Covid-19 news and latest advice

Dr Adrian Hyzler Chief Medical Officer at Healix International

Dr Adrian Hyzler
Chief Medical Officer

Developments from 23rd September 2021

On a global level, we now approach 250 million confirmed positive cases and nearly 5 million confirmed deaths. Robust models suggest that the true number of deaths due to COVID is now over 15 million – many people die without having access to a COVID test. However, this week the WHO confirmed that global COVID cases had fallen over the past week with new cases dropping from 4 million to 3.6 million – a 10% drop. This is the first significant fall on a global level for two months. Current hotspots are the US, India, Britain, Turkey and the Philippines. In the UK, infections remain high with no rapid deceleration or acceleration in new case numbers. In comparison to other G7 countries, the UK has 441 cases per million over the past seven days compared to 417 in the US, 107 across the EU, 69 in Italy and only 39 in Japan. Despite these high numbers, hospitalisations in the UK remain stable whilst deaths increase slowly. The UK vaccination programme has been extended to cover children aged between 12-15 and this week booster vaccinations began for everyone aged 50 and over, the immunocompromised, those living in care homes and healthcare workers. Europe is seeing a fall in total COVID numbers with variation seen from country to country. New cases are falling, or plateauing, in the majority of Western Europe, but as we approach winter, countries in the East of Europe are battling rising cases amidst much lower rates of vaccine coverage. Serbia and Slovenia are now the worst affected in Europe, having overtaken the UK in cases per million of population. Romania is seeing the steepest rise in new cases followed closely by Slovakia, Poland, Hungary and Lithuania. In the US, reports of hospitalisations and new cases have started to trend slowly downward following a Delta-fuelled surge that began in July. Despite this positive news, death rates remain high with nearly 2,000 new COVID deaths being reported each day – the highest rate since winter. Despite new vaccine mandates, vaccination is still lagging behind Europe. For example, 63% of Americans over age of 12 have been fully vaccinated compared to 85% of Danes. In Asia, aside from cases rising in the Philippines and plateauing in Vietnam, it seems that new cases are – on the whole – coming down from high peaks across Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia. Vaccination rollouts continue with Cambodia, Malaysia and Singapore all having vaccinated over 60% of over-11s. Australia continues to battle rising Delta cases with strict lockdowns. Recent protests in Melbourne against mandatory vaccinations for certain groups seemed to be triggered by the fact that the Victoria State city has had the world’s longest cumulative period under lockdown outside of China. New Zealand is seeing a reduction in new Delta cases as it sticks to its strategy of COVID elimination.

As COVID vaccine booster programmes begin their roll-out across high income countries, new evidence has come to light in the past week from Israel which strengthens the argument for boosters. Boosters remain controversial as much of the world is yet to complete a primary vaccination course. As the first to roll out a COVID vaccination programme, Israel are seen as a case study in the long term efficacy of vaccinations. The immunisation programme led to a rapid drop in case numbers earlier in the year, but as the length of time since first vaccination increased, the Delta variant began to take hold. Israel is