“There’s no country that has attained herd immunity to SARS-CoV-2. And, certainly, there are countries with different levels of vaccination. I mean, some countries have over 60 percent of their population fully vaccinated. There are also countries that have had natural exposure to the infection at very high rates. But it hasn’t extinguished the pandemic. We’ve always seen surges even after that. And I think that reflects several factors.
One, I think natural immunity can wane over time. And I think the durability of that immunity does depend on the severity of original infection. When infections are mild and asymptomatic, we can have at least weighting of neutralizing antibodies and how that correlates with waning immunity. We don’t know yet, but we know that re-infection, or the getting infected again with the virus, either the same variant or another variant, are far more common than we originally thought. Although there is protection, even over longer duration of time, it’s not absolute.”
** One of just a handful of people on Earth who seems to understand the existential threat that Sars-CoV-2 poses
“Learning to live with Covid” will be coming to your country soon. Be prepared.
“Sydney is on fire with this virus and we need a ring of steel around Sydney.”
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has called for more to be done after New South Wales Chief health officer Kerry Chant described the situation in NSW as ‘a national emergency’.
New South Wales recorded 136 local COVID-19 cases today, 53 of which were infectious in the community. Mr Andrews said New South Wales seemed to have “crossed a threshold” with a surge in COVID-19 cases.
The Trans-Tasman bubble that allows for travel between Australia and New Zealand has been closed “for at least 8 weeks according to RNZ.co.nz
Bad news from the Gupta Lab who have been looking at the Delta variant.
“Taking replication we originally showed increased growth of Delta virus in vitro using airway organoids compared to Alpha. Now we show increased virus production in two other systems: Calu-3 epithelial lung cell lines (shown here) and airway epithelial cells”
“We now further define Delta immune evasion using a panel of 38 monoclonal antibodies, showing significant loss of potency of NTD and RBD targeting antibodies. Imdevimab, part of the REGN2 dual monoclonal antibody cocktail is compromised by Delta.”
“We also show loss of activity for casivirimab, part of the Lily dual therapy cocktail. These dual therapies could be less effective against Delta particularly in the setting of immune compromise could lead to escape variants emerging/ transmitting.”
“We also found that the Delta virus appears to be in a predominantly cleaved form as compared to Alpha. This may suggest that each virus particle is more infectious in addition to more virus particles being produced“
“Despite national, regional, and global efforts, the pandemic is nowhere near finished. Strong likelihood for the emergence and global spread of new and possibly more dangerous variants of concern that may be even more challenging to control.”
The pandemic remains a challenge globally with countries navigating different health, economic and social demands. The Committee noted that regional and economic differences are affecting access to vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics. Countries with advanced access to vaccines and well-resourced health systems are under pressure to fully reopen their societies and relax the PHSM. Countries with limited access to vaccines are experiencing new waves of infections, seeing erosion of public trust and growing resistance to PHSM, growing economic hardship, and, in some instances, increasing social unrest.
As a result, governments are making increasingly divergent policy decisions that address narrow national needs which inhibit a harmonized approach to the global response. In this regard, the Committee was highly concerned about the inadequate funding of WHO’s Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan and called for more flexible and predictable funding to support WHO’s leadership role in the global pandemic response.
The Committee noted that, despite national, regional, and global efforts, the pandemic is nowhere near finished. The pandemic continues to evolve with four variants of concern dominating global epidemiology. The Committee recognised the strong likelihood for the emergence and global spread of new and possibly more dangerous variants of concern that may be even more challenging to control.
The Committee expressed appreciation for States Parties engaging in research to increase understanding of COVID-19 vaccines and requested that clinical trial volunteers not be disadvantaged in travel arrangements due to their participation in research studies. At the same time, the risk of emergence of new zoonotic diseases while still responding to the current pandemic has been emphasised by the Committee. The Committee noted the importance of States Parties’ continued vigilance for detection and mitigation of new zoonotic diseases.
The Committee unanimously agreed that the COVID-19 pandemic still constitutes an extraordinary event that continues to adversely affect the health of populations around the world, poses a risk of international spread and interference with international traffic, and requires a coordinated international response. As such, the Committee concurred that the COVID-19 pandemic remains a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC) and offered the following advice to the Director-General.
Stunning headlines from the Sydney Morning Post today: “Do not leave your home’: Sydney bracing for weeks of lockdown”. Sydney is bracing for a lockdown that could stretch for weeks, with surging case numbers prompting tighter restrictions as the number of people in strict isolation doubled to 14,000 in a single day.
We are sending out this special update to alert you to the new (tighter) set of restrictions that will apply to Greater Sydney from 5pm today 9th July 2021. The existing four reasons to leave home remain unchanged. The restrictions in regional NSW also remain unchanged. From 5pm we must all remain within our own local government area, or within 10 kilometres of home for exercise and outdoor recreation.
