COVID-19 live updates: Total number of cases passes 172 million

  • The coronavirus outbreak began in Wuhan, China, in December 2019.
  • Known as SARS-CoV-2, the virus has resulted in more than 172 million infections and more than 3.7 million deaths.
  • SARS-CoV-2 infection causes COVID-19.
  • COVID-19 has now been reported on every continent.
  • Keep up to date with the latest research and information about COVID-19 here.
  • For vaccine information, visit our live vaccine updates article.

06/04/2021 12:00 GMT — UK approves Pfizer shot for children aged 12–15

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), in the United Kingdom, has approved the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for 12–15-year-olds. According to the MHRA, the decision comes following “a rigorous review of the safety, quality, and effectiveness of the vaccine in this age group.”

MHRA’s chief executive, Dr. June Raine, says, “We have carefully reviewed clinical trial data in children aged 12–15 years and have concluded that the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective in this age group and that the benefits of this vaccine outweigh any risk.”

She continues: “We have in place a comprehensive safety surveillance strategy for monitoring the safety of all UK-approved COVID-19 vaccines, and this surveillance will include the 12–15-year age group. No extension to an authorization would be approved unless the expected standards of safety, quality, and effectiveness have been met.”

Read more about the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine here.

06/04/2021 10:32 GMT — Vaccinating children ‘not a high priority’

According to Dr. Kate O’Brien, a vaccine expert who works with the World Health Organization (WHO), vaccinating children against COVID-19 is “not a high priority” in the face of vaccine shortages. Dr. O’Brien explained that “[c]hildren are at [a] very, very low risk of actually getting [COVID-19].”

Read more on this story here.

06/03/2021 11:37 GMT — Restrictions are easing up, but should you ease up on hygiene practices?

As several countries gradually ease restrictions, it is important that individuals do not leave behind their commitment to good hygiene practices. In a recent feature, Medical News Today spoke with health experts to find out why.

Read the feature here.

06/03/2021 09:49 GMT — Urban crime dropped globally during pandemic

According to a new study, which appears in the journal Nature Human Behaviour, urban crime rates fell during COVID-19 restrictions. The authors investigated this effect in 27 cities across 23 countries in the Americas, the Middle East, Europe, and Asia.

Across all 27 cities, the authors found that daily assaults fell by an average of 35%. Similarly, robberies fell by an average of 46%.

Overall, the authors conclude, “Our findings show that the stay-at-home policies were associated with a considerable drop in urban crime but with substantial variation across cities and types of crime.”

Senior author, Prof. Manuel Eisner, director of the Violence Research Centre at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom, explains some of the reasons behind this effect:

“City living has been dramatically curtailed by COVID-19, and crime is a big part of city life. […] No drinkers spilling into the streets after nights out at bars and pubs. No days spent in shops and cafés or at the racetrack or football match. Some cities even introduced curfews. It choked the opportunism that fuels so much urban crime.”

06/03/2021 09:23 GMT — China gave 100 million COVID-19 injections in 5 days

Despite a slow start, China is ramping up its vaccine rollout. Over just 5 days in May, it provided 100 million people with a COVID-19 injection. Chinese officials aim to vaccinate 80% of the country’s 1.4 billion residents by the end of 2021.

Read more on this story here.

06/02/2021 12:05 GMT — Nearly half of people who needed hospital care for COVID-19 have lasting health issues

A new study found that 45% of patients hospitalized for COVID-19 during the early days of the pandemic were still experiencing related health issues after being discharged. The research analyzed the medical charts of 288 people hospitalized with COVID-19 between March and April 2020.

Almost 20% of the patients could no longer live independently after being discharged from the hospital.

Read our full analysis of the study here.

06/02/2021 12:01 GMT — WHO authorizes Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine

On June 1, the World Health Organisation (WHO) issued Emergency Use Listing for the Sinovac CoronaVac COVID-19 vaccine. According to the WHO’s data analysis, CoronaVac prevented symptomatic disease in 51% of vaccinated individuals and hospitalization in 100% of cases. 

Read more here.

06/01/2021 12:31 GMT — Peru COVID-19 death toll is now the highest in the world per capita, revised data indicate

As of Monday, May 31, Peru’s official death toll due to COVID-19 had almost tripled, reaching 180,764 deaths, compared with the 69,342 deaths reported the previous day.

