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COVID-19 Report: Week of August 2, 2021

This report is produced by the Emergency Management, Health, and Hazards (EMH2) team to highlight global COVID-19 developments. It includes tracking of surges, cases, deaths, variants, and vaccines, and also notes the notable implementation of control measures to mitigate virus transmission.


Chandlyr Mickan, Sam Shames, Alyssa Schmidt, Jade Patel, Emergency Management, Health, and Hazards (EMH2) Team

Week of Monday, August 2, 2021


COVID-19 Relief in Chennai, India[1]


Worldwide Cases: 203,002,236 Worldwide Deaths: 4,299,937

*Updated as of August 8, 2021[2]

Notable Outbreaks

Red: 100-200+% increase in cases over the past two weeks

Orange: 75-100% increase in cases over the past two weeks


COVID-19 cases have continued to increase over the past week, with over 201 million cases reported globally since March 2020. As global vaccine distribution continues, there are still a high number of people who are yet to receive both doses. Although vaccines have proven rather effective in protecting against the dominant Delta Variant, scientists fear that new emerging mutations will be vaccine-resistant. Those who are unvaccinated are at an extremely high risk of infection and serious illness or death. As countries struggle with pandemic fatigue and the negative economic impacts of the prolonged pandemic, cases will continue to increase over the coming months.


After dealing with an increase in cases over the past few weeks, Australia has reached a new daily record for infections, prompting a reinstatement of lockdown measures and mandated quarantine. The preventive measures in place impact 60% of the country’s population.[3] Early on in the pandemic, Australia was able to keep cases very low through similar lockdown measures, allowing the country to open up much sooner than the rest of the world. However, as cases began to slowly rise early this summer, there was a lack of observance of new pandemic control measures such as mask-wearing and social distancing. Although a lockdown reinstatement seems extreme compared to measures taken by other countries to curb cases, deaths in Australia are very low. With only 20% of adults in Australia vaccinated, quarantine measures will likely not be lifted until this number increases significantly or cases begin declining.


A sharp increase of cases and deaths in Senegal is straining local cemeteries and the healthcare system, which is now at risk of collapsing. As health workers attempt to accommodate the high numbers of patients requiring intensive care, another expected wave of COVID-19 is causing major concern for the well-being of hospitals and staff.[4] With a shortage of beds and oxygen, the mortality rate is increasing, and healthcare workers are under increasing pressure.[5] Without access to emergency aid and donations of medications and supplies, Senegal could likely experience a greater spike in COVID-19 fatalities, causing the health system to collapse.


With the Olympic Games in full swing, Japan is currently facing a sharp increase in COVID-19 infections, cases of serious infection, and death. Medics have urged a nationwide state of emergency as hospitals are at full capacity and have had to deny admission to many who are sick.[6] Countries that have sent athletes and personnel to Tokyo should strongly consider mandating quarantine for these individuals upon arrival back to their home country. China is also experiencing its worst period of COVID-19 cases since the beginning of the pandemic, causing mass testing, travel restrictions, and strict lockdown measures.[7] There is little data on the number of vaccines that have been administered in China, so it is difficult to determine the trajectory of the cases and death rates. However, situations in other countries also affected by the Delta Variant suggest that cases will continue to rise, although lockdown measures are likely to help curb the number of overall infections.


India reported that about 20% of the population have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccination, with 8% of the population fully vaccinated.[8] Despite this progress, the total number of deaths over the past week surpassed 425,700 and is expected to increase over the coming weeks. India was the first country to experience the deadly Delta Variant, and they are still struggling with cases, deaths, and additional epidemics months later. They serve as an example of the toll that COVID-19 will take on health systems and society, even when taken seriously.


The EMH2 Team will continue to monitor global COVID-19 developments, including increases and decreases of cases and fatalities. With more populations accessing and receiving the vaccination, over time, it is likely cases will begin to lower. Until then, countries must monitor and apply preventative measures where necessary to reduce the threat of future outbreaks.



Notable News:

  • US developing plan to require foreign visitors to be vaccinated against COVID-19[9]

  • The World Health Organization (WHO) is deeply concerned by long COVID-19[10]

  • New York to become first major US city to require vaccination proof for indoor activities[11]

  • Researchers are increasingly concerned about the Lambda Variant’s vaccine resistance[12]

  • One UK study found that vaccinated people are three times less likely to be infected by COVID-19[13]

The Delta Variant remains the most prevalent and is the primary variant in most countries, with several smaller mutations reported. As countries continue to battle with the Delta Variant, a mutated strain has been discovered, titled the Delta Plus. Sharing similar genetic pathogens with the Delta Variant, the Delta Plus is reported to be as contagious as chickenpox and spreads far more easily than the common cold or flu, making it highly contagious and able to infect a high number of people in a short time.[15] The prevalence of a second, likely more transmissible variant is raising global concern and could be contributing to the driving reason for the continued increase of cases worldwide.


