A brief glimpse at international news stories today relating to COVID-19

A brief glimpse at international news stories today relating to COVID-19

Posted by : Frank Short Posted on : 23-Feb-2022

23 February 2022

GENEVA (AP) — The number of new coronavirus cases around the world fell 21% in the last week, marking the third consecutive week that COVID-19 cases have dropped, the World Health Organization said Tuesday.

In the U.N. health agency’s weekly pandemic report, WHO said there were more than 12 million new coronavirus infections last week. The number of new COVID-19 deaths fell 8% to about 67,000 worldwide, the first time that weekly deaths have fallen since early January.

The Western Pacific was the only region that saw an increase in COVID-19 cases, with a 29% jump, while the number of infections elsewhere dropped significantly. The number of new deaths also rose in the Western Pacific and Africa while falling everywhere else. The highest number of new COVID-19 cases were seen in Russia, Germany, Brazil, the U.S. and South Korea.

WHO said omicron remains the overwhelmingly dominant variant worldwide, accounting for more than 99% of sequences shared with the world’s biggest virus database. It said delta was the only other variant of significance, which comprised fewer than 1% of shared sequences.

WHO also reported that available vaccine evidence shows that “booster vaccination substantially improves (vaccine effectiveness),” against the omicron variant, but said more details are still needed on how long such protection lasts.

The agency had previously said there was no proof that boosters were necessary for healthy people and pleaded with rich countries not to offer third doses to their people before sharing them with poorer countries.

Health officials have noted that omicron causes milder disease than previous COVID-19 variants and in countries with high vaccination rates, omicron has spread widely but COVID-19 hospitalization and death rates have not increased substantially.

Scientists, however, warn that it's still possible that more transmissible and deadly variants of COVID-19 could still emerge if the virus is allowed to spread uncontrolled.

WHO's Europe chief Dr. Hans Kluge says the region is now entering a “plausible endgame” for the virus and said there is now a “singular opportunity” for authorities to end the acute phase of the pandemic.

This week, Britain announced it would scrap all remaining COVID-19 restrictions, including the requirement for people with the illness to self-isolate, even as Prime Minister Boris Johnson acknowledged there could be future deadly variants of the virus. Earlier this month, Sweden abandoned wide-scale testing for COVID-19 even in people with symptoms, saying that testing costs and the expense of its pandemic restrictions were “no longer justifiable.”

Hong Kong's leader, meanwhile, announced Tuesday that the city will test its entire population of 7.5 million people for COVID-19 three times in March as it grapples with its worst outbreak yet, driven by the highly contagious omicron variant.

Sources – Associated Press and Yahoo USA.

You may be at risk of becoming severely ill from Covid-19 if you have these underlying medical conditions

By Shannon Dawson

On Feb. 15, the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention updated its list of underlying medical conditions for individuals who are at risk of becoming severely ill from COVID-19. The agency urged people who are more likely to become sick with COVID-19 to take proper preventative measures, such as getting vaccinated or receiving a booster shot to support immunity, but it’s important to consult with a healthcare professional before doing so.

Additionally, some immunocompromised people, or individuals with weakened immune systems, may be eligible for a COVID-19 additional primary shot, the website noted. So, who is considered high risk for COVID-19?


Having cancer can make you more likely to get very sick from COVID-19. Some cancer treatments can weaken your body’s ability to fight off disease.

Chronic Kidney Disease

Having chronic kidney disease at any stage can be exacerbated by COVID-19. Kidney diseases prevent your blood from filtering toxins properly which can cause long-term damage. People who are at risk of developing kidney disease are individuals with diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and a family history of kidney failure.

Chronic Liver Disease

Having a chronic liver disease can make you more likely to get very sick from COVID-19. Chronic liver disease can include alcohol-related liver disease, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, autoimmune hepatitis, and cirrhosis (or scarring of the liver).

Chronic Lung Diseases

Having a chronic lung disease like asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), or bronchopulmonary dysplasia can make you severely ill if infected with COVID-19. The CDC also includes:

· Bronchiectasis (thickening of the lungs’ airways)

· Having damaged or scarred lung tissue known as interstitial lung disease (including idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis)

· Pulmonary embolism (blood clot in the lungs)

· Pulmonary hypertension (high blood pressure in the lungs)

Dementia And Neurological Conditions

Neurological conditions such as dementia, epilepsy, cerebral palsy, and autism can make you more likely to get very sick from COVID-19.

Heart Conditions

Having heart conditions such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, cardiomyopathies, and possibly high blood pressure (hypertension).

Mental Health Conditions

Mood disorders, including depression, and schizophrenia spectrum disorders may heighten your risk of COVID-19 illness.

The news comes as the average daily number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to decline around the U.S. According to data released by John Hopkins University, as of Feb. 19, cases exceeded “100,000, a sharp downturn from around 800,850” compared to just “five weeks ago on Jan. 16,” ABC News noted.

COVID-19 hospitalizations saw a slow decline with the national seven-day average hovering at 80,185 during the week of Feb. 13. Back in late January, the average number of weekly cases across the U.S was 146,534, according to the CDC COVID data tracker.

Sources: ljubaphoto and Yahoo USA

Yours sincerely

Frank Short


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