Latest Covid Surge – The New York Times
Even as COVID-19 cases and deaths in the United States continue to decline, there are some worrying developments around the world. Today, I’ll walk through them—and explain their implications for America.
After fighting Covid for more than two years, Hong Kong has become the worst place in the world. The main problem, as in many other places, is vaccine skepticism.
Leading up to the current outbreak, nearly 40 percent of Hong Kong’s population had not been vaccinated, and more than half of the people aged over 70 – those most vulnerable to severe COVID-19 – were not vaccinated.
Why? Many Hong Kong residents do not trust the government, given the increasing repression by China. Others are suspicious of Western medicine or influenced by misinformation, as my colleagues Alexandra Stevenson and Austin Ramzy have pointed out. “I worry that the side effects of vaccination will kill me,” Lam Suk-ha, who is 80, told The Times last month. “Unless I have a choice, I won’t get vaccinated.”
Until recently, Hong Kong – like mainland China – had been largely successful in keeping the virus out, meaning that vaccine skepticism did not bring great costs. But the Omicron version is so infectious that it influenced Hong Kong’s “zero-Covid” strategy.
Compounding the problem, many residents have received Sinovac, a Chinese-made vaccine that is less effective than vaccines designed in the US and Europe – by Moderna, Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca. Although the Pfizer vaccine is available in Hong Kong, many residents wrongly fear it has dangerous side effects. Sinovac still provides meaningful protection against serious disease, but not as much as Western vaccines.
The death toll in Hong Kong has soared this month, surpassing 25 per 100,000 residents in the past week. This is not as high as New York’s peak death rate in the spring of 2020, but it is higher than any other country today. And Hong Kong’s rate will probably continue to rise, as the number of new cases didn’t begin to drop until about a week ago; The death trend generally lags the case trend by about three weeks.
John Byrne-Murdoch of The Financial Times wrote yesterday, “I’m not sure people appreciate how bad the COVID situation in Hong Kong is, nor what could be just around the corner.” “What is driving this? Vaccines. Or more specifically: Elderly vaccination rates.”
Many elderly residents of mainland China have also not been vaccinated, and may also be on the verge of an increase in COVID deaths. Yesterday, the outbreak closed several theaters and restaurants in Shanghai, while several large factories – including a major maker of iPhones – suspended production. Shutdowns could cause ripples in the global economy, leading to commodity shortages and increasing inflation.
Kovid is also spreading rapidly in New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and many other Pacific countries, which previously kept caseloads low. The mortality rate in those countries is much lower than in Hong Kong due to high vaccination rates. (You can view data for any country.)
… and Europe
Europe has often been weeks ahead of the US with COVID trends – and cases are now rising in the UK, Germany, Italy and some other parts of Europe. The main reason appears to be an even more infectious version of Omicron, known as Ba.2.
The spread of BA.2 has started in America as well. It accounted for about 12 percent of newly diagnosed cases last week, according to the CDC. The variant may also be the reason why the amount of COVID virus found in wastewater is increasing in the nearly one-third of US cities that track such data. Wastewater samples are a leading indicator of the number of cases.
BA.2 Its lowest level since. , before the delta surge.
The magnitude of any BA.2 increase may be limited by the fact that about 45 percent of Americans have already contracted Omicron. “It must be highly protective,” Andy Slavitt, a former adviser to the Biden administration, wrote yesterday. On the other hand, a 45 percent infection rate means that most Americans do not contract Omicron, making many of them susceptible to BA.2.
Even if the cases rise, as is likely, there is no good reason to panic. Vaccination turns covid into a mild disease, especially for those who have received a booster. For non-vaccinated and unvaccinated people, there’s another reason to get a BA.2 shot.
It’s also a reason for the federal government and states to expand access to both EvuShield — a drug that can help protect the immunocompromised — and Paxlovid — post-treatment treatment of an infection. It is often difficult to find either one today. (If you’re looking for one of those, click on this link for Awshield and this link for PaxLovid.)
Bottom-line: COVID is not going away, but vaccinations and other treatments can keep future growth manageable. The biggest problem is the millions of people who are denied vaccinations, many of them by choice. This is the case in the US, in Hong Kong, and in Europe, Africa and the rest of the world.
Motivating more people to take shots – through persuasion or mandate – will probably save more lives than any other COVID policy.
state of war
a union for movement
From Steven Spielberg’s “West Side Story” to TikTok dances that propel songs up the Billboard charts, choreographers help the entertainment industry earn millions. But in film, television and music videos, there is little standardization of how the people who create the dance are paid or credited.
About a year ago, more than 100 entertainment-industry choreographers began forming the Choreographers Guild, which is now in the process of becoming an official labor union, Margaret Führer writes in The Times. For years, there have been choreographer anomalies in Hollywood, where many jobs are unionized.
Creative director and choreographer Kyle Hanagami said, “Hearing stories about these prominent choreographers I’ve seen their work re-used in commercials and re-used in competition shows and on Broadway They are being reused, it was appalling.” , said.
Vincent Patterson, who composed dances for Michael Jackson and Madonna in the 80s and 90s, said he felt optimistic about unionization efforts due to the current ubiquity of dance in popular culture. “Can you imagine if Dalí was not allowed to sign his paintings?” Patterson asked.
play, watch, eat
what to cook
Yesterday’s spelling was Bee’s pangram To bet And debit, Introducing today’s puzzle — or you can play online.
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