- 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: Biden pushes for long COVID patients to be protected by law; Mixed AstraZeneca-Pfizer shots boost antibody level; US warns against travel to Spain, Portugal, Cyprus and Kyrgyzstan.
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1. How COVID-19 is affecting the globe
Confirmed cases of COVID-19 have passed 194.7 million globally, according to Johns Hopkins University. The number of confirmed deaths stands at more than 4.16 million. More than 3.89 billion vaccination doses have been administered globally, according to Our World in Data.
New daily COVID-19 cases in the Australian state of New South Wales have hit a 2021 high, with 172 new confirmed cases reported, the most since March 2020. The neighbouring state of Victoria has announced, however, that it will lift a strict lockdown.
Bhutan has given most of its population a second COVID-19 vaccine dose just one week after appealing for global donations.
Authorities in New York City and California have ordered government workers to get a COVID-19 vaccine or face regular tests.
South Korea has begun a COVID-19 vaccination drive for workers at vital computer chip and electronic businesses to maintain global supply chains.
Moderna is in discussion with US regulators to expand its ongoing trial of its COVID-19 vaccine in children between ages 5 and 11.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the State Department have warned against travel to Spain, Portugal, Cyprus and Kyrgyzstan because of rising COVID-19 cases in those countries.
Russia has approved a clinical trial combining doses of the AstraZeneca/Oxford COVID-19 vaccine with the Russian Sputnik V vaccine.
The UK government has expanded a programme of daily COVID-19 tests to reduce staff shortages caused by a high number of cases and strict isolation rules for those who come into contact with a positive case.
2. Biden pushes for long COVID patients to be protected by law
US President Joe Biden said yesterday that the White House is pushing for those with symptoms of so-called long COVID to be protected against discrimination.
"Many Americans who seemingly recovered from the virus still face lingering challenges like breathing problems, brain fog, chronic pain or fatigue," Biden said. "These conditions can sometimes rise to the level of a disability."
Around one in10 COVID-19 patients are still unwell 12 weeks after their acute infection - and many suffer symptoms much longer, according to a World Health Organization (WHO)-led investigation.
The new push will aim to see that long COVID patients "have access to the rights and resources that are due under the disability law".
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.
3. Mixed AstraZeneca-Pfizer shots boost antibody level
A mixed vaccination programme of AstraZeneca and Pfizer/BioNTech shots boosted neutralizing antibody levels by six-time, compared with two AstraZeneca doses, a South Korean study has shown.
The study involved 499 medical workers - 100 receiving mixed doses, 200 taking two doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech shot and the remainder getting two AstraZeneca shots.
All showed neutralizing antibodies, which prevent the virus from entering cells and replicating, and the result of the mixed schedule of vaccines showed similar amounts of neutralizing antibodies found from the group that received two Pfizer shots.
A study in the UK has also shown similar results.