Latest Care Home (CH) COVID death data (to last Friday) unfortunately shows a significant increase (doubled in a fortnight) after several low weeks.
This is a population that is ~99% fully vax'd, although staff are only around 77% fully vax'd.
— John Roberts (@john_actuary) July 27, 2021
Please check your care home lockdown plans now, this could escalate quite quickly.
In the past four days in Portugal, three out of four Covid-19 deaths have occurred in the over 70-year-old age bracket. Experts explain that the increase in cases in older age groups is a reflection of the situation that the country is going through. In care homes, there are no significant outbreaks, but those responsible do not hide their concern.
RTP.pt report (with video report in Portuguese)
In another sign that the effectiveness of the various coronavirus vaccines is waning quickly, Covid-19 infection rates are now rising fastest amongst the over 80s age group, with a rise of 54% in two weeks in that cohort in Portugal. The over 80s, of course, were the first group to be vaccinated against Covid-19 earlier this year as they were deemed to be the most vulnerable to the disease.
RTP.pt report (in Portuguese)
Europe has seen major changes in coronavirus case rates over the last two months. In many areas of Europe covid case rates have dropped sufficiently to allow restrictions to be eased, but there are notable exceptions. The Covid-19 rate in Spain now appears to be as bad, if not worse, than two months ago, and the Netherlands has seen a dramatic increase in numbers recently.
In the case of both Spain and the Netherlands, the rates increased following the decision to unlock their countries too quickly, and in both cases those decisions have had to reversed within weeks. Greece too appears to be seeing a new wave, and these areas now represent the largest threat to Europe’s strategy to keeping infection rates down.
The Portuguese government establishes that citizens “should refrain from circulating in public spaces and streets and remain at their respective homes during the period between 11:00 pm and 5:00 am”. The restrictive measures on circulation, which will be carried out every day, will take effect this Friday.
Mariana Vieira da Silva clarifies that this measure to limit circulation has no exceptions. Even for those with negative covid-19 tests or for vaccinated people. “This is a measure to reduce crowds”, argued the Minister of the Presidency , justifying it with the increase in cases of infection in the younger layers of the population. Instead of what happens in “ages already vaccinated”. Which, he concluded, “means the vaccine works.”
There are currently 19 municipalities, the majority in the Metropolitan Area of Lisbon (AML), which are at very high risk of infection , meaning that they have already reached twice the 240 cases of infection per covid-19 per 100,000 inhabitants (or 480 in low-density territories). From AML are the municipalities of Almada, Amadora, Barreiro, Cascais, Lisbon, Loures, Mafra, Moita, Odivelas, Oeiras, Seixal, Sesimbra, Sintra and Sobral de Montagraço. Albufeira, Constância, Loulé, Mira and Olhão are also in this situation.
Last week were only in the red zone, Lisbon, Albufeira and Sesimbra.
There are also 26 other municipalities that have reached a high risk of infection , that is to say that twice surpassed the 120 cases per 100 thousand inhabitants (or 240 in low-density territories). They are Alcochete, Alenquer, Arruda dos Vinhos, Avis, Braga, Castelo de Vide, Faro, Grândola, lagoon, Lagos, Montijo, Odemira, Palmela, Paredes de Coura, Portimão, Porto, Rio Maior, Santarém, São Brás de Alportel, Sardoal, Setúbal, Silves, Sines, Sousel, Torres Vedras and Vila Franca de Xira.
Diario de Noticias report (in portuguese)
Through routine scanning of variation in Delta, a small number of sequences were detected which had acquired the spike protein mutation K417N. Information suggests that there are at least 2 separate clades of Delta with K417N. One clade is large and internationally distributed with PANGO lineage designation AY.1. A second clade found in sequences uploaded to GISAID from the USA, now designated AY.2.
As of 16 June 2021, 161 genomes of Delta-AY.1 have been identified on GISAID. from Canada (1), India (8), Japan (15), Nepal (3), Poland (9), Portugal (22), Russia (1), Switzerland (18), Turkey (1), USA (83).
There are currently 38 cases of Delta-AY.1 in England (36 confirmed sequencing and 2 probable genotyping). Cases have been detected in 6 different regions in England. Delta-AY.2 has not been detected in England.
UK Variants of Concern Technical Briefing 15 (PDF download)
According to Bani Jolly of the Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology, the phylogeny of Delta has two separate clades. While AY.1 is found in a few countries including the UK, India and Nepal, the other clade (AY.2), is largely from the sequences from California (USA).
“The split between the two clades seems to be based on two spike mutations — A222V and T95I. While all sequences in the California cluster share spike A222V, all sequences in the larger international cluster share spike T95I,” Jolly tweeted.
Stating that AY.1 has arisen independently a number of times and could be more prevalent than observed in countries with limited genomic surveillance, she tweeted that given that Delta is a variant of concern, it is important to take note of any sub-lineages that may emerge.
Of the 36 cases of Delta-AY.1 (mountaineers) variant, 27 cases were known to have a vaccination status within the National Immunisation Management System (NIMS).
