U.S. Booster Shots; G-20 Tackling Mental Health: Virus Update

(Bloomberg) —

The Biden administration is hopeful that booster shots will kick off in the U.S. in about two weeks, though it will need approval by regulators, White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain said.

The Group of 20 are set to pledge to do more to tackle the impact of the pandemic on mental health as ministers meet in Rome this weekend.

The U.K. is looking at requiring vaccine passports for entry to big venues by this month, though has yet to make a decision on jabs for healthy schoolchildren. Italy will decide by the end of the month whether vaccines will become mandatory.

Key Developments

  • Global Tracker: Cases pass 220.3 million; deaths exceed 4.5 million
  • Vaccine Tracker: More than 5.46 billion doses administered
  • Delta surge means this is as good as it gets for global growth
  • Coronavirus daily: The unvaccinated are a risk to all of us
  • They suffered through Covid, and still don’t want the vaccine
  • One vaccine makes more antibodies than another. Does it matter?
  • Battered by Covid, cities fight for survival

Delta Peaking in U.S. South, Medical Dean Says (9:57 a.m. NY)

The delta variant wave is showing signs of peaking in the U.S. south, where it has driven infections and hospitalizations to records, Ashish Jha, dean of the Brown University School of Public Health said. 

The spread in the Midwest won’t be as bad, largely because of higher vaccination rates and tools such as more testing, he said on “Fox News Sunday.” He also defended President Joe Biden’s drive to widely administer boosters, a plan that has been criticized for getting ahead of scientific evidence. 

“It is clear to me that this is probably going to end up being a three-shot vaccine package,” he said, adding that the evidence was stronger for older and more medically vulnerable people than for the young and healthy.

Biden Isn’t Rushing Boosters, Klain Says (9:30 a.m. NY)

President Joe Biden’s administration remains hopeful that booster shots will kick off in the U.S. in about two weeks, though it will need approval by regulators and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain said.

Klain pushed back against criticism that Biden is attempting to rush booster shots ahead of scientific evidence. Officials from the CDC and the Food and Drug Administration were involved in setting the week of Sept. 20 target date, he said on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday.

“We still are hopeful that at least one of the vaccinations could be available that date,” Klain said.

Israel to Restart Tourist Group Program (9:08 a.m. NY)

Israel will restart a pilot program on Sept. 19 allowing organized tourist groups of five to 30 people to visit the country. Tourists must have proof of a second Israel Health Ministry-recognized vaccination within the past six months, or have had their third vaccination, to qualify for entry.

They will also have to present a negative PCR test and will undergo a serological test at the airport upon landing. The Tourism Ministry said it hopes to allow individual tourists into Israel in the near future.

BOE Said to Drop Staff Return Policy (8:42 a.m.)

The Bank of England has reversed a policy that was scheduled to start in September encouraging staff to return to the office at least one day a week, a person familiar with the matter said.

The BOE has now told staff that there’s no longer an expectation to come in and that they can choose to return on a voluntary basis, the person said. That’s because of a recent surge in Covid-19 cases in the U.K. 

Germany’s Vaccine Contribution (8:30 a.m. NY)

Germany is seeking to provide 100 million vaccine doses to global inoculation efforts by the end of this year, DPA reported Sunday, citing Health Minister Jens Spahn.

“That’s as much as we’ve used in our country so far,” Spahn said on the sidelines of a G-20 meeting of health ministers in Rome.

Italy to Decide on Compulsory Vaccine (6:58 a.m NY)

Italy will decide by the end of September whether vaccines will become mandatory for all people aged 12 and over, Public Administration Minister Renato Brunetta said. A law will be passed if the country hasn’t reached a vaccination level between 80% and 90%, he said. At the moment, the level is about 71.5%, government data show.

Indonesia’s Cases at Three-Month Low (5:37 p.m. HK)

Indonesia reported 5,403 new cases though midday Sunday, the fewest in three months, despite falling behind on its daily vaccination target. The number of deaths fell to 392, the lowest since June 26.

Southeast Asia’s largest economy has targeted delivering 2.3 million vaccine doses per day in September, but only administered less than a third of that on Sunday.

G-20 to Do More to Tackle Mental Health (5:35 p.m. HK)

The Group of 20 are set to pledge more action to tackle the fallout of Covid-19 on mental health, according to a draft statement seen by Bloomberg. Health ministers meeting in Rome this weekend will acknowledge the consequences from isolation to unemployment to food insecurity, and that the pandemic has exposed gaps in mental health systems.

