December 31st, 2021
Romania has experienced rising numbers of new cases for the fifth day in a row, raising concerns that a fifth wave has started.
U.S. health experts on Thursday urged Americans to prepare for severe disruptions in coming weeks as the rising wave of COVID-19 cases led by the Omicron variant threatened hospitals, schools and other sectors impacting their daily lives.
Five new studies suggest illness caused by the current strain is fundamentally different from earlier variants. Most people infected with Omicron experience only mild symptoms.
The number of daily new coronavirus cases worldwide is averaging more than 1 million a day for the first time since the pandemic began two years ago, according to an aggregation of official tallies given daily by health authorities in each country.
The number of people to die from Covid in Eastern Europe has reached 1 million, as Russia climbed above Brazil to become the country with the second-highest deaths behind the U.S.
Adriana Pistol, director of Romania’s National Center for Surveillance and Control of Communicable Diseases, warned Wednesday that the country could see a peak of 25,000 new daily cases during the expected next wave.
India fears it is entering a new wave after cases surge, as confirmed Omicron cases also climb.
December 30th, 2021
The world hit a record number of Covid infections last week. A total of 6.55 million cases were detected between December 22nd and 28th, the highest figures since the World Health Organization declared a pandemic in March 2020. The surge is currently the worst in Europe.
France is seeing a “tsunami” of COVID-19 infections, with 208,000 cases reported over the past 24 hours, a new national and European record, Health Minister Olivier Veran told lawmakers on Wednesday.
A key part of the immune system’s second-line defense – its T cells – are highly effective at recognizing and attacking the Omicron variant, thereby preventing most infections from progressing to critical illness, a new study shows.
The current seven-day daily average of cases in the U.S. is up 60% over the previous week, but the average daily hospitalization rate for the same period is up only 14% and deaths are down about 7%.
In 2021, as of mid-December, Arab terrorists carried out 6,633 attacks in Judea and Samaria alone, more than 18 terrorist attacks each day.
December 29th, 2021
The World Health Organization has warned that the Omicron coronavirus variant could lead to overwhelmed healthcare systems even though early studies suggest it sparks milder disease.
The U.S. recorded 512,553 daily new cases on Tuesday – by far the single highest number of cases recorded since the beginning of the pandemic, according to data released by the Johns Hopkins University.
France reported 179,807 new confirmed cases on Tuesday, by far the highest number since the start of the pandemic.
Research by South African scientists suggests that Omicron could displace the Delta variant of the coronavirus because infection with the new variant boosts immunity to the older one.
Hospitals across the U.S. are bracing for a post-holiday surge in Covid-19 cases, driven by the extremely contagious omicron variant of the coronavirus. With many hospitals at or near capacity, health care staffers are exhausted, and another surge in cases, potentially after the holidays, could put hospitals in a dire situation.
Pushed to the breaking point, pharmacy technicians are quitting in waves and stores are struggling to hire, leading to shorter hours and risky mistakes. Pharmacies don’t have enough staff to keep up with prescriptions.
Sir John Bell, regius professor of medicine at Oxford University and the government’s life sciences adviser, said that although hospital admissions had increased in recent weeks as Omicron spreads through the population, the disease “appears to be less severe and many people spend a relatively short time in hospital.”
A new children’s book published in the U.K. is facing criticism for a cover which displays a colorful map of the Middle East – without Israel, which is clearly labeled as Palestine.
December 28th, 2021
Even with a surge in cases in the U.S., a smaller percentage of infected people are winding up in the hospital with COVID-19 symptoms compared to earlier strains.
Germans across large parts of the country face a tightening of rules governing both private and public spaces in an effort to slow down a wave of coronavirus infections triggered by the Omicron variant.
France has announced tighter Covid restrictions amid concerns over the Omicron variant. From January 3rd, remote working will become compulsory for those who can, and public gatherings will be limited to 2,000 people for indoor events.
Israeli exports increased to about $140 billion in 2021 and hit a record high, an increase of close to 20% compared to about $114 billion in 2020, according to estimates by the Foreign Trade Administration at the Ministry of Economy and Industry.
December 27th, 2021
The U.S. is now reporting more than 180,000 new cases per day – the country’s highest seven-day average since January, reports CNN and Johns Hopkins university.
The members of Israel’s ministerial committee on fighting the coronavirus approved a new series of COVID-19 related restrictions, as the infections numbers in the country skyrocketed 85% in the past week.
Driven by the Omicron variant, Covid infections in France passed the 100,000 threshold for the first time since the pandemic began on Saturday. Health officials recorded 104,611 cases over the previous 24 hours, the third consecutive day the numbers hit record highs.
Findings from David A. Ostrov, Ph.D., of the University of Florida show that combining diphenhydramine — an antihistamine sold as Benadryl that is used for allergy symptoms — and lactoferrin — a protein found in cow and human milk — reduced replication of SARS-CoV-2 by 99% in lab tests on human lung and monkey cells.
December 24th to 26th 2021:
Ben Gurion University geneticists suggest COVID-19 primarily targets the immune system, not the lungs, and say if the hypothesis is true, it may open up a new treatment possibility using over-the-counter antioxidants. [Times of Israel]
Many hospitals in the U.S. have stopped using monoclonal antibody treatments. Previously available for infusions, and highly effective at treating COVID and the most recent variants, they are not as effective at treating the new omicron-driven COVID cases, officials said.
With the highly contagious Omicron variant racing across the U.S., health authorities are urging people to upgrade to an N95 or similar high-filtration respirator when in public indoor spaces.
People nationwide in the U.S. have had to push back much-needed procedures, operations and treatments for nearly two years amid the public health emergency. Even in months when case numbers were low, many people struggled to find appointments and consultations.
The worldwide surge in coronavirus cases driven by the new omicron variant is the latest blow to hospitals, police departments, supermarkets and other critical operations struggling to maintain a full contingent of front-line workers as the pandemic enters its third year.
December 23rd 2021:
The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) suggests that those infected with Omicron are much less likely to end up in the hospital than those with Delta. A separate South African study showed an 80% reduction in the likelihood of hospitalization. However, the number of new Omicron cases increased by 400% in the last week. Another study from the U.K. showed Omicron to be 40% less severe.
Britain reported more than 100,000 new daily COVID-19 cases for the first time since widespread testing was introduced, with 106,122 on Wednesday compared with 90,629 on Tuesday. The rapid spread of the Omicron variant has driven a surge in cases in the last seven days.
Poland reported 775 COVID-related deaths on Friday, the highest daily number in the fourth wave of the coronavirus pandemic, the data from the health ministry showed.
France on Wednesday reported 84,272 new COVID-19 infections in the last 24 hours, coming close to its all-time high of almost 87,000 cases in November 2020.
Aliyah to Israel surged in 2021, with the 27,050 new arrivals from across the globe representing a 30% increase over the previous year’s 21,820 according to statistics released today by the Ministry of Aliyah and Integration.
December 22nd 2021:
The World Health Organization’s European chief warned countries to brace for a “significant surge” in COVID-19 cases as Omicron spreads, and advised the widespread use of boosters for protection.
Aircraft passengers are two or three times more likely to catch COVID-19 during a flight since the emergence of the Omicron variant.
Hospitals are once again filling up across the U.S. as case numbers skyrocket. The most recent surge — fueled by the fast-spreading, highly transmissible Omicron variant of the coronavirus — is arriving at hospitals as they are still battling the virus’s Delta variant and trying to manage the ongoing shortage of personnel.
According to a recent Gartner survey, 44 percent of U.S. companies have pushed back or altered their reopening plans because of the Omicron variant.
A top Russian diplomat has refused to rule out deploying nuclear weapons in Belarus amid continued high tensions with Ukraine and its NATO partners. Vladimir Putin has said he will consider a military response if Russia feels threatened by NATO.
For three weeks, U.S. President Joe Biden has not answered Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s request for a phone conversation on the issue of Iran’s nuclear program, Channel 13 News reported.
December 21st 2021:
The C.D.C. said Monday that Omicron had overtaken the Delta variant of the coronavirus in the U.S. and accounted for an estimated 650,000 or 73% of infections for the week ending Dec. 18th. This compares to only 3% of new cases the prior week.
In the first large-scale study, infections caused by the Omicron variant of the coronavirus do not appear to be less severe than infections from Delta, according to Imperial College London in the U.K. Also, according to the study, the odds of reinfection with Omicron are 5.4 times greater than for reinfection with Delta.
Germany plans to limit private gatherings from Dec. 28 to a maximum of 10 people who have been vaccinated or recovered from COVID-19, according to a draft of proposed measures seen by Reuters on Monday.
The European Union on Monday approved the use of the Novavax COVID-19 vaccine (Nuvaxovid ) in people 18 years and older. Deliveries of the two-dose vaccine are expected to start as early as January.
December 20th 2021:
Many hospitals have few beds available to handle an influx of Omicron-driven cases, because their intensive-care units are already flooded with patients needing urgent care for serious conditions like heart disease and cancer as well as the Delta variant. The risk hospitals will be overrun is increased by widespread staffing shortages, hospital executives said.
Director of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, Dr. Francis Collins, warned that if Americans don’t take COVID-19 seriously, the country could see 1 million daily infections.
U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren and Cory Booker announced on Sunday that they have tested positive for COVID-19, despite being vaccinated. A total of 12 vaccinated members of the House of Representatives previously tested positive.
Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, said Sunday that there is no indication that the Omicron variant of the coronavirus causes more severe illness, even as it appears to be more transmissible than earlier strains of the virus.
The U.N. General Assembly condemned Israel on Friday in two separate resolutions, concluding the world body’s 2021 legislation with a total of 14 resolutions that single out the Jewish state, and five on the rest of the world combined.
A staff member at a Washington D.C. school has been suspended after making third-grade children reenact scenes from the Holocaust, including getting them to pretend to dig mass graves and shoot victims, and telling them the Germans were angry “because the Jews ruined Christmas,” parents and officials said Sunday.
December 19th 2021:
The World Health Organization has given emergency approval to a coronavirus vaccine made by U.S.-based Novavax and the Serum Institute of India, paving the way for its inclusion in the U.N.-backed program to get vaccines to poorer countries around the world. CovavaxTM is a more traditional “Protein Subunit” vaccine.
A major incident has been declared in London and more than 10,000 new Omicron cases have been confirmed in the U.K., as the variant surges across the country. A further 90,418 daily Covid cases have been reported across the U.K. on Saturday, after days of record highs.
The scale of the threat posed by the Omicron variant was laid bare by U.K. government scientists last night as they warned that there are now hundreds of thousands of infections every day. That daily number could reach between 600,000 and 2 million by the end of the month if new restrictions are not brought in immediately.
The Omicron coronavirus variant has been reported in 89 countries and the number of cases is doubling as quickly as every 1.5 days in areas with community transmission, the World Health Organization (WHO) has said.
In a column in the official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Muwaffaq Matar, Fatah Revolutionary Council member and regular columnist for the paper accused Israel of deliberately bringing COVID-19 into the PA.
Russia may take unspecified new measures to ensure its security if the U.S. and its allies continue to take provocative action and ignore Moscow’s demand for guarantees precluding NATO’s expansion to Ukraine, a senior diplomat said Saturday.
Burlington Vermont decided to slash almost 30 percent of its police force by attrition. Since then, city leaders have been forced to reckon with the unintended consequences of that decision, including problems with public safety and quality of life, according to police and residents. Almost a year and a half later, no one, it seems, is happy, not even the councilor who proposed the resolution.
NATO’s top general has suggested the alliance should establish a military presence in Bulgaria and Romania following Russia’s troop build-up near the border with Ukraine, German newspaper Spiegel reported on Saturday.
Scientists are watching a giant ‘doomsday’ glacier in Antarctica with concern. Cracks and fissures in the Thwaites glacier have stoked fears of breakup that could lead to a half-metre rise in global sea levels – or more.
December 18th 2021:
Results from the latest research show that the risk of reinfection with the Omicron coronavirus variant is more than five times higher and it shows no sign of being milder than Delta.
The Omicron variant is “spreading at lightning speed” in Europe and will likely become dominant in France by the start of next year, French Prime Minister Jean Castex has warned.
Officials worked to shore up testing and healthcare capacity, as new Covid-19 infections hit a daily record in New York state and the Omicron variant added new risks to the pandemic response across the U.S.
Opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu and some 130 others at the Knesset entered quarantine on Friday evening, after four parliamentary personnel were confirmed to be carriers of coronavirus, officials said. At least one is suspected to be a carrier of the Omicron variant of COVID-19.
The White House is considering a plan to redirect helicopters and other military equipment to Ukraine to help quickly reinforce its defenses amid a buildup of Russian troops near its border, U.S. and Ukrainian officials said.
December 17th 2021:
South Africa’s health minister said on Friday that the government believed that vaccines and high levels of natural immunity of people who have already had contact with the virus, were helping to keep disease milder in a wave driven by the Omicron variant.
The rate of doubling for the Omicron variant is now 1½ Days in parts of the U.K., while South Africa reported significantly lower Covid-19 hospital admission rates than earlier in the pandemic despite a surge of infections.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended adults take a Covid-19 vaccine from Pfizer Inc. or Moderna Inc. over Johnson & Johnson’s after agency officials reported the rate of a rare but serious blood-clotting condition was higher than previously detected.
On Thursday, the U.K. set another grim record for the Covid epidemic with 88,376 new cases reported, a 31.4% rise on the week. Omicron cases are doubling every two days.
The G7 has called the Omicron variant the “biggest current threat to global public health”, warning it is now “more important than ever” for countries to “closely cooperate”.
Italy reported its highest Covid case rate since March 12th, with 26,109 cases, jumping 90% three weeks ago.
Ukraine says it will recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and will build a branch of its embassy in the holy city next year, Ukraine’s Ambassador to Israel Yehven Korniychuk said on Thursday.
The United States has walked back its promise to reopen a de facto consulate for Palestinians in eastern Jerusalem, much to the chagrin of embattled Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas, according to a report from Arabic language daily Al Quds on Thursday.
December 16th 2021:
Dr. Adam Koppel told the Massachusetts High Technology panel on Tuesday that if the projections are true and omicron becomes the dominant global strain, it will “enable us to more quickly get to an endemic state as opposed to a pandemic state where we can live more regularly with the virus more similar to the flu than what COVID has looked like,” the Boston Herald reported.
Compared to the earlier Delta variant, Omicron multiplies itself 70 times more quickly in tissues that line airway passages, which may facilitate person-to-person spread, they said. But in lung tissues, Omicron replicates 10 times more slowly than the original version of the coronavirus, which might contribute to less-severe illness.
An all-time record of 78,610 new Covid cases have been confirmed in the U.K., the government has announced. The previous record for cases was in January when more than 68,000 new cases were reported.
Omicron is “probably the most significant threat since the start of the pandemic”, according to Dr. Jenny Harries, the head of the U.K. Health Security Agency. Dr. Harries says the growth rate – the doubling time – was now under two days “in most regions of the U.K.”
Mike Evans, an early and firm supporter of Trump’s presidency who heads several Christian organizations, wrote in part, “Please, I beg of you, don’t put us in the position to choose between you and Bible land. There is no possibility you can win again if Bible-believing evangelicals see you as the President who blames the State of Israel, and not the Palestinians, for not making peace.”
Apple Inc. is delaying its return to office plans indefinitely, Bloomberg News reports.
December 15th 2021:
Pfizer says its pill likely works against the Omicron infections. Its antiviral drug Paxlovid stayed 89% effective at reducing the risk of hospitalization and death in a final analysis of a key study in high-risk adults.
No one has died from the Omicron coronavirus variant in a study of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine in South Africa, one of the co-lead investigators of the study said on Tuesday.
In the population in a South African study, the Pfizer vaccine’s effectiveness against infection dropped down to about 30% for the Omicron variant, compared with about 80% against the variant before omicron, the scientists reported.
WHO says the Omicron strain is the fastest-spreading version of coronavirus since the start of the pandemic. Denmark for the first time surpassed 1,000 daily cases of the new variant, which health officials expect to become dominant in Copenhagen this week.
The new coronavirus variant Omicron is spreading across the globe at an unprecedented rate, the World Health Organization (WHO) has warned. Cases of the heavily mutated variant have been confirmed in 77 countries.
According to a survey released Tuesday by the Pew Research Center, those with no religious affiliation now constitute 29% of American adults. That’s up from 23% in 2016 and 19% in 2011.
December 13th & 14th 2021:
Romania saw a steep rise in new cases and deaths in the past 24 hours, doubling in both categories.
An Israeli organization that performs life-saving surgery by repairing children’s hearts for free has just operated on its 6,000th patient, 11-year-old Mazen from the Gaza Strip.
The United States has now recorded more than 50 million confirmed cases of covid and over 800,000 deaths since the start of the pandemic.
In a study conducted by Sheba Medical Center in Israel it was found that those who have received a second dose of the Pfizer vaccine between five and six months ago have “almost no neutralizing ability” against the new Omicron variant, despite having some against the Delta, and “much more” against the original variant, Dr. Regev-Yochay said in a Saturday press conference.
“Here we are in one of the most vaccinated states in the country dealing with another surge of COVID,” said Dr. Eric Dickson, president and CEO of UMass Memorial Health, where a daily survey taken this week found 40% of COVID patients had been vaccinated, so had 25% in the ICU.
Before the Omicron variant took off last month, coronavirus cases in South Africa were low – only several hundred per day in mid November. But by early December, the tally of daily infections had shot up to more than 4,500 — and genomic sequencing shows that Omicron is to blame.
The UK’s Covid alert level has been raised, indicating substantial pressure on the National Health Service, amid concerns over the rapid increase in Omicron cases and a warning that the health service is “on its knees”.
Russia edges closer to war as new arms arrive on Ukraine’s border. A recent sighting of Putin’s notorious Buk missiles on their way to the frontline does not bode well for talks.
