Connect with us

COVID-19

COVID disruptions led to 63,000 more malaria deaths: WHO

Published

 on

(Last Updated On: December 9, 2022)

The coronavirus pandemic interrupted efforts to control malaria, resulting in 63,000 additional deaths and 13 million more infections globally over two years, according to a report from the World Health Organization published Thursday.

Cases of the parasitic disease went up in 2020 and continued to climb in 2021, though at a slower pace, the U.N. health agency said Thursday. About 95% of the world’s 247 million malaria infections and 619,000 deaths last year were in Africa.

“We were off track before the pandemic and the pandemic has now made things worse,” said Abdisalan Noor, a senior official in WHO’s malaria department.

Alister Craig, dean of biological sciences at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, noted that progress in reducing malaria deaths had stalled even before COVID-19.

“It is almost as if we have reached a limit of effectiveness for the tools we have now,” said Lister, who was not linked to the WHO report.

Noor said he expected the wider rollout of the world’s first authorized malaria vaccine next year to have a “considerable impact” on reducing the number of severe illnesses and deaths if enough children get immunized, adding that more than 20 countries have applied to vaccines alliance Gavi for help in securing the shot. Still, the vaccine is only about 30% effective and requires four doses.

Bed nets can protect people from being bitten by the mosquitoes that spread malaria. The WHO report found that about three-quarters of nets provided by donors have been distributed, but there are major gaps in some of the worst-hit countries. Authorities in Nigeria, for example, gave out just over half their nets, while Congo distributed about 42% of theirs.

Officials also raised concerns about a new invasive mosquito species that thrives in cities, is resistant to many pesticides and which could undo years of progress against malaria. The invasive species has not yet significantly contributed to the continent’s overall malaria burden, but the insects are likely responsible for a recent spike in parts of the horn of Africa, Noor said.

David Schellenberg, a professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said there were promising new tools and strategies to tackle malaria, but that “the elephant in the room is the level of funding.” WHO estimated the total investment into malaria — about $3.5 billion — was less than half of what was needed to dramatically reduce its impact.

COVID-19

Washington state Gov. Inslee tests positive for COVID-19

Published

on

(Last Updated On: February 2, 2023)

Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee has tested positive for COVID-19 for the second time.

Inslee’s office said in a statement Wednesday that he had tested positive and was experiencing very mild symptoms including a cough. He is consulting with his doctor about whether to receive Paxlovid antiviral treatments, according to the statement.

He plans to continue working. Trudi Inslee, the first spouse, has tested negative.

Inslee, who throughout the pandemic pushed for mitigation measures including indoor mask-wearing and restrictions on large public gatherings, is fully vaccinated and had booster shots in October 2021 and March 2022 and September 2022, according to his office.

“Once again I am very appreciative to be vaccinated and boosted,” Inslee said in the statement. “This is a scientific gift that has given us the capacity to prevent hospitalizations or worse. I encourage folks who haven’t received their booster to talk with their doctor and avail themselves of this protective, life-saving measure.”

Only 15% of Americans have received the recommended, updated booster that has been offered since last fall.

The governor also tested positive for COVID last May.

President Joe Biden told Congress this week that he will end the national emergencies for addressing COVID-19 on May 11.

Inslee ended the state of emergency in Washington at the end of October.

More than 1.1 million people in the country have died from COVID-19 since 2020, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, including about 3,700 last week. More than 15,000 people in Washington have died from the virus.

Continue Reading

COVID-19

COVID-19 is a leading cause of death among children, but is still rare

Published

on

(Last Updated On: January 31, 2023)

COVID-19 was the eighth leading cause of death among children in recent months, according to a study published Monday.

In a year-long period from August 2021 to July 2022, 821 children ages 0 to 19 died from COVID-19 at a rate of 1 per 100,000. Children’s deaths of any kind are rare, researchers noted.

COVID-19 ranked fifth in non-disease-related deaths and first in infectious or respiratory illness deaths, overtaking the flu and pneumonia, NPR reported.

Before the pandemic, in 2019, the leading causes of death among children were perinatal conditions, unintentional injuries, birth defects, assault, suicide, cancerous tumors, heart disease and influenza and pneumonia.

The time period researchers analyzed coincided with the rise of Delta and Omicron COVID-19 cases. They found that studying other 12-month periods during the pandemic did not change the results.

Researchers noted their results were limited by the underreporting of COVID-19 cases, and the exclusion of deaths where COVID-19 could have been a contributing or amplifying factor in tandem with other conditions, such as influenza, NPR reported.

Continue Reading

COVID-19

WHO: COVID still an emergency but nearing ‘inflection’ point

Published

on

(Last Updated On: January 30, 2023)

The coronavirus remains a global health emergency, the World Health Organization chief said Monday, after a key advisory panel found the pandemic may be nearing an “inflexion point” where higher levels of immunity can lower virus-related deaths, AP reported.

Speaking at the opening of WHO’s annual executive board meeting, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said “there is no doubt that we’re in a far better situation now” than a year ago — when the highly transmissible Omicron variant was at its peak.

But Tedros warned that in the last eight weeks, at least 170,000 people have died around the world in connection with the coronavirus. He called for at-risk groups to be fully vaccinated, an increase in testing and early use of antivirals, an expansion of lab networks, and a fight against “misinformation” about the pandemic.

“We remain hopeful that in the coming year, the world will transition to a new phase in which we reduce hospitalizations and deaths to the lowest possible level,” he said.

Tedros’ comments came moments after WHO released findings of its emergency committee on the pandemic which reported that some 13.1 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered — with nearly 90% of health workers and more than four in five people over 60 years of age having completed the first series of jabs.

“The committee acknowledged that the COVID-19 pandemic may be approaching an inflexion point,” WHO said in a statement. Higher levels of immunity worldwide through vaccination or infection “may limit the impact” of the virus that causes COVID-19 on “morbidity and mortality,” the committee said.

“(B)ut there is little doubt that this virus will remain a permanently established pathogen in humans and animals for the foreseeable future,” it said. While Omicron versions are easily spread, “there has been a decoupling between infection and severe disease” compared to that of earlier variants.

Committee members cited “pandemic fatigue” and the increasing public perception that COVID-19 isn’t as much of a risk as it once was, leading to people to increasingly ignore or disregard health measures like mask-wearing and social distancing.

Continue Reading

Trending

Copyright © 2022 Ariana News. All rights reserved!