The post prompted White House officials to quickly clarify that Biden’s comments did not imply a change in strategy: The US government still designates Covid-19 a public health emergency, although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of the United States relaxed its guidelines last month. to allow people to return to most forms of normalcy.
But older people, people with compromised immune systems, people with certain disabilities or underlying health conditions remain at higher risk of serious illness and may still need to take more precautions.
Biden’s remarks have already received political backlash. They come just two weeks after his administration launched a campaign urging Americans to get vaccinated and renew their efforts to convince Congress to spend an additional $22.4 billion on Covid mitigation efforts. However, Republican leaders told CNN they would be less willing to provide funding for a pandemic that is now “over.”
While some interpreted Biden’s comments as a cynical intervention ahead of the upcoming US midterm elections, it follows a pattern of other upbeat comments from world health leaders. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization, hinted last week that the end of the pandemic “is in sight”, noting that the number of weekly deaths reported was the lowest since March 2020.” We have never been in a better position to end the pandemic,” he said.
But what does “ending the pandemic” mean? Pandemics aren’t like sports matches – they don’t start and end with a referee’s whistle. The WHO, however, has a formal way of determining the start and end of a pandemic: an 18-member expert committee makes the decision, as it has done before for influenza, polio and other diseases. . Still, it’s easier to tell when a pandemic begins than when it ends, according to Caroline Buckee, an infectious disease epidemiologist at the Harvard School of Public Health. “There will be no scientific threshold. There will be opinion-based consensus,” Buckee told the online journal Science.
Meanwhile, China continues to pursue its zero Covid strategy, a policy that again came under scrutiny this week, after a bus carrying residents to a Covid quarantine facility crashed. Sunday, killing at least 27 people. Authorities said the bus was carrying 47 people from Guiyang, the capital of Guizhou province, to a remote county more than 240 km away. He rolled over on a mountainous stretch of highway around 2:40 a.m.
Shortly after, a photo widely circulated on social media showed the bus driving at night, the driver wearing a full body suit with only his eyes uncovered. Another photo showed the crushed truck being sprayed with disinfectant by a worker in a hazmat suit. According to government data, only two people have died from the virus in the province since the start of the pandemic, raising new questions about China’s intransigent policy.
And while China and the United States continue to take starkly different approaches to the pandemic, a report by the Lancet Covid-19 Commission has condemned the global response to the disease, calling the death toll – which, according to WHO, is over 6.4 million – “both a profound tragedy and a massive global failure on many levels.” They cited poor government preparedness, poor global collaboration and the influence of misinformation on citizens who resisted public health precautions.
IN OTHER NEWS
• A recent study of more than 6 million people aged 65 and over found that people with Covid-19 had a significantly higher risk of being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease within a year of contracting the disease. virus. The study does not prove that Covid is a cause of Alzheimer’s disease, but it does expand on previous research that links Covid infection and cognitive function.
• Former first lady Melania Trump was ‘shaken by the coronavirus and convinced that Trump was screwing up’, according to a forthcoming book. Trump recalled telling her husband, “You’re ruining this,” as she tried to convince him to take the pandemic more seriously. “It’s serious. It’s going to be really bad,” she said, according to the book by New York Times chief White House correspondent Peter Baker and New Yorker writer and analyst. CNN Global Affairs, Susan Glasser. “You worry too much,” she recalled, telling the president, who dismissed her concerns and said, “Forget it.”
YOU ASKED. WE ANSWERED.
Q: Is there a link between Covid and mental health?
A: According to a recent study, you may have an up to 50% higher risk of developing long Covid if you have common psychiatric conditions.
People who identified as suffering from anxiety, depression or loneliness, or who felt extremely stressed, were more likely to have a long Covid life, according to the study, published this month in the medical journal JAMA Psychiatry.
Symptoms of long Covid can include breathing problems, brain fog, chronic cough, overwhelming fatigue, changes in taste and smell, and difficulty performing daily living functions that can last for months, even years, after the infection has cleared the body.
Send your questions here. Are you a healthcare worker battling Covid-19? Message us on WhatsApp about the challenges you are facing: +1 347-322-0415.
Keep up to date with your Covid vaccines this fall, especially if you’re 50 or older.
Indeed, the virus continues to pose a risk to people in this age group, who have been disproportionately affected by the severe consequences of Covid.
Between April and June, people 50 and older accounted for the vast majority of Covid-19 hospitalizations (86%) and in-hospital deaths (96%), according to a CDC study released Thursday.
Additional data from the CDC shows that even for people 50 and older who received two of the original boosters, the risk of hospitalization was less than a quarter of what it was for those who were not vaccinated in July. A single dose of the updated Covid-19 vaccine is recommended at least two months after completing the initial two-dose vaccine series or your most recent booster.