India’s daily COVID-19 deaths near 4,000 as WHO flags concern
India reported a smaller rise in daily coronavirus infections on Saturday, but deaths stayed near the 4,000 mark, with the World Health Organisation warning that the second year of the pandemic could be worse than the first.
Reuters reported that over the past 24 hours, India had 326,098 new coronavirus infections for its lowest rise in nearly three weeks, taking the tally to 24.37 million, along with 3,890 deaths.
But the slow growth may reflect lower test rates, which are at their lowest since May 9.
In Geneva, the World Health Organization’s chief said the second year of the pandemic was set to be more deadly than the first, with India a huge concern, Reuters reported.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus’s remarks to an online meeting on Friday came after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi sounded the alarm over the rapid spread of the disease through the vast countryside.
During the past week, the south Asian nation has added about 1.7 million new cases and more than 20,000 deaths. Its death toll stands at 266,207, health ministry data shows.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said his country would accelerate its vaccination programme, to try to contain a fast-spreading Indian variant that could knock off-track the re-opening of Britain’s economy, Reuters reported.
Johnson’s comments came soon after India accepted a government panel’s recommendation for a longer gap of 12 to 16 weeks between the first and second dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine, from six to eight weeks now.
Cases have fallen steadily in states hit by an initial surge in infections, such as the richest state of Maharashtra and the northern state of Delhi, after they imposed stringent lockdowns.
But the eastern state of West Bengal, which held elections recently, experienced its biggest single-day spike, suggesting a fall in the overall caseload may take a while.
Infections in Modi’s western home state of Gujarat fell below 10,000 after four straight weeks but officials warned against any relaxation in curbs until they return to levels seen before the breakout of India’s second wave in mid-February, Reuters reported.
COVID-19 in Iran: Nearly 900 new cases, 24 deaths recorded
The Iranian health ministry announced on Sunday that more than 890 new cases of COVID-19 have been identified across the country during the past 24 hours, adding that 24 patients have died in the same period of time, Fars News Agency reported.
“A sum of 891 new patients infected with COVID-19 have been identified in the country based on confirmed diagnosis criteria during the past 24 hours,” the Iranian Health Ministry’s Public Relations Center said on Sunday, adding, “454 patients have been hospitalized during the same time span.”
The ministry’s public relations center said 611 people infected with COVID-19 are in critical condition.
China says 200 million treated, pandemic ‘decisively’ beaten
China says more than 200 million of its citizens have been diagnosed and treated for COVID-19 since it lifted strict containment measures beginning in November.
With 800,000 of the most critically ill patients having recovered, China has “decisively beaten” the pandemic, according to notes from a meeting of the ruling Communist Party’s all-powerful Politburo Standing Committee presided over by President and party leader Xi Jinping, AP reported.
China enforced some of the world’s most draconian lockdowns, quarantines and travel restrictions and still faces questions about the origins of the virus that was first detected in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in late 2019. Heavy-handed enforcement prompted rare anti-government protests and took a heavy toll on the world’s second-largest economy.
The official Xinhua News Agency quoted Xi as saying that policies to control the outbreak had been “entirely correct.” The abrupt lifting in November and December of the “zero COVID” policy that had sought to eliminate all cases of the virus led to a surge in infections that temporarily overwhelmed hospitals.
Case numbers have since peaked and life has largely returned to normal, although international travel in and out of China has yet to return to pre-pandemic levels.
China is now transitioning to a post-pandemic stage after a fight against the outbreak that was “extraordinary in the extreme,” Xinhua said.
The government will continue to “optimize and adjust prevention and control policies and measures according to the times and situations with a strong historical responsibility and strong strategic determination,” Xinhua said.
Study suggests people who had COVID-19 risk new-onset diabetes
A new Cedars-Sinai Medical Center suggests that people who have previously been infected with COVID-19 could stand an increased risk for new-onset diabetes.
The study’s results, conducted by researchers at the Smidt Heart Institute at Cedars-Sinai “have confirmed that people who have had COVID-19 have an increased risk for new-onset diabetes — the most significant contributor to cardiovascular disease.”
“Our results validate early findings revealing a risk of developing Type 2 diabetes after a COVID-19 infection and indicate that this risk has, unfortunately, persisted through the Omicron era,” said Dr. Alan Kwan, the author of the study and a cardiovascular physician at Cedars-Sinai.
“The research study helps us understand — and better prepare for — the post COVID-19 era of cardiovascular risk,” he said.
The study also suggests that the risk of Type 2 diabetes appears to be lower in those who had already been vaccinated against COVID-19 prior to their infection.
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