(Bloomberg) – One dose of Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccine is much less effective against the delta and lambda variants than against the original strain of the virus, The New York Times reported, citing a study that was not evaluated peer-reviewed yet. Delta now accounts for 83% of all sequenced cases in the United States, up from 50% in early July, health officials said.
A spokesman for British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has insisted the country’s self-isolation rules are not optional following mixed messages from a government minister.
France has seen an increase in vaccinations since President Emmanuel Macron announced that passes showing proof of testing or vaccination will be required at restaurants and cafes. Apple Inc. is pushing back its return to office deadline due to the resurgence of cases in many countries.
Infections in Tokyo continue to rise just three days before the Olympics, and more Japanese companies have decided not to send executives to Friday’s opening ceremony.
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A dose of J&J ineffective against Delta (5:30 p.m. NY)
A study found that Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccine is much less effective against the delta and lambda variants than against the original virus, the New York Times reported. The lab results, which have not been peer reviewed or published in a scientific journal, suggest the need for a second dose for the 13 million people who received the inoculation. The study authors recommended an mRNA vaccine manufactured by Pfizer Inc.-Biontech SE or Moderna Inc. as a second injection.
The results contrast with those of smaller studies published by J&J earlier this month which suggest that a single dose of its vaccine is effective against delta even eight months after inoculation, the Times said. Seema Kumar, a spokesperson for J&J, told the newspaper that the new data “does not speak to the full nature of immune protection.”
The new study is credible because the authors have no ties to any vaccine manufacturer, John Moore, a virologist at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York City, told The Times. He cited several studies in monkeys and people that show that two doses of the J&J vaccine is more effective than one.
The data should prompt the Food and Drug Administration to reconsider its recommendation that fully vaccinated people do not need boosters, said Nathaniel Landau, a virologist at the Grossman School of Medicine at New York University, who led study.
Pelosi Staffer, White House Help Test Positive (3:10 p.m. NY)
A senior spokesperson for the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, and a White House official have tested positive for Covid-19. Both had been fully vaccinated and are among several Congressional and White House staff who were recently infected.
The Pelosi staff member has had no contact with the speaker since he was exposed, Drew Hammill, a spokesperson for Pelosi, said in a statement. White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the search for the contracts determined that the infected staff had no close contact with the elderly or President Joe Biden.
Delta now accounts for 83% of cases in the United States (11:45 a.m. NY)
The delta variant now accounts for 83% of all sequenced Covid-19 cases in the United States, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Rochelle Walensky said in a Senate hearing. The new figure is up 50% from the week of July 3. She said areas of the country with limited vaccine coverage allow the spread of the highly transmissible variant, which was first identified in India.
“Every death is tragic and even more heartbreaking when we know that the majority of these deaths can be prevented with a simple, safe and available vaccine,” Walensky said.
Daily vaccination rate in New York drops to 15,000 (10:30 a.m. NY)
The rate of vaccine administration in New York has plunged to less than 15,000 per day, from more than 100,000 per day in mid-April, as cases increase.
The city has fully vaccinated 4.5 million people, data shows, below Mayor Bill de Blasio’s goal of having 5 million New Yorkers fully vaccinated by June.
The city reported a seven-day average of 576 confirmed and probable cases on July 18, more than double the July 6 average.
Hospitalizations only increased slightly. Almost everyone admitted for Covid-19 has not been vaccinated, according to Health Commissioner Dave Chokshi. “It is preventable suffering,” he said on Twitter.
Weekly increase in cases in the Netherlands (9:10 a.m. NY)
The Netherlands reported 69,731 weekly cases on Tuesday, up from 51,957 last week. The number of hospitalizations has increased in recent days, but at a slower rate than infections. Official figures showed 50 new entries on Monday, the biggest daily increase since May 10.
The Dutch government reintroduced some restrictions, including limiting the opening hours of bars, while a recommendation for people to work from home if possible was reinstated from Monday.
Indonesia May Start to Loosen Borders (9:05 a.m. NY)
Indonesia could begin to gradually ease nationwide emergency restrictions if hospital cases and occupancy levels decline. The government could ease restrictions from July 26 if cases continue to drop, according to President Joko Widodo. This will include allowing some restaurants and stores to stay open longer, Jokowi, as the president is known, said in a televised address on Tuesday.
Outbreaks in Mauritius among vaccinated workers (8:52 a.m. NY)
Mauritius has recorded a record daily number of cases after outbreaks among vaccinated foreign factory workers living in hostels, according to the health ministry.
The Indian Ocean island nation, which reopened its borders to tourists last week, added 368 new infections on Monday, 305 of which are factory workers and almost all asymptomatic. Foreign labor in the country’s export-oriented manufacturing industry accounts for 47% of total employment.
Mauritius is looking to revive its tourism industry after stepping up vaccinations, and about a third of its 1.3 million people are fully vaccinated.
French shots increase after announcement of passes (7:51 a.m. NY)
The rollout of vaccination in France is accelerating after President Emmanuel Macron announced that “health passes” – showing proof of testing or vaccination – will be required in restaurants and cafes.
A health ministry official said in a briefing that 4.3 million injections were given last week, including 1.7 million first doses. In another record, 880,000 injections were given on Friday. And this week saw the best Monday of the deployment, the official said.
French vaccinations are going twice as fast as deployments in Italy and Germany, the official said. After Macron’s speech, the number of online vaccine appointments rose to 520,000 per day against 140,000 per day in early July. France will meet its target of 40 million first doses ahead of schedule, the official said.
UK says self-isolation is crucial (7:20 a.m. NY)
The UK government has insisted that those asked to self-isolate by the National Health Service’s mobile contact tracing app cannot ignore the advice. Previously, a minister said it was “optional” and not legally binding.
A spokesperson for Prime Minister Boris Johnson told the Press Association that “isolation remains the most important action people can take to stop the spread of the virus.” The mixed message came after Business Secretary Paul Scully told Times Radio on Tuesday “that it is up to individuals and employers” to self-isolate after being “pinged”.
Iran Reports Most Deaths in Two Months (6:27 a.m. NY)
Iran has reported a record number of new cases, with 27,444 in the past 24 hours. The country also recorded its highest daily death toll in two months, at 250. The latest figures bring the total number of infections in Iran to more than 3.5 million and its deaths to 87,624. the population has been fully vaccinated, according to data from the Ministry of Health.
Hong Kong, Singapore Travel Bubble Review (4:38 NY)
Hong Kong and Singapore agreed to conduct a review in late August on whether to implement a non-quarantine air transport bubble, the Hong Kong government said on its website. The condition of launching the bubble could not be met at this time given the recent wave of confirmed cases in Singapore.
Tokyo cases continue to rise ahead of Olympics (4:27 a.m. NY)
Just three days before the Tokyo Olympics, the number of cases in the Japanese capital continues to rise, with 1,387 confirmed on Tuesday, up from 830 a week earlier. The seven-day average, at 1,180, has roughly doubled in the past two weeks.
Infections among Olympic staff, athletes and others related to the games are also on the rise. Organizers say a total of 71 people have tested positive, including 31 who are among the tens of thousands of international visitors expected to Japan to participate or work in the Olympics.
Meanwhile, more and more Japanese companies have decided not to send executives to Friday’s opening ceremony.
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