- Outdoor public gatherings will be limited to two people
- No carpooling between non-household members
- Only one person per household, per day, may leave the home for shopping
- Browsing in shops is not allowed, only shopping for essentials
From Sunday, funerals will be limited to 10 people in total.
Overnight, 44 new cases were recorded of which 27 were out in the community for at least part of their infectious period.
The latest figures from NSW Health show there are 43 people with COVID-19 in hospital, 10 of whom are in intensive care. Four of the patients in ICU require ventilation.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian has also foreshadowed extending the lockdown beyond July 16.
NSW is facing “the biggest challenge we have faced since the pandemic started … unless there is a dramatic turnaround in the numbers, I can’t see how we would be in a position to ease restrictions by next Friday,” Ms Berejiklian said.
The most recent figures available to us show that 8.17 per cent of the population is fully vaccinated while 25.72 per cent have had one shot.
As Sydney’s lockdown entered its third week, there were signs of the outbreak spiralling, with a record increase of 38 new cases in the last 24 hours. The outbreak has nearly reached 400 cases, and is spreading quickly across the largely unvaccinated city.
Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced 300,000 coronavirus vaccine doses will be rushed to Sydney today, as the country’s largest city struggled to bring a Delta outbreak under control. Scott Morrison said the situation in the city was “very serious” and urged five million Sydney residents not to give in to fatigue and obey stay-at-home orders.
The John Hopkins University Covid-19 dashboard is now showing that more than four million people have died in the coronavirus pandemic and 185 millions cases have been recorded. Will the final death toll be somewhere near the 150 million dead predicted by Event 201 we wonder?
The Wellington region of New Zealand has been in coronavirus alert level 2 since last week after a man from Sydney travelled round the capital while he had the Delta variant of the virus.
The partner of the Sydney man infected with Covid-19 has tested positive. The couple visited several locations in Wellington before testing positive. The partner originally returned a negative test, but later tested positive. The trans-Tasman bubble has been closed due to the increasing number of cases coming to New Zealand from Australia.
Australian scientists have described how they used high-performance computer modelling of the form of the SARS-CoV-2 virus at the beginning of the pandemic to predict its ability to infect humans and a range of 12 domestic and exotic animals.
Surprisingly, the results showed that SARS-CoV-2 bound to ACE2 on human cells more tightly than any of the tested animal species, including bats and pangolins. If one of the animal species tested was the origin, it would normally be expected to show the highest binding to the virus.
“We also deduced that some domesticated animals like cats, dogs and cows are likely to be susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infection too.”
Study: In silico comparison of SARS-CoV-2 spike protein-ACE2 binding affinities across species and implications for virus origin
Greater Sydney, the Blue Mountains, the Central Coast and Wollongong will go into a 14-day lockdown as health authorities try to regain control of a coronavirus outbreak that has ballooned to 80 cases. Some 29 covid-19 cases were recorded in the 24 hours to 8pm on Friday, 17 of which had already been announced, taking the cluster to 80 cases.
The latest wave of Covid-19 in Australia seems to be driven largely by the recent introduction of the Delta variant B.1.617.2, following a pattern now seen worldwide.
From 6pm on Saturday, residents in the affected areas will only be able to leave home for essential reasons. People may only leave their homes for work, to shop for essential items, to seek medical care, or for care-giving or compassionate reasons.
Exercise outdoors is allowed in groups of up to 10, and Covid-safe funerals can proceed with up to 100 people. Weddings are allowed to go ahead on Saturday and Sunday with restrictions in place, but must be cancelled from Monday onwards. No more than five visitors are allowed for a household each day, masks are required indoors and restrictions apply to weddings and funerals.
The New South Wales premier says there has been one new covid case, that has come about as a result of “fleeting contact” in a shopping centre, and there are new restrictions for the state.
The one new locally acquired case since 8pm last night is a man in his 50s who had been to the Bondi Junction Westfield and came into contact with the infected limousine driver.
CCTV footage of the Bondi Junction’s Myer store puts the latest positive case on the same floor as the initial case on Saturday, but at this stage, Dr Kerry Chant says, authorities haven’t seen the moment of “fleeting contact” between the two.
“At the moment they have placed him in the same floor in the same section of Myer. They have asked for further CCTV footage to see if there is inadvertent passing,” she said.
“At the moment we don’t know the nature of the contact, the fact that the community would understand that, in general, when we are shopping in settings such as those sorts of retail environments we don’t generally come in close proximity.
“We just need to wait for the CCTV footage. You can’t recall everything that happens. There might be a close exposure.”
Australian health authorities are contacting scores of people in Western Australia after a man tested positive to COVID-19 after being released from the state’s quarantine hotels. Western Australia Chief Health Officer Dr Andrew Robertson said “We often get people who are chronic shedders, but the test result was more moderately positive than we would anticipate. So, as a precaution, we have put him back into one of the quarantine hotels and have taken further tests.”