29 July 2021

• The New York Times reports on new research that led the CDC to revise its indoor masking recommendation. Apparently, fully vaccinated people infected with the Delta variant have very high viral loads in their noses and throats, making them equally capable of transmitting the virus as unvaccinated people. Source 

• In the US, where only half of the population is fully vaccinated despite a surplus of available shots, the weekly average of coronavirus cases has increased by 53 percent, most of them caused by the Delta variant. Bloomberg reports that hospital beds are filling in conservative states with low vaccination rates just as “…in African, Asian and South American countries that can’t afford vaccines or don’t have access.” Source 

• Oxford University, in partnership with AstraZeneca, issues a press release announcing that one billion doses of its coronavirus vaccine have been released to over 170 countries from over 20 manufacturing sites. Source

• The European Union has administered more vaccines per 1000 residents than the US, and over 70 percent of EU residents have gotten a first dose. Source        

• The Biden administration announces that cities and states should pay people $100 to get vaccinated as concern grows about the spread of the Delta variant. Source 

• Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte announced that people who refuse to be vaccinated against COVID-19 should be detained in their homes, although such a law would be unconstitutional. He called his order “the law of necessity,” saying “They may say there is no law, but should I wait for a law knowing that many will die?”

The Philippines is home to Southeast Asia’s second-highest coronavirus caseload, and less than six percent of its 108 million residents have been fully vaccinated. Edre Olalia, secretary general of the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers in the Philippines, said, “There are actually many wanting to be vaccinated but are just waiting to be called by the government. The point is, is the vaccine rollout sufficient? Anecdotally, no.” Source

• As coronavirus cases soar in Thailand, where only 5 percent of the population is fully vaccinated, the country is turning a cargo warehouse at the Don Mueang International Airport in Bangkok into a 1,800-bed facility for people with asymptomatic or mild COVID-19, and is expected to open on 12 August. It is a joint effort by a private hospital, the government and volunteers. Dr. Rienthong Nanna, director and chairman of Mongkutwattana General Hospital said, “Patients in the community are like ticking time bombs, and we take them to the hospital to defuse the bombs, and the bombs won’t spread the virus more,” noting that patients who become seriously ill will be transferred to a field hospital. Source

• Federal regulators in the US have approved the re-opening of the Emergent Biosolutions plant in Baltimore after it ruined 75 million doses of the J & J coronavirus vaccine and delayed delivery of nearly 100 million more doses. The plant has been closed for over three months, but the FDA has not authorized J & J to distribute doses produced there. J & J is working towards FDA authorization, but until it is granted, regulators must conduct batch-by-batch clearance. Source 

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