Coronavirus Morning Review: President Warns Covid Will Stay For Sometime – As Some Rules Loosened



LATEST SCIENCE AND RESEARCH

READ | The latest news on a leading Covid vaccine candidate is promising, but how optimistic should we be?

Pharmacist Pfizer said on Monday that data from their Phase 3 Covid-19 experimental vaccine, BNT162b2, shows it to be 90% effective at preventing infections in volunteers.

The company and its associate, BioNTech, stated that no serious safety concerns had been found during their large-scale global clinical trials, and they expected to seek US authorization for emergency use of the vaccine this month.

The data released was based on global data, including the trial site in South Africa, a Pfizer spokesperson told Health24.

“We are delighted to share that the trial in South Africa is progressing as planned as we have already recruited participants from four locations in Gauteng, Limpopo and the Western Cape,” the company said.

While there are still some unanswered questions, such as how long the vaccine will provide protection, international scientists have welcomed the news by saying it is “an excellent outcome for a first-generation vaccine.”

Health24 asked two local experts, Professor Wolfgang Preiser, head of the department of medical virology at the University of Stellenbosch, and Professor Thomas Scriba, deputy director of immunology and laboratory director at the South African Tuberculosis Vaccine Initiative, University of Cape Town, if this was finally a light at the end of the tunnel of the Covid-19 pandemic.

READ | Covid-19: No deal yet to access ‘90% effective ‘vaccine tested in South Africa

Dr. Essak Mitha, the head of the South African arm of a major clinical trial of Covid-19 vaccines, is “proud” for the share of the teams in the study that showed that the vaccine candidate accounted for more than 90% is effective according to early findings published in a media statement this week.

“This is a huge development. It is very exciting and the intermediate results are very promising. It gives me a lot of hope as it could pave the way for a vaccine to be developed before the end of the year, ”said Mitha, clinical trial specialist and owner of Newtown Clinical Research in Johannesburg.

Pfizer and BioNTech, a German company, announced this week that their vaccine candidate was successful in preventing symptomatic Covid-19 disease in the first interim analysis of the phase 3 study that includes 44,000 people from different countries.

While the news was largely well received and global equity markets boomed after the announcement, there was some caution and criticism. There is consensus that more data is needed and some commentators have said that announcing the companies through a press release (and not peer publication) is not good scientific practice nor does it help to build public confidence in vaccines .

Pfizer and BioNtech have said they will have 500 million doses of the vaccine available by the end of December and 1.3 billion doses by 2021. Several countries have already concluded agreements with manufacturers for access to the vaccine.

South Africa has not yet received a single dose of candidate vaccines from Pfizer or any other manufacturer.

CORONAVIRUS FALLEN LAST

Update SA Cases:

The latest number of confirmed cases is 742 394.

According to the latest update, 20,011 deaths have been recorded in the country.

There are 686 458 recoveries.

5 037 782 tests have been carried out so far, with 27 432 new tests.

Global update of cases:

Follow this interactive map from Johns Hopkins University & Medicine for the latest global data.

Early Thursday morning there were 5,185,776 positive cases worldwide, while there were 1,278,086 deaths.

The United States had the most cases in the world – 10339570, and the most deaths – over 240,000.

WHAT HAPPENS IN SA

Latest news:

READ | No more red travel list and more drink sales: what you need to know about Ramaphosa’s speech

South Africa will see a relaxation of at least two lockdown rules from Alert Level 1, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced Wednesday – after officials privately suggested that tougher rules may be at stake.

Ramaphosa expressed the government’s concern about the rapid spread of the coronavirus in the Eastern Cape, also calling the upcoming holiday season a concern, with a strong call for South Africans to wear masks and take other common sense measures that have long been were advised to help fight the pandemic. .

But the announcement of a promising vaccine candidate had changed the government’s perspective, he also said.

“As South Africans, we hope we have weathered the worst storm,” he said, after noticing the spiral Covid-19 numbers in other parts of the world and warning of “coronavirus fatigue.”

READ | “Covid-19 will stay with us for a while” – Ramaphosa tells the nation

President Cyril Ramaphosa warned the nation on Wednesday that while the country has endured a lot, the Covid-19 pandemic is far from over.

Civilians, he said, must remain careful.

“What we see brings out a difficult truth – Covid-19 is far from over. It’s still here and it will stay with us for a while,” he said in a speech to the country on Wednesday.

The president provided an update on South Africa’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Ramaphosa said the country had weathered its worst storm.

SA now sees a relatively stable number of new infections and a decreasing number of deaths and people requiring hospitalization.

“We owe this to the decisive measures we took at the start of the pandemic and to the contribution that every South African has made in the fight against this virus.” We also owe this to the front-line workers, who have selflessly and courageously deployed our medical care. facilities, that communities have entered to screen and test, that have maintained peace and stability, and that have made essential services work, “he added.

READ | Covid-19 relief measures will have to be ended – Ramaphosa

The Covid-19 UIF Temporary Employer / Employee Scheme, which has disbursed nearly R53 billion to more than 4.7 million employees, will eventually have to end, President Cyril Ramaphosa said.

The president addressed the nation on Wednesday about developments regarding the response to Covid-19. The National State of Disaster has been extended for another month to.

“As the economy begins to recover, many of the measures in the aid package are steadily being phased out. We are trying – with our limited resources – to make sure this is a gradual transition,” said Ramaphosa.

He said the government recognizes that some industries are still unable to function fully – and that it will be some time before many jobs return. Therefore, the government extended the Special Covid-19 grant for an additional three months, until January 2021. The special grant supports approximately six million people.

The government had also extended the TERS relief by one month until October 15, 2020.

“These relief measures were necessary to protect those most vulnerable in a time of dire need, but they will have to come to an end,” he said.

WHAT HAPPENS IN THE REST OF THE WORLD

Latest news:

READ | Pfizer’s Covid vaccine requires 2 injections, 3 weeks apart, which can make distribution difficult

Pfizer’s coronavirus candidate vaccine is now at the forefront, and an emergency permit from the Food and Drug Administration is expected within weeks.

On Monday, the pharmaceutical giant and its German partner BioNTech announced that their vaccine is more than 90% effective, based on 94 cases of the disease observed in an interim study.

However, Pfizer’s vaccine requires two doses to achieve that high effectiveness. The two injections are given three weeks apart.

In July, Pfizer said its researchers had observed the highest levels of virus neutralizing antibodies a week after the participants’ second dose.

Many other vaccines also require back-to-back doses to be most effective, including the one that protects against measles, mumps, and rubella.

Other candidates for coronavirus vaccines still in trials also involve double shots: participants in the Moderna clinical trial will receive two shots four weeks apart, and AstraZeneca’s ongoing study is testing the results of both a single dose of vaccine and two shots one month apart.

But a two-dose vaccine poses challenges in the supply chain and the possibility that not everyone will return to a doctor’s office for the crucial second dose.

HEALTH TIPS (as recommended by the NICD and WHO)

• Maintain physical distance – stay at least three feet away from anyone who is coughing or sneezing

• Practice washing hands regularly, especially after direct contact with sick people or their environment

• Do not touch your eyes, nose and mouth as your hands will touch many surfaces and may transmit the virus

• Practice respiratory hygiene – cover your mouth with your bent elbow or tissue when coughing or sneezing. Remember to throw away the tissue immediately after use.

Image credit: Getty Images


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