This is a rate of more than 500 deaths per 100,000 people, which means that Peru now has the highest COVID-19 death rate per capita in the world.

The data were initially publicized by Johns Hopkins University, which led Peruvian officials to revise and update their own information.

According to the officials, this discrepancy was due to insufficient testing, which made it unclear whether some of the deaths had been due to COVID-19 or other causes.

However, “we think it is our duty to make public this updated information,” Peru’s prime minister, Violeta Bermudez, commented during a press conference.

06/01/2021 11:35 GMT — WHO renames SARS-CoV-2 variants of interest and concern using ‘simple, easy to say and remember labels

On May 31, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced the decision to call SARS-CoV-2 variants of interest and concern by new and simple names using Greek letters.

According to the new labeling, B.1.1.7, the variant that scientists initially identified in the United Kingdom, is now the “Alpha” variant, while B.1.351, which emerged in South Africa, is now the “Beta” variant.

Similarly, P.1, the variant of concern that scientists identified in Brazil, is now labeled the “Gamma” variant, and B.1.617.2, which scientists first identified in India, is the “Delta” variant.

“These labels do not replace existing scientific names […], which convey important scientific information and will continue to be used in research,” the WHO press release clarifies.

However, the new labels will allow the media and the public to avoid referring to the variants by the names of the geographical locations where they first emerged. The hope is that this will prevent misunderstandings and discrimination.

“While they have their advantages, these scientific names can be difficult to say and recall, and are prone to misreporting. As a result, people often resort to calling variants by the places where they are detected, which is stigmatizing and discriminatory. To avoid this and to simplify public communications, WHO encourages national authorities, media outlets and others to adopt these new labels,” the press release notes.

05/28/2021 11:10 GMT — California announces huge vaccine pay out

Californian officials have announced a $116.5 million pot of vaccine prize money. As the state plans to fully reopen in June, the officials hope that this incentive will entice the 12 million Californians who are eligible for a vaccine but have not yet been vaccinated.

Read more on this story here.

05/28/2021 09:42 GMT — Production of new COVID-19 vaccine to begin shortly

Yesterday, Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline announced the imminent start of a phase 3 COVID-19 vaccine trial. The study will involve more than 35,000 adults from the United States, Asia, Africa, and Latin America. If the trial is successful, they expect the vaccine to be available toward the end of 2021.

Read more on this story here.

05/27/2021 10:38 GMT — Number of COVID-19 cases by country

  1. United States: 33,190,560
  2. India: 27,369,093
  3. Brazil: 16,274,695
  4. France: 5,683,143
  5. Turkey: 5,212,123

05/27/2021 09:58 GMT — Vaccine mix-up in India

In the Siddharthnagar district of India’s Uttar Pradesh state, healthcare workers gave 20 people two different vaccines for their first and second shots. They received Covishield (AstraZeneca) first, followed by Covaxin. According to Indian officials, there were no side effects.

Read more on this story here.

05/27/2021 09:31 GMT  — Vaccination may ease symptoms of long COVID

In the largest survey to date of vaccinated people with long COVID, 57% of respondents reported an overall improvement in their symptoms following vaccination, while 19% reported an overall deterioration. Possible explanations for improvements after vaccination include clearing the residual virus and restoring a healthy balance to the immune system.

Read more about the survey here.

05/27/2021 09:27 GMT — COVID-19 increases black fungus infection risk in India

Mucormycosis, or black fungus, is a rare but serious infection that requires medication or removal surgery. India is currently experiencing a significant rise in cases. In a recent article, Medical News Today looks at the links between COVID-19 and black fungus.

Read the article here.

05/26/2021 11:02 GMT — Moderna announces results of adolescent COVID-19 vaccine study

In a press release on Tuesday, Moderna announced that their mRNA COVID-19 vaccine (mRNA-1273) was safe and effective at preventing COVID-19 in adolescents aged 12–17. The company plans to submit the data to vaccine regulators in early June.

Find out more about Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine here.

05/26/2021 10:29 GMT — Report describes three cases of stroke following vaccination

Researchers in the United Kingdom present an analysis of three people who experienced a stroke after receiving the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, also called Covishield in India. Knowledge of who is likely to experience very rare side effects of this kind gives doctors a better chance to administer effective treatments, experts comment.

