Delta Plus variant cannot be tackled with vaccines alone, need safety measures like face masks: WHO

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Firstpost 27 June, 2021 - 05:32am 75 views

"Vaccination plus masks, because just a vaccine is not enough with 'Delta Plus'. We need to make an effort over a short period of time, otherwise there would be a lockdown," Vujnovic said on the Soloviev Live YouTube show.

She explained that vaccination is essential because it lowers the probability of spreading the virus and lowers the risks of severe disease. However, "additional measures" will probably be required as well, Vujnovic warned.

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L.A. County sees slight rise in coronavirus cases, delta variant concerns public health officials

San Francisco Chronicle 27 June, 2021 - 01:02pm

Los Angeles County is recording small increases in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations, and public health officials said that nearly half of the county’s coronavirus variants sequenced for the week ending on June 12 were the highly infectious delta variant.

The Southern California county, which until recently had seen a “period of persistent declines in many metrics,” is also now beginning to see slight increases in coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and daily test positivity, county public health officials said Thursday.

Public health officials said these increases indicate that the coronavirus is still in the community, urging residents who are not vaccinated to continue wearing face coverings and socially distance from people outside of their households.

Transmission rates are “relatively low” in the county, but public officials said there are still pockets of unvaccinated residents, which allow for coronavirus variants to spread in the community. People who are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus “appear to be well protected” from infections from the delta variants, officials said, and those with only one dose of the two-shot vaccines are not as protected, public health officials said.

The delta variant — which is sharply rising in California — is highly transmissible compared with other variants, making it a cause for concern for public health officials in the county, officials said.

Delta variants made up nearly 48% of all variants sequenced in Los Angeles County in the week ending on June 12, public health officials said.

“About half of the people with a delta variant lived in a household with at least one other delta variant case,” county public health officials said Thursday.

County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer urged residents who are unvaccinated or immunocompromised to exercise caution during the Fourth of July holiday by staying socially distanced from others while indoors, and to wear face coverings while indoors or while gathering in crowded conditions with other unvaccinated residents outdoors.

Officials said that nearly all of the 12,234 people who died in Los Angeles County from COVID-19 from Dec. 7, 2020, through June 7 — 99.8% — were unvaccinated.

Lauren Hernández is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: lauren.hernandez@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @ByLHernandez

"Vaccination Plus Mask": WHO Official On Measures To Fight Delta Plus Strain

NDTV 27 June, 2021 - 01:02pm

Earlier this month, WHO included Delta variant in its list of variants of concern. (Representational)

Vaccination and safety measures such as wearing face masks are essential when it comes to fighting the Delta Plus coronavirus variant, World Health Organization (WHO) representative to Russia Melita Vujnovic said.

"Vaccination plus masks, because just a vaccine is not enough with 'Delta.' We need to make an effort over a short period of time, otherwise there would be a lockdown," Vujnovic said on the Soloviev Live YouTube show.

She explained that vaccination is essential because it lowers the probability of spreading the virus and lowers the risks of severe disease. However, "additional measures" will probably be required as well, Vujnovic warned.

Earlier in this month, the WHO included the Delta variant in its list of coronavirus variants of concern as the strain had become prevalent and has caused a resurgence of COVID-19 cases in some countries, including Russia. India has also reported multiple cases of the Delta Plus strain, which was first discovered in March.

Earlier this week, the first death associated with the Delta Plus variant was reported in Madhya Pradesh. The COVID-19 patient was not vaccinated.

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Delta Plus strain calls for urgent measures: WHO representative

The Siasat Daily 26 June, 2021 - 08:27pm

“Vaccination plus masks, because just a vaccine is not enough with ‘Delta.’ We need to make an effort over a short period of time, otherwise there would be a lockdown,” Vujnovic said on the Soloviev Live YouTube show.

She explained that vaccination is essential because it lowers the probability of spreading the virus and lowers the risks of severe disease. However, “additional measures” will probably be required as well, Vujnovic warned.

Earlier in this month, the WHO included the Delta variant in its list of coronavirus variants of concern as the strain had become prevalent and has caused a resurgence of COVID-19 cases in some countries, including Russia. India has also reported multiple cases of the Delta Plus strain, which was first discovered in March.

Earlier this week, the first death associated with the Delta Plus variant was reported in Madhya Pradesh. The COVID-19 patient was not vaccinated.

