• This daily round-up brings you a selection of the latest news and updates on the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, as well as tips and tools to help you stay informed and protected.
  • Top stories: J&J vaccine paused in United States amidst blood clot fears; Sweden infections become second highest in Europe; Dutch government extends COVID-19 restrictions.

1. How COVID-19 is affecting the globe

Confirmed cases of COVID-19 have passed 137.4 million globally, according to Our World in Data. The number of confirmed deaths stands at more than 2.96 million. More than 805.8 million vaccination doses have been administered globally.

Thailand has reported 1,335 new COVID-19 cases, the biggest daily rise since the start of the pandemic and the third record rise this week.

India’s richest state Maharashtra will impose strict curbs on industry and e-commerce for 15 days to slow rising coronavirus infections, its chief minister said on Tuesday. Maharashtra, home to India's financial capital Mumbai, has been the country's worst-hit state due to the coronavirus, accounting for about a quarter of India's 13.5 million cases.

Moderna said yesterday that its COVID-19 vaccine still showed strong protection against the illness six months after people received their second shot, with efficacy of more than 90% against all cases of COVID-19 and more than 95% against severe COVID-19.

A new report from the Brazilian Association of Intensive Medicine (AMIB) shows that the COVID-19 outbreak in Brazil is increasingly affecting younger people, with hospital data showing that last month the majority of those in intensive care were aged 40 or younger.

The Dutch government has extended most pandemic lockdown restrictions, including a night-time curfew. “We have to see daily hospitalizations falling, then we’ll be over the peak of the third wave,” Prime Minister Mark Rutte told a press conference.

The rate of new COVID-19 infections in Sweden has jumped to the second-highest in Europe, data showed on Tuesday. The number of patients treated at Swedish intensive care units has now risen past the peak of the second wave around the turn of the year.

Daily new confirmed COVID-19 cases per million people in selected countries
Cases are on the rise in many countries.
Image: Our World in Data

2. US and other countries pause rollout of J&J vaccine due to blood clot fears

US federal health agencies on Tuesday recommended pausing the use of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine for at least a few days after six women under age 50 developed rare blood clots after receiving the shot.

Johnson & Johnson said it would delay rollout of the vaccine to Europe, a week after regulators there said they were reviewing rare blood clots in four recipients of the shot in the United States. South Africa also suspended use of J&J’s vaccine.

Immunology experts echoed U.S. officials in underscoring that the risk posed by the J&J vaccine appeared extremely low.

“Even if causally linked to the vaccine: 6 cases with about 7 million doses ... is not something to panic about,” Dr. Amesh Adalja, an infectious disease expert at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security in Baltimore, said in an email, noting that the risk appears lower than that of clots from oral contraceptives.

What is the COVID Response Alliance for Social Entrepreneurship?

The COVID Response Alliance for Social Entrepreneurship is a coalition of 85 global leaders, hosted by the World Economic Forum. Its mission: Join hands in support of social entrepreneurs everywhere as vital first responders to the pandemic and as pioneers of a green, inclusive economic reality.

Its COVID Social Enterprise Action Agenda, outlines 25 concrete recommendations for key stakeholder groups, including funders and philanthropists, investors, government institutions, support organizations, and corporations. In January of 2021, its members launched its 2021 Roadmap through which its members will roll out an ambitious set of 21 action projects in 10 areas of work. Including corporate access and policy change in support of a social economy.

For more information see the Alliance website or its “impact story” here.

This comes after European regulators said earlier this month they had found a possible link between AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine and a similar rare blood clotting problem that led to a small number of deaths.

The FDA said there had been one reported death from the rare blood clotting condition among recipients of the J&J vaccine, while another person was in a critical condition.