Read more here.

05/25/2021 15:00 GMT — CDC reports on the number of COVID-19 vaccine breakthrough infections

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have issued their report on vaccine breakthrough infections between January 1 and April 30, 2021. 

As of April 30th, 2021, the CDC recorded a total of 10,262 SARS-CoV-2 vaccine breakthrough infections.

These infections are deemed as a breakthrough if they occur at least 14 days after people have received all their recommended COVID-19 vaccine doses. Scientists can identify a breakthrough infection by the presence of SARS-CoV-2 RNA or antigen.

“Even though FDA-authorized vaccines are highly effective, breakthrough cases are expected, especially before population immunity reaches sufficient levels to further decrease transmission,” the report concludes.

Read the full story here.

05/25/2021 13:20 GMT — New COVID-19 cases drop to lowest levels in 11 months

New COVID-19 cases have plummeted to the lowest levels in almost a year across the United States, reports the Associated Press. The 7-day average of daily new cases has now dropped below 30,000, which is the lowest threshold since last June. 

Health officials and experts believe this is down to the nationwide vaccination efforts, whereby 60% of all U.S. adults have received at least one dose of the vaccine, and almost 50% have received both shots.

Read the full story here.

05/24/2021 15:02 GMT — Japan warns of hospital “system collapse” in Osaka due to COVID-19

The medical system in Osaka, one of Japan’s largest cities, is collapsing under the pressure of ever-rising numbers of COVID-19 cases, authorities have announced.

According to Yuji Tohda, the director of Kindai University Hospital in Osaka, “[t]he highly infectious British variant and slipping alertness have led to this explosive growth in the number of patients.”

The Osaka Prefecture registered 3,849 new COVID-19 positive tests last week, and hospitals cannot cope with the abrupt increase.

Only 14% of those with COVID-19 in the prefecture have been able to access hospital care.

Osaka health workers have warned that the pressure on the medical system is leading to a rapid collapse.

“Some of [the nurses] are racking up 100, 150, 200 hours of overtime, and that has been going on for a year now. […] When on duty, they sometimes go home at 1 or 2 in the morning and go to bed only to be awakened by a phone call at 3 or 4,” said Yasunori Komatsu, a union leader for community nurses.

05/24/2021 14:36 GMT — COVID-19 increases risk of new health conditions in significant number of people

A new study in the BMJ found that many people who become ill with COVID-19 may have a greater risk of developing a new health condition after their illness.

The study took into account the health records of over 200,000 participants from the United States.

Of these, 14% developed at least one new condition that required treatment after the acute phase of their COVID-19 illness.These include “cardiovascular, neurologic, kidney, respiratory, and mental health complications,” according to the study authors.

Read the story in full here.

05/21/2021 10:22 GMT — UK Prime Minister announces plan for ‘Global Pandemic Radar’

The prime minister of the United Kingdom, Boris Johnson, has announced a plan to set up a Global Pandemic Radar. This system will be designed to track new SARS-CoV-2 variants and other emerging diseases. The World Health Organization (WHO) will help develop this “international pathogen surveillance network.”

According to a U.K. government press release, “The pathogen surveillance network will save lives and protect health systems by spotting diseases before they cause future pandemics and enabling the rapid development of vaccines, treatments, and tests.”

They believe that the Global Pandemic Radar will be operational by the end of 2021. According to Johnson:

“The world must never be caught unawares again by a virus spreading among us unchecked. We need to build a system of disease surveillance fit for the 21st century, with real-time data sharing and rapid genomic sequencing and response.”

Talking about the new system, WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus says: “The U.K. has set a strong example for pathogen surveillance and sequencing, as well as vaccine development. I am delighted that under P.M. Johnson, the U.K. will partner with WHO to contribute to stronger global surveillance and a safer world.”

05/21/2021 09:33 GMT — Japan approve Moderna and AstraZeneca vaccines

As COVID-19 case numbers rise, Japanese officials have now approved the use of both the Moderna and AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines. The decision was announced just hours before the country rolled out extended restrictions for much of its territory. 

Read more on this story here

05/20/2021 09:36 GMT — China provides vaccines to multiple countries in Africa

The Chinese government has announced that it will provide vaccines to almost 40 African countries. According to Wu Peng, director of the foreign ministry’s Africa department, China is either providing the vaccines for free or selling them at “favorable prices.”