December 11th & 12th 2021:
Having two doses of a Covid vaccine offers less defense against symptomatic infection from the Omicron variant than with Delta, experts have said, although a booster jab raises protection to between 70% and 75%..
Britain’s top public health officials have advised ministers that “stringent national measures” need to be imposed by 18 December to avoid Covid hospitalizations surpassing last winter’s peak, according to documents leaked to the Guardian.
Companies of all sizes are rethinking their plans to send workers back to the office as the new omicron variant adds another layer of uncertainty.
Vasile Dincu, Romanian Defense Minister, stated that Russia is a growing threat to the entire Eastern portion of the NATO alliance, including Poland, Romania and Bulgaria.
A critical vulnerability in a widely used software tool is rapidly emerging as a major threat to organizations around the world. Amit Yoran, CEO of the cybersecurity firm Tenable, called it “the single biggest, most critical vulnerability of the last decade” — and possibly the biggest in the history of modern computing.
U.S. Consumer prices rose by 6.8 percent in November over the previous year, the highest annual inflation rate since June 1982, according to the latest Consumer Price Index data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, released Friday. The figure exceeds the 6.2 percent year-over-year figure from October.
December 10th 2021:
More than 40 people in the U.S. have been found to be infected with the Omicron variant so far, and more than three-quarters of them had been vaccinated, the chief of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has said. But she added nearly all of them were only mildly ill.
Cases of the Omicron variant could be spreading even faster in England than in South Africa, according to a senior scientific adviser, who warned that the variant was a “very severe setback” to hopes of bringing the pandemic under control.
December 9th 2021:
Verified carriers of the Omicron variant may be contagious for a longer period than observed in cases of other variant. Quarantines will need to be extended to at least 14-days.
The natural immune system may be primed from previous infections to recognize the Omicron virus. The focus now is on whether the parts of the immune system that power this long-term protection — primarily T cells — will hold up against the new variant. If that’s the case, immune responses could ramp up quickly after infection and protect people from the worst effects of the virus. [MSNBC]
The number of COVID-19 cases confirmed in Israel on Tuesday was the highest in six weeks, with children accounting for more than half of the diagnoses, according to the Health Ministry figure released Wednesday morning.
The Democratic-controlled U.S. Senate on Wednesday approved a Republican measure that would overturn President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 vaccine-or-test mandate for private businesses, with two Democrats joining Republicans to back the initiative.
France may introduce a fourth Covid vaccine booster shot, the government’s top Covid-19 adviser Jean-Francois Delfraissy has said.
Nearly four out of 10 workers in the U.S. are looking to make a job switch in the coming year, according to a new survey from Fidelity Investments, signaling that the Great Resignation might be far from over.
December 8th 2021:
The Romanian government will ease some Covid restrictions on Wednesday, including scrapping a night curfew and an obligation to wear face masks outdoors ahead of winter holidays.
Data suggests the doubling time for Omicron cases may be as short as two to three days, and the R number – which represents the average number of people that one infected person will pass on a virus to – could be well over two.
Scientists say they have identified a “stealth” version of Omicron that cannot be distinguished from other variants using the PCR tests that public health officials deploy to gain a quick picture of its spread around the world.
Germany reported 69,601 cases of Covid-19 and 527 deaths in the past 24 hours, according to the Robert Koch Institute, taking the total cases in the country to 6,291,621. There have been 104,047 deaths.
December 7th 2021:
A leading infectious diseases specialist who monitors variants for a research collaboration led by Harvard Medical School believes the world is seeing “what appears to be a signal of exponential increase of Omicron over Delta” where Omicron is “likely to become the dominant strain in the coming weeks and months.”
A new range of pandemic restrictions will be imposed in Poland this week. Italy tightened restrictions on people still not vaccinated, limiting their access to an array of places and services.
The U.S. has said it would send reinforcements to Nato’s eastern flank in response to a Russian invasion of Ukraine, as well as imposing severe new economic measures, in a warning to Moscow on the eve of talks between Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin.
December 6th 2021:
U.S. health officials said Sunday that while the Omicron variant of the coronavirus is rapidly spreading throughout the country, early indications suggest it may be less dangerous than Delta, which continues to drive a surge of hospitalizations. The Omicron variant of the coronavirus has spread to about one-third of U.S. states.
Scientists in South Africa now have evidence that the Omicron variant of the coronavirus spreads more than twice as quickly as the Delta variant in that country. “And we thought the Delta wave was really fast. It’s unbelievable…” said health official Juliet Pulliam.
The coronavirus pandemic that has so far killed more than 5 million people worldwide is far from over and the next one could be even more lethal, the creator of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine has said.
The Omicron variant is highly transmissible, but has a less than 1% chance of re-infection and typically results in “milder” disease, a South African researcher has said.
December 5th 2021:
U.K. ministers have agreed to a secrecy clause in any dispute with the drugs manufacturer Pfizer over Britain’s Covid vaccine supply. Large portions of the government’s contracts with the company over the supply of 189m vaccine doses have been redacted and any arbitration proceedings will be kept secret.
The United States cut off nuclear talks with Iran in Vienna on Friday, with Secretary of State Antony Blinken saying Tehran wasn’t serious about returning to compliance with the original 2015 agreement.
An assassination attempt targeting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was foiled on Saturday, the country’s official media reported.
December 4th 2021:
The Omicron variant of the virus that causes COVID-19 likely acquired at least one of its mutations by picking up a snippet of genetic material from another virus – possibly one that causes the common cold – present in the same infected cells, according to researchers.
Six more U.S. states confirmed infections of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 on Friday but the Delta strain likely remains a greater threat as winter sets in and Americans gather for the holidays, experts said.
The likelihood that people will need to have an annual COVID-19 vaccine, similar to the influenza shot, is increasing, German company BioNTech chief executive and co-founder Ugur Sahin told the Reuters Next conference on Friday.
A U.N. agency has officially declared terror victim Eli Kay who was murdered in the Old City of Jerusalem last week a “settler” killed in “occupied Palestinian territory,” Arutz 7 reported Thursday. An interactive map of casualties on its website shows that the 26-year-old victim of a Palestinian gunman was shot in the “occupied territory” of Jerusalem.
Russian President Vladimir Putin is nearly doubling the number of troops near the border with Ukraine to 175,000, giving him the capability for a potential invasion of his neighbor by early 2022, U.S. officials said.
December 3rd 2021:
Covid deaths in Romania tripled compared to yesterday. New cases also increased dramatically.
Only a day after the first case was reported in U.S., the Omicron variant has now been detected in at least five states.
A preliminary study by South African scientists published Thursday suggests the Omicron variant is three times more likely to cause reinfections compared to the delta or beta strains.
Health officials from the World Health Organization (WHO) say the number of countries reporting the detection of the new Omicron variant are “increasing daily”, and its distribution is “likely already wider than currently reported.” “All countries must prepare for an Omicron surge.”
Germany will ban unvaccinated people from shops and bars, unless they have recently recovered from Covid, and Chancellor Angela Merkel says a nationwide vaccination mandate could be imposed from February 2022. The new restrictions will go into effect next week.
Alphabet Inc’s Google said on Thursday it is indefinitely pushing back its January return-to-office plan globally amid growing concerns over the Omicron variant of the coronavirus and some resistance to company-mandated vaccinations. Other companies are beginning to consider different permanent work-at-home models for their employees.
There’s no doubt about it now: Inflation is soaring in pockets of the world’s largest economies. In the U.S., consumer prices are racing at their quickest level since 1990.
December 2nd 2021:
Romania has identified six suspected cases of the Omicron variant of the covid virus in individuals who returned recently from South Africa. Several of the cases are “highly likely” the new variant.
Novavax has begun filing for emergency use authorization with various regulatory agencies around the world for its Protein Subunit covid vaccine, which uses a more traditional approach (not mRNA). The rollout of the vaccine has been delayed by nearly a year due to lack of regulatory approval.
Ursula von der Leyen, the head of the European Commission (E.U.), stated that mandatory vaccination should considered to combat Covid and the Omicron variant. She said that vaccines would be crucial in the fight against the “highly contagious” new variant.
The first U.S. case of the Omicron variant has been identified in San Francisco.
Dutch health authorities announced on Tuesday that they found the new Omicron variant of the coronavirus in cases dating back as long as 11 days, indicating that it was already spreading in western Europe before the first cases were identified in southern Africa.
The U.K. head of disease outbreak analysis stated that people should not assume that Covid will evolve to become a milder disease, adding that the threat posed by the Omicron coronavirus variant will not be clear until the end of December.
The Omicron variant has fueled a “worrying” surge in coronavirus cases in South Africa and is rapidly becoming the dominant strain, local health officials have said. The number of cases doubled in the past 24 hours.
The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) said that the Omicron variant threatens to add to the existing strain on the world economy from persistently high levels of inflation.
Iran’s army spokesperson reiterated Sunday his country’s determination to wipe Israel off the map just ahead of the resumption of talks on a possible return to the abrogated 2015 nuclear deal.
December 1st 2021:
Patients who survive severe Covid are more than twice as likely to die over the following year than those who remain uninfected or experience milder virus symptoms, a study says. The increased risk of dying was greater for patients under 65.
Germany reported the highest number of deaths from coronavirus since mid-February on Wednesday as hospitals warned that the country could have 6,000 people in intensive care by Christmas, above the peak of last winter.
Israel’s Coronavirus czar Salman Zarka said Wednesday that the country should weigh introducing a national vaccine mandate compelling all citizens to get themselves inoculated against the coronavirus, a notion that mirrors legislation under consideration in several European countries.
The pickup in inflation rates around the world will be longer-lasting and sharper than previously anticipated, with a growing risk that households and businesses grow accustomed to faster price rises, the research group OECD said in its latest forecasts.
November 30th 2021:
At a briefing convened by South Africa’s Department of Health on Monday, Unben Pillay, a GP from practicing in Midrand on the outskirts of Johannesburg, said that while “it is still early days” the cases he was seeing were typically mild: “We are seeing patients present with dry cough, fever, night sweats and a lot of body pains.”
Hebrew University Prof. Zvika Granot: “The way that it [covid] will end, in my view, is when we encounter this new variant that is highly infectious but is not very aggressive, meaning that a lot of people will get infected but none of them will develop serious symptoms. And in a sense that will be the way the population will really gain herd immunity and then the coronavirus will just fade away.”
Greece said on Tuesday it would make COVID-19 vaccinations mandatory for people aged 60 and over, a drastic step for the country grappling with a new surge in coronavirus cases. Authorities said they would impose a 100 euro ($114) monthly fine on every individual over the age of 60 who was not vaccinated.
Moderna Inc.’s CEO, Stéphane Bancel, reiterated that the omicron variant’s many mutations suggest new vaccines will be needed, triggering a slump in global financial markets. He added that it could be months before pharmaceutical companies can produce vaccines at scale to counter omicron.
The E.U. Drug Regulator said on Tuesday that vaccines adapted to target the Omicron variant of the coronavirus could be approved within three to four months after development.
Dutch health authorities announced Tuesday that they found the new omicron variant of the coronavirus in cases dating back as much as 11 days, indicating that it was already spreading in western Europe before the first cases were identified in southern Africa.
Consumer prices across the 19 countries that use the euro currency are rising at a record rate of 4.9% as a result of a huge spike in energy costs this year, official figures showed Tuesday.
Pfizer has already started working on a version of its COVID-19 vaccine specifically targeting the Omicron variant in case the current inoculation is not effective against the new strain, the U.S. drugmaker’s CEO Albert Bourla said Monday.
Michigan’s number of hospitalized adults with confirmed COVID-19 cases reached a new pandemic high Monday, near 4,200, as the state continued to confront surging infections.
November 29th 2021:
The World Health Organization on Monday is pushing for an international accord to help prevent and fight future pandemics amid the emergence of a worrying new omicron COVID-19 variant. Some members are seeking a “legally binding instrument” or “pandemic treaty.”
The World Health Organization has assessed the overall global risk related to a newly discovered variant of the novel coronavirus, Omicron, as “very high.” Covid-19 surges could have “severe consequences” in some areas they said. To date, no deaths linked to Omicron have been reported.
Authorities in France are waiting for laboratory confirmation of eight suspected cases of the new variant of the coronavirus, involving people who traveled recently to southern Africa.
Countries around the world reported their first cases of the Omicron variant over the weekend and some imposed new travel restrictions. Scientists cautioned they don’t yet know how severe it will prove to be. At least a dozen countries have detected the Omicron strain that authorities said could pose a greater risk of people falling ill with Covid-19 a second time.
Dr. Anthony Fauci said on Sunday the U.S. has “the potential to go into a fifth wave” of coronavirus infections amid rising cases and stagnating vaccination rates. He also warned that the newly discovered Omicron variant shows signs of heightened transmissibility.
The top five countries with the highest deaths per million of population are: Peru, Bulgaria, Hungary, Czechia and Romania. The U.S. is in 10th place.
Several leading German politicians called on Sunday for tighter restrictions to contain a surge in coronavirus cases as the infection rate hit a new high and fears about the new Omicron variant rose.
G7 health ministers are to hold an emergency meeting on Monday on the new Omicron Covid-19 strain, as experts race to understand what the variant means for the fight to end the pandemic, AFP reports.
Researchers at Ariel University in Samaria have discovered that a special form of radiation known as millimeter waves can kill 99% of corona and polio viruses from surfaces within two seconds, The Jerusalem Post reported. “Other methods currently used for this purpose, like UV radiation, take minutes and sometimes even a full hour, and in addition, they might be toxic for humans, which makes the disinfection process very impractical,” Dr. Gabi Gerlitz said. “With our technique, we have cleared almost 99.9% of the virus within two seconds.”
At an event sponsored by the Palestinian Authority’s Education Ministry, regional maps were displayed with Israel erased, alongside banners reading “Palestine – the entire land is ours, from the [Mediterranean] Sea to the [Jordan] River.”
November 28th 2021:
The South African doctor who first alerted authorities to the presence of the COVID-19 omicron variant reported that it presents “unusual but mild” symptoms. “It presents mild disease with symptoms being sore muscles and tiredness for a day or two not feeling well,” Dr. Angelique Coetzee explained. “So far, we have detected that those infected do not suffer the loss of taste or smell.
The Omicron strain of the coronavirus is cropping up across Europe, with cases detected in the United Kingdom, Germany and Italy. As the latest variant of concern spreads around the world, Australia has also joined the growing list of countries with confirmed cases.
Evidence is growing that infections provide as much protection as vaccines, prompting some experts to suggest a nuanced approach to vaccine mandates. [WSJ]
China could face more than 630,000 COVID-19 infections a day if it dropped its zero-tolerance policies by lifting travel curbs, according to a study by Peking University mathematicians.
Palestinian militant group Hamas called for unrest in the West Bank city of Hebron, following news that Israeli President Isaac Herzog would light the first candle of Hanukkah at the Tomb of the Patriarchs on Sunday. A Hamas official regarded the planned candle-lighting as a “provocation.” The Arab Governor of Hebron called the event “a declaration of war.”
November 27th 2021:
Britain, Germany and Italy detected cases of the new Omicron coronavirus variant on Saturday and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced new steps to contain the virus, while more nations imposed restrictions on travel from southern Africa.
Authorities are scrambling to locate 800 Israelis who may have been exposed to the new Omicron variant of COVID-19, a defense official said Saturday.
New York Governor Kathy Hochul issued a COVID-19 “disaster emergency” declaration on Friday, citing increasing rates of infections and hospitalizations.
It could take more than three months for producers to “tweak” current vaccines to be effective against the Omicron variant.
Israel’s Prime Minister Bennett told the country that Israel is “raising a red flag” and is about to enter “a state of emergency” due to one confirmed and two suspected cases of the Omicron virus. All three individuals were vaccinated.
Australia confirmed it will close its borders to anyone who has been in southern Africa, and is not an Australian citizen. Australian citizens, residents and their dependents arriving from these countries will need to go into immediate supervised quarantine for 14 days.
An experimental Covid-19 pill from Merck and partner Ridgeback was only 30% effective in a final analysis of study results, the companies said, down from the 50% rate found in an earlier compilation of the data.
Scientists are now saying that there are roughly 50 mutations on the new Omicron variant, called B.1.1.529, which could potentially render it more transmissible and reduce vaccine effectiveness. [WSJ]
The new COVID-19 variant, dubbed Omicron and originally detected in South Africa, poses a “high to very high” risk to Europe, the E.U. health agency warned on Friday.
November 26th 2021:
The World Health Organization has named the B.1.1.529 Covid variant Omicron and says an advisory group has recommended that it should be designated as “of concern.” In a statement, WHO said preliminary evidence suggests the latest variant carries a “higher risk of re-infection than other variants of concern”.
The president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, has said it is important that Europe remains united and acts “swiftly and decisively” in the face of the new B.1.1.529 mutation – as she recommended member states to suspend all air travel from southern African countries affected by the variant.
Germany’s top health officials have raised the prospect of a national lockdown, warning that a rapidly rising number of coronavirus cases and a dramatic increase in the number of patients in intensive care meant contact reduction was the only way of tackling the crisis and avoiding “the road to chaos”.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky accused Russia of backing a plan to overthrow him, in remarks that threaten to aggravate tense relations between Kyiv and Moscow as Western officials warn of a possible Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The World Health Organization is holding an emergency meeting Friday to discuss the dramatic rise in COVID-19 cases in South Africa that has been blamed on a new covid variant (B.1.1.529). James Gallagher, the BBC health correspondent, wrote that one scientist described the variant as “horrific.” He said the meeting of the WHO will likely result in the variant receiving a Greek code-name, like the Delta variant. [ARTICLE LINK]
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a health advisory Wednesday that cases of influenza have been rising among young adults in recent weeks. While flu cases are still low nationally, more than 90 percent are among children and young adults ages 5 to 24, according to the CDC.
