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March 30, 2022

Covid-19 update: US infections pass 80 million

Global: The global Covid death toll has passed 6 million, with a figure of 6,133,459 according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University. Meanwhile, infections have continued past 480 million to a world wide figure of 485213,252.

News by region

Americas

US: Covid -19 infections have now passed 80 million, reaching 80,019,128. Meanwhile, the US coronavirus death toll has increased to more than 978,000 according to Johns Hopkins University data.

US regulators said people 50 and older will be able to get second booster shots of the Covid-19 vaccine from Moderna Inc. and Pfizer-BioNTech four months after getting the first. Much of the decision was based on analysis of data from Israel, which focused on the benefits of a second booster dose in those 60 years and over and people at high risk of severe outcomes of Covid-19, though the fourth dose there was rolled out to older people at the height of the Omicron wave. Cases in the US are now easing though there are fears of a resurgence of the BA.2 strain. The FDA also authorized a second booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for certain immunocompromised people 12 and older, and Moderna’s for a similar population 18 and older.

Europe

EU: The European Medicines Agency’s human medicines committee CHMP started a rolling review of HIPRA, which acts as a booster vaccine for adults who have already been fully vaccinated with a different Covid-19 vaccine. HIPRA, also known as PHH-1V, is a protein-based vaccine is being developed by HIPRA Human Health.

Asia pacific

Hong Kong: The Wall Street bank Goldman Sachs plans a full return to its offices in Hong Kong starting in the middle of next month as cases drop and the city begins to ease Covid measures.  Goldman Sachs will “welcome” all staff to return “in anticipated alignment with the government’s relaxation of social distancing measures and resumption of in-person school classes,” according to a memo. It added that if circumstances change, it will amend its approach accordingly. It joins other banks in a phased return, with HSBC Holdings Plc allowing 30% of Hong Kong staff to work in the office from Friday.

China: Shanghai reported 5,982 Covid cases for Tuesday, while China overall added 8,655 local cases.

Economy news

China: Shanghai’s lockdown will have even greater ramifications for China and the world than the already significant impact from the lockdown in the tech hub of Shenzhen, according to Bloomberg Intelligence. Combined, the two will likely deliver the biggest hit to the Chinese economy since the nationwide lockdown in the first quarter of 2020. The damage may also spread further because Shanghai is such an important node in global supply chains. Furthermore, the fact that a well-governed city like Shanghai has had to resort to city-wide lockdowns – after more targeted policies failed to stem the virus – suggests that other local governments may lean toward using strict tactics to achieve Covid Zero, widening the risk to the economy. China’s 5.5% growth target for this year now looks even more challenging. Some help may come at the local government level, as seen by measures unveiled in Shenzhen to support consumption and corporates in the wake of the lockdown. At the national level, more stimulus will almost certainly come.

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