6 October

Global: The global Covid death toll has passed 4.8 million, with a figure of 4,817,388 according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University . Meanwhile, infections exceed 235.8 million world wide.

Some of the symptoms of so-called long-Covid, the ailments that can persist for months after a Covid-19 infection, may be caused by inflammatory molecules trapped inside tiny blood clots, a scientist at South Africa’s Stellenbosch University said. High levels of inflammatory molecules were found in micro blood clots in blood samples from people with long-covid, Resia Pretorius, a researcher at the university, said in a statement. The molecules contained fibrinogen, a clotting protein, and alpha(2)-antiplasmin, which prevents the breakdown of blood clots, she said.

US: Covid -19 infections have passed 43.9 million. Meanwhile, the US coronavirus death toll has passed 705,000 according to Johns Hopkins University data. The Covid-19 death toll in the US this year is poised to surpass the number of fatalities in 2020. The wave fuelled by the delta strain is waning in the US, but daily infections are still hovering near 100,000 and more than 1,800 people are dying every day, on average. More than a 100,000 Americans succumbed to the virus in the last four months – a time when safe and effective vaccines were widely available in the nation.

Federal researchers estimate that Covid-19 vaccinations averted 39,000 deaths and 107,000 hospitalizations in the Medicare population in the first five months of 2021. They compared Medicare data and county-level vaccination rates with models predicting how the virus would have spread in the absence of vaccines to come up with estimates of the effects of immunization.

UnitedHealth Group Inc. will require US employees to get vaccinated against Covid-19 by 30 November, according to an announcement on the company’s website. Those workers who don’t get vaccinated, can’t be accommodated based on their role or don’t get an exemption will be placed on unpaid leave and may be terminated, a company spokesman said.

Symptoms of anxiety and depression hit US adults more frequently as the number of Covid cases mounted during the accelerating pandemic, according to a study. Mental health severity scores were highly correlated with the average number of daily Covid-19 cases, according to the study in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

UK: The UK reported 33,869 new coronavirus cases and 166 deaths on Tuesday. The official figures showed that 348 out of every 100,000 people have coronavirus.

More than 100,000 children in England are off school with confirmed cases of Covid, according to Department for Education figures. The proportion of children at school has fallen below 90% – worse than this time a year ago.

India: India reported 18,346 new cases, the lowest in more than 200 days, according to data from the federal Health Ministry. While cases have been trickling down over the past few weeks, experts are warning caution as the country heads into the holiday season. India has administered a massive 915.5 million vaccine doses so far, but even so only 18% of its population is fully inoculated, according to the Bloomberg Vaccine Tracker.

Romania: Romania is running out of ICU beds designated for coronavirus patients as cases spike to a new daily record. The EU’s second least-vaccinated country had 1,480 patients in ICUs on Tuesday. It also reported more than 15,000 daily cases and over 250 deaths.

Vaccine news

Global: The World Health Organization is still reviewing whether Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine can be approved by the UN health agency for emergency use against coronavirus.

EU: An EU advisory committee will consider starting an accelerated review for Merck & Co.’s experimental antiviral pill against Covid-19 following the company’s announcement last week that it will seek emergency-use authorization from the FDA as soon as possible.

US: AstraZeneca Plc submitted its antibody cocktail for US emergency approval to prevent Covid-19 infection. The medicine was 77% effective in preventing symptomatic Covid in a clinical trial that included patients with high risk factors for severe infection.

UK: England has been urged to step up the distribution of Covid booster shots and second vaccinations for teenagers to avoid a surge of the virus over winter, a senior scientist advised. Prof Neil Ferguson, the head of the influential disease modelling group at Imperial College London , said even a moderate rise in infections could put the NHS under pressure.

Norway: Norway will soon offer a third dose of Covid vaccines to people aged 65 and older, the health minister Bent Høie said on Tuesday.

Spain: Spain has approved administering of third doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, which are based on the same mRNA technology, for people aged 70 or over, the health ministry said.

Dominican Republic: Dominican Republic Health Minister Daniel Rivera is recommending that Covid-19 vaccines be provided to children as young as 5. Rivera made the recommendation late Monday after holding meetings with the Dominican Board of Health. The government’s nine-member Health Cabinet will review the request Tuesday, the Ministry said.

Israel: Serious Covid cases continue to drop in Israel now that almost 3.6 million people have received a third dose of vaccine. Israel began administering booster shots in early August after the delta variant pulsed through the country, causing a surge in new infections and talk of renewed lockdowns.

Economy updates

Global: The head of the International Monetary Fund said the most serious obstacle to a full recovery was the vaccine divide between rich and poor nations and warned the global economy could suffer a cumulative $5.3tn loss over the next five years unless it was closed.