November 25th 2021:
Coronavirus infections broke records in parts of Europe on Wednesday, with the continent once again the epicentre of a pandemic that has prompted new curbs on movement and seen health experts push to widen the use of booster vaccination shots.
Cases continue to rise in Poland with 28,380 new coronavirus infections in the last 24 hours – a 17% increase from cases reported a week ago, and the first time the number has exceeded 25,000 since April.
A new COVID-19 variant (B.1.1.529) has been discovered with 32 mutations to its spike protein. Several of the variants are confirmed to increase virulence and reduce antibody recognition.
“We are concerned about a false sense of security that vaccines have ended the pandemic, and that people who are vaccinated do not need to take any other precautions,” WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said. “Vaccines save lives, but they do not fully prevent transmission.”
Italy unveiled new Covid measures banning the unvaccinated from numerous venues, extending compulsory vaccination and expanding booster shots to all adults. France is to announce new Covid measures as infections surge across the country. Germany has now recorded more than 100,000 covid deaths.
Russia is now moving forces to Crimea in the latest build-up. Troop movements were reported by the Janes and Conflict Intelligence Team. The U.S. has warned its allies of a potential Russian invasion of Ukraine. Bloomberg
November 24th 2021:
Germany is set to mark 100,000 deaths from COVID-19 this week, passing a somber milestone that several of its neighbors crossed months ago but which Western Europe’s most populous nation had hoped to avoid.
Europe remains “in the firm grip” of COVID-19 and the continent’s death toll could top 2.2 million this winter if current trends continue, the World Health Organization warned on Tuesday.
Protests erupted in Istanbul and Ankara over financial collapse. Protestors are calling for a snap election/government resignation. Turkey’s lira tumbled anew on Wednesday towards a record low after a 15% crash a day earlier. Annual inflation is forecast to exceed 30%.
Australia on Wednesday listed all of Hezbollah as a “terrorist organization,” extending an existing ban on armed units to the entire organization, which wields considerable power in Lebanon.
November 23rd 2021:
In contrast with other E.U. countries, Romania is considering relaxing restrictions on December 1st after new cases went down significantly since reaching a peak on November 2nd.
India reported 7,579 new coronavirus infections on Tuesday, the smallest rise in one-and-a-half-years despite huge festival gatherings in recent weeks, thanks to rising vaccinations and antibodies from prior infections.
“The United States does not need to impose a lockdown or shut down its economy to curb the spread of COVID-19 and will rely on other tools.” White House COVID-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients said on Monday.
Germany and the Netherlands have been told they should face still tougher Covid restrictions as the German health minister, Jens Spahn, made the startling prediction that most of his compatriots would be “vaccinated, cured or dead” by the end of winter.
The U.S. Government and the C.D.C. continue to refuse to accept natural immunity (recovery from covid) as a valid exemption from vaccine mandates. There are 140 million Americans with natural immunity to the coronavirus which is more effective than vaccinated immunity, according to data backed up by a massive study in Israel.
Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko said on Monday that he seeks no confrontation with Poland but wants the European Union to take in 2,000 of the migrants stranded on its border, and he added that if the crisis deteriorated too far “war is unavoidable.” Belarus continues to bring migrants to the border region with Poland.
The situation in Eastern Ukraine is heating up. U.S. intel shows that Russia could attack Ukraine in January or February on the false premise that they were “provoked” by Ukraine. Ukraine shares a border with Moldova, Poland and Romania. There are over 2,500 Brethren in the four countries combined. Russia accused the U.S. on Sunday of creating “hysteria” over their buildup of troops near its border with Ukraine.
November 22nd 2021:
German politicians are debating making COVID-19 vaccinations compulsory for citizens in light of soaring infections. “We’ve reached a point at which we must clearly say that we need de facto compulsory vaccination and a lockdown for the unvaccinated,” Tilman Kuban, head of the youth wing of Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU), wrote in Die Welt newspaper.
A Hamas rally took place in east Jerusalem’s refugee camp of Shuafat on Sunday night, with demonstrators expressing support for the militant who killed one Israeli and wounded four others during a shooting in Jerusalem’s Old City.
November 21st 2021:
America’s Covid-19 infections are climbing again, and could soon hit a weekly average of 100,000 cases a day as daily case reports increased more than 20% across the upper Midwest. States in the Northeast are being hit particularly hard, including in heavily vaccinated states such as Vermont and New Hampshire, where cases have risen by 60 percent and 56 percent respectively.
The reproduction rate of the virus in Israel is on the rise again, suggesting the pandemic is far from over. “…the wave hasn’t subsided completely.” Prof. Orna Baron Epel, School of Public Health, University of Haifa said.
The World Health Organization has said another 500,000 people in Europe could die of Covid by March next year unless urgent action is taken. With infections spiking again despite nearly two years of restrictions, the health crisis increasingly is pitting citizen against citizen — the vaccinated against the unvaccinated.
In Ukraine the situation has turned dire nearly two years since the virus swept into Europe. The country is setting records almost every day for infections and deaths.
Austria announced this week that it would become the first country to legally require all people to have the vaccines, beginning in February.
Something “mysterious” is going on in Africa that is puzzling scientists, said Wafaa El-Sadr, chair of global health at Columbia University. “Africa doesn’t have the vaccines and the resources to fight COVID-19 that they have in Europe and the U.S., but somehow they seem to be doing better,” she said. Fewer than 6% of people in Africa are vaccinated. [AP]
Demonstrations against virus restrictions took place in Austria, Croatia, Italy, the Netherlands, Northern Ireland and Switzerland on Saturday, a day after Dutch police opened fire on protesters and seven people were injured in rioting that erupted in Rotterdam.
Hezbollah condemned Britain’s decision on Friday to blacklist the political wing of Hamas as a terrorist organization. British Home Secretary Priti Patel announced the move in her first keynote speech on security in Washington D.C. The military wing was designated by Britain as a terrorist organization in 2019.
Washington and its NATO allies have accused Russia of threatening behavior towards Kyiv in recent weeks, expressing fears that the buildup could be a prelude to a full-blown Russian invasion.
November 19th & 20th 2021:
Germany has entered a “nationwide state of emergency” because of surging coronavirus infections, the head of the country’s disease control agency said Friday. Lothar Wieler, the head of the Robert Koch Institute, said regular medical care cannot be guaranteed anymore in some parts of the country because hospitals and intensive care wards are overstretched.
Austria has declared a nationwide lockdown effective November 22nd. COVID-19 vaccination will become mandatory in February. Other E.U. nations are considering similar measures.
The American Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has asked a judge to give the agency until 2076 to fully release the data it used when deciding to grant a license to Pfizer’s Covid vaccine. If the FDA is successful, it would mean the public having to wait a staggering 55 years to be fully informed on how the decision was made.
Covid-19 cases in Germany have reached record highs, with daily infections exceeding 65,000 for the first time during the entire pandemic. The head of the country’s infectious disease agency has described the situation as a “serious emergency”.
Austria set an all-time record of daily infections at more than 15,000. The country has already placed about 2 million unvaccinated people in lockdown from Monday. The worst impacted provinces have begun planning a full lockdown amid pressure on the government grows to do the same nationally, rather than the current lockdown for the unvaccinated.
Cases and hospital admissions over the last week in Poland have risen by over 30%. The country recorded 24,882 new confirmed coronavirus cases and 370 deaths over the past 24 hours.
Deaths have hit a record peak in Russia, with more than 1,200 deaths reported for the second consecutive day. The number of officially reported new daily infections was also up at 37,374.
As cases of Covid-19 rise throughout the U.S., health officials warn that an increasing number of fully vaccinated people are being hospitalized or going to the emergency room.
Romania’s Senate passed a law on Monday which requires high schools and trade schools in the southeastern European country to teach students about the Nazi genocide of millions of Jews during World War II. The law passed 107 to 13, with one abstention. The fourth largest party in Romania, the right-wing Alliance for the Union of the Romanians (AUR), voted against the law.
November 18th 2021:
Mask-wearing is the single most effective public health measure at tackling Covid, reducing incidence by 53%, the first global study of its kind shows.
The World Health Organization says coronavirus deaths in Europe rose another 5% in the last week, making it the only region in the world where COVID-19 deaths increased. Of the 3.3 million new infections reported last week globally, 2.1 million came from Europe.
U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Linda Thomas-Greenfield is “optimistic” that more countries will normalize relations with Israel as part of the Abraham Accords and is working on making it into a reality.
November 17th 2021:
With winter closing in and coronavirus case rates creeping up once again, White House chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci is warning that the vaccines’ waning immunity combined with the highly transmissible delta variant will make for a “double whammy” that will impact “even the vaccinated people.”
The pharmaceutical giant Pfizer announced on Tuesday that it had asked for Emergency Use Authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for its oral antiviral drug, called Paxlovid, a novel 3CL protease inhibitor antiviral therapy.
Germany is paving the way for the introduction of tighter restrictions on people who have so far chosen not to be vaccinated against Covid-19. Germany is the second E.U. country, after Austria, to impose restrictions on the non-vaccinated.
The Kampala, Uganda suicide bombers who set off two powerful explosions in the center of Uganda’s capital during rush hour were members of Islamic State. At least three people were killed and 33 were injured in the Tuesday morning attacks, which took place within about 550 yards and three minutes of each other in Kampala’s heavily guarded business district, police spokesman Fred Enanga said.
A deadly storm described by officials as a once-in-a-century weather event has severed road and rail links around Vancouver, Canada. Repairs on some major highways could take months.
November 16th 2021:
The WHO said Friday that nearly 2 million cases were reported across Europe in the previous week — the most the region has had in a single week since the pandemic began.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned Monday of a “blizzard” of new coronavirus infections coming into the U.K. from continental Europe, as his government extended the vaccine booster program to younger people in an effort to bolster waning immunity levels during the winter months. [AP]
Two loud explosions were heard in the Ugandan capital, Kampala, early Tuesday, witnesses reported. They said one blast happened near a police station and another along a street near the parliamentary building. The cause of the blasts was not immediately clear but the Ugandan authorities have blamed previous bombings on Islamist militants.
At a three-day conference in San Antonio, Texas, for the “ReAwaken America” tour, former national security adviser and keynote speaker Michael Flynn called for Christianity to become the singular religion of the United States.
The head of NATO has urged Russia to be transparent about its military plans after an increase in the numbers of troops on its border with Ukraine. Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said last week there were nearly 100,000 Russian soldiers near Ukraine’s border.
November 15th 2021:
Austria is placing about 2 million unvaccinated people in lockdown from Monday amid record infection levels and growing pressure on hospitals. Unvaccinated people will only be able to leave home for a limited number of reasons, like working or buying food.
In the U.S. Covid-19 cases are climbing in places like the upper Midwest, Southwest and parts of the Northeast, hindering the nation’s progress in ending a surge triggered by the highly contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus.
Germany’s coronavirus infection rate has risen to its highest level since the start of the pandemic, public health figures showed on Monday. The seven-day incidence rate – the number of people per 100,000 to be infected over the last week – rose to 303 from 289 the previous day, figures from the Robert Koch Institute showed on Monday.
In spite of declining new case numbers, Romania, Bulgaria and the Balkan states recorded some of the highest per-capita death rates in the world in the first week of November, according to the WHO.
November 14th 2021:
Germany is preparing to bring in the army to assist overrun healthcare services, according to reports. Der Spiegel reported that 12,000 soldiers will be mobilized by Christmas.
A new record Covid death toll has been reported in Russia, with 1,241 dying from the disease in the past 24 hours. There were 39,256 new coronavirus cases recorded in the same period.
According to the World Health Organization, coronavirus infections across Europe rose by 7% and deaths by 10% over the past week, making it the only world region where cases and deaths are steadily increasing.
As Europe finds itself at the epicenter of the Covid-19 pandemic once again, experts say it should serve as a “warning” to the U.S. and other countries about the virus’ “unremitting” nature.
November 12th & 13th 2021:
In Romania the average daily death rate hit 23.7 per million last week and has since dipped to 21, according to figures from OurWorldInData – but that is still more than 30 times higher than in Portugal, France or Spain.
The Robert Koch Institute has recorded another record daily caseload of Covid-19 in Germany, with 50,196 new cases reported on Thursday, the fourth day in a row it has posted a fresh daily high.
Veterinarians at Pennsylvania State University have found active SARS-CoV-2 infections in at least 30% of deer tested across Iowa during 2020. Even higher numbers have been found in other States. Their study, published online last week, suggests that white-tailed deer could become what’s known as a reservoir for SARS-CoV-2. That is, the animals could carry the virus indefinitely and spread it back to humans periodically. If that’s the case, it would essentially dash any hopes of eliminating or eradicating the virus in the U.S. — and therefore from the world.
At the signing of the latest agreement, Russia promised not to allow natural gas to become a political weapon. Now Alexander Lukashenko, considered a Russian proxy, has threatened to cut deliveries of gas to Europe via a major pipeline. The Belarusian leader promised to retaliate against any new E.U. sanctions imposed in response to the crisis at the Poland-Belarus border.
November 11th 2021:
A new surge of Covid-19 cases is expected to start hitting the United States around Thanksgiving just as the holiday season begins, public health experts are warning.
Israel is to conduct the world’s first national Covid drill to test the country’s readiness for an outbreak of a new and lethal variant of the virus. The drill, scheduled for Thursday, will take the format of a war games exercise.
A recent study in the U.K. suggests that a subset of people already had memory T-cells from previous infections from other seasonal coronaviruses causing common colds, which protected them from Covid-19. These immune cells “sniff out” proteins in the replication machinery – a region of Covid-19 shared with seasonal coronaviruses – and in some people this response was quick and potent enough for the infection to be cleared at the earliest stage.
COVID-19 is likely to become a long-term issue for Americans to “learn to live with,” according to U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy. This is a message that has been repeated by officials in a number of countries.
Inflation in the U.S. does not seem to be slowing down as hoped for, rising at a 6.2% annual rate in October. It was up sharply from a 5.4% rate in September. The Labor Department said the consumer-price index, which measures what consumers pay for goods and services, increased at the fastest annual pace since 1990.
The United States toed the line during a critical U.N. vote on Wednesday, changing its vote from “no” to abstaining on a measure which said that Palestinian refugees and their descendants have the “right to return” and settle in modern-day Israel. The vote marked a significant departure from previous U.S. votes on such matters, which garnered an “automatic” no in support of the Jewish State.
November 10th 2021:
Germany’s national disease control center reported a record-high number of new coronavirus cases Wednesday as one of the country’s top virologists warned that another lockdown would be needed if vaccinations do not quickly accelerate.
Coronavirus deaths in Russia hit a new record Tuesday and new confirmed cases remained high two days after a nine-day work stoppage ended in most of the country’s regions.
Health officials in Europe are sounding the alarm about a surge in COVID-19 cases. In the final weeks of October, nearly 60% of the world’s new cases were reported in Europe.
Just over half of Britons did not know that 6 million Jewish people were murdered during the Holocaust, and less than a quarter thought that 2 million or fewer were killed, a new survey has found.
Top Israeli defense officials say the country is preparing for the possibility of an armed conflict with regional arch-rival Iran and its proxies. Israeli army chief of staff Lt. Gen. Aviv Kohavi said Tuesday that the Israeli military was “speeding up the operational plans and readiness for dealing with Iran and the nuclear military threat.”
November 9th 2021:
A team of Israeli experts has solved the mystery of which proteins in the SARS-CoV-2 virus are responsible for severe vascular damage in Covid-19 patients. This research could help find targets for a drug that will be used to stop the virus’s activity, or at least minimize damage to blood vessels.
Ukraine registered a record 833 coronavirus-related deaths over the past 24 hours, the health ministry said this morning. The previous high of 793 deaths was on 6 November.
The U.N. humanitarian chief urged Myanmar’s military leaders on Monday to provide unimpeded access to the more than 3 million people in need of life-saving humanitarian assistance since government forces seized power on Feb. 1. The handful of Bible Students in Myanmar are in one of the worst-hit areas but are coping with the situation.
November 8th 2021:
An Israeli company, MigVax, is developing a Protein Subunit covid vaccine in pill form. This type of vaccine is more traditional, and similar to Novavax which has yet to be approved, but is in pill form. A coalition funded by Bill Gates dedicated to fighting Covid awarded $4.3 million to the Israeli company for development of the vaccine. [I24 News]
Germany recorded its highest ever seven-day Covid incidence rate. Russia and Ukraine posted record Covid numbers. The U.K. government could restrict travel for people who refuse Covid boosters.
Global COVID-19 cases surpassed 250 million on Monday as some countries in eastern Europe experienced record outbreaks, even as the Delta variant surge eases and many countries resume trade and tourism.
A federal appeals court on Saturday temporarily halted the Biden administration’s vaccine requirement for businesses with 100 or more workers. At least 27 states filed lawsuits challenging the rule in several circuits.
According to data from the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center, cases have risen in almost every European country over the last two weeks. In 13 of 45 countries, new cases have more than doubled.
November 6th & 7th 2021:
Covid infections in Germany have risen sharply again, with 23,543 new cases reported within one day. The nationwide seven-day incidence also increased significantly, with the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) saying on Sunday the number of new infections per 100,000 inhabitants now stands at 191.5. The previous day the incidence was 183.7, and a week ago it was 149.4. Last month it had been 62.6.
Former Vice President Mike Pence on Saturday took aim at President Biden over his administration’s treatment of Israel. “Make no mistake about it, President Joe Biden has turned his back on Israel. He has restored funding for the Palestinian Authority, announced his intention to rejoin the Iran Nuclear Deal, and now the Biden administration is planning to open a consulate in Jerusalem for the Palestinian people.”
