19 August 2021

• As high-income countries announce plans to administer third doses of coronavirus vaccines, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO Africa criticized these decisions, saying they “…make a mockery of vaccine equity” when the African continent is still struggling to get vaccine supplies.” She added that allowing at-risk groups to go unvaccinated in all countries “ …will result in needless deaths. We say this every week, and it cannot be repeated enough.”

Officially, there have been 7.3 million cases in Africa, where only two percent of the continent’s residents have been vaccinated. In addition to surges of coronavirus, countries are facing other health threats:  Ivory Coast confirmed its first case of Ebola in nearly three decades Guinea reported the first-ever case of Marburg virus in West Africa, and Uganda is facing a polio outbreak. Source 

Nature releases a review of published and unpublished studies on how the Delta variant spreads, noting that people do not develop symptoms until 1.8 days after testing positive – which leaves almost two days for asymptomatic people to transmit the virus. Researchers estimate that 74 percent of Delta infections are transmitted during the pre-symptomatic phase, and its R0 ( a measurement of the number of susceptible people who can be infected by one person) is 6.4, much higher than that of the original version of the virus, which is 2–4. Source

• Less than two percent of Afghanistan’s residents have received coronavirus vaccines, and WHO warns that the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan is hindering efforts to address the  coronavirus pandemic and other health crises there, such as polio. Source

• The Delta variant is driving a surge in cases that is overwhelming Cuba’s healthcare system, mortuaries and crematories. Source

• The US CDC has delayed a meeting of its Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices, which was originally scheduled to meet – and possibly make a recommendation about coronavirus vaccine boosters – from 24 August to 30 August. Source 

• The US has asked the United Nations to make the annual General Assembly meeting in New York next month mostly virtual to avoid “superspreader” risks from the highly contagious Delta variant. Source

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