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Collision of the Delta variant and widespread vaccine hesitancy doesn't bode well for Texas

Houston Chronicle 26 June, 2021 - 10:00am

Summer is here, and so is the Delta variant

The latter, of course, is not a new dance move or craft cocktail but rather an iteration of the new coronavirus that could prevent us from enjoying such things.

The “variant of concern,” as the Centers for Disease Control describes it, was identified in Fort Bend County this week. Five residents, according to the county, are experiencing symptoms as a result.

And the identification of the Delta variant in Texas has epidemiologists on edge. This variant, which was first identified in India, appears to be far more transmissible than others that have been circulating in the state thus far. Missouri, for example, has seen a spike in severe COVID-19 cases in recent weeks — and the Delta variant is to blame. And a region’s vulnerability to this variant is directly related to vaccination rates — which are, in Texas, not great.

President Joe Biden in May set a goal of having 70 percent of Americans vaccinated by the Fourth of July. As it stands, it looks like the nation will narrowly miss that goal — and states such as Texas are partly to blame. As of Friday, state figures show, just 48.34 percent of Texans age 12 and older were fully vaccinated; 56.96 percent had received at least one dose of the vaccine.

First Lady Jill Biden will travel to Dallas and Houston in the coming days to help promote the cause. But how much impact will her efforts have, given the high level of vaccine hesitancy among self-identified Republicans?

“Right now, the biggest problem are young conservatives who have this element of defiance,” Dr. Peter Hotez told the Chronicle’s Gwendolyn Wu in an interview earlier this month. He added that significant inroads have been made with Black and Latino Texans, thanks to the efforts of leaders in those communities. Such efforts have not been replicated by Republican leaders.

A Quinnipiac poll released Thursday found 29 percent of Texas adults do not plan to receive a COVID vaccine, with a stark partisan divide underlying that overall number: 45 percent of Republican respondents said they had no plans to get vaccinated, compared to 30 percent of independents and 13 percent of Democrats.

In Fort Bend County, which is led by Judge KP George, a Democrat, 61 percent percent of residents age 12 and older were fully vaccinated, as of Friday. Among residents 65 and older, 85 percent are fully vaccinated and 95 percent had received at least one dose. In Montgomery County, where County Judge Mark Keough has chafed at COVID restrictions imposed by the state’s Republican governor, just 44 percent of residents over age 12 are fully vaccinated.

It would be facile to suggest that the disconnect between these densely populated suburban counties is entirely due to partisan alignment, but it does seem to be a factor. And it’s not as if Republican leaders are incapable of promoting vaccines; Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, for example, announced this week that 68 percent of those eligible have been fully vaccinated. He celebrated by calling for more vaccines.

On HoustonChronicle.com: Half of Texas Republicans say they won't get COVID-19 vaccine, new poll finds

The Texans with no plans to get vaccinated cite various reasons for that decision, which is theirs to make. Some are skeptical of vaccines in general, or the COVID-19 vaccines in particular, which are relatively new. Others consider themselves to have natural immunity to COVID-19 as a result of having contracted it at some point during the pandemic, or simply reckon that they could survive a bout with COVID-19, as most people do.

But the public health experts are heckling us with good reason. The COVID-19 death rate has declined, but nearly 300 Americans are still losing their lives to this virus each day — and most of the Americans dying, at this point, are unvaccinated, according to an Associated Press analysis .

“Nearly every death, especially among adults, due to COVID-19 is at this point entirely preventable,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said at a White House briefing this past week.

“Those who are vaccinated can have a great Fourth of July,” he continued. “I mean, you could just do all the things you want to do on the Fourth of July if, in fact, you’re vaccinated.”

In Texas, you can pretty much do whatever you want on the Fourth of July regardless. A business you choose to patronize might require that you wear a mask on its premises, but under a new law signed by Gov. Greg Abbott this month, its employees can’t ask too many nosy questions of any of you, even if their curiosity is motivated by concerns for their own safety.

“Texas is open 100%, and we want to make sure you have the freedom to go where you want without limits,” he said in signing a law that bans businesses from requiring proof of vaccines.

More than 51,000 Texans have died due to COVID-19 already, and this is not the message we need to hear, at this juncture, from our state’s leaders.

The failure to get more Texans vaccinated and achieve herd immunity, coupled with the arrival of a more transmissible variant of the virus, puts people at risk. State leaders should be focused on mitigating that risk, not delivering self-congratulatory speeches about Texas being open for business. Even better than enjoying our freedoms this year would be to enjoy them for many years to come, surrounded by friends and family.

The Texas governor rejected the animal rights bill that would have cracked down on the unlawful restraint of a dog.

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