The impact has disproportionately hit groups including women, older people, persons with disabilities, as well as the poorest and most vulnerable, the draft showed. Ministers will therefore pledge to increase access to services and to better integrate mental health into their broader health care systems.

Pfizer Vaccine Safe for Cancer Patients: Israeli Study (5:09 p.m. HK)

An Israeli study among 330 actively treated cancer patients found that 88% developed antibodies after two doses of Pfizer’s vaccine, compared with 97% among a control group of healthy patients. The researchers measured the antibody response two months after the second inoculation.

The study at Tel-Aviv Sourasky Medical Center also found no significant side effects among cancer patients receiving active treatment. The proportion who didn’t develop adequate antibody responses was highest among those receiving chemotherapy as a single drug, compared with those treated with immunotherapy and targeted therapy as single drugs.

German Cases Now Exceed 4 Million (4:27 p.m. HK)

Germany has now recorded more than four million cases since the pandemic began, according to the RKI public health institute. Health officials registered more than 10,400 infections in the 24 hours to Sunday.

U.K. Looking at Vaccine Passports for Big Venues (4:26 p.m. HK)

The government is “looking at by the end of September” requiring vaccine certification for entry to large venues where infection risk may be higher, Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi said in an interview with Sky News. 

He also said the government hasn’t yet decided on whether to roll out vaccines to healthy 12- to 15-year-olds, but if the move does go ahead, then parental consent would be needed.

China Reports One Asymptomatic Patient in Guangdong (9:26 a.m. HK)

China’s National Health Commission reported one local asymptomatic patient in the southern province of Guangdong on Saturday. 

The country managed to quash an outbreak of the more infectious delta variant after aggressive curbs, with just a handful of local and asymptomatic cases cropping up in recent days.

Japan to Issue Online Vaccine Certs (08:16 a.m. HK)

The Japanese government will issue online Covid-19 vaccine certificates from December, Nikkei reported. 

The government plans for the application process and issuance to be conducted via mobile app, according to Nikkei, without citing where it got the information. The certificate will be in a form of a QR code, the report said. 

Local governments currently issue the proof of inoculation in print for those with upcoming overseas travel plans. Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has floated its use as a way to allow freer movement, saying the government will consider how to actively use vaccination certificates for reopening bars, restaurants, travel and events. 

Australia Aims to End State Border Closures by Christmas (7:40 a.m. HK)

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has doubled down on his plan to end pandemic lockdowns and state border closures by Christmas, even as rising cases increase the pressure on Sydney’s health-care system. 

“Everyone can make plans for a family Christmas,” Morrison said in an interview with Melbourne’s Herald Sun paper on Sunday. “Nobody wants Covid to be the virus that stole Christmas, and we have a plan and the vaccinations available to ensure that’s not the case.”

Brazil, Mexico Report More Cases, Deaths (6:11 a.m. HK)

Brazil reported 21,804 cases in the last 24 hours, according to Health Ministry data. The country’s coronavirus death toll rose by 692 to 583,362. 

Mexico reported 15,586 new Covid-19 cases Saturday, bringing the total to 3,420,880, according to the Health Ministry. Deaths increased by 647 to 262,868.

Alabama School Cases Double (5:43 p.m. NY)

Alabama reported almost 9,200 cases over the last week among students and staff, up from about 4,330 the week before, state data released on Friday show. Among the counties reporting the most infections were Jefferson, the state’s most populous, and Mobile, in the southwest, the data show. 

The spike comes as Alabama hits record cases — 33,000 in the week that ended on Friday — and schools are reopening. Despite the lack of state mask mandate, most school districts require masking.  

On Friday, with hospitals overwhelmed, Governor Kay Ivey said she designated $12.3 million in federal coronavirus relief funds to attract traveling nurses.

Brazil Bars Coronavac Shots from Unapproved Plant (4:54 p.m. NY)

Brazil’s health regulator Anvisa prohibited the distribution and use of Coronavac vaccines batches bottled by the manufacturer Sinovac in a plant not inspected and not approved by the agency, according to a statement. 

The measure was taken to mitigate a possible health risk, the agency said.

Anvisa was informed by Butantan Institute that Sinovac sent 25 batches to Brazil totaling 12.1 million doses. Another 17 batches with 9 million doses were also bottled in a place not inspected by Anvisa and are in the process of being sent and released to Brazil.

More stories like this are available on bloomberg.com

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

Close Bitnami banner