Global Vaccination Progress

  • EU signs preliminary deal to buy 200 million doses of the US’ Novavax Vaccine[16]

  • South Korea pledges nearly $2 billion USD to become a top 5 COVID-19 vaccine producer by 2025[17]

  • Moderna says its vaccine is 93% effective 4 to 6 months after the second dose[18]

  • Malaysia grants emergency use for Moderna COVID-19 vaccine amidst evaluating quality, safety, and efficacy[19]

  • WHO warns against booster vaccine shots due to global disparities in vaccine distribution[20]

  • Xi Jinping says China aims to provide 2 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses to the world in 2021[21]

  • World Bank reallocates $150 million to Pakistan for vaccine procurement[22]

International Vaccination Developments


Percentage of Fully Vaccinated People by Country[23]

Vaccine progress in Africa is still very slow due to large populations and lack of resources. As new vaccines are developed worldwide, donations to Africa may increase if global case rates begin to decline. Countries have also been donating to COVAX which has been distributing vaccines throughout Africa.

Efforts to distribute vaccinations in lower socioeconomic countries are critical in curbing the transmission of all COVID-19 variants. Wealthier countries such as the United States, Canada, Australia were able to supply an ample amount of jabs to serve their populations; less wealthy countries, such as India and Malaysia, are still struggling to import the necessary number of vaccinations needed.[24] The obstacles each country faces in vaccinating its citizens have differed greatly, from logistical issues to ideological beliefs/misinformation of the vaccine. It is difficult for financially unstable countries with larger populations to obtain the appropriate amount of vaccines needed as well as refrigerate them so that they are effective. The misinformation and conspiracies may lead many vaccines to go unused and expired since these individuals do not want to become vaccinated.

World Vaccination Percentage[25]


Vaccination progress has increased over the past week by nearly 1%, which means that almost 78 million more people were able to become fully vaccinated. Efforts to produce and distribute vaccinations globally will be critical in ensuring that the transmission of COVID-19 and its variants decreases. With the new variants emerging and impacting countries across the world, the vaccine can limit the effects of the virus. It can also limit the deaths that occur due to the COVID-19 which will likely alleviate stress on hospitals.

Covax Updates

  • COVAX donated 728,460 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to Sri Lanka[26]

  • COVAX donated 33,600 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to the Bahamas[27]

  • COVAX expected to donate 6.2 million doses of the Sinopharm vaccine soon[28]

  • COVAX is expected to distribute 250 million vaccine doses over the next two months[29]

  • COVAX donated 3 million doses of the Moderna vaccine to The Philippines[30]

  • COVAX donated 151,200 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to Mali[31]


Summary

Multiple countries have reinstated lockdown measures to combat the spread of the virus. New mutations of the Delta Strain (Epsilon, Delta Plus, B.1.621, etc.) have increased attention from medical experts as some of their proteins are being studied about vaccine resistance. Countries with struggling healthcare systems and socioeconomic vulnerabilities are at higher risk of near future outbreaks and COVID-19 related fatalities. Travel patterns, including those of the Olympic Games in Tokyo, will be of specific interest to EMH2 as variants continue to spread and infect new populations. The EMH2 Team will continue to monitor the COVID-19 developments and vaccine distributions over the coming week, along with highlighting trends and areas of interest.

________________________________________________________________________ The Counterterrorism Group (CTG)

[1]COVID-19 Pandemic Relief Services: Chennai, July'21” by Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission licensed under Public Domain

[2] COVID-19 Coronavirus Pandemic, WorldOMeters, August 2021, https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/

[3] Australia suffers worst COVID day this year with millions in lockdown, Reuters, August 2021, https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/australia-daily-covid-19-2021-record-high-with-millions-lockdown-2021-08-07/

[4] Senegalese doctors, cemetery workers battle COVID-19 surge, Reuters, August 2021, https://www.reuters.com/world/africa/senegalese-doctors-cemetery-workers-battle-covid-19-surge-2021-08-06/

[5] Ibid

[6] Top Japan medic urges nationwide state of emergency amid COVID surge, ​​Reuters, August 2021, https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/japan-limits-hospitalisation-covid-19-patients-most-serious-cases-surge-2021-08-03/

[7] Nanjing: Concerns in China grow as Delta outbreak spreads, BBC, August 2021, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-58052894

[8] Coronavirus (COVID-19) Vaccinations, Our World in Data, August 2021, https://ourworldindata.org/covid-vaccinations

[9] ​​US developing plan to require foreign visitors to be vaccinated against COVID-19: White House official, Channel News Asia, August 2021, https://www.channelnewsasia.com/world/covid-19-us-vaccinated-foreign-visitors-plan-2092851