Read more on this story here.

05/20/2021 09:13 GMT — In Conversation: COVID-19, sleep trackers, and the immune system

For a recent article and associated podcast, Medical News Today spoke with a group of sleep experts. Among the topics covered, they discussed how COVID-19 has changed our sleep and how sleep professionals interact with their patients.

Read the article and find the podcast here.

05/19/2021 12:01 GMT — COVID-19 may reduce gray matter volume in brain, small study suggests 

Researchers found that people who required oxygen therapy for COVID-19 had lower gray matter volume in part of their brain. This was associated with agitation, suggesting grey matter reductions may underlie the mood changes that some recovered patients experience. 

However, the study was small, and scientists need to conduct more research to confirm the results.

Read our full coverage of the research here

05/19/2021 11:51 GMT — Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine: Should you worry about the side effects?

The World Health Organization (WHO) recently issued an emergency use listing for the Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine. According to its analysis, the most common side effects after vaccination were headaches, fatigue, and injection site reactions.

Read more in our dedicated COVID-19 vaccines blog here.

05/18/2021 16:00 GMT — More than 96% of UK adults develop antibodies after first vaccine dose

A yet-to-be peer reviewed study finds that both the Pfizer/BioNTech and Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines trigger a high number of COVID-19 fighting antibodies after the first dose.

The research, which is “one of the earliest real-world vaccine studies in the U.K.,” according to its lead author Dr. Maddie Shrotri, found that 96.42% of people developed antibodies 28–34 days after receiving their first dose of either vaccine.

Find out more here.

05/18/2021 15:00 GMT — COVID-19 vaccine: What to do about side effects

A new MNT feature examines over-the-counter options and home remedies for side effects of COVID-19 vaccines. The feature also explains what ‘COVID arm’ is and recommends when to see a doctor or pharmacist.

Read it in full here.

05/17/2021 14:51 GMT — New report indicates some neurological issues are highly prevalent in COVID-19

A newly published report in JAMA Network Open suggests that people who develop COVID-19 frequently experience associated neurological issues.

According to the report, symptoms such as headaches and a loss of smell or taste are very common, but the most frequently clinically observed neurological symptom appears to be acute encephalopathy.

This refers to a disease that affects the structure or function of the brain. Acute encephalopathy occurred in 50% of the patients surveyed in this study.

Most worryingly, the report associates experiencing neurological issues due to COVID-19 with an increased risk of death during hospitalization.

Read the story in full here.

05/14/2021 13:17 GMT — B.1.617.2 variant surging in UK

As the United Kingdom begins to open up, concerns mount over the B.1.617.2 variant. According to Prof. Paul Hunter, who sits on a number of COVID-19 advisory committees for the World Health Organization (WHO), the variant is now in most regions of the U.K.

According to the Department of Health and Social Care, there is “no firm evidence yet to show this variant has any greater impact on severity of disease or evades the vaccine.” However, some experts believe that it may be more transmissible.

The U.K.’s Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi says that the government is considering reducing the gap between vaccine doses for people in areas where the variant is most prevalent.

As it stands, the U.K. will ease COVID-19 restrictions further on May 17 and then again on June 21. However, Prof. Hunter believes that this second easing “is in doubt.”

05/14/2021 10:12 GMT — New study investigates COVID-19 in children

Currently, there is little information about the symptoms and outcomes of children with SARS-CoV-2 infections. A study in Scientific Reports analyzed data from 12,306 children with lab-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infections. It showed that only 25.1% of the children had at least one of the typical COVID-19 symptoms.

The authors found that 16.5% of the children experienced respiratory symptoms; 13.9% had gastrointestinal symptoms, which included nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain; 8.1% had a rash; 4.8% experienced headache; and 18.8% had other nonspecific symptoms, such as fever, malaise, pain in the muscles or joints, and changes to their sense of smell or taste.

In this study population, just 5.5% (672 children) needed hospital care. Of those, 4.1% (38 children) needed mechanical ventilation.

Dr. Julian Tang is an honorary associate professor and clinical virologist at the University of Leicester, in the United Kingdom, who was not involved in the study. He was surprised at the high rate of infections in children that were not associated with a fever, cough, or shortness of breath (74.9%).

