EScAPE Newsletter, Issue #40

Reports that are of interest for the week

Science community divided on when to lift COVID-19 public health restrictions
Ontario, Canada has announced their plan to ease restrictions on the public at the end of March 2022, moving the virus from a pandemic to an endemic, like the flu. However, this is dependent on people getting vaccinated and the way the virus progresses over the next months.

India achieves 1 billion vaccinations against COVID-19, highlighting its dedication to science, health, and innovation
When the virus first appeared, India was the first to lock-down, start contact tracing, and create a government focused on fighting the spread. Then, with the contagious Delta variant, they struggled to keep the control they once had. Now, however, almost 75% of Indian people have received one dose of the vaccine, creating hope in the country and showing their trust in science.

People wonder if they should keep calm and carry on in the face of delta plus variant
This article gives insight into the delta-plus variant that has come forth in the UK. It is about 10% more transmissible than the original delta variant but because the variant already has high transmissibility, it isn’t much more contagious.

Coronavirus: Lessons learned to date - Sixth Report of the Health and Social Care Committee and Third Report of the Science and Technology Committee of Session 2021-22
The UK House of Commons has reported their lessons to date. This document includes information regarding the following: UK’s preparedness for the pandemic, the use of non-pharmaceutical interventions, the use of strategies like test, trace, and isolate, the pandemic impact on social care and specific communities, and finally the access to and rollout of vaccines.

Scientists urge UK to prep rapid return to COVID restrictions
In the past week, the UK has seen an average of 47,000 new cases of COVID-19 a day, and an average of 135 deaths per day. With the coming winter months, scientific advisors are asking that the government be ready to implement more restrictions. Prime Minister Boris Johnson will have some “Plan B” restrictions but won’t implement them until he feels they are necessary.

CDC advisory panel unanimously approved expanded COVID vaccine boosters
This article gives key information on both the CDC and the FDA’s decision on boosters for Moderna, Pfizer, and J&J, including the science behind their decisions.

Hong Kong adds COVID restrictions to be ‘more in line’ with China, despite no outbreaks
To allow for quarantine-free travel, Hong Kong plans on implementing stricter restrictions including contact tracing. Currently, those who travel from Hong Kong to the mainland must undergo 14 days of quarantine in government-approved hotels and then home quarantine for seven days. They are trying to prevent this from being a restriction for much longer.

A Proclamation of advancing the safe resumption of global travel during the COVID-19 pandemic
Rather than restricting travel from country to country, the US under President Biden is moving towards travel restrictions based on vaccination status.