“Through routine scanning of variation in Delta a small number of sequences were detected which had acquired the spike protein mutation K417N. Information suggests that there are at least 2 separate clades of Delta with K417N. One clade is large and internationally distributed with PANGO lineage designation AY.1. A second clade found in sequences uploaded to GISAID from the USA. There is limited epidemiological information available at present.
As of 7 June 2021, 63 genomes of Delta with K417N have been identified on GISAID. from Canada (1) Germany (1), Russia (1), Nepal (2), Switzerland (4), India (6), Poland (9), Portugal (12), Japan (13), USA (14).
There are currently 36 cases of Delta-AY.1 in England (35 confirmed sequencing and 1 probable genotyping) plus an additional 10 sequences which include some cases in other UK nations and some genomes for which case data is being sought. The first 5 cases were sequenced on 26 April 2021 and were contacts of travellers to Nepal and Turkey. All these cases were detected in the West Midlands. Cases have been detected in 6 different regions in England (Table 21, Figure 26). The majority of cases are in younger individuals, with 2 cases of age 60 or over (Figure 27). Out of the 36 cases, there were 11 travel associated cases (6 travellers and 5 cases amongst contacts of travellers). Twelve cases have no history of travel or contact with travellers. Countries of travel included red-list countries (Nepal and Turkey), amber-list countries (Malaysia) and green-list countries (Singapore).
Of the 36 cases, 27 cases were known to have a vaccination status within the National Immunisation Management System (NIMS), when linked on NHS number. Of these, 18 cases occurred in people who were not vaccinated, 2 cases in people who had received their first dose within 21 days of specimen date, 5 cases in people who had received their first dose more than 21 days after specimen date. There was a total of 2 cases where there were more than 14 days between the second dose of vaccine and a positive specimen. No deaths have been recorded amongst the 36 cases.”
PHE download – SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern and variants under investigation in England – Technical briefing 15 (PDF)
The Delta variant with the K417N mutation, also known as the “Mountaineers” variant, has cropped up 14 times in Japan, and 13 of those samples were in travellers from Nepal – mostly climbers from Everest expeditions. At least 100 cases were reported at the Everest base camp, it is believed that the variant could have been spread by climbers ascending the mountain despite widespread national lockdowns across the globe. Cases have also been identified in India, Japan, Portugal, and the UK.
According to Dr Jeff Barrett, director of the COVID-19 Genomics Initiative at the Wellcome Sanger Institute in the UK, at least one case has been found in the US.
The mountaineers variant B.1.617.2 + K417N has also been blamed for the axing of Portugal from the UK’s green travel list. See this report
Portugal is axed from UK’s green list and relegated to the Amber list. No countries are set to be added to the Government’s green list. Seven countries will be added to the red rating, they are: Egypt, Sri Lanka, Costa Rica, Bahrain, Sudan, Trinidad and Tobago and Afghanistan
“UK government Ministers and their medical advisers will meet on Thursday to decide whether Portugal should be dropped from the green list and instead rated amber, requiring holidaymakers to quarantine for 10 days on their return and pay for two PCR tests. Scientists from the Joint Biosecurity Centre (JBC) are concerned about rising infection rates and the emergence of variants in Portugal, which was the first of 12 countries and territories to be rated green just three weeks ago.”
The European Court of Human Rights ruled on Thursday that democratic governments can make vaccinations obligatory, in a landmark judgement rejecting complaints brought by Czech families penalised for refusing compulsory jabs for their children.
“The… measures could be regarded as being ‘necessary in a democratic society'” the court ruled, saying that the Czech health policy was consistent with the “best interests” of children.
Our opinion: ** Is there an easier or quicker way of antagonising parents in the middle of a global viral pandemic than encouraging mandatory vaccinations? We can’t think of one. Expect severe blowback **
“Wheezing, chest or stomach pain, swelling or coldness in an arm or leg, severe headache or worsening or blurred vision after vaccination, persistent bleeding, small multiple bruises, reddish or purplish spots or blisters of blood under the skin” – if you have these symptoms after vaccination against Covid with AstraZeneca serum seek medical help immediately and report that you have recently been vaccinated.
European Medicines Agency (EMA), the corona vaccine from the manufacturer Astra-Zeneca can cause severe allergic reactions. Anaphylaxis and hypersensitivity reactions should be included in the list of possible side effects of the vaccine citing , the EMA said on Friday, several such cases in the UK.
The European Commission received the message from AstraZeneca on Thursday afternoon (11 March 2021). According to Sweden’s vaccination coordinator Richard Bergström, it is export restrictions and not production capacity that are behind it.
Astra Zeneca has really made an effort to find volumes to live up to the contract. 75 million doses would come from the United States, the United Kingdom and to some extent from India in the second quarter. Now we have just been told that we will not get rid of these doses, says Richard Bergström to TV4.
The USA and India, where AstraZeneca’s has production, have introduced export bans to ensure that they themselves get enough vaccine. The fact that the vaccine cannot be delivered from the UK has contractual reasons.