Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
Beijing reports 424 symptomatic, 1,436 asymptomatic COVID cases for Nov 24
China’s capital Beijing reported 424 symptomatic new locally transmitted COVID-19 infections and 1,436 asymptomatic cases for Nov. 24, local government authorities said on Friday. This compared with 509 symptomatic and 1,139 asymptomatic cases the day before.
China reports new daily record COVID cases, curbs tighten across country
China on Friday reported another record high of daily COVID-19 infections, as cities across the country enforce measures and curbs to control outbreaks. Thursday’s new local COVID-19 infections set a daily record for a second consecutive day, beating a figure set in mid-April, when the commercial hub of Shanghai was crippled by a citywide lockdown of its 25 million residents that lasted two months.
In Britain, nurses prepare for unprecedented strike over pay
Chukwudubem Ifeajuna, a nurse in the south of England, loves his job, but next month will walk out for two days as part of British nurses’ biggest-ever strike action, which he says is necessary for staff and patient welfare alike. The industrial action on Dec. 15 and Dec. 20 is unprecedented in the British nursing union’s 106-year history and comes as the state-run National Health Service (NHS) braces for one of its toughest winters ever.
EU regulator warns of ‘disappointing’ vaccine booster uptake
Recent uptake of COVID-19 vaccine booster doses in the European Union has been “rather disappointing,” an official said on Thursday, amid concerns that protection against severe cases of the disease could weaken during the winter. The European average rate of re-vaccination, or receiving booster doses, was only 29% in the groups of people considered to be at highest risk, such as the elderly and immunocompromised.
Fears Malawi’s cholera outbreak could worsen in rainy season
Malawi is in the grip of a cholera outbreak that has spread across the country, killing 292 people and infecting 9447 since March when the first case was reported, according to health minister Khumbize Chiponda. Most deaths from the disease, which is spread through contaminated water and food, are occurring in four districts bordering Lake Malawi and in Blantyre, the country’s second-largest city.
Avian flu outbreak wipes out 50.54 million U.S. birds, a record
Avian flu has wiped out 50.54 million birds in the United States this year, making it the country’s deadliest outbreak in history, U.S. Department of Agriculture data showed on Thursday. The deaths of chickens, turkeys and other birds represent the worst U.S. animal-health disaster to date, topping the previous record of 50.5 million birds that died in an avian-flu outbreak in 2015.
British nurses to stage first strikes on Dec. 15, 20
Thousands of British nurses will go on strike on Dec. 15 and 20 for more pay, their union said on Friday, adding to a winter of industrial action and putting further pressure on the state-run health system. The strikes are the first of possibly several walkouts by National Health Service (NHS) nurses, which come after the government refused to meet demands for pay rises of 5% above inflation.
China’s COVID infections hit record as economic outlook darkens
China reported record-high COVID-19 infections on Thursday, with cities nationwide imposing localized lockdowns, mass testing and other curbs that are fuelling frustration and darkening the outlook for the world’s second-largest economy. The resurgence of infections, nearly three years after the pandemic emerged in the central city of Wuhan, casts doubt on investor hopes for China to ease its rigid zero-COVID policy soon, despite recent more targeted measures.
Researchers test mRNA technology for universal flu vaccine
An experimental vaccine provided broad protection against all 20 known influenza A and B virus subtypes in initial tests in mice and ferrets, potentially opening a pathway to a universal flu shot that might help prevent future pandemics, according to a U.S. study published on Thursday. The two-dose vaccine employs the same messenger RNA (mRNA)technology used in the COVID-19 shots developed by Pfizer with BioNTech, and by Moderna. It delivers tiny lipid particles containing mRNA instructions for cells to create replicas of so-called hemagglutinin proteins that appear on influenza virus surfaces.
Measles now an imminent global threat due to pandemic, say WHO and CDC
There is now an imminent threat of measles spreading in various regions globally, as COVID-19 led to a steady decline in vaccination coverage and weakened surveillance of the disease, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the U.S. public health agency said on Wednesday. Measles is one of the most contagious human viruses and is almost entirely preventable through vaccination. However, it requires 95% vaccine coverage to prevent outbreaks among populations.
(With inputs from agencies.)