This week, two Indian drugmakers independently testing generic Molnupiravir (Merck) in people with moderate illness due to COVID-19 sought to end their trials because they saw no “significant efficacy” for the experimental drug. In addition, the compound’s mutagenic potential in human cells — the possibility that it could incorporate itself into DNA — raises serious safety concerns, some researchers say. The drug is of the nucleoside analog family.
Pfizer Inc. said its Covid-19 pill reduced hospitalizations and deaths in high-risk patients by 89%, a result that has the potential to upend how the disease caused by the coronavirus is treated and alter the course of the pandemic. The drug, a protease inhibitor, blocks a key enzyme which viruses need to multiply in the human body.
Romania and Ukraine are asking the United States to increase their military presence in the Black Sea, and to establish a related command and control structure. Both countries are accusing Russia of militarizing the region.
November 5th 2021:
Europe registered a 55% rise in COVID-19 cases in the last four weeks, which should serve as a “warning shot” to other regions, World Health Organization (WHO) officials said on Thursday. New cases are at near-record levels and 500,000 more deaths are forecast by February.
Romania has now surpassed the 50,000 mark of COVID deaths. The country still has one of the highest death rates per thousand inhabitants on a 14-day rolling average. The population of Romania is slightly less than 20 million and has the highest rate of poverty in the E.U. (greater than 30%) taking that sad distinction recently from Bulgaria.
In the U.S. declining cases and hospitalizations have offered hope ahead of the holiday season, when Americans travel and spend more time indoors, but progress has stalled recently, with cases rising or plateauing in more than 20 states. A surge in Colorado Covid cases could force hospitals to ration services.
The U.K. medicines regulator has become the first in the world to approve an oral antiviral pill (molnupiravir) for Covid. The pill is taken twice daily at home for five days. The drug costs about $18 to produce, but Merck is charging over $700 for a treatment regimen. Unlike recent vaccines, molnupiravir invades and destroys the virus.
President Joe Biden will enforce a mandate that workers at U.S. companies with at least 100 employees be vaccinated against COVID-19 or be tested weekly starting Jan. 4. More than 100 million workers will be affected.
New York City will begin offering $100 to children ages 5-11 who get one of the COVID-19 vaccines.
The Israeli Environmental Protection Ministry blocked a deal with the United Arab Emirates to ship large amounts of oil through a pipeline stretching from Eilat to Ashkelon, citing concerns over possible leaks.
A Russian analyst, Igor Danchenko, who worked on a dossier that made unsubstantiated claims linking Donald Trump to the Kremlin has been arrested in the U.S. for lying to the FBI. He was detained as part of an inquiry into the origins of baseless claims that Trump colluded with Russia to win the 2016 election. [BBC]
November 4th 2021:
For the 2nd day in-a-row Romania set a record for the number classified as in ICU. Not all are being cared for in Romania due to the shortage of beds, and some patients continue to be airlifted to one of four countries in the E.U.
A whistleblower, fired from one of the clinical research organizations carrying out human trials of Pfizer’s Covid vaccine, has told the British Medical Journal that the company falsified data, unblinded patients, employed inadequately trained vaccinators, and was slow to follow up on adverse events during the Phase III trial. Furthermore, these concerns were made known to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration before it gave approval to the vaccine, but no action was taken by the FDA to follow up on the report. [World Israel News]
France reported the highest daily cases since mid-September. Health authorities reported 10,050 new Covid-19 infections on Wednesday, the first time the tally has topped 10,000 since September 14.
The United States had the second-steepest decline in life expectancy among high-income countries last year during the pandemic, according to a study of death data spanning several continents. The only country studied that saw a starker overall trend was Russia. U.S. men saw life expectancy fall by nearly 2.3 years. Women lost more than 1.6 years of life expectancy.
The U.K. recorded another 41,299 Covid cases, and a further 217 deaths in the latest 24-hour period. By comparison, there were 33,865 cases the previous day.
Ukraine has set another new daily record for cases with 27,377 in the past 24 hours. There have been more than 3 million official cases in total.
The number of serious Covid-19 cases in Israel has fallen below 200 for the first time in three months, according to an update from the Health Ministry published late Wednesday.
U.S. inflation has climbed to its highest level in three decades as Americans have gone on a spending spree that has sparked widespread shortages.
November 3rd 2021:
Romania posted another all-time record for ICU patients, many of whom are still being airlifted to Germany as there are no free ICU beds in the entire country.
Faced with rising case numbers, the Ukrainian government has enacted a series of anti-Covid measures. Teachers, government employees and other workers have been told to get fully vaccinated by November 8th or face having their salary payments suspended. This morning, the health ministry reported 23,393 new cases.
Poland reported more than 10,400 Covid-19 cases on Wednesday, a 24% rise week on week, government spokesman Piotr Muller said. Reuters noted that the last time the number of daily infections in Poland was above 10,000 was in late April.
England’s deputy chief medical officer Prof. Jonathan Van-Tam had some strong words appearing on the BBC this morning, saying that “Too many people believe that this pandemic is now over. I personally feel there are some hard months to come in the winter and it is not over.” The U.K. had its highest number of daily Covid deaths reported since late February.
Russia today has confirmed 40,443 new Covid-19 infections and a new official pandemic record of 1,189 daily deaths. The country is in a week long enforced shutdown in order to try to stem the rising tide of infections.
A potentially faster-spreading “sub-lineage” of the coronavirus Delta variant named AY.4.2 has been spotted by labs in at least 8 U.S. states, and health authorities in the United Kingdom say they are investigating a growing share of cases from this strain of the virus.
The international community’s chief representative in Bosnia has warned that the country is in imminent danger of breaking apart, and there is a “very real” prospect of a return to conflict. Two-thirds of Bosnia’s border is with Croatia.
November 2nd 2021:
Romania broke an all-time daily record for covid deaths as reported today. The number of patients in ICU remains at record levels. Daily new cases continue a gradual decline.
Molecules designed by Israeli scientists that slowed Alzheimer’s and other degenerative diseases in mice began the approval process to become a drug for humans. The drug is not expected to be a cure, but rather to “delay the onset and progression of the diseases, and improve the quality of life,” Times of Israel reported.
November 1st 2021:
The global death toll from COVID-19 topped 5 million on Monday, less than two years into a crisis that has not only devastated poor countries but also humbled wealthy ones with first-rate health care systems.
There continues to be a lack of ICU beds in Romania. Today a fourth country, Germany, was added to the list of those that are receiving airlifted patients from Romania.
France saw new infections surge by 26.5% on the previous week. Poland reported 7,145 new Covid cases as the Eastern European epidemic continued to grow. Russia reported 40,993 new Covid-19 infections, its highest single-day case tally since the start of the pandemic.
The U.S. Delta wave of the Covid-19 pandemic is past its peak, with new cases, hospitalizations and deaths declining in most states. The approaching holidays and winter months will test whether the U.S. can sustain that momentum.
Employees at General Electric who seek a religious exemption to the vaccine mandate are asked to answer 13 questions, including whether their religious beliefs prevent them from wearing seat belts or taking Tylenol. Employees at the railroad operator Amtrak have to fill out a 31-question form that asks, in part, how long they have had their religious beliefs; whether they have any tattoos or body piercings; and whether they eat foods that contain preservatives or chemicals.
October 31st 2021:
Who’s right? “Unvaccinated people who survived a previous COVID-19 infection were more than five times more likely to be reinfected compared to those who were fully vaccinated,” according to a new study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The study’s findings differed from a recent study in Israel that suggested Israelis with “natural immunity” from a previous case of the virus appeared to have “longer lasting and stronger protection” against a reinfection.
Concerns are mounting in Germany about a rapidly growing and hard to predict fourth wave of Covid-19 this autumn. An increasingly mobile population, a largely dismantled pop-up testing infrastructure and reduced staffing at hospitals have led some experts to warn that the government is facing a resurgent virus with less resolve than at previous stages of the pandemic.
Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva is warning of an “imminent threat to public safety” caused by a “mass exodus” of thousands of deputies and civilian personnel from his department who refuse to get the COVID-19 vaccine. “I could potentially lose 44% of my workforce in one day,” Villanueva wrote Thursday.
U.S. Democratic congressmen are expected to appeal to President Joe Biden in the coming days to refrain from opening a consulate for the Palestinian Authority in Jerusalem. The initiative is being organized by senior members of the House of Representatives, who belong to the mainstream wing of Biden’s party.
The GCC, a six-member regional body of Middle East Arab countries, have recalled their ambassadors to Lebanon in a dispute over remarks about Saudi Arabia’s actions in Yemen. The diplomatic rupture throws Lebanon’s cabinet into further crisis as it tries to rally Arab support for its ailing economy.
October 30th 2021:
The number of new Covid-19 cases in the United States has dropped by nearly a quarter in the last two weeks, further signaling a downward trend in the country’s fourth wave of the pandemic. Overall, new cases have fallen 57 percent since Sept. 13.
With 41 percent fewer cases per day, Israel this week saw the biggest drop in coronavirus morbidity anywhere in the world, according to global trackers. A total of 651 new cases of coronavirus were logged on Thursday, compared to the average of between 5,000 to 6,000 new patients recorded daily two months ago.
An Israeli biomedical company announced Friday that it was granted clearance by South Africa’s top health regulator to begin enlisting volunteers for a Phase I clinical trial of its oral coronavirus vaccine, the first of its kind.
U.S. consumer prices rose at the fastest pace in 30 years in September according to new government data released Friday. Consumer spending also rose in September the data showed.
October 29th 2021:
A cheap antidepressant reduced the need for hospitalization among high-risk adults with COVID-19 in a study hunting for existing drugs that could be repurposed to treat coronavirus. The pill, called fluvoxamine, would cost $4 for a course of COVID-19 treatment. This compares to other treatments which range in cost from $700 to $2,000.
Hospitals in Germany issued a statement that the number of covid patients requiring ICU rose by 15% in the past week.
Russia reported record numbers of daily coronavirus cases and deaths on Thursday as Moscow shut down non-essential services for 11 days to combat the surge in infections.
Some 20 percent of New York City fire and ambulance stations are expected to close their doors next week, when Governor Bill de Blasio’s vaccine mandate comes into effect. The mandate is expected to take some 40 percent of staff offline.
Google Maps prominently displays the names of former Palestinian localities depopulated during Israel’s 1948 War of Independence alongside the names of neighborhoods and cities in modern Israel, World Israel News has found.
Apple warns of supply-chain woes as Amazon faces rising labor costs. These are two prominent examples of disruptions caused by the Pandemic. The global semiconductor shortage is worsening, with wait times lengthening, buyers hoarding products and the potential end looking less likely to materialize until 2023.
The U.S. government is considering payments of $450,000 per person to asylum seekers illegally crossing the border with Mexico in 2018. [WSJ]
Interesting Quote: “Proof is useless unless it’s proof of something people already want to believe in.”
October 28th 2021:
Europe was the only region in the world to report an increase in both Covid-19 cases and deaths this week, according to the WHO’s latest epidemiological update. Europe Covid deaths rose 14% in the last week alone. Covid-19 infections continue to surge across Eastern Europe in particular.
Emergency Rooms in the U.S. and other countries are now swamped with seriously ill patients — but many don’t even have COVID. Patients who couldn’t see a doctor earlier in the pandemic or were too afraid to go to a hospital have finally become too sick to stay away. Many ERs now struggle to cope with an onslaught of need.
Israeli researchers at Bar-Ilan University have developed a novel treatment approach in the fight against hematologic cancers that involves attacking the cytoskeletal protein, called WASp, which has a unique structural condition in active hematologic cancer cells while leaving healthy cells unharmed.
October 27th 2021:
The situation in Romanian continues to be very serious. Hospitals, especially in the capital Bucureşti, are full to overflowing. In the city of Timişoara there is still no heating or hot water for 56,000 residents and five hospitals. Temperatures in hospitals in the 40s make it impossible to perform surgeries and patients are suffering in the cold with concerns that their conditions will worsen consequently.
Ukraine’s health minister has urged more citizens to get vaccinated after coronavirus deaths hit a daily record on Tuesday. The country recorded an additional 734 deaths and hospital admissions were up by more than a fifth compared to last week.
“While progress has been made through increased uptake of Covid-19 vaccines and therapeutics, analysis of the present situation and forecasting models indicate that the pandemic is far from finished,” the WHO said in a statement on Tuesday.
Russia is profiting from the energy crisis in Europe. Moldova has been offered a lower rate for natural gas if they will distance themselves from the European Union.
October 25th & 26th 2021:
The latest major crisis in Romania involves one the largest cities there where more than 50 thousand inhabitants are without heat, including five hospitals. Outside temperatures have been below freezing. The company that provides heat there has gone into insolvency.
Ukraine reported record numbers on Tuesday for Covid-19 new cases (more than 19,000) and deaths (more than 700). Less than 20% of the population is vaccinated.
The number of coronavirus infections recorded so far in eastern Europe surpassed 20 million on Sunday, according to a Reuters tally, as the region grapples with its worst outbreak since the pandemic started and inoculation efforts lag. According to a Reuters analysis, three of the top five countries reporting the most deaths in the world are in Russia, Ukraine and Romania.
Many people who have recovered from Covid-19 infection are still experiencing cognitive impairment more than seven months later, according to new research. The patients in the test group had no history of dementia.
The Biden administration wants to reopen a consulate for Palestinian affairs in Jerusalem as part of its efforts to reverse former U.S. President Donald Trump’s policies and achievements. The Biden administration’s plan would divide the united capital of Jerusalem and push any chance for peace with the Palestinians farther away, as well as break diplomatic norms, violate U.S. law and damage America’s special relationship with Israel.
October 23rd & 24th 2021:
Ukraine shut schools in coronavirus hotspots on Friday and announced a requirement for vaccine certificates or negative tests to access public transport in the capital, after COVID-19 deaths hit a record high. Schools were already closed in Romania for a two weeks’ “vacation” which may be extended.
The National Committee for Emergency Situations of Romania approved, on Friday, new restrictions which will apply nationwide for 30 days. Masks will be required in all places outside the home at all times. A night time curfew will be in effect between the hours of 10pm and 5am. All businesses will be closed between the hours of 9pm and 6am. No group events public or private will be permitted.
The United nations fears another human rights catastrophe in Myanmar amid reports of thousands of troops massing in the north of the south-east Asian country, which has been in chaos since a February coup.
October 22nd 2021:
In the Romanian city of Târgu Cărbuneşti the oxygen system failed at the local hospital, apparently due to the system being overloaded as a result of the high number of COVID cases. Many patients were transferred to other hospitals, some being flown to Austria. Three patients have died due to lack of oxygen.
The fourth COVID-19 wave in Israel is apparently fading away, as the country is recording the lowest COVID-19 stats in months. However, the health establishment already has its eye on a possible fifth wave in the winter.
Based on data from the U.K., the newly discovered AY4.2 strain of Covid (Delta Plus) is likely to be 10% more contagious than the Delta strain. In Israel, the first reported case there was an 11-year-old boy who tested positive on his return from Moldova.
Industry chiefs around the world have a clear message: prices are only going higher. “We expect inflation to be higher next year than this year,” said Graeme Pitkethly, finance chief at Unilever. The supply chain crisis, which is fueling higher costs, is expected to last until the second quarter of 2022.
A tiny gem lost for 2,000 years in the ancient sewers of Jerusalem contains the first etching ever found of the balsam plant from which the Balm of Gilead was produced, experts from the Israel Archaeological Authority said Thursday.
October 19th to 21st 2021:
Romania continues to have the sad distinction of first place globally in the number of deaths per million residents. Workers have described the situation in many hospitals as a “war zone” with ICU patients being ventilated manually. Today all three records were broken by a wide margin.
The reported number of Covid cases in the U.K. increased steadily through October and reached 49,156 on Monday, the highest reported since 17 July and a 16% rise in new cases over the past week.
Around the the world, people and businesses are facing shortages of everything from coffee to coal. Disruption caused by the Covid pandemic is mostly to blame. A global shortage of computer chips has aggravated the crisis. No short-term solutions are in view.
Israel’s Minister of Regional Cooperation Issawi Frej said in an interview with Emirati website Erem News published Monday that Qatar, Tunisia, Oman and Malaysia may join the Abraham Accords. Israel is also in talks to normalize relations with Comoros, a Muslim-majority island country off the coast of eastern Africa, the Jerusalem Post reports, citing a senior diplomatic source.
October 18th 2021:
In Romania the rate of positive tests has soared to nearly 30% and records continue to be set daily on numbers in ICU. No ICU beds are available and new patients are either flown to Hungary or treated in less than optimal conditions in hallways, etc.
Cases of psychosis have soared over the past two years in England amid the stresses of the Covid-19 pandemic. There was a 75% increase in the number of people referred to mental health services for their first suspected episode of psychosis between April 2019 and April 2021, NHS data shows.
As announced by the White House on Sunday, the new travel policy requiring foreign nationals traveling to the United States to demonstrate proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 will take effect November 8.
October 16th & 17th 2021:
In Romania there were nearly 100,000 new cases in the past seven days. The dramatic increase has been fueled by a rate of 16.1 per thousand in the capital Bucuresti representing more than 20% of all new cases. Any number more than 4.0 is considered in the “Red Zone.” Nearly one-fourth of patients in ICU are children.
Outside advisers to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Friday unanimously recommended the agency authorize a second shot of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine for all recipients of the one-dose inoculation.
Data from the American Academy of Pediatrics shows that cases among children peaked in September, as many schools opened for in-person classes amid the country’s delta variant Covid surge. More than 1.1 million new cases have been recorded from Sept. 3 to Sept. 30.
Russia’s daily tolls of coronavirus infections and deaths surged to another record on Friday, a quickly mounting figure that has put a severe strain on the country’s health care system. The government’s coronavirus task force reported 32,196 new confirmed coronavirus cases and 999 deaths in the past 24 hours.
