shanghai’s “tightest lockdown” – and 70 days of enforced lockdown.

“Covid could apparently pass between floors and walls and the realization that even the strongest measures could not stop it was terrifying and shocking,” she wrote of the spread of the virus in the 21-story residential complex. of her parents, where she was staying.

When she tested positive, she was taken to a ‘fangcang’ – a repurposed public place for people with Covid, where she was given a bed and a bag containing bedding, a basin and a cup to wash, toothbrush, toothpaste, towel and slippers.

She was in a room with 3,000 strangers, each hoping for negative test results that would guarantee their release – some remaining positive long after their symptoms had cleared. Everyone was trying to stay optimistic; meals were even delivered with encouraging fortune-cookie-style messages attached.

SUPERIOR COUNCIL

In summary: get vaccinated

Since the CDC has recommended two Covid-19 vaccine options for children under 5 — one from Pfizer/BioNTech and another from Moderna — parents and caregivers may wonder which is best for their child.

But pediatricians CNN spoke to across the country suggest either is a good option. Their advice? Just get the available vaccine.

“I don’t think it’s clear that one is better than the other. They’re different,” said Dr. Paulsen of Cincinnati Children’s. “It’s really what parents prefer. Balancing those differences as well as, honestly, what’s available and what their pediatrician has or what the local hospital has.”

Doctors also suggest looking online or calling to find out what the local site offers. Not all locations will offer both plans. Some clinics may also not offer vaccinations for young children or may have restrictions on the age they serve. Vaccines.gov may be helpful. The website provides information about clinics listed by category.

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