[10] WHO 'deeply concerned' by long COVID-19, Channel News Asia, August 2021, https://www.channelnewsasia.com/world/who-deeply-concerned-long-covid-19-2092646

[11] New York to become first major US city to require vaccination proof for indoor activities: COVID-19 updates, USA Today, August 2021, https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/health/2021/08/03/us-reaches-70-partially-vaccinated-adults-covid-cases-rise/5463093001/

[12] Lambda COVID Variant 'a Potential Threat to Human Society,' Researchers Say, Newsweek, August 2021, https://www.newsweek.com/lambda-covid-variant-potential-threat-society-researchers-1616556

[13] Vaccinated people three times less likely to catch Covid-19, The National News, August 2021, https://www.thenationalnews.com/coronavirus/2021/08/03/vaccinated-people-three-times-less-likely-to-catch-covid-19/

[14] More Vaccine-resistant, Highly Transmissible: FAQs on Epsilon Covid Variant Detected in Pakistan, News 18, August 2021, https://www.news18.com/news/india/more-vaccine-resistant-highly-transmissible-faqs-on-epsilon-covid-variant-detected-in-pakistan-4033169.html

[15] Global COVID-19 cases surpass 200 mln as Delta variant spreads, Reuters, August 2021, https://www.reuters.com/business/healthcare-pharmaceuticals/global-covid-19-cases-surpass-200-mln-delta-variant-spreads-2021-08-04/

[16] EU signs initial deal with Novavax for COVID-19 vaccine, Channel News Asia, August 2021, https://www.channelnewsasia.com/world/eu-signs-initial-deal-novavax-covid-19-vaccine-2089326

[17] South Korea pledges nearly US$2 billion to become major COVID-19 vaccine producer, Channel News Asia, August 2021, https://www.channelnewsasia.com/asia/south-korea-pledge-2-billion-covid19-vaccine-producer-2093731

[18] Moderna's COVID-19 shot 93% effective 4 to 6 months after second dose, Channel News Asia, August 2021, https://www.channelnewsasia.com/world/modernas-covid-19-shot-93-effective-4-6-months-after-second-dose-2094326

[19] Malaysia grants conditional approval for Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, Channel News Asia, August 2021, https://www.channelnewsasia.com/asia/malaysia-covid-19-moderna-vaccine-conditional-approval-2093997

[20] WHO calls for moratorium on booster vaccine shots through September, citing global disparity, Washington Post, August 2021, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2021/08/04/coronavirus-covid-live-updates-us/

[21] Xi says China aims to provide 2 bln COVID-19 vaccine doses to world in 2021 -CCTV, Reuters, August 2021, https://www.reuters.com/world/china/xi-says-china-aims-provide-2-bln-covid-19-vaccine-doses-world-2021-cctv-2021-08-05/

[22] WB reallocates to Pakistan Rs24.27 bn to buy vaccines, The News International, August 2021, https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/872991-wb-reallocates-to-pakistan-rs24-27-bn-to-buy-vaccines

[23]Fully Vaccinated People by Country” by Our World in Data licensed under Creative Commons

[24] A Guide to Global COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts, Council on Foreign Relations, July 2021, https://www.cfr.org/backgrounder/guide-global-covid-19-vaccine-efforts

[25] Ibid

[26] Sri Lanka receives 728,460 vaccine doses of AstraZeneca from COVAX program, Hindu Times, August 2021, https://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/sri-lanka-receives-728-460-vaccine-doses-of-astrazeneca-from-covax-program-101627794218702.html

[27] Bahamas receives third tranche of 33,600 pre-paid vaccines from COVAX, WIC News, August 2021, https://wicnews.com/caribbean/bahamas-receives-third-tranche-of-33600-pre-paid-vaccines-from-covax-322436540/

[28] Venezuela to receive COVAX vaccines in coming days, Maduro says, Reuters, August 2021, https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/venezuela-receive-covax-vaccines-coming-days-maduro-says-2021-08-02/

[29] Covid-19: Poorer nations to get 250 million donated vaccine doses under Covax, France24, August 2021, https://www.france24.com/en/health/20210729-covid-19-poorer-nations-to-get-250-million-donated-vaccine-doses-under-covax

[30] 3M Moderna vaccines from US Government arrive through COVAX Facility, reliefweb, August 2021, https://reliefweb.int/report/philippines/3m-moderna-vaccines-us-government-arrive-through-covax-facility

[31] Coronavirus - Mali: United States Donates COVID-19 Vaccines for Mali, Africanews, August 2021, https://www.africanews.com/2021/08/07/coronavirus-mali-united-states-donates-covid-19-vaccines-for-mali/


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