More than 350 Indonesian doctors and healthcare workers have contracted COVID-19 and dozens have been hospitalized despite being jabbed with the Chinese vaccine Sinovac, authorities said.
Badai Ismoyo, head of the Kudus district health office in Central Java, told Channel News Asia that most of the infected were asymptomatic and self-isolating at home. But he said dozens were in hospitals with high fevers and declining oxygen saturation levels.
Indonesia, an archipelago of made up of thousands of islands and home to 270 million people, is battling a severe outbreak believed to be driven by the more transmissible delta variant. Indonesian healthcare workers, designated as a priority group, were among the first to be vaccinated when the inoculation drive started in January.
Indonesia President Joko Widodo on Thursday ordered authorities to speed up the vaccination campaign. The World Health Organization urged leaders of the world’s fourth most populated country to increase social restrictions to combat the surge of infections.
Also in the news:
►California’s Santa Clara County, the nation’s first county to institute a stay-at-home order, is collaborating with the SAP Center, the Golden State Warriors and the City of San Jose to raffle off more than 100 tickets to upcoming events to everyone who gets vaccinated. 70% of eligible residents in the county have one dose.
►Moderna announced that the federal government has purchased an additional 200 million doses of vaccine, primarily for vaccinating children or for use as a booster for people already vaccinated.
►A vaccine developed by German company CureVac is just 47% effective, according to clinical trial data released Wednesday. Of 124 cases sequenced, just one was attributable to the original COVID-19 strain, and more than half were caused by “variants of concern,” according to CureVac.
►A swath of Missouri is seeing a big rise in cases and hospitalizations as tourists eager to get out after being cooped up for a year make their way to popular destinations like Branson and Lake of the Ozarks. The number of patients in intensive care has tripled.
📈Today’s numbers: The U.S. has more than 33.49 million confirmed coronavirus cases and at least 600,600 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The global totals: More than 176.9 million cases and more than 3.83 million deaths. More than 146.45 million Americans have been fully vaccinated — 44.1% of the population, according to the CDC.
📘What we’re reading: People hospitalized with COVID-19 now have one overwhelming thing in common — they’re not vaccinated.
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Variants force US to remain vigilant despite access to vaccines
The nation will have to remain vigilant against variants this summer and fall. First, there is the alpha variant, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated made up 66% of U.S. cases in April. The variant, first documented in the UK, is considered more transmissible and perhaps deadlier than the original strain. Then, there’s the delta variant, which tore through India last month and delayed the United Kingdom’s reopening plan. Now it accounts for about 6-10% of coronavirus infections in the U.S., according to the CDC. But the variant that keeps Washington state epidemiologist Dr. Scott Lindquist “up at night?”
The gamma variant, which now accounts for 16% of cases in the state and is the fastest-rising, according to the Seattle Times.
“It’s a race between the vaccines going into people and the current or future variants,” said Kansas Health Secretary Dr. Lee Norman.
NYC to move homeless out of hotels as social distancing measures lifted
New York City will move about 8,000 homeless people out of the hotel rooms granted to them at the start of the COVID pandemic to safeguard them against the coronavirus and back into shelters by the end of July so that the hotels can reopen, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Wednesday.
New York state surpassed the first-shot, 70% vaccination threshold for adults, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Tuesday, a benchmark that will trigger a pullback on safety precautions such as those still in place for social distancing.
“I don’t want to go back — it’s like I’m going backward,” Andrew Ward, 39, who has been staying at the Williams Hotel in Brownsville, Brooklyn, after nearly two years at a men’s shelter, told the New York Times. “It’s not safe to go back there. You’ve got people bringing in knives.”
Early release programs in Virginia will end, inmate population vaccinated
An inmate early release program aimed at controlling the spread of the coronavirus in Virginia prisons will end on July 1.
State prison officials have released more than 2,100 inmates early in the past year to reduce the prison population during the pandemic. The program was authorized under a budget amendment proposed by Gov. Ralph Northam and approved by state lawmakers in April 2020. The authorization expires on July 1.
Department of Corrections Director Harold Clarke said about 70% of the inmate population has been vaccinated against COVID-19. There are no current cases among the population. A total of 56 inmates and five staff members who tested positive for the coronavirus have died during the pandemic.
Contributing: The Associated Press.