He explains that earlier studies had reported lower levels of asymptomatic cases. For instance, one conducted in South Korea “found that 22% of 91 children were asymptomatically infected.” However, the participants in this study had been mostly recruited in hospitals.

Dr. Tang observes that the “higher atypical symptomatic proportion may well be explained by the fact that community (non-hospitalized) children are also included in the study [and that these children] are more representative of the majority of otherwise healthy children that are attending school, for example.”

He continues, “More importantly, these findings also raise concerns about the spread of the virus via infected children in society, when most may not exhibit typical COVID-19 symptoms.”

05/13/2021 11:34 GMT — Sri Lanka imposes travel ban

To address the increasing numbers of COVID-19 cases, officials in Sri Lanka have introduced a 3-day travel ban across the country. The ban will be in place from Thursday night until Monday morning. People who work in healthcare, food supply, and power services are exempt.

Anyone who is seeking healthcare will also be exempt, as will those who are traveling to the airport for air travel. This move adds to the existing bans on public gatherings and parties, school closures, and restrictions on public transport.

With a population of almost 22 million, Sri Lanka has registered 133,527 cases of COVID-19 and 850 deaths.

05/13/2021 11:00 GMT — More side effects after mixing COVID-19 vaccines?

A new study investigated giving the AstraZeneca vaccine followed by the Pfizer vaccine 4 weeks later, or vice versa. This mixed vaccine schedule led to more frequent side effects after the second dose than giving the same vaccine both times.

Read more on this story here.

5/12/2021 13:11 GMT — Independent Panel says pandemic was a ‘preventable disaster’

In a damning report, The Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness & Response points to the systemic underfunding and lack of preparation to deal with infectious threats that allowed COVID-19 to become a pandemic.

The panel, which the World Health Organization (WHO) established, presented their report today, which included that “coordinated, global leadership was absent” as COVID-19 turned into a worldwide threat.

In response to these findings, the group makes a number of recommendations to address the immediate need not only for action to curb the pandemic but also for long-term measures to stop future pandemics.

Read more here.

5/11/2021 13:10 GMT — FDA extends the authorization of the Pfizer-BioNTtech vaccine for emergency use in adolescents

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has just extended the emergency use authorization (EUA) of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to include adolescents aged 12–15 years. 

Commenting on the decision to extend the vaccine’s EUA to adolescents, Acting Commissioner of FDA Dr. Janet Woodcock, said: “Today’s action allows for a younger population to be protected from COVID-19, bringing us closer to returning to a sense of normalcy and to ending the pandemic. Parents and guardians can rest assured that the agency undertook a rigorous and thorough review of all available data, as we have with all of our COVID-19 vaccine [EUAs].”

Find out more here.

05/10/2021 10:24 GMT — COVID-19 anxiety syndrome may be the pandemic phenomenon to reckon with

Some researchers have argued that a new mental health phenomenon is taking hold — that of COVID-19 anxiety syndrome.

The syndrome is defined as a fear of leaving one’s house because of the infection risk — even when the risk is minimal — frequent and compulsive symptom checking, and avoiding social situations or people.

“Some of the potential reasons why [this may happen] include high levels of exposure to social media and news, disruption to routines and anchors caused by lockdowns and restrictions, and difficulties disengaging from the threatening stimuli, including [virus] variants and the situation in other countries,” psychologist Lee Chambers told Medical News Today.

Read more about this topic here.

05/07/2021 15:26 GMT — COVID-19 vaccines: Straight answers to common questions

Read more here.

05/07/2021 09:27 GMT — US government agrees to waive patents on COVID-19 vaccines

Patents mean that other companies cannot produce generic versions of a pharmaceutical company’s drugs for a set amount of time — often 20 years.” However, in a surprise move, the United States government has announced its support of waiving patents for COVID-19 vaccines. Eventually, this could help boost supplies around the world.

Read more on this story here.

05/07/2021 08:48 GMT — Moderna COVID-19 vaccine: The side effects

The Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, which is also known as mRNA-1273, is a two-dose vaccine to prevent the illness caused by SARS-CoV-2. In a recent feature, Medical News Today investigates the possible side effects and safety recommendations associated with this mRNA vaccine.

Read the article here.

