EScAPE Newsletter, Issue #32

Reports that are of interest for the week

‘Anti-science’: China dismisses US report on COVID-19 origins
Origins of COVID-19 are still unknown which is causing conflict between the US and China. The US claims that China is not being fully transparent about their knowledge of the virus’s origins. China feels that the US is trying to place the blame of coronavirus on China. 

Unethical? Unnecessary? The COVID-19 vaccine booster debate intensifies
The vaccine boosters are being rolled out in many vaccine-rich countries. However, there is still much debate on whether these boosters are necessary and will help. There are also many unvaccinated people globally, putting them at high risk to conceive COVID-19 and have strong negative reactions. 

The police set up checkpoints outside New Zealand’s largest city
Police in New Zealand have established checkpoints outside of Auckland to make sure that people in Auckland are not traveling outside of the city unnecessarily to areas with less COVID-19 restrictions. 

Millions of kids have missed routine vaccines thanks to COVID-19
Children globally are not receiving the necessary routine vaccinations for diseases like DTP, measles, and many others. Around 27.2 million children are missing their shots. 

Hospital-acquired COVID-19 tends to be picked up from other patients, not from health care
The research done at Addenbrooke’s Hospital found that out of 22 cases where patients were infected in the hospital, 20 of them were infected from other patients. In most cases, it is one individual spreading the virus to other patients instead of multiple people. 

A nation’s healthcare system at ‘risk of collapse.” Afghan doctors and health minister describe the looming catastrophe
As the Taliban seizes Afghanistan, its healthcare system suffers. Most of the money funding the healthcare system comes from aid that has now been taken away. Also, many female healthcare workers are unable to leave their homes due to Taliban orders, leading to less staff. 

Dose sharing arrangement of COVID-19 vaccines between Singapore and Australia to support efforts to combat COVID-19
Singapore and Australia agreed to a dose sharing arrangement of COVID-19 vaccines so if one country needs help, the other can lend a hand. Singapore will provide around 500,000 doses of existing vaccine stock to Australia. 

Covid-19 boosters work at curbing severe cases, Israel data show
A study done in Israel found that when a person receives a third vaccine dose, there is “at least a 10-fold reduction in the risk of falling seriously ill”. However, there may be biases in the reporting of this research, so scientists globally are working to understand the benefits of a third vaccine dose.