23 April 2021

• As India’s record-breaking coronavirus surge continues, the country’s Supreme Court orders Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government Modi to come up with a national oxygen distribution plan. Source

• In Maharashtra, the epicenter of India’s coronavirus epidemic a faulty air-conditioning unit caused a hospital fire, killing at least 13 COVID-19 patients – the second hospital-related disaster in just two days. Source

• In Brazil,  the amount of people who have gone hungry over the last year has doubled since 2018, reaching 19 million and 117 million people – who make up over half of the population – have faced food insecurity in 2020. According to Thomas Conti, a lecturer at the Insper business school, “The Brazilian real was the most devalued currency among all developing countries .We are at an alarming level of unemployment, there is no predictability to the future of the country, budget rules are being violated, and inflation grows nonstop.” Source

• The US FDA announces that it has ended the pause in administering the J & J coronavirus vaccine, and that it will add a warning about the potential risk of rare blood clots to the product labeling, noting an extremely low risk of developing the clotting disorder. The highest risk was found among Women between ages 30 and 39, with 11.8 cases per million among vaccine recipients, and been 7 cases per million doses among women between 18 and 49. Source

• A pre-print report on the B.1.526 coronavirus variant, identified in New York, describes mutations in the spike protein likely to make the variant resistant to neutralization in vaccinated people – and more transmissible. Source

• Doses of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine made at the now closed Emergent Biosolutions plant in Baltimore – which is under investigation by FDA inspectors- have been shipped from the US to Mexico and Canada; it is not clear whether regulatory authorities from these countries were warned about the troubled plant where they were produced, or if they were able to inspect it.  Emergent had already discarded up to three million doses of its AstraZeneca vaccine due to contamination. Source

• A US CDC study  of 3,171 members of the Kaiser Permanente Georgia integrated health care system reported that although most adults who test positive for the coronavirus did not need to be hospitalized, two-thirds of those who sought healthcare 28–180 days later received a new primary diagnosis (commonly cough, shortness of breath, heart rate abnormalities, chest or throat pain, and fatigue.) People who had one or more healthcare visits were more likely to be over age 65 years, female, non-Hispanic Black \ and have three or more underlying health conditions. Source

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