05/06/2021 09:31 GMT — COVID-19 treatment: Hepatitis C drugs may enhance remdesivir

Although vaccines are now available for most of the world, a more successful treatment for COVID-19 is still necessary. A recent study finds that drugs already approved for treating hepatitis C might boost remdesivir’s effectiveness at reducing viral replication by “as much as 10-fold.”

Read more on this research here.

05/05/2021 11:49 GMT — Can the US reach a vaccination target of 70% by Independence Day?

In the wake of a slowdown in vaccine uptake, United States President Joe Biden announced a new vaccination target yesterday: 70% of the adult population are to receive at least one shot by July 4th. 

Read more here.

05/05/2021 11:42 GMT — How have COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns affected our immune systems?

With much of the world having lived with lockdowns for extended periods of time since the start of the pandemic, researchers are turning their attention to how this might affect our immune system.

Under normal circumstances, our daily interactions see us exposed to a host of microbes on a daily basis. These exposures play an important role in training and maintaining effective immune responses.

In a Special Feature, we look at what effect physical distancing might have on the immune systems of adults, children, and infants born during the pandemic.

Read the full feature here

05/05/2021 10:43 GMT — A high dose of vitamin D has no effect on COVID-19

According to a new study in the journal JAMA, giving a high dose of vitamin D to patients with moderate to severe COVID-19 who are receiving treatment in the hospital made no difference to the length of their hospital stay.

There have been conflicting results about whether vitamin D plays a role in how likely a person is to fall seriously ill with COVID-19 and whether the so-called sunshine vitamin is a serious contender as a treatment option.

Researchers in Brazil tested whether a single high strength dose of vitamin D would reduce the time that people with COVID-19 had to spend in the hospital. They saw no difference between patients receiving the vitamin and those receiving a placebo.

Read our full coverage of the research here.

05/04/2021 12:25 GMT — Novavax expands its vaccine clinical trial to include children

Novavax, the biotechnology firm that developed NVX-CoV2373, a recombinant protein vaccine candidate against COVID-19, announced that it expanded its clinical trial to include children and teens.

The phase 3 clinical trial will test the vaccine candidate’s “efficacy, safety, and immunogenicity” in up to 3,000 participants aged 12–17 years. 

For more details, head here.

04/29/2021 14:33 GMT — Long COVID and children: The unseen casualties of COVID-19

Most children recover from COVID-19 within a few weeks. But for some, symptoms last much longer.

In a Special Feature, we highlight the stories of four parents whose kids still experience debilitating symptoms. We also speak to medical experts about long COVID in children.

Read the feature here.

04/29/2021 14:31 GMT — Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine can stay at refrigerator temperature for 3 months

In a press release, Moderna announced that storage of its COVID-19 vaccine at refrigerator temperate could be extended from 1 to 3 months, subject to authorization by health authorities. 

Read more on here.

04/28/2021 15:05 GMT — Household transmission reduced after first vaccine shot

A new study by Public Health England, which has not been peer-reviewed yet, indicates that people who have received one dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine are 40–50% less likely to pass on the SARS-CoV-2 virus if they contract it.

Read more on this story here.

04/28/2021 10:51 GMT — New mask guidelines for fully vaccinated people in the US

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released new mask wearing guidelines for fully vaccinated people in the United States yesterday, confirming that they will not need to wear masks during outdoor activities such as walking, exercising, attending small gatherings, and dining outside. 

Meeting indoors with other fully vaccinated people or those from one other household, even if they have not had the vaccine, can also take place without masks. 

Yet, the CDC highlights that fully vaccinated people should continue to wear a mask when meeting indoors with people from more than one household, with anyone who is at high risk of severe COVID-19, in indoor public spaces, and when attending large gatherings. 

Read the full recommendations here.

04/27/2021 14:03 GMT — Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine: What are the side effects?

The Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine is a single-dose vaccine to prevent COVID-19. The most common side effects are:

  • headache
  • fever
  • fatigue
  • muscle aches
  • nausea
  • pain, irritation, redness, and swelling at the injection site

Read more here.

04/27/2021 10:51 GMT — India continues to see soaring cases and deaths

The rate of new COVID-19 cases in India was higher than 300,000 once again on Monday, as the total number of deaths nears 200,000. Meanwhile, the first international shipments of medical supplies to aid the struggling health system have arrived. 