On October 9, 2021, an animated children’s video depicting a Quranic story about Jews being transformed into apes was uploaded to the Saudi Ibtikar Media channel on YouTube, MEMRI reports.
Romania has the sad distinction of having the highest deaths per million Globally in the past 7 days.
October 15th 2021:
There are no ICU beds available in Romania. As many as 50 seriously ill patients will be flown to hospitals in neighboring Hungary. In a recent poll nearly 60% of Romanians stated they have no intention of being vaccinated. Currently less than 30% of Romanians have received at least one dose.
Sighet, Romania has entered a two-week quarantine after the 14-day average of new cases reached a rate of 8.46 per thousand residents on Thursday. Traffic in and out of the city will be strictly controlled during that time. A night-time curfew will also be in force. During the day-time hours residents must carry a signed declaration with a valid reason for leaving their homes. Restrictions are less severe for those who can present proof of vaccination.
An Israeli aid group, officials of the UAE and a Jewish financier (an unusual mix of people) have worked together and pulled off a rescue mission that helped 125 vulnerable Afghans flee the Taliban rule.
Energy security has shot to the top of government agendas in Asia and Europe as shortages of coal and rocketing gas prices have triggered power outages and choked up factories supplying big name brands.
October 14th 2021:
The dismissed Prime Minister of Romania, Florin Cîțu, declared on Thursday after the Government meeting, that he is considering the introduction of immunization certificates for SARS-CoV-2 in all economic activities, in order to keep the economy open. Cîțu also says that this certificate may be needed in stores. Deaths due to COVID-19 in Romania are now more than 40,000.
Israel on Wednesday recorded the lowest percentage (1.7%) of positive coronavirus tests since late July, according to a morning update from the Health Ministry. By contrast, the 14-day average percentage in Romania is more than 24% and the Wednesday 24-hour period was a staggering 58.9% (15,733 positive out of 26,700 tests).
India currently has no plans to issue booster doses, the government’s chief Covid advisor said on Wednesday. The number of Covid vaccines administered in India is set to hit one billion in the coming days.
Gas prices have been soaring in countries across Europe, and there have been accusations that Russia may be seeking to exploit the situation for its own advantage. Russia supplies about 50% of Europe’s natural gas.
Social Security benefits will rise by 5.9% in 2022, the largest increase in 39 years. The latest inflation reading shows that prices rose by 5.4 percent on an annualized basis in September as supply chain bottlenecks, worker shortages and high demand kept prices rising, according to data released Wednesday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
October 13th 2021:
Experts are again warning we could see what they are calling a “twindemic” of COVID-19 and flu this coming winter. The underlying cause cited is the easing of restrictions.
Millions of Americans have left their jobs during the health crisis, a phenomenon dubbed “The Great Resignation.” Nearly 4.3 million people quit in August 2021 alone, the highest level on record dating back to December 2000, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data released Tuesday.
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, an independent panel of experts, released an updated draft recommendation Tuesday that recommends that most adults, especially those over 60, not take aspirin to prevent first heart attacks or strokes.
Nearly one-third of respondents in Austria, Czech Republic, France, Hungary, Poland and Romania said Jews will never be able to fully integrate into society. In addition, nearly one-third agreed that there is a secret Jewish network that influences political and economic affairs in the world. In Latvia, 34% said Jews exploit Holocaust victimhood for their own purposes; 23% agreed in Germany; and 22% agreed in Belgium.
October 11th & 12th 2021:
Hopes were dashed today in Romania that the peak had been reached (after declines in recent days) as records were broken in every category. Deaths were more than double the number reported yesterday. Serious illness and death follow new cases by 10 days or more, so those numbers will doubtless continue to climb.
Sydney hairdressers, gyms, cafés and bars reopened to fully vaccinated customers on Monday for the first time in more than 100 days after Australia’s largest city achieved a vaccination benchmark.
Immigration to Israel Increased by 31% in 2021.
October 9th to 10th 2021:
In COVID-19 survivors, important components of the body’s immune response called memory B cells continue to evolve and get stronger for at least several months, producing highly potent antibodies that can neutralize new variants of the virus, a new study has found. By comparison, vaccine-induced memory B cells are less robust, evolving for only a few weeks and never “learning” to protect against variants, researchers reported in a paper published on Thursday in Nature.
The pandemic-induced shortage of emergency medical technicians and paramedics in the U.S. is so dire that ambulance service providers warn of sharp cuts to services and longer waits for 911 calls — even when it’s a matter of life or death.
The World Mortality Dataset, which forms the basis of estimates of Covid mortality as published by the Economist, the Financial Times and others, proves the inaccuracy of the official global death toll of 4.8 million. The Economist, for example, puts the real number closer to 16 million.
Energy shortages are sweeping the world even before winter’s cruelest months freeze the Northern Hemisphere, and officials and experts point out that the multiple issues behind the crunch will make solutions harder to come by. An energy crisis is looming over India as coal supplies grow perilously low. China has experienced severe coal shortages as well.
Jewish heritage sites in Judea and Samaria are being systematically vandalized and destroyed by local Arabs, according to a watchdog group which monitors archeological sites in the area. A recent survey of 365 major archeological sites across Judea and Samaria found that some 80% had suffered either moderate or serious damage at the hands of vandals.
October 8th 2021:
The rate of infection in Sighet, Romania has exceeded six per thousand, requiring additional restrictions. A total of 74 cities and 334 villages have a rate greater than 6. Where the rate is greater than 8, a night time curfew is enforced. There are currently no ICU beds available anywhere in Romania. Oxygen is being rationed due to a lack of supplies.
Evidence is growing that contracting SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, is generally as effective as vaccination at stimulating your immune system to prevent the disease. Yet U.S. federal officials have been reluctant to recognize any equivalency.
After adjusting for age, lifestyle, dietary habits and other risk factors, people with higher levels of dairy fat intake biomarkers had a lower risk of cardiovascular disease compared to those who ate less dairy fat. The authors looked at the findings from 17 comparable studies involving almost 43,000 people in the U.S., U.K. and Denmark, and found the combined evidence showed similar results. The analysis was published last month in PLOS Medicine.
On the heels of a ruling by an Israeli court, which essentially permits silent Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount, terror group Hamas released a statement calling the decision a “declaration of war.” The Jordanian Foreign Ministry on Wednesday also condemned the ruling.
Former White House advisor Jared Kushner, and his wife Ivanka, are due to visit the Knesset on Monday, where Kushner will convene the inaugural meeting of the Abraham Accords Caucus. The group plans to promote the formulation of “future agreements with other countries,” according to a spokesperson for Wasserman Lande.
October 7th 2021:
Coronavirus is “still running rampant” worldwide and the failure to ensure poorer countries can access vaccines risks more deaths and the emergence of potentially dangerous new variants, the creator of the Oxford vaccine has warned.
U.S. President Joe Biden’s popularity among everyday Americans is taking a beating, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday. The poll found that Biden’s approval rating has dropped to 38%, down from a high of 50% in mid-February.
October 6th 2021:
The fourth wave of the pandemic has brought unique challenges for front-line health care workers in the U.S., many of whom were already nearing their breaking points. Exhausted amid hospital staff shortages and emotionally depleted, health care workers also face growing skepticism and rage from patients, leaving workers frustrated and fearful.
Russia is once again grappling with a surge in coronavirus cases. The rate of new daily infections is currently three times higher than what the country was seeing a year ago, despite vaccines now being widely available in the country. On Tuesday, Russia reported 895 fatalities and 25,110 new COVID-19 infections.
October 5th 2021:
Romania set all-time records for new cases at 15,037 and deaths at 252. Numbers in ICU are approaching record levels. The rate of positive test results was also a record at 56.6%
The number of daily coronavirus-related deaths in Ukraine topped 300 for the first time since mid-May, health ministry data showed on Tuesday. Last week, the daily tally of infections jumped to almost 12,000, the highest number since April.
In Israel, according to an update from the Health Ministry released Monday morning, the positivity rate stands at a declining rate of 2.8%. By contrast the positivity rate in Romania is climbing and reached 26% on October 4th.
The national guard has been deployed to hospitals in rural north and central California, where short-staffed hospitals have been overwhelmed with coronavirus patients.
The United States has seen a dramatic drop in the number of Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations in recent weeks, a trend that epidemiologists see as an encouraging sign that the Delta wave of the virus has peaked nationally.
AstraZeneca has requested the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to grant emergency use authorisation for its new treatment to prevent COVID-19. The treatment, an antibody therapy called AZD7442, could help protect people who may not have a strong enough immune response to COVID-19 vaccines.
Australia will buy 300,000 courses of Merck & Co’s experimental antiviral pill Molnupiravir, as Victoria logged the highest number of daily COVID-19 infections of any state in the country since the pandemic began. The first oral antiviral medication for COVID-19, if it gets regulatory approval, could halve the chances of dying or being hospitalised for people most at risk of contracting severe COVID-19, according to experts.
Johnson & Johnson is planning to ask U.S. federal regulators this week to authorize a booster shot of its COVID-19 vaccine, the New York Times reported on Monday, citing officials familiar with the company’s plans.
October 4th 2021:
The French Catholic Church has had an estimated 3,000 paedophiles in its ranks over the past 70 years, the head of an independent commission investigating the abuse scandal said in an interview published on Sunday. The figure represents about 3% of all priests and religious officials in France since 1950.
October 2nd & 3rd 2021:
Worldwide deaths related to COVID-19 surpassed 5 million on Friday, according to a Reuters tally, with unvaccinated people particularly exposed to the virulent Delta strain.
The United States surpassed 700,000 coronavirus-related deaths on Friday, according to a Reuters tally, as officials roll out booster doses of vaccines to protect the elderly and people working in high-risk professions. The current level of new cases is 117,625 per day, based on a seven-day rolling average.
October 1st 2021:
In Romania there is anger, grief and chaos after a fire at the Infectious Diseases Hospital in Constanţa killed 7 patients in the ICU unit there. Many patients in nearby sections had to be transferred to other hospitals that were already near capacity.
The Capital of Romania, Bucharest, has entered into quarantine after a sharp rise in new cases. All non-COVID patients from two hospitals there had to be relocated to make room for the increasing number of new cases.
Laboratory studies show that Merck & Company’s experimental oral COVID-19 antiviral drug, molnupiravir, is likely to be effective against known variants of the coronavirus, including the dominant, highly transmissible Delta, the company said on Wednesday.
September 30th 2021:
Romania set another all-time record of new cases today. Even before the recent record-breaking surge, Romania ranked 12th in the World for new COVID-19 cases on a 7-day average, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
Recent research on Covid-19 transmission on flights suggests that airlines could adopt new policies to better protect their passengers. Scientists have found a sharp increase in possible spread during in-flight meal service when everyone has masks off. They’ve also learned more about the importance of precautions during boarding.
Los Angeles officials on Wednesday signaled they would vote next week to prohibit unvaccinated people from entering most businesses in the United States’ second-largest city, one of the nation’s most severe crackdowns so far of the COVID-19 pandemic.
YouTube announced a total ban Wednesday on “vaccine misinformation” and the termination of the accounts of several prominent anti-vaccine influencers, including Joseph Mercola and Robert F. Kennedy Jr., citing “the need to remove egregious harmful content.”
September 28th & 29th 2021:
Romania set a new all-time record of new cases at 11,049 reported on Tuesday. The previous record was 10,269 new cases on November 18th, 2020.
India reported 179 Covid deaths on Tuesday, the smallest daily toll since the middle of March, taking the total to 447,373. Infections rose by 18,795, the smallest increase since early March.
In Australia, the unvaccinated face a “difficult life indefinitely” the state Premier of New South Wales has warned. The biggest city in the state, Sydney is beginning to open up post-lockdown – but only to those who are fully vaccinated.
Former U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton slammed President Biden’s handling of the withdrawal from Afghanistan on Sunday and warned about the possibility of the Taliban acquiring nuclear weapons in the future.
September 27th 2021:
Nearly 20% of those tested in Romania on Sunday for COVID-19 were positive. Almost half of all new cases (2,559) were in the capital Bucharest.
Israel’s Foreign Ministry is warning potential travelers that unlike most Western countries, Poland does not offer a hotel quarantine option to visitors who test positive. Rather, they are placed into isolation in correctional facilities typically used for criminals.
The Covid pandemic has caused the biggest decrease in life expectancy in western Europe since the second world war, according to a study. The biggest declines in life expectancy globally were among males in the U.S., with a decline of 2.2 years relative to 2019 levels, followed by Lithuanian males (1.7 years).
The American supply chain has so far failed to adapt to the crush of imports as businesses rush to restock pandemic-depleted inventories. Tens of thousands of containers are stuck at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, California, the two West Coast gateways that move more than a quarter of all American imports. More than 60 ships are lined up to dock, with waiting times stretching to three weeks.
September 25th & 26th 2021:
Romania continues to see an alarming increase in the 7-day average of new cases, deaths and those in ICU. Maramures county (Sighet, Baia Mare) has a 14-day rate per thousand of 3.39 compared to 1.26 two weeks ago.
Face-mask requirements in schools drastically reduce the spread of Covid-19 among children, two studies published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggest.
The pandemic means that many countries are facing supply chain problems, as manufacturing centers in Asia are hit by continuing cases and restrictions. The British government said on Friday it may draft in the army to help deliver gas after shortages caused by a scarcity of truck drivers forced the closure of stations across the country.
At a rally in Erbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, Sunni leaders and former generals of the Iraqi army called for the country to join the Abraham Accords between the Jewish state and the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan.
September 24th 2021:
The Romanian county of Maramures (Sighet, Baia Mare) joined the Covid “red zone” today with a rate of 3.11, joining Cluj and 5 other counties. This will result in further restrictions.
Australia is grappling with a third wave of infections from the highly infectious Delta variant that has led to lockdowns in its two largest cities, Sydney and Melbourne, and the capital, Canberra, affecting nearly half the country’s 25 million people.
The number of new Covid-19 cases in the United States seems to have peaked, with cases in states hit hard by the delta variant earlier edging downward over the last week, according to an analysis by NBC News. It’s the longest sustained decline in cases in nearly three months, giving hope to some leading pandemic forecasters.
Moderna Chief Executive Stéphane Bancel said on Thursday he thinks the coronavirus pandemic could be over in a year. He said: “Enough doses should be available by the middle of next year so that everyone on this earth can be vaccinated.”
The U.S. House of Representatives voted 420 to nine in favor of sending $1 billion in funding for Israel’s Iron Dome defense system. The separate bill was necessary after a group of progressive (antisemitic) lawmakers threatened to block the debt ceiling hike bill unless the Iron Dome funding was removed.
The Palestinian Authority is desperately trying to stave off an open internal conflict that could devolve into a civil war. One place that could be the flashpoint for any internal violence is Hebron, where the locals are complaining about what they say is the incompetence and neglect of their city on the part of a corrupt PA leadership.
September 21 – 23 2021:
U.S. public health workers are leaving ‘in droves’ amid pandemic burnout. Many workers feel stonewalled by elected officials and scapegoated for the high U.S. Covid death toll.
A new study presents evidence that a “cosmic airburst” destroyed the Middle Bronze Age city of Tall el-Hammam, located in the Jordan Valley near the Dead Sea. The 21 co-authors of the study, published Monday in the journal Nature, speculate that the 3,600-year-old cataclysmic event could have inspired the biblical account of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.
House Democratic leadership stripped funding for Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system from its government spending and debt ceiling hike bill on Tuesday, after a group of progressive members threatened to block the legislation unless the aid was withdrawn. The system is estimated to have saved thousands of Israeli civilian lives from terrorist rocket attacks.
COVID-19 has now killed more Americans (679,000) than the 1918-19 Spanish flu pandemic did (approximately 675,000). The 1918-19 influenza pandemic killed 50 million victims globally. The current global death toll is 4.6 million.
In the last five weeks the U.S. has reported more than 1.1 million pediatric cases, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association. “The weekly figure is now about 26 times higher than it was in June, when just 8,400 pediatric cases were reported over the span of a week,” the organizations wrote in their report.
September 19th & 20th 2021:
The positive rate in Romania has risen to 16%. The number in ICU is a new record for the fourth wave at 952. Other numbers were very high for a Sunday reporting period.
A new study released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Friday is the latest to suggest the Moderna Covid vaccine confers better long-term protection against hospitalization than Pfizer.
The Biden administration is preventing the rescue of persecuted Christian minorities from the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, where they face certain and likely gruesome death.
September 18th 2021:
Doctor Valeriu Gheorghiță, the coordinator of the Romanian national vaccination campaign, declared on Friday evening on B1 TV that around October 15 the number of Covid-19 cases registered by Romania could reach 20,000 per day. That would be nearly double the previous record set in November of 2020.
U.S. President Joe Biden on Friday signed an executive order adding measles to a list of communicable diseases that could require quarantine. This begs the question as to what other communicable diseases might be added to the list in the future.
Montana, Alaska, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Kentucky experienced the biggest rises in new COVID-19 hospitalizations during the week ending Sept. 10 compared with the previous week, with Montana’s new hospitalizations rising by 26%, according to the latest report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Sept. 14.
In the U.S., more and more hospital workers have become so overwhelmed by the fresh wave of COVID-19 cases – a year and half after the pandemic first reached the United States – that they have left for jobs at retailing and other non-medical fields.
On Sept. 16, 1,855 Americans died of COVID-19 and 144,844 new cases were reported, according to a Reuters analysis of state and county data. Both trendlines have been increasing in the United States overall since hitting their lows this summer in July and June, respectively.
A debate is heating up over whether President Biden’s sweeping vaccine mandate should be extended to cover those who travel domestically by plane and train. Vaccines are already required for air and train travel in Canada and between many countries in Europe, Asia and elsewhere.
