Twenty-one days after the first vaccine, the likelihood of new Covid-19 infection was reduced by 65% according to the results of the COVID-19 infection survey coordinated by Oxford University, the Office of National Statistics and the Department for Health and social welfare. The biggest reductions in the chances of winning were seen after a second dose, it said.
The numbers for the prevention of symptomatic infections seemed more promising. The likelihood of testing positive and self-reporting symptoms was reduced by 90% after the second dose. And the vaccination was just as effective in the vulnerable age group over 75 as it was in younger people.
Two studies highlighting the results were preprinted Friday and not peer-reviewed. They analyzed 1.6 million test results from nasal and throat swabs taken from more than 373,000 people between December and early April.
“These real-world results are extremely encouraging and show that our historic vaccination program across the UK is having a significant impact in reducing infections in people of all ages, including people with underlying health conditions,” said James Bethell, a UK Minister of Health.
However, experts advise people to continue preventive measures against Covid-19 as some infections continue to be transmitted, especially if large numbers of the population have only received one dose on a two-dose regimen or have not been vaccinated at all.
YOU ASKED. WE ANSWERED.
Question: Do we still have to wear a mask outdoors?
A. Different countries have different rules, and even different US states have different rules. You should generally follow the instructions that you live in. But as the weather in the northern hemisphere warms up, some people wonder how long to wear their masks.
Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN’s chief correspondent, says, “If you are vaccinated, for the most part, I’d say you don’t have to wear a mask outdoors.” This is because it is known that most virus transmissions do not take place outdoors.
Current guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention make it clear that masks may not be needed outdoors. “Masks may not be required when you are outside alone, away from others, or with people who live in your household,” it says. You may want to wear one when you are in a crowded place outdoors.
A November review in the Journal of Infectious Diseases found that the likelihood of virus transmission indoors is 18.7 times higher than outdoors, and that less than 10% of Covid-19 infections studied occurred outdoors. Here are more details to help you make an informed choice. Submit your questions here. Are you a healthcare worker fighting Covid-19? Drop us a message on WhatsApp about the challenges you are facing: +1 347-322-0415.
WHAT’S IMPORTANT TODAY?
Countries restrict flights as India’s Covid crisis deepens
Just six weeks ago, the Indian health minister declared that the country was “in the final” of the Covid-19 pandemic. India reported 332,730 new cases on Friday, recording the highest number of new cases in a day in the world since the pandemic began for the second day in a row.
India’s second wave devastated communities and hospitals across the country. Everything is in short supply – beds in the intensive care unit, medication, oxygen and ventilators. Corpses pile up in morgues and crematoriums, write Jessie Yeung, Manveena Suri and Swati Gupta.
And other countries are slowly turning away from Indians. The United Arab Emirates, Australia and New Zealand have restricted all inbound flights from India. Australia even limits the number of its own citizens who can return from the nation.
Germany’s emergency braking law is supposed to block almost the entire country
The government of Chancellor Angela Merkel will use her newly gained powers to introduce an “emergency brake” – or lockdown – in large parts of the country from Saturday, Health Minister Jens Spahn said on Friday. Few communities with low infection rates will avoid the measures.
The lockdown will come just two days after a controversial new law is stamped by the German House of Lords, giving the national government the power to lock states for the first time, ending the state-to-state patchwork of fighting the pandemic.
The law allows the government to impose curfews between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. and limit private gatherings, sports and shop openings in any area where more than 100 cases per 100,000 people are registered in a week. Schools will close and return to online classes if virus incidence exceeds 165 cases per 100,000 population.
The WHO lists rare blood clots as a side effect of AstraZeneca’s vaccine
The World Health Organization (WHO) worked with UK and European health authorities on Thursday to update its guidelines to include the risk of serious blood clot disease as a rare potential side effect in people who received the shot. However, the organization says the benefits of the vaccine still outweigh the risks.
The WHO Expert Group on Immunization confirmed reports from the United Kingdom and the European Union of a rare condition called thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS), which involves serious blood clots from low platelet counts.
According to the UK, the risk of TTS is around 4 cases per 1 million – or 1 in 250,000 – while in the European Union the rate is estimated at around 1 case per 100,000 and analysis was needed. The UK has advised people under the age of 30 to offer an alternative vaccine. Data shows that currently the risks for this age group are greater than the benefits. Some other European nations don’t use the shot on anyone under the age of 50 or 60.
ON OUR RADAR
- The Senate passed law denouncing discrimination against Asian communities in the United States and establishing a new position in the Justice Department to expedite the review of potential hate crimes related to Covid-19.
- Music sponsor Shuki Weiss celebrates in Israel. “Every show we announced in the last 14 days sold out within four or five hours,” he says, as Israel only reports 100 Covid-19 infections a day.
- Russia has discovered new variants in the country, including a Siberian mutation and a so-called “northwestern variant,” Russian state media reported.
- Mexican officials try to stop the sale of counterfeit Covid-19 vaccines after Pfizer identified fake shots with his name in the country as well as in Poland.
- A fifth Iraqi lawmaker, Adnan al-Aassadi, has died of complications from Covid-19 since the pandemic began, after restrictions in the country were eased.
“Masks work and test. Contact tracing works. We have 507 employees here and were able to manage this: testing, isolating and contact tracing.” – Filmmaker and actor Tyler Perry.
Perry receives an honorary Oscar this weekend. For today’s podcast, we’re repeating a conversation between CNN’s chief correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Perry on the quarantine bubble he set up in his Atlanta studio last summer. They talk about how Perry built his bladder and successfully resumed production on set with no positive Covid-19 cases and what the experience was like inside. Listen now.