Daily new cases in India have stood above 300,000 for 6 consecutive days. Images of mass cremation ceremonies show the stark reality of a struggling healthcare system. According to Reuters, the country is bringing in its armed forces to provide help.

As India struggles to contain soaring case rates and look after the country’s sickest patients amid shortages of oxygen and medical supplies, countries around the world are committing to sending aid. 

The United States announced yesterday that it would send raw materials for vaccine production, rapid diagnostic tests, personal protective equipment, and medical equipment to India. According to the Associated Press, epidemiologists from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are also due to travel to India soon to help with the country’s public health measures to contain the spread of the virus.

Keep up to date with the latest information on our COVID-19 hub.

04/26/2021 10:17 GMT — Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine use resumes in the US

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommended on Friday that vaccination with the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine resume in the United States.

Read more on this story here.

04/26/2021 09:32 GMT — Gum disease linked to COVID-19 outcomes

Researchers at McGill University have found that people with the gum disease periodontitis were 3.5 times more likely to require hospitalization for COVID-19 and 8.8 times more likely to die.

The team assessed the dental and health records of 568 people living in Qatar to look for possible links between periodontitis and COVID-19. They found that biomarkers signifying inflammation were present at significantly higher levels in the blood of people with COVID-19 who also had periodontitis. 

Senior author Dr. Faleh Tamimi told Medical News Today, “What we suspect is happening is that, upon COVID-19 infection, periodontal patients start the course of the disease with an already high level of inflammation in their bodies.” 

“This puts the patients at a disadvantage if their COVID-19 disease derives in hyperinflammation, rendering them more susceptible to the severe outcomes of the disease.”

However, the researchers acknowledge that their study has several limitations. For example, the study does not establish a causal relationship between periodontitis and severe COVID-19 outcomes, only an association between the two.

Read our full coverage of the research here

04/23/2021 15:40 GMT — Is there a link between COVID-19 and Parkinson’s disease?

Although extremely rare, Parkinson’s-like symptoms have occurred in a few people with COVID-19. Scientists are now investigating whether there is a link between SARS-CoV-2 and Parkinson’s disease. In a recent feature, MNT explores the connection.

Read the feature here.

04/23/2021 09:52 GMT — India: COVID-19 surge continues to worsen

India continues to report record numbers of COVID-19 cases, registering 332,730 new cases today. The already fragile health system is failing to keep up with the influx of patients. In desperation, some hospitals have taken to social media to ask the government to provide more oxygen.

For instance, Max Hospitals, which run a hospital network, sent a tweet warning that they had just 1 hour of oxygen left. Two hours later, a follow-up message confirmed receipt of oxygen but advised that it would only last another 2 hours.

According to Railroad Minister Piyush Goyal, the government has started running two Oxygen Express trains, which carry liquid medical oxygen tankers. A statement from the Railways explains:

“Indian Railway is running Oxygen Express in response to its fight against COVID-19. […] Oxygen Expresses are getting prepared to leave with liquid medical oxygen from Visakhapatnam and Bokaro today for Maharashtra and [Uttar Pradesh], respectively.”

So far, India has reported 15 million cases and around 180,000 deaths. However, these figures are likely to be underestimates.

04/23/2021 09:15 GMT — Oxford researchers plan a COVID-19 reinfection human challenge trial

Experts still have a lot to learn about the likelihood that people who have had COVID-19 can contract SARS-CoV-2 again. Scientists at the University of Oxford, in the United Kingdom, have announced a human challenge trial to gather data that will provide a better understanding of how reinfection works.

Read more here.

04/22/2021 14:56 GMT — How COVID-19 has changed the face of the natural world

Today is Earth Day, and to mark this occasion, Medical News Today published a feature exploring how the COVID-19 pandemic has influenced the natural environment. The article outlines both positive and negative impacts and asks whether these observations might help us shape a better future.

Read the feature here.

04/22/2021 09:17 GMT — Oral drug successfully treats SARS-CoV-2 infections in hamsters

Scientists recently demonstrated that an oral antiviral called MK-4482 effectively reduces the impact on the lungs of SARS-CoV-2 infections in hamsters. Although the study was very small, other similar findings corroborate their results.

Read more about the study here.

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