Philadelphia reinstates face-mask mandate for students and teachers, and WHO head warns pandemic is ‘most certainly not over’

Philadelphia has reinstated a masked mandate for students and faculty that will go into effect Monday, in its latest move to curb COVID-19 infections.

The news was announced Friday by William Hite, superintendent of the public school district, who said it would remain in effect until further notice. “As we have learned since the pandemic began, the coronavirus continues to evolve and so will our response,” Hite said in a statement.

The move comes as COVID cases continue to rise in the US and tend to the highest levels observed since March, driven by the omicron BA.2 variant and two subvariants that appear to be even more infectious.

The United States has an average of 108,065 cases a day, up 53 percent from two weeks ago, according to a New York Times tracker. Cases are higher in almost every state, but the northeast and midwest are being particularly affected with case reports in both regions now higher than they were at the peak of the rising summer delta. past. New York City raised its COVID alert to “high” last week, and the CDC warned that a third of Americans live in areas with medium to high transmission levels.

There is concern that the number of cases is even higher than known, as many people are now testing at home and no data is being collected.

The country has an average of 24,728 hospitalizations a day, the follow-up shows, 30% more than two weeks ago. The daily death toll has dropped to an average of 309, 16% less than two weeks ago.

The pandemic “is certainly not over,” the head of the World Health Organization warned on Sunday, while reminding governments that “we are lowering our guard at our own risk,” the Associated Press reported.

Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told officials gathered in Geneva for the opening of the annual WHO meeting that “declining testing and sequencing means we are blinding ourselves to the evolution of the virus.” . He also noted that nearly 1 billion people in lower-income countries have not yet been vaccinated.

While there has been progress, with 60% of the world’s population vaccinated, “it has not ended anywhere until it has ended everywhere,” Tedros said.

“Reported cases are rising in almost 70 countries in all regions, in a world where trial rates have plummeted,” he added.

Tedros has repeatedly warned that leaving large areas of the world unvaccinated would allow new variants to emerge that could be resistant to the vaccine and be more lethal than existing and previous ones.

“Overall, we see the vaccination faltering motivated by misinformation and misinformation,” Tedros said. “The pandemic will not magically go away, but we can end it.”

In medical news, Pfizer PFE,
+ 0.78%
and BioNTech BNTX,
+ 0.13%
He said three doses of his COVID-19 vaccine for children 6 months and 5 years of age “meet all the immunobridging criteria” required for authorization of emergency use by the US Food and Drug Administration.

Do not miss: “This will not only go away”: Long COVID is breaking the retirement hopes of many Americans

See also: COVID-19 reinforcements for children will be launched

The companies said the vaccine showed 80.3% efficacy in a three-dose analysis at a time when omicron was the dominant variant, with a favorable safety profile, similar to placebo.

“The study suggests a low [3-milligram] “The dose of our vaccine, carefully selected based on tolerability data, provides young children with a high level of protection against recent strains of COVID-19,” said BioNTech CEO Ugur Sahin. “We are preparing the relevant documents and look forward to completing the FDA submission process this week, with submissions to the EMA and other regulatory agencies to follow in the coming weeks.”

If you’ve had Covid before, why should you receive it again? Daniela Hernández of WSJ explains what the possibility of reinfections means for the future of public health policy and the Covid-19 pandemic. Illustration: David Fang

Ocugen Inc. OCGN
said the Food and Drug Administration has lifted clinical control of Ocugen’s phase 2/3 trial of its candidate for the COVID-19 Covaxin vaccine.

“We are very pleased to be able to continue our clinical trials with COVAXIN (TM), our all-virus-inactivated COVID-19 vaccine candidate. The need to offer an additional and differentiated vaccine option, we believe, remains a priority, “Dr. Shankar Musunuri, CEO and co-founder of Ocugen, said in a statement.

The company plans to restart the test immediately. The seizure came after a World Health Organization inspection of a facility of Bharat Biotech, the Indian company that developed the vaccine.

News about coronavirus: MarketWatch’s daily summary has been healing and reporting on all the latest developments every business day since the coronavirus pandemic began.

Other news about COVID-19 you should know:

• Beijing extended orders for workers and students to stay home and ordered additional mass tests on Monday as COVID-19 cases rose again in the city, the AP reported. Numerous residential complexes in the Chinese capital have restricted entry and exit movement, although conditions remain much less severe than in Shanghai, where millions of citizens have been in varying degrees of blockade for two months. Beijing reported an increase in cases to 99 on Monday, up from a previous daily average of about 50.

• A large number of North Koreans, including leader Kim Jong Un, attended the funeral of a senior official, state media reported on Monday, as the country maintained the highly controversial claim that its alleged outbreak of coronavirus is shrinking, the AP reported separately. Since admitting an outbreak of the omicron variant earlier this month, North Korea has only indicated how many people have a fever daily and has only identified some of the cases as COVID-19. State media said on Monday that 2.8 million people had fallen ill with an unidentified fever, but only 68 had died since the end of April, an extremely low mortality rate if the disease is COVID-19, as suspected. State media photographs showed an unmasked Kim wearing the coffin of Hyon Chol Hae, a Korean People’s Marshal who is said to have played a key role in preparing him as the next leader of the country before Kim’s father died in late 2011.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un appeared wearing a mask on state television when Pyongyang reported its first local Covid-19 case. The country, which until now had claimed to be free of Covid, has a poor health infrastructure to fight outbreaks. Photo: Associated Press

• Health authorities remain perplexed by mysterious cases of severe liver damage in hundreds of young children around the world and question whether it is related to COVID, according to a PA report. The best available evidence points to a fairly common stomach error that is not known to cause liver problems in healthy children. This virus was detected in the blood of the affected children, but strangely, it has not been found in their diseased livers.

That’s what the numbers say

The overall number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 exceeded 525.7 million on Monday, while the number of deaths exceeded 6.27 million, according to data added by Johns Hopkins University.

The United States leads the world with 83.3 million cases and 1,002,219 fatalities.

Monitoring by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that 220.9 million people living in the U.S. are fully vaccinated, equivalent to 66.5% of the total population. But only 102.8 million have had a first reinforcement, equivalent to 46.5% of the vaccinated population.

Only 12.4 million people aged 50 and over who are entitled to a second reinforcement have had one, equivalent to 19.9% ​​of those who had a first reinforcement.

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