Scientific advisers to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have voted not to recommend a third shot of the Pfizer vaccine for most Americans. Sixteen of 18 advisers opposed the broad proposal for boosters for those older than 16.
Coronavirus infection levels have risen in schoolchildren in England, data has revealed, with more than one in 37 of those in years 7 to 11 estimated to have had Covid last week. Experts say the findings could be linked to the return to school after the summer break.
After weeks of denial, a U.S. Central Command investigation admitted that an innocent aid worker and nine members of his family, including seven children, died in the 29 August drone strike in Kabul, Afghanistan. “Potential explosives” in the victim’s car turned out to be containers of water.
September 17th 2021:
The European Commission launched on Thursday a health crisis body that will coordinate EU spending of almost 30 billion euros ($35.3 billion) to prepare for a future pandemic.
A new Israeli study published in the The New England Journal of Medicine Wednesday says a third Pfizer booster shot lowers the likelihood of developing a serious coronavirus case by almost 20 times. The study looked at 1.1 million Israelis.
Two dozen state attorneys general are threatening legal action against the federal government over President Biden’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for private businesses.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi hosted Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on Sept. 13th in a special meeting. A “new alignment of interests” between Israel and Egypt is based on concerns over a possible downgrade in relations between Cairo and Washington, as the Biden administration withholds military aid from Cairo over human-rights criticisms.
September 16th 2021:
America has passed another grim Covid-19 milestone, as data shows that one in 500 people living in the U.S. have died from the virus since the pandemic began. Almost 664,000 people had died of the virus in the U.S. by Tuesday evening, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
Israel’s Health Ministry reports that 11 percent of children and teens who recovered from COVID showed signs of “Long-COVID” six months later. This included further damage to the brain, liver and blood vessels and deterioration of cognitive abilities.
Australia’s Victoria state (Melbourne) reported its biggest one-day rise in COVID-19 cases of the year on Thursday as a surge in vaccinations nationwide raised hope for easing restrictions with almost 70% of the adult population having had a first dose.
A serological study conducted in an Israeli hospital found that antibody levels after a third dose of the Covid-19 vaccine were ten times higher than those detected after a second dose.
September 13th 2021:
The Romanian county of Maramures (Sighet, Baia Mare) had the 5th highest number of new COVID infections Saturday out of 44 jurisdictions, with more than 100 cases in a 24-hour period. Less than 400 ICU beds remain available in Romania.
The vast majority (90%) of Israeli patients most seriously affected by Covid-19 are unvaccinated, Dr. Sharon Alroy-Preis, the head of public health services at the Health Ministry, said over the weekend.
September 11th & 12th 2021:
Healthy boys may be more likely to be admitted to hospital with a rare side-effect of the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid vaccine that causes inflammation of the heart than with Covid itself, US researchers claim. Their analysis of medical data suggests that boys aged 12 to 15, with no underlying medical conditions, are four to six times more likely to be diagnosed with vaccine-related myocarditis than ending up in hospital with Covid over a four-month period.
Three U.S. studies suggest COVID-19 vaccines offer strong protection against hospitalization and death. According to the report unvaccinated people are 11 times more likely to die from COVID-19 than those who are fully vaccinated. However, the studies — which analyzed data from 600,000 Americans between April 4 and July 17 — suggest that the effectiveness of the vaccines dropped as the delta variant became dominant.
In Israael, for the first time since the beginning of June, the Coronavirus (COVID-19) coefficient of infection fell below 1, meaning that the fourth wave of infections in the country may be dying out. The R coefficient on Thursday morning was recorded at 0.8.
Australia’s third most populous state (Queensland) said on Saturday it may order a snap lockdown after a cluster of COVID-19 cases, as the country posted a record one-day rise in daily infections.
France announced on Thursday it will bar unvaccinated Israelis and Americans from entering the country. Entry will only be permitted to those who have received both doses of the vaccine.
September 10th 2021:
All U.S. employers with 100 or more employees would have to require that their workers be vaccinated or undergo at least weekly Covid-19 testing under a new plan announced by President Biden to curb the spread of the pandemic. President Biden told the unvaccinated in a nationally televised address: “Our patience is wearing thin.”
Idaho public health leaders announced Tuesday that they activated “crisis standards of care” allowing health care rationing for the state’s northern hospitals because there are more coronavirus patients than the institutions can handle.
Australia’s COVID-19 daily cases topped 1,900 for the first time in the pandemic on Friday as an outbreak fueled by the highly infectious Delta variant continued to gain ground in locked-down Sydney and Melbourne, its largest cities.
September 8th & 9th 2021:
Airborne viruses recycled through a low-grade ventilation system likely created Germany’s first super-spreader event of the Covid-19 pandemic, a CSI-style analysis of a carnival celebration in Germany has found. Individuals who sat close to the air outlets had the highest risk of infection.
The μ-coronavirus variant (mu) has been detected in 49 states and 42 countries, according to estimates, as health officials keep an eye on the strain to see if it becomes dominant.
Britain on Tuesday reported COVID-19 209 deaths, the highest daily total since March 9, government statistics showed. Cases have been rising steadily since the start of August. There were 37,489 new cases reported on Tuesday, compared to 41,192 reported on Monday. Scientists warned that restrictions could again be necessary in the coming months.
Over the past several months, a series of studies has found that some people mount an extraordinarily powerful immune response against COVID-19. Their bodies produce very high levels of antibodies capable of fighting off the coronavirus variants circulating in the world and also likely effective against variants that may emerge in the future.
September 6th & 7th 2021:
An explosive increase in Romania both in new cases and deaths from COVID-19: Both numbers were nearly double compared to yesterday. Numbers in ICU also continue to increase.
The U.S. health care system is again buckling under the weight of a COVID-19 surge that has filled more than 100,000 hospital beds nationwide and forced some states to consider enacting “crisis standards of care” — a last resort plan for rationing medical care during a catastrophic event.
With the surge of delta variant infections around the world and the revelation that the strain can cause fully vaccinated people to experience infections and transmit the virus, health scientists say it’s time to recalibrate our expectations. The coronavirus might very well be around forever.
Israel logged over 11,000 new virus cases over the past 24 hours, according to an update to the Health Ministry’s website, the fourth straight day which has seen similar morbidity rates.
Rolling Stone magazine was forced to issue a retraction to their viral story about Oklahoma hospitals being overwhelmed by patients who overdosed on the drug ivermectin after the doctor they cited was contradicted by the hospitals he referenced. The hospital mentioned in the report issued an official statement: “NHS Sequoyah has not treated any patients due to complications related to taking ivermectin. This includes not treating any patients for ivermectin overdose,” the statement reads. The story was picked up by all the major news outlets, who so far have issued no retractions.
The Delta variant is driving hospitalizations nationwide in the U.S. to levels not seen since January: There were 89,916 patients on September 2, and 89,657 patients on January 30. Daily deaths jumped 131% just over the last month, per CDC data.
SpaceX Starlink is now providing internet service to Louisiana St. Charles Parish Emergency Operations team after Hurricane Ida destroyed local communication systems. The Starlink internet service is unaffected by terrestrial disasters because it is a satellite broadband system that mainly operates from space. Such emergency internet has been provided by them in other disasters around the world.
September 4th & 5th 2021:
The U.S. has passed the grim milestone of 40 million cases of COVID-19 and more than 650,000 deaths.
Italy’s prime minister has announced his government could make Covid-19 vaccines mandatory, sparking a row in the country that has seen a recent rise in protests and violence from anti-vaxxers.
Australia, struggling to quell its worst wave of COVID-19, reported 1,756 infections on Saturday, another record high, and officials warned that worse is yet to come, urging people to get vaccinated.
September 3rd 2021:
A study involving more than 340,000 people in Bangladesh offers some of the strongest real-world evidence yet that mask use can help communities slow the spread of Covid-19.
United States child COVID-19 cases are up, with about 204,000 cases added last week. For the week ending August 26, children accounted for 22.4% of reported weekly COVID-19 cases, according to the American Academy of Pediactrics.
Embattled Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas met with Jordan’s King Abdullah II and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi in Cairo on Thursday, on the heels of an unprecedented meeting with Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz earlier this week. According to a statement from Palestinian news agency Wafa, Abbas said he was ready to embrace “confidence-building steps” with Israel aimed at “achieving comprehensive calm in Palestinian lands.”
The US withdrawal from Afghanistan will “catalyse” the EU to establish its own permanent military force, the union’s foreign policy chief has said. “The moment had come to establish an active EU expeditionary force”, described by some senior European politicians as an army.
September 2nd 2021:
Updated Israeli Health Ministry figures show that over 10,000 new Covid-19 cases were registered on Tuesday for the second consecutive day.
Ida may no longer be a hurricane, but the storm’s remnants caused record-breaking rain in the Northeast U.S., including New York City which declared a state of emergency.
September 1st 2021:
In Romania, of the COVID cases in ICU, more than 25% are children. Today’s new cases are another new record for the fourth wave.
The death toll in Israel from COVID-19 surpassed the 7,000-mark Monday, with an all-time record number of new daily cases – 10,946. The positivity rates are also the highest they’ve been in months. On Sunday, 7.8% of those tested were infected. Just one month ago the rate was 2.84%.
The World Health Organization said it is keeping tabs on a new coronavirus variant “mu” (μ), calling it a “variant of interest” on Tuesday. The variant was first discovered in Colombia in January, and is known by its scientific name as B.1.521. The strain has mutations that may be resistant to vaccines.
August 31st 2021:
Romania new cases of COVID-19 were nearly double the number recorded yesterday, and are the highest so far in the fourth wave.
A new variant of SARS-CoV-2, the virus which cause COVID-19, (C.1.2) has been detected in South Africa and many other countries globally which could be more transmissible and evade protection provided by vaccines, according to studies.
A series of new studies suggests that mRNA vaccines like those from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna trigger the immune system to establish long-term protection against severe COVID-19 — protection that likely will last several years or even longer.
Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad have reacted angrily to the news that Defense Minister Benny Gantz met with Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas, slamming the meeting as “a betrayal” of the Palestinian people.
August 30th 2021:
The European Union is set to recommend halting nonessential travel from the U.S. because of COVID-19, diplomats said on Sunday. Officials have been considering the move for much of the last month with the average U.S. infection rate now above that of the E.U.
Britain recorded a further 61 COVID deaths and 33,196 more cases on Sunday, official data showed. Infections in the last seven days rose by 5.8% on the week before, and weekly deaths jumped by 16%.
More than 1,000 Americans are dying from COVID per day. The U.S. is averaging 156,000 new COVID cases daily. Meanwhile, the South is battling the worst of the Delta surge, with ICU beds rapidly running out.
August 27th to 29th 2021:
Australia’s most populous state, New South Wales, reported a record 1,218 locally acquired COVID-19 infections on Sunday, exceeding the previous day’s record of 1,035.
Coronavirus infections in England are now 26 times the levels that were experienced this time last year, according to the Office for National Statistics. Scientists described the figures as “sobering”.
The number of coronavirus patients in U.S. hospitals breached 100,000 on Thursday, the highest level in eight months, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. U.S. COVID-19 hospitalizations have more than doubled in the past month.
An intense surge in Covid cases is pushing Oregon’s healthcare system to the brink as patients fill up hospitals and nearly all available ICU beds in the state are occupied. Oregon has more people hospitalized than at any other point in the pandemic.
The chances of developing dangerous blood clots after being infected with the virus that causes Covid-19 are more than ten times the risk from receiving the AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines, according to the largest study of its kind.
The ongoing military/civil unrest in Myanmar continues to worsen. Our Brethren there are deeply affected by the crisis. It is no longer possible to send funds there as rioting and violence at ATM locations prohibits it.
August 26th 2021:
Protection against COVID-19 offered by two doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech and the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines begins to fade within six months, underscoring the need for booster shots, according to researchers in Britain.
Delta Air Lines told unvaccinated employees on Wednesday they will have to pay an additional $200 per month for their company-sponsored healthcare plan.
Johnson & Johnson said Wednesday that a second dose of its Covid-19 vaccine was found in a study to generate a strong immune response (a ninefold increase in spike-binding antibodies compared with 28 days after the first dose), justifying a booster shot, administered six months after the first shot.
Israel Defense Forces (IDF) are preparing for another possible military operation in Gaza after continued attacks. At the same time, preparations are being made to strike Iranain nuclear facilities.
A second crop of dates from palm trees grown from 2,000 year old seeds has been harvested, much to the delight of researchers at the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies at Kibbutz Ketura. The dates are the fruit of a decades-long project to germinate ancient seeds from the Second Temple era discovered beneath the rubble during excavations of Masada by renowned Israeli archaeologist Yigal Yadin during the 1960s.
August 25th 2021:
Formal U.S approval of the Pfizer Inc. COVID-19 vaccine will make it nearly impossible to successfully challenge mandates by employers, legal experts said. The Defense Department, for example, has already announced that all service members will be required to get the vaccine now that the FDA has approved the Pfizer vaccine.
Greece’s health minister announced plans on Tuesday to impose new testing requirements and attendance restrictions on people who aren’t vaccinated against COVID-19. The measures include requiring weekly or twice-weekly testing for unvaccinated workers.
Israel reached the dubious milestone of 1 million recorded cases of the coronavirus and a significant spike in the number of daily positive tests. Over 9,800 Israelis were found to be positive for the coronavirus on Monday, marking the highest number of recorded cases in a day since January 2021.
While the Taliban recently captured U.S. military equipment valued at billions of dollars, it’s unlikely that the Taliban got their hands on the Israeli-made systems that hunted them for so long.
August 24th 2021:
ALERT: New cases nearly doubled in Romania compared to yesterday. Officials have declared that the country is now in the fourth wave of COVID-19.
Another country, Australia, has joined the list of those saying that we must learn to live with COVID-19. Prime Minister Scott Morrison made the statement on Monday, despite concerns in some states about the impact of a surge in cases in Sydney.
A total of 6,467 new cases of the coronavirus were diagnosed across Israel Sunday, according to data released by the Health Ministry Monday morning, up from 5,386 new cases reported Saturday.
A Hebrew University of Jerusalem (HUJI) study released Monday shows that the drug Tricor, usually used to reduce cholesterol, utilizes the same lipid-lowering effects to successfully treat hospitalized COVID-19 patients. Clinical results show Tricor can facilitate hospitalized patients’ removal from oxygen within 5-7 days.
Saudi Arabia said it signed a military cooperation agreement with Russia on Monday, according to a tweet by Deputy Defense Minister Prince Khalid bin Salman.
All current vaccines in the U.S. are still being used under an emergency authorization. Full approval of the Pfizer vaccine may happen as early as this week.
August 23rd 2021:
U.S. hospitals in the South and Midwest say they are treating more children with Covid-19 than ever and are preparing for worse surges to come.
Volunteers who received a high dose of the BriLife coronavirus vaccine in clinical trials have been notified that they do not yet need a third dose, indicating that Israel’s homegrown vaccine may be more effective than that of Pfizer, N12 News reported Saturday. Unlike Pfizer, apparently there is no decline in the effectiveness against infection with the Israeli vaccine. And even though this vaccine is still experimental, this is definitely good news.
August 21st & 22nd 2021:
An Israeli health care provider reported on Wednesday that a third dose of Pfizer’s COVID vaccine administered to people 60 and older was 86 percent effective. Maccabi compared the results of 149,144 people who received their third shot at least one week ago against 676,630 people who had received only two doses in January and February.
Britain reported 37,314 new cases of COVID-19, government data showed on Friday, and a further 114 people were recorded as having died within 28 days of a positive test.
Australian police clashed with hundreds of anti-lockdown protesters in Melbourne and Sydney on Saturday as officials reported the country’s highest ever single-day rise in COVID-19 cases.
Israel was the first country on Earth to fully vaccinate a majority of its citizens against COVID-19. Now it has one of the world’s highest daily infection rates — an average of nearly 7,500 confirmed cases a day, double what it was two weeks ago.
AstraZeneca released Phase 3 data showing promising results for a combination antibody therapy that prevents COVID-19. The PROVENT pre-exposure prophylaxis trial showed AZD7442 reduced the risk of developing symptomatic COVID-19 by up to 77% compared to a placebo.
Between 2002 and 2017, the United States gave the Afghan military tens of billions of dollars in weaponry, including Blackhawk helicopters, more than 2,000 armored vehicles, sophisticated aircraft, guns, rockets, night-vision goggles and small drones for intelligence gathering. Most of that equipment is now in the hands of the Taliban.
Pakistan has nuclear weapons and 200 million people, many of whom celebrate the Taliban victory.
In a recent study of more than 5,000 foods, researchers concluded that eating a beef hotdog on a bun resulted in a loss of 35 minutes off the average lifespan “largely due to the detrimental effect of processed meat,” study authors wrote. However, healthier foods can add minutes to that average.
August 20th 2021:
Nearly three-quarters of U.S. breakthrough infections that led to hospitalization or death were among people age 65 or older, according to federal data. Health officials in the UK and Israel, two other nations with high vaccination rates and a spike in Delta infections, have reported similar trends.
Breakthrough infections continue to hit U.S. Capitol Hill, with three Senators the latest fully vaccinated members of Congress to announce positive coronavirus cases.
Hospitalizations of people under the age of 50 with Covid-19 are now at the highest levels seen in the U.S. since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, the latest government data shows.
August 19th 2021:
A new therapeutic approach developed by Israel’s Weizmann Institute scientists could spell new hope in the battle against the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The researchers generated a molecular “super cork” that physically jams the “entry port” of the cell, thus preventing the virus from attaching itself and entering it.
Fully vaccinated adults can harbor virus levels as high as unvaccinated people if infected with the Delta variant, according to a sweeping analysis of UK data, which supports the idea that hitting the threshold for herd immunity is unlikely.
