Here’s what you need to know about the coronavirus right now:
About 100 million have or had long COVID, study estimates
More than 40% of COVID-19 survivors worldwide have had lingering after-effects of the illness, researchers from the University of Michigan estimate, based on their review of 40 earlier studies from 17 countries that looked at patients’ experiences with so-called long COVID, defined as new or persistent symptoms at four or more weeks after infection. The prevalence rises to 57% among survivors who required hospitalization, the researchers reported on Tuesday on medRxiv ahead of peer review.
Among the most common problems, fatigue was estimated to affect 23%, while shortness of breath, joint pain and memory problems each affected 13%. The study likely did not capture all cases of long COVID, the researchers say. “Based on a WHO (World Health Organization) estimate of 237 million worldwide COVID-19 infections, this global pooled … estimate indicates that around 100 million individuals currently experience or have previously experienced long-term health-related consequences of COVID-19.”
S.Korea reports record new COVID-19 cases
South Korea reported a record high 3,292 new COVID-19 cases, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said on Thursday, as the country moves into the first phase of its living with COVID-19 loosened restrictions. A rise in cases was predicted by officials and experts after many social distancing restrictions were lifted earlier this month after the country surpassed its goal of vaccinating 70% of its 52 million people.
The KDCA says a rise in serious cases is also being driven by the waning effects of coronavirus vaccines provided to vulnerable groups such as the elderly earlier on in the process, leading to an increase in breakthrough infections.
Canada to drop test for some returning travelers – source
Canada is set to announce on Friday that it is no longer obliging Canadian travelers returning from short trips of 72 hours or less to the United States to take expensive molecular COVID-19 tests, a government source said on Wednesday.
U.S. Congressman Brian Higgins, whose district includes Buffalo and Niagara Falls, New York, near the border said he met with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Wednesday in Washington and was told the testing would be dropped for Americans in a second phase.
Vaccine hesitancy big threat for India, says top vaccine maker SII
Indian states are sitting on more than 200 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines due to a reluctance among people to get inoculated, the chief executive of top vaccine maker the Serum Institute of India (SII) said on Wednesday. “Today there are over 200 million doses available with states. I urge all adults to get vaccinated as soon as possible. Vaccine hesitancy is now the greatest threat in overcoming this pandemic,” SII CEO Adar Poonawalla said.
Despite the ample supply, only 41% of India’s 944 million adults have been fully vaccinated as many skip their second dose amid a decrease in infections. Some 80% of the adults have received at least one dose, while vaccination has not begun for those under age 18.
French new coronavirus cases top 20,000 per day for first time since August
France registered more than 20,000 new confirmed coronavirus infections on Wednesday for the first time since Aug. 25 as the fifth wave of the epidemic picked up speed. Government spokesperson Gabriel Attal said earlier on Wednesday no extra restrictive measures are on the agenda for now. The government hopes that a high vaccination rate will limit the number of people needing hospital care for the disease.
However, the French government’s top scientific adviser Jean-Francois Delfraissy also said on Wednesday that authorities may have to ask companies once again to make greater use of home-working.
(Compiled by Karishma Singh; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)