North America Update: June 9
This will be the final edition of the COVID-19 Update. Thanks for your readership this past year!
TOPLINE PERSPECTIVE: june 9, 2021
- More than half of Americans have received at least one dose of a vaccine and 42% are fully vaccinated. Some public health experts believe that U.S. vaccination rates are going to fall off sharply in July and August, as people who haven’t been vaccinated at this point are more marginal customers. Vaccinations may pick back up in September as Americans start thinking about going back to school and returning to their workplaces.
- While vaccine rates are high in the northeast region of the country, they remain low across several southern states. Experts are worried this region could experience another surge over the summer.
- Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is urging parents to vaccinate their teens to protect them from an illness that can be severe even among young people. COVID-19 hospitalization rates among adolescents increased during March and April, even as hospitalization rates stabilized for those 65 and older, probably because of their higher rates of vaccination. Several factors might include more transmissible and potentially more dangerous virus variants, a larger numbers of youth returning to schools, and changes in physical distancing or mask wearing.
- A coalition of U.S. global health experts today called on the Group of Seven (G7) leaders to share at least 1 billion, and aim for 2 billion, vaccine doses to low- and middle-income countries by the end of this year, and more urgently help countries distribute and deliver vaccines quickly and equitably across their populations, striving to achieve at least 60%, and ideally 70%, vaccination coverage in every country in 2022. President Biden and his G7 counterparts will meet at their annual summit on June 11-13 in the United Kingdom, and global vaccination efforts will be on their agenda.
- Over the last week, several provinces reported their lowest number of new COVID-19 infections in months. Quebec reported only 179 new infections on Sunday, while Ontario reported 663 – the lowest number since last October. As a result, Ontario will enter the first stage of its reopening plan on Friday, allowing non-essential retail stores and patio dining to reopen for the first time in months.
- Canada is scheduled to receive 2.4 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine this week. More than 60 per cent of Canadians have received at least one dose, and the number fully immunized with two shots is rising. Last week, The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) updated its guidance and recommended that a first shot of the AstraZeneca vaccine can be followed by either Moderna or Pfizer.
- Europe is facing an ethical challenge, whether to vaccinate EU children or to donate jabs to countries in need, such as to South Asia and South America. Governments across the EU are preparing to start vaccinating adolescents, after BioNTech/Pfizer’s vaccine was approved for children aged 12-16. This appears to contradict the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control guidelines, which state that equity issues related to vaccine availability should be carefully considered when deciding whether to expand vaccination to low-risk groups.
- According to a Eurobarometer survey published on Thursday, half of Europeans are not satisfied with the EU’s measures to fight the coronavirus pandemic. The data, collected between March and April, showed that Germany, France and Greece were the most dissatisfied countries, while Denmark, the Netherlands and Malta showed the greatest satisfaction with the bloc’s response.
- France will lift most of its COVID travel restrictions on June 9, the French government announced Friday. Beginning on Wednesday, fully-vaccinated EU citizens will be able to enter the country without a PCR test.
- In Germany as of today, there is no longer any prioritization of individual population groups for vaccination. Everyone living in Germany over the age of 12 can seek an appointment. However, as vaccines are still in short supply, doctors’ representatives and Federal Health Minister Spahn are urging patience.
- Last Friday, Belgium’s Prime Minister announced new rules for international travel. From July 1, travel to and from red zones within the EU will be possible with the European Digital COVID Certificate. People must meet one of the following conditions: They must have been fully vaccinated for at least two weeks, have a negative PCR test or present a recovery certificate. He also announced that Belgium had given the official go-ahead for the first stage of the summer plan. From June 9, cinemas, theatres, gyms, indoor cafes and restaurants will reopen. In the meantime, people will also be allowed to physically go to work one day a week, even if it is not essential, but limited to 20% of the workforce.
- In Turkey President Erdogan announced last week the next stage for normalization which came into effect on June 1. Nighttime curfews will be in place throughout June during weekdays.
- Turkey and Greece agreed to mutually recognize each other’s COVID-19 vaccination certificates to permit travel between the countries, in a move to help tourism battered by the pandemic. The citizens of the two countries will be able to visit with either a vaccination certificate or proof of a negative PCR test.
- Amid criticism of the government’s handling of the coronavirus during one of the world’s deadliest outbreaks, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in a nationwide address that the federal government would play a bigger role procuring vaccines on behalf of states. To date, the process that had been mired in confusion because of disagreements between the central and state governments and a lack of vaccine supply. Less than 4 percent of the country’s 1.4 billion people have been fully vaccinated.
- India is now reporting an average of 100,000 new cases every day. That is lower than the average of 400,000 daily cases in May. However, India’s official numbers are believed to be vast undercounted, especially as the virus is spreading to rural areas where testing and reporting is more limited.
- In addition to ramping up vaccines, the government is extending its assistance program for poor households beyond the months of May and June, Mr. Modi announced free distribution of food to over 800 million households every month until November.
- Mexico revealed that the death toll from COVID-19 is almost 60% higher than what was officially reported, bringing deaths to 321,000. With these figures, Mexico would surpass Brazil and become the country with one of the highest mortality rates.
- The federal health authorities authorized various drugs such as Rendesivir, Bamlanivimab and Baricitinib as treatment options against COVID-19 in Mexico.
- Scientists predict a rebound in the number of infections of COVID-19 after 90 million Mexicans participated in the midterm elections in the country.
- Experts believe that a possible third wave of COVID-19 could reach Brazil in June, which would be exacerbated by the slow pace of vaccinations, the discovery of new variants and the health system becoming overloaded.
- The vaccination balance shows that 48,977,254 people have already received the first dose a COVID-19 vaccine, representing 23.13% of the population. Only 10.83% of the country’s population have received the second dose.
- The National Health Surveillance Agency (Anvisa) awaits documents from the Butantan Institute, the Brazilian center for biological research, to evaluate the request to launch studies with humans for the development of the Brazilian vaccine Butanvac.
- Conmebol announced Brazil would be hosting Copa América almost three months after suspending the World Cup qualifier games in the country due to the pandemic. Even with the rising mortality rate, President Jair Bolsonaro agreed to host the tournament between June 13 and July 10, after Colombia and Argentina declined it. After the announcement, the players of the Brazilian national football team began to discuss a possible boycott. On June 7, despite some dissatisfactions, they decided to play the tournament.
- Virtual Programming: New virtual events from the Financial Times, Axios, The Washington Post and Fortune focus on a variety of topics, including the hybrid working model and the future of travel, live events and digital health passes as more people become vaccinated.
- Coachella & Stagecoach: The Coachella Valley Music Festival and Stagecoach Country Music Festival are returning in 2022 with new dates, after both were postponed for the third time due to COVID-19. Coachella is slated for April 15-17 and April 22-24, with Stagecoach taking place April 29-May 1.
- NFL Training Camp: The NFL is expecting to welcome fans back to training camp this summer. In a first for the league, there will be a unified start to training camp with 29 teams set to report on July 27, followed by fan events and league-wide practices on July 31. The NFL is still finalizing protocols related to fans’ proximity to players. For the regular season, 30 of 32 teams have approval to open stadiums at 100 percent capacity.
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