Almost 60% of hospitalized patients with Covid in Israel are fully vaccinated – Science Mag reports, despite 78% of those 12 and older in Israel being fully jabbed. The experience of Israel thus makes clear that so-called “breakthrough” cases are not such rare events as implied by the term.
According to a study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, researchers found that, “consistently meeting physical activity guidelines was strongly associated with a reduced risk for severe Covid-19 outcomes among infected adults.”
August 18th 2021:
The United States reported more than 1,000 COVID-19 deaths on Tuesday, equating to around 42 fatalities an hour, according to a Reuters tally, as the Delta variant continues to ravage parts of the country.
Sydney’s Delta outbreak has not peaked and residents must brace for more deaths, authorities said on Wednesday, as Australia’s largest city continued to break records for new daily infections despite a nearly two-month lockdown.
August 17th 2021:
The battle against Covid-19 is shifting into long-term, low-intensity mode in Europe, as countries including Germany, Italy and France go from seeking to end the pandemic to preparing to live with it.
Australia, once a world leader in curtailing COVID-19, is struggling to suppress a third wave of infections driven by the highly infectious Delta variant despite locking down more than half its population.
August 16th 2021:
Australia’s biggest city of Sydney recorded its deadliest day of the COVID-19 pandemic on Monday, while residents in Melbourne face a nightly curfew and a further two weeks of lockdown amid a surge in infections.
In what was the second major wildfire in the Judean Hills this month, six communities west of Jerusalem were evacuated Sunday afternoon, and several roads were closed to traffic. More than 10,000 residents were evacuated. Firefighters say that the cause was arson.
Trade between Israel and the UAE has reached nearly $600 million; it’s expected to reach $1 billion by the end of the year. For many observers, the Abraham accords are an example of leaders in the Middle East establishing a new reality based on peace and prosperity.
The Taliban declared the war in Afghanistan was over after insurgents took control of the presidential palace in Kabul as U.S.-led forces departed and Western nations scrambled on Monday to evacuate their citizens. President Ashraf Ghani fled the country on Sunday as the Islamist militants entered the capital virtually unopposed.
August 15th 2021:
U.S. hospitalizations of Covid-19 patients in their 30s have hit a new record, U.S. government data show, a sign of the toll that the highly contagious Delta variant is taking on those who had largely avoided hospital stays for Covid-19 during earlier phases of the pandemic because of their relative good health.
Workers who have yet to be vaccinated against COVID-19 could soon be paying as much as $50 more per paycheck for health insurance as companies across the U.S. try to protect their employees — and themselves — from outbreaks of the disease.
Russia’s daily COVID-19 deaths hit a new record of 819 on Saturday, a day after Moscow’s health department reported the highest number of monthly deaths in the city since the start of the pandemic.
During the first wave of the pandemic, more than one in ten COVID-19 patients in the U.K. caught the virus while they were in the hospital for other reasons, researchers reported on Thursday in The Lancet. The study was based on data from 314 hospitals.
August 14th 2021:
U.S. Classrooms that have reopened for the fall are seeing a growing number of Covid-19 outbreaks just days into the semester, causing some schools to temporarily shut down buildings or send students home to quarantine.
As the Delta variant continued to rip through regions of the U.S., Oregon’s governor said she would send up to 1,500 national guard troops to help hospital workers pushed to the brink by a surge of cases.
August 13th 2021:
After becoming one of the first countries to open up thanks to a widespread Covid-19 vaccination campaign, Israel is again on guard, this time against the spread of the Delta variant of the coronavirus. Mask mandates are back, including requirements to mask up for large outdoor gatherings. Many venues require people to show proof of vaccination, a negative Covid-19 test or proof of recovery from the virus.
U.S. Prices at the wholesale level over the past 12 months are up a record 7.8%. Inflation at the wholesale level jumped a higher-than-expected 1% in July, matching the rise from the previous month, and dimming hopes that the upward trajectory of prices would begin to slow.
August 12th 2021:
India recorded 41,195 new cases of COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, taking its tally to 32.08 million infections, data from the health ministry showed on Thursday.
Extra Australian military personnel may be called in to ensure compliance with lockdown rules in Sydney, the New South Wales state government said on Thursday, as the highly infectious Delta coronavirus variant spreads into regional areas.
Israel’s Coronavirus Cabinet approved a plan to intensify coronavirus restrictions on Wednesday, including limitation on gatherings from August 16, 2021. The move comes as thousands of new cases in Israel are reported every day. Israel’s government is trying to halt the rising numbers ahead of the Jewish high holidays, which begin on September 6 with Rosh Hashanah.
Although extremely rare, a blood clot syndrome after the first dose of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine carries a high risk of death and can occur in otherwise young and healthy people, UK researchers have found. In those aged under 50, blood clots occur in around one in 50,000 people who have received the vaccine, data suggests.
Consumer prices rose 5.4% in July from a year earlier, the same pace as in June, the highest 12-month rate since 2008, the Labor Department reported Wednesday.
August 11th 2021:
Israel on Tuesday registered 6,275 new daily COVID-19 infections, marking the highest number since the peak of the pandemic in February, according to Health Ministry data.
Reaching herd immunity is “not a possibility” with the current Delta variant, the head of the Oxford Vaccine Group has said. Giving evidence to MPs on Tuesday, Prof. Sir Andrew Pollard said the fact that vaccines did not stop the spread of Covid meant reaching the threshold for overall immunity in the population was “mythical”.
August 9th 2021:
Weeks of rising Covid-19 cases have hardened divisions within families, communities and friend groups over which members have been vaccinated and which have chosen not to do so.
The more aggressive Delta variant of Covid-19, detected in the Philippines in mid-July, has spread across much of the country, reaching 13 of 17 regions, health officials have said. The national capital region of Manila, home to almost 14 million people, was placed under lockdown last week in an attempt to slow the spread of the Delta variant.
The Florida Department of Health took to Twitter on Monday to ask the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to update its COVID-19 case tracker for the state because it incorrectly combined “MULTIPLE days into one,” which made the Sunday daily case count explode to the state’s worst ever.
Public health experts and state officials are raising alarms about a surge in COVID hospitalizations among children, now at their steepest and seeing the most significant increase since the onset of the pandemic. In a newly released weekly report, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the Children’s Hospital Association (CHA) found that nearly 94,000 new child COVID-19 cases were reported last week.
Increasing numbers of Lebanese civilians and public figures are openly saying that they are fed up with Hezbollah‘s presence in their country. This sentiment was reflected by comments made Sunday by a dominant Christian leader, Bechara Boutros al-Rahi, who argued that Hezbollah’s operations not only endanger Israel’s safety, but the safety of Lebanon as well, according to Lebanon’s National News Agency (NNA).
August 8th 2021:
COVID-19 increases patients’ risks for heart attack and stroke, suggests a study from Sweden that compared 86,742 individuals infected with SARS-CoV-2 in 2020 and 348,481 people without the virus. In the week following a COVID-19 diagnosis, the risk of a first heart attack went up three- to eight-fold, and the risk of a first stroke due to a blood-vessel blockage rose three- to six-fold, the researchers found.
A record-breaking 23,903 new Covid-19 cases were reported in Florida on Friday, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This marks the third time this week that Florida has surpassed its record of new daily Covid-19 cases. Florida has a larger percentage of its population vaccinated than Illinois or Texas, and is comparable to other large states like California and Pennsylvania.
India has approved Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose Covid-19 vaccine for emergency use, the health minister, Mansukh Mandaviya, said. India has reported an average of 30,000 to 40,000 new coronavirus cases every day since July.
August 7th 2021:
Public Health England (PHE) said that of confirmed Delta cases that had ended up hospitalized since July 19, 55.1% were unvaccinated, while 34.9% had received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine. Also, there are early signs that people who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 may be able to transmit the Delta variant of the virus as easily as those who have not, scientists at (PHE) said on Friday.
Arutz 7: Coronavirus patients who recovered from the virus were far less likely to become infected during the latest wave of the pandemic than people who were vaccinated against COVID, according to numbers presented to the Israeli Health Ministry. Less than 1% of new cases recently involved people who had been previously infected, while 40% in the study of 7,700 cases were individuals who had already been vaccinated. A recent study at the Cleveland Clinic showed similar results. The U.S. Government’s CDC came to nearly opposite conclusions. Who’s right?
COVID-19 is an extremely dangerous disease, and most experts agree that the risks associated with the current vaccines are less than the disease itself. It’s a case of choosing the lesser of two evils for most people. For many there will soon be no choice as mandatory vaccination rules are becoming more prevalent around the world.
As the United States grapples with rising infections, hospitalizations and deaths amid a surge of the virus’ Delta variant, exhausted and desperate health care workers are turning to social media to describe the grim reality they face. Increasing numbers of healthcare workers are choosing to leave their jobs.
Daily Covid-19 cases in the US moved above 100,000 a day for the first time since February, higher than the levels of last summer when vaccines were not available.
Israel on Friday recorded 3,843 new daily COVID-19 cases with the positive test rate at 3.79 percent out of 102,749 people tested for the virus, according to Health Ministry data.
August 6th 2021:
Daily new COVID-19 cases have climbed to a six-month high in the United States, with more than 100,000 infections reported nationwide. The seven-day average of new reported cases reached nearly 95,000, a five-fold increase in less than a month, Reuters data through Wednesday showed.
Did you know? In most States in the U.S. “breakthrough” cases are not counted unless a vaccinated person is hospitalized or dies from COVID-19.
Natural immunity to the coronavirus after recovering from the disease can last for years, maybe even decades, according to a new study reported in the New York Times.
The Tel Aviv gay Pride Parade is the largest of its kind held in the Middle East, and Hebrew language media reported that some 100,000 revellers took to the streets during the event. Pictures of the parade show tens of thousands tightly packed together, with almost no masks in sight. MK Bezalel Smotrich was roundly denounced by the Israeli Health Minister for stating his concerns publicly.
Israel’s northern frontier is coming under increasing attacks from Hezbollah forces. Friday morning more than 10 rockets were fired into Israel. Three rockets were fired into Israel on Wednesday.
August 5th 2021:
Coronavirus cases worldwide surpassed 200 million on Wednesday, according to a Reuters tally, as the more-infectious delta variant threatens areas with low vaccination rates and strains healthcare systems.
Israel on Wednesday registered more than 3,000 COVID-19 cases for the second consecutive day with 3.34 percent of tests returning a positive result out of 98,854 people tested for the virus, according to Health Ministry data.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has called for a halt to Covid-19 booster shots until at least the end of September, stating that these doses are needed to address a shortfall in poorer countries, thus adding to the global confusion on vaccination policies.
From the Jerusalem Post: “Ivermectin, a drug used to fight parasites in third-world countries, could help reduce the length of infection for people who contract coronavirus for less than a $1 a day, according to recent research by Sheba Medical Center in Tel Hashomer.” Though not a cure-all, the effectiveness of the drug in treating COVID-19 was significant compared to the control group. “Another recent review found that ivermectin reduced deaths by 75%…” Last month, Oxford University announced a large trial on ivermectin effectiveness.
Sydney reported its worst day of the COVID-19 pandemic on Thursday with five deaths and a record rise in locally acquired infections as a weeks-long hard lockdown is struggling to contain the highly contagious Delta strain of the coronavirus. One of the five deaths was a vaccinated individual. Authorities suspect the outbreak began with a beach party.
Future travelers to the US will have to be fully vaccinated a White House official has said. The new requirement is being discussed as part of a phased approach to easing restrictions for vaccinated travelers.
Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid held on Wednesday a security briefing with ambassadors from UNSC member-states and exposed the identity of the person behind the attack of the Israeli-managed oil tanker off the coast of the United Arab Emirates in the Gulf of Oman. “Ara Jani is the primary operator of the UAV array of Iran’s IRCG air force, which targeted the Mercer Street. He is the one who provides the equipment, training, the operative plans and is responsible for numerous terrorist attacks in the region,” Gantz added.
August 4th 2021:
New verified COVID-19 cases in Israel soared Monday to over 3,800, with seriously ill patients numbering at 221. It was the highest number recorded since mid-June when new cases were down to single digits. Officials say the surge in cases is due to the Delta variant.
As the highly contagious delta variant of the coronavirus continues to strike communities nationwide, dozens of major U.S. companies are stepping up their vaccine requirements, mandating that some or all employees get vaccinated or provide proof of vaccination.
Iranian-backed forces are believed to have temporarily seized an oil tanker in the Gulf off the coast of the United Arab Emirates, three maritime security sources said, after Britain’s maritime trade agency reported a “potential hijack” in the area on Tuesday. Tensions have simmered in the region after an attack last week on an Israeli-managed tanker off the Omani coast killed two crew members and was blamed on Iran by the United States, Israel and Britain.
August 3rd 2021:
The U.S. states of Florida and Louisiana were at or near their highest hospitalization numbers of the coronavirus pandemic on Monday, driven by the still-spreading Delta variant, as one doctor warned of the “darkest days” yet. Hospitalizations in Arkansas are also soaring and could eventually break records.
Republican U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham revealed on Monday that he has tested positive for COVID-19 despite being vaccinated, has flu-like symptoms and will be self-quarantining for 10 days.
People at considerable risk of developing severe Covid-19, including millions of Americans with compromised immune systems, now have the option of receiving a preventive monoclonal antibody treatment [Regeneron] if they have been or are at risk of being exposed to the coronavirus. Test participants lived in the United States, Romania and Moldova.
Israel’s cabinet is set to convene Tuesday to discuss reinstating additional corona restrictions, as the number of daily infections surpassed 3,000 for the first time since March.
Hundreds of critical health workers in the Australian state of Queensland have gone into isolation as the country battles a growing Delta outbreak. Queensland’s chief health officer said health workers in quarantine included all the cardiac surgeons at the Queensland Children’s hospital, leading to delays in surgery and outpatient work.
Teacher Julia Perry cited “the fear and intimidation I and many of my fellow teachers have felt in the face of the political activists calling us racists and saying they wish we were dead. Even though one of my grandparents was Jewish, I was called a Nazi just because I don’t agree with the far-left agenda invading our schools.”
The U.S., Russia and Britain have given Israel tacit approval to retaliate against Iran for a deadly drone strike on an Israeli-operated ship on Thursday. The “green light” from Russia was particularly surprising. The Romanian captain and a British security guard were killed in the attack.
August 2nd 2021:
Florida reported 21,683 new cases of Covid-19, the state’s highest one-day total since the start of the pandemic, according to federal health data released Saturday.
Comparing apples to oranges in the U.S.: “Health experts” are calculating breakthrough percentages on the total number ever vaccinated since the Pandemic started, an erroneous and misleading comparison. Nationwide in the U.S., there were more than 35,000 “breakthrough” cases last week alone (people already vaccinated getting infected). In Los Angeles county, 26% of all new infections were among those already vaccinated.
The number of U.S. Covid-19 cases has surpassed 35 million as California became the first state to pass 4 million, according to an NBC News tally late Sunday. Almost 616,800 people have died from the disease in the U.S., according to the calculations.
Australia’s Queensland state on Monday extended a COVID-19 lockdown in Brisbane, while soldiers began patrolling Sydney to enforce stay-at-home rules as Australia struggles to stop the highly contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus spreading.
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said on Friday there will be no nationwide mandate for Americans to get a COVID-19 vaccine, but plans are under consideration for mandatory vaccinations of Federal workers.
Chinese cities have rolled out mass testing of millions of people and imposed fresh travel restrictions as health authorities battle to contain the country’s most widespread coronavirus outbreak in months.
Dr. Anthony Fauci on Sunday warned that the country’s latest COVID-19 surge is “going to get worse.” The White House chief medical adviser acknowledged that the US has yet to turn the corner in the recent outbreak driven by the spread of the highly contagious delta variant.
Iran’s outgoing president, Hassan Rouhani, acknowledged on Sunday that his nation at times “did not tell part of the truth” to its people during his eight-year tenure, “Because I did not find it useful and I was afraid it would harm national unity.”
August 1st 2021:
Of the variants detected in Canada, the Delta increased more than five-fold in June. Rising case counts suggest “we are at the start of the Delta-driven fourth wave,” Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam told reporters.
The protection that vaccines give against coronavirus infection, and potentially severe disease, is highly likely to wane over time so vaccine campaigns will continue for years to come, scientists told the British government’s advisory group.
Israel logged 2,435 new coronavirus infections over the last 24 hours, according to an update to the Health Ministry’s website on Saturday evening. This represents the fifth straight day that Israel saw upward of 2,000 new cases of the virus.
Worldwide, coronavirus infections are once again on the upswing, with the World Health Organization announcing an 80 percent average increase over the past four weeks in five of the health agency’s six regions, a jump largely fueled by the Delta variant.
July 31st 2021:
Three-quarters of the hundreds of people infected with COVID-19 at July public events in a town on Cape Cod in Massachusetts were fully vaccinated, a study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showed.
July 29th & 30th 2021:
An internal slide presentation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention dated Thursday gives new details on how dangerous the delta variant really is. It spreads more easily than the common cold. In addition to being more contagious, the delta variant likely increases the risk of severe disease and hospitalization, compared to the original strain.
Israel launched its mass vaccination campaign promoting a third dose of the coronavirus vaccine on Friday. Israel is the first country in the world to offer a third dose of the COVID vaccine, with the government urging Israelis over the age of 60 to receive a third jab to combat the spread of the Delta variant.
Britain’s U.N. ambassador warned on Thursday that half of Myanmar’s 54 million people could be infected with COVID-19 in the next two weeks. “The coup has resulted in a near total collapse of the healthcare system, and health care workers are being attacked and arrested,” British U.N. Ambassador Barbara Woodward told an informal Security Council discussion on Myanmar.
India reported 44,230 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, the most in three weeks, the latest evidence of a worrying trend of rising cases that has forced one state to lock down amid fears of another wave of infections.
President Joe Biden on Thursday urged local governments to pay people $100 to get vaccinated against COVID-19, and set new rules requiring federal workers to provide proof of vaccination or face regular testing, mask mandates and travel restrictions.
A Covid outbreak first discovered in the Chinese city of Nanjing has spread to five provinces and Beijing, with state media calling it the “most extensive contagion after Wuhan”. Officials believe the current outbreak is linked to the highly infectious Delta variant.
Australia has deployed hundreds of soldiers to Sydney to help enforce a Covid lockdown. A Delta outbreak which began in June has produced nearly 3,000 infections and led to nine deaths. Australian Defense Force soldiers will undergo training on the weekend before beginning unarmed patrols on Monday.
July 28th 2021:
Israel’s Health Ministry announced that on Monday, 2,112 people tested positive for the coronavirus. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Monday raised its COVID-19 travel health notice for Israel to “Level 3: High,” one notch below the CDC’s most severe travel rating. In the U.S., daily new cases have risen by 142% in the last two weeks.
An Israeli search and rescue team played an outsized role in recovering the remains of victims of last month’s catastrophic apartment building collapse in southern Florida. Out of 98 victims remains recovered, 81 were found by with the help of the IDF team, which worked alongside American rescue workers.
July 27th 2021:
The Swedish company Iconovo is collaborating with an immunology research start-up in Stockholm, ISR, on a dry-powder vaccine against Covid-19 which can be inhaled. It uses more traditional manufactured Covid-19 virus proteins (unlike Pfizer, Moderna and Astra Zeneca which use RNA or DNA that code for these proteins), and can withstand temperatures of up to 40C.
Delta Plus, as it is referred to, is a mutation of the Delta Variant. It first came to the attention of medical professionals in England in March. It isn’t clear how the Delta Plus mutation compares to the Delta Variant in terms of infectiousness, deadliness, or ability to resist vaccines. It has since been detected in North America, Europe, India and Japan.
New South Wales (Sydney) reported a record high number of covid cases on Tuesday despite more than four weeks of lockdown for the region, with signs tough measures could extend until September. More than half of Australia’s population of nearly 26 million is in lockdown.
The number of Covid-19 cases across the U.S. may have been undercounted by as much as 60%, researchers at the University of Washington have found.
The American Medical Association and the American Nurses Association have joined up with over 50 other health care organizations to call for mandatory vaccinations in their industry, citing rising COVID cases and their trust in the vaccine.
July 26th 2021:
The Delta variant is the fastest, fittest and most formidable version of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 the world has encountered, and it is upending assumptions about the disease. Israeli health officials have said 60% of current hospitalized COVID cases are in vaccinated people.
The latest update from Israel shows that the current vaccines are only 39% effective against the Delta variant in that country. Focus has now shifted to reducing the number of those with serious disease rather than total prevention. Other countries reporting higher effectiveness rates have far less reliable information on which to base their numbers.
King Abdullah II of Jordan said that he expects additional Arab states to normalize relations with Israel in the future, in an interview with CNN. Declining to speculate which country would likely be the next to join the Abraham Accords, the monarch said that several Middle Eastern states “see having a relationship with Israel as in their vested interests” due to security concerns about Iran.
Anger at the Hamas terrorist group bubbled over as Palestinian factions called for the cessation of weapons storage in residential areas. The demand came following a large explosion Thursday morning in which one person was killed and at least 14 wounded, including six children. Initial reports suggested that it might have been a gas leak, but footage showed that the detonation of weapons caused the explosion.
July 24th 2021:
Vaccinated individuals accounted for 75% of Singapore’s COVID-19 infections in the last four weeks, but they were not falling seriously ill, government data showed. Even though COVID-19 vaccines are more than 90% effective at preventing serious illness, millions of vaccinated people will likely have a breakthrough infection, which can be passed on to others, according to the CDC.
An oral vaccine against the coronavirus is on the verge of clinical trials in Israel, and it could be used in particular in countries that do not yet have access to conventional vaccines.
A new worldwide wave of COVID-19, natural disasters in China and Germany and a cyber-attack targeting key South African ports have conspired to drive global supply chains towards the breaking point, threatening the fragile flow of raw materials, parts and consumer goods, according to companies, economists and shipping specialists.
A U.S. Senate committee has approved legislation that would, if enacted, require young women to register for Selective Service alongside men, and in the rare event of a war or other national emergency, be drafted for the first time in the nation’s history.
July 23rd 2021:
Russia is enduring a devastating third wave of the coronavirus pandemic, registering record numbers of daily virus deaths many days for the past month as the virus rages in the country where there are few quarantine restrictions in place and much of the population is reluctant to get vaccinated.
Israel’s Health Ministry reported Thursday that the Pfizer vaccine’s efficacy in preventing Delta variant infections has dropped to 39 percent, while the vaccination was still 91 percent effective in preventing serious illness among those fully inoculated.
The current COVID-19 surge in the U.S. — fueled by the highly contagious delta variant — will steadily accelerate through the summer and fall, peaking in mid-October, with daily deaths more than triple what they are now. That’s according to new projections released Wednesday from the COVID-19 Scenario Modeling Hub, a consortium of researchers working in consultation with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help the agency track the course of the pandemic.
Australia’s New South Wales state on Friday reported its biggest daily rise in new COVID-19 cases this year, prompting state officials to tighten lockdown measures in Sydney in what they called a “national emergency.”
Just over a month after the Golden state dropped all its coronavirus safety restrictions, numerous parts of California are seeing a dramatic increases in Covid-19 infections. In Los Angeles, county figures show that Covid-19 infections have increased twentyfold in a month. In San Francisco, they’ve almost tripled in two weeks.
July 22nd 2021:
Members of Israel’s coronavirus cabinet scrambled to schedule a meeting on Thursday after the Health Ministry announced that 1,400 new cases of Covid were diagnosed on Tuesday. It’s the highest one-day spike since March.
From Wednesday, showing either a health pass, or proof of a negative PCR test dated to within 48 hours, is obligatory in France for anyone wishing to access any cultural or leisure facilities with a capacity of more than 50 people. This includes cinemas, art galleries, libraries, museums, sports centres and work-related events.
In Australia, New South Wales (Sydney) authorities are hopeful that tougher stay-at home-orders will produce results by the weekend or early next week, after cases surged again on Wednesday and three local government areas in western NSW were put into a seven-day snap lockdown.
The UK has recorded 44,104 new coronavirus cases, and 73 further deaths, according to the latest update to the government’s dashboard. The total number of new cases over the past week is up 35.8% on the total for the previous seven days, and deaths are up 59.8% week on week.
Coronavirus infections in Rome have increased 500% over the past nine days, a boom believed to have been triggered by the European football championship celebrations.
UF Health Jacksonville, in Florida’s most populous city, has seen an “exponential” rise in the number of COVID-19 patients admitted in recent weeks, Chad Neilsen, director of infection prevention at the hospital, told ABC News.
Israel has become the first country in the world to okay Covid booster shots for immunocompromised adults. Israel’s four health providers have been informed by the Israel Health Ministry that they can administer a third booster shot to adults with underlying immune problems.
July 21st 2021:
Food fight: Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream is at odds with it’s parent company: Unilever Corp., which has banned future sales of the product in Judea and Samaria. The decision could be illegal under anti-BDS laws in 33 States in the U.S. and could jeopardize future contracts. The Israeli government has threatened “serious consequences” for the action.
The analysis, from the Center for Global Development, a think tank in Washington, D.C., looks at the number of “excess deaths” that occurred in India between January 2020 and June 2021 – in other words, how many more people died during that period than during a similar period of time in 2019 or other recent years. The conclusion is that between 3.4 and 4.7 million more people died in that pandemic period than would have been predicted. That’s up to 10 times higher than the Indian government’s official death toll of 414,482.
Hebrew University of Jerusalem studies published in a pair of medical journals suggest that already-existing drugs can be repurposed to fight Covid, Hebrew-language news sites reported Monday. One is darapladib, which is used to treat atherosclerosis, a build up of fatty cholesterol in the artery walls. A second is Flumatinib, which is used to treat bone marrow cancer. The third was an unspecified HIV medication.
July 20th 2021:
The average number of new Covid-19 cases per day has tripled in the past 30 days in the United States, according to an analysis of Reuters data. In the month from June 18 to Sunday, it climbed from 12,004 to 32,136.
A top scientist at the World Health Organization (WHO) warned on Monday that the world is shifting further away from the end of the COVID-19 pandemic, owing to factors like viral variants, social mixing, the flouting of public health measures and vaccine inequities. Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, epidemiologist and WHO COVID-19 technical lead, noted an 11.5% increase in global cases over the last week.
A third Australian state announced lockdown rules on Tuesday to combat the COVID-19 Delta variant spread, with South Australia entering week-long restrictions, joining an extended lockdown in Victoria (Melbourne) and a five-week shutdown in NSW (Sydney).
More Colleges are mandating Covid-19 vaccines. A federal judge has ruled that Indiana University may require its students to submit proof of Covid-19 vaccination before returning to campus this fall, dealing a setback to a brewing legal effort against vaccination requirements in higher education.
War and social unrest severely impact efforts to curb the coronavirus spread. This has been demonstrated recently in places like Mayanmar, and the regions in China that border that country, where new cases have spiralled out of control.
The long-feared possibility that the Covid-19 pandemic could disrupt the Tokyo Olympics is rapidly emerging as a reality, as Games organizers scramble to deal with a rising load of athletes and officials who are testing positive upon arrival in Japan. Since July 2, Tokyo 2020 organizers have reported 58 positive cases among athletes, officials and journalists.
July 19th 2021:
England is preparing to “reopen” despite skyrocketing Covid cases. Almost all lockdown restrictions are set to end in England on Monday. Nightclubs and sporting events will be free to function at full capacity in England and the government will no longer advise people to work from home.
Los Angeles is the first county in the U.S. to require masks again. The mandate is for indoors, and it’s indefinite. The masks came back Sunday, one month after California dropped restrictions.
The Biden administration paid $135 million to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) on Saturday after an agreement was signed last week, which for the first time, condemns anti-Israel hatred, i24NEWS reports. In April, the European Parliament adopted a resolution condemning UNRWA for teaching hate and violence in Palestinian Authority (PA) schools.
U.S. President Biden ratcheted up the rhetoric recently with this comment: “The only pandemic we have is among the unvaccinated, and they’re killing people.” Ironically, five fully vaccinated members of the Texas House Democrat delegation in Washington, D.C., have now tested positive for Covid-19, the state’s House Democratic Caucus said Saturday.
July 18th 2021:
After declining steeply for six months, coronavirus cases are once again on the rise, thanks to the delta variant. And the increase is not only among the “unvaccinated” but includes places like LA and NYC. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Friday that new cases are up by nearly 70% in just a week. Hospitalizations are up by nearly 36%.
For the first time in over four months Israel recorded more than 1,000 new cases of the coronavirus in the past 24 hours. On Friday, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett acknowledged that the protection afforded by the Pfizer vaccine against the delta variant is weaker than medical professionals were hoping for.
Over 1,000 people contracted coronavirus at a Netherlands outdoor music festival billed as a coronavirus-safe event, CNBC reported. Attendance at the Verknipt Outdoor Festival was dependent on the presentation of a QR code which showed that the individual had recently tested negative for the virus, been vaccinated, or recovered from a COVID-19 infection.
French President Macron this week announced sweeping measures to fight a rapid surge in coronavirus infections, including forced vaccination of health workers and COVID-19-free certificates to enter places such as bars, restaurants and cinemas.
Week of July 11th to July 17th, 2021:
Romania: The week ending 17-Jul-2021 is the first time in many weeks that both New Cases and Deaths increased.
Update Saturday, July 17th: All the German Brethren in the flooded area have confirmed that they are safe, and had no significant damage. If additional news becomes available, it will be posted here.
Covid cases are rising in all 50 U.S. states as the Delta variant spreads coast to coast, news outlets reported on Friday, and with less than half the U.S. population fully vaccinated, public health chiefs warned of an “extraordinary surge”.
Israel on Friday recorded 855 new daily COVID-19 cases, according to Health Ministry data, marking the fourth consecutive day where the number of new infections has exceeded 750 as the country struggles to contain an outbreak of the highly contagious delta variant despite its record-setting vaccine rollout.
The Australian state of Victoria (Melbourne) was ordered into a five-day lockdown on Thursday following a spike in COVID-19 infections, joining New South Wales (Sydney) as the country’s two main population hubs battle an outbreak of the highly contagious Delta variant.
As the coronavirus pandemic evolves and new variants emerge that are more transmissible or can cause more severe disease, human behavior remains one of the biggest pieces of the equation, potentially creating a perfect storm, increasing the odds that new transmissions spiral out of control.
Los Angeles County will reimpose its mask mandate this weekend in the latest sign that public health officials are struggling with an alarming rise in coronavirus cases tied to the highly contagious Delta variant.
The World Health Organization warned Thursday that the surging COVID-19 pandemic in many parts of the world increases the likelihood that new, potentially dangerous variants may emerge in the future.
The U.S. is averaging more than 23,000 new coronavirus cases a day, double the seven-day average of around 11,300 cases three weeks ago, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University.
Israel’s coronavirus cabinet convened Tuesday night and discussed possible strategies that will allow the country to combat the spike in new cases, while preventing a potentially economically devastating fourth wave lockdown. The new strategy is being called “soft suppression” and will be similar to what is currently being used in the U.K.
Amid a megadrought, federal water shortage limits loom for the Colorado River. A prolonged warming and drying trend is pushing the two largest reservoirs in the U.S. to record lows. For the first time, a shortage is expected to be declared by the federal government, this summer. Restrictions would affect more than 40 million people.
Consumer prices jumped 5.4% in the 12 months to the end of June, up from 5% the previous month. It marks the biggest 12-month increase since August 2008, according to the US Labor Department.
The World Health Organization’s chief scientist on Monday advised against people mixing and matching COVID-19 vaccines from different manufacturers, calling it a “dangerous trend” since there was little data available about the health impact.
Coronavirus patients who recovered from the virus were far less likely to become infected during the latest wave of the pandemic than people who were vaccinated against COVID, according to numbers presented to the Israeli Health Ministry. Israelis who were vaccinated were 6.72 times more likely to get infected after the shot than after natural infection.
After adjusting for factors like race, age, sex and other factors like physical activity, BMI level and history of certain medical conditions, researchers found “habitual consumption of 1 or more cups of coffee per day was associated with about a 10% decrease in risk of COVID-19 compared to less than 1 cup/day.” Further findings suggested daily consumption of at least 0.67 servings of vegetables also reduced risk of coronavirus infection.
Archaeologists excavating in southern Israel uncovered a piece of inked pottery bearing the name Jerubbaal, the Israeli Antiquities Authority announced on Monday. Jerubbaal was the lesser-used name of the judge Gideon. It was the first time an inscription from the time of the biblical Judges and relating to the Book of Judges has been recovered, the IAA said.
U.S. households should be prepared for several years of higher inflation than the country has seen in several decades, The Wall Street Journal reported, quoting economists. Economists surveyed by WSJ suggested that inflation would go higher and last for longer than appeared likely twelve months earlier.
The prospect of an extended lockdown in Sydney loomed on Monday as Australian health officials reported yet another record daily rise in COVID-19 cases for the year, fuelled by the highly infectious Delta variant.
Israeli Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz said that Israel is shifting its strategy in fighting the coronavirus, focusing on mitigating the risks from returning travelers and disrupting daily life and the economy as little as possible. “Coronavirus will be with us for a long time, and we have to create a routine so that we can live alongside it,” Horowitz said.
Pro-Western Moldovan President Maya Sandu’s PAS party won the country’s snap parliamentary elections, data from the central election commission showed on Monday, on a platform of fighting corruption and carrying out reforms.
In what may be a sign of serious trouble for Israel’s month-old governing coalition, an MK from the Islamist Ra’am party announced that the faction will immediately boycott all meetings and Knesset votes. With a razor-thin majority of just 61 seats [out of 120], a boycott by the party means that the governing coalition has lost its upper hand and will need members of the opposition to either abstain or break party discipline in order to pass legislation.
CNN medical analyst Dr. Jonathan Reiner suggested on Friday that it was “time to mandate vaccines” and encouraged private industry to do so. Hundreds of U.S. private businesses and organizations have already mandated vaccination as a requirement for continued employment.
Moldovans were voting in a snap parliamentary election on Sunday in which pro-Western President Maya Sandu hopes to win a majority to fight corruption and carry out reforms she says were blocked by allies of her pro-Russian predecessor, Igor Dodon.
Week of July 4th to July 10th, 2021:
The world has crossed the “tragic” threshold of 4 million deaths from Covid-19, the World Health Organization announced on Wednesday.
Australia’s state of New South Wales (NSW, including Sydney) on Thursday reported its biggest daily rise in locally acquired cases of COVID-19 this year as officials struggle to stamp out a growing cluster of the highly infectious Delta variant. The numbers are still relatively low, but the rate of increase is significant.
Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) Home Front Command chief Maj. Gen. Ori Gordin warned on Wednesday of a likely fourth wave of Covid outbreaks with “1,000 infections a day by the end of the week.” The Delta variant, which originated in India, is responsible for a surge of new cases in Israel and around the world. According to Ministry of Health figures, the Delta variant makes up 90 percent of Israel’s new cases.
The Abraham Fund, after getting off to a running start, approving more than 10 projects in such fields as energy and fin-tech and reviewing hundreds more, has come to a sudden stop as a result of Joe Biden winning the presidential elections. The Fund’s head, appointed by former president Trump, left, and a successor has yet to be chosen.
In a historic first, the UN condemned for the first time anti-Semitic terrorism and recognized its existence. The World body adopted a Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy that unequivocally condemns the terrorist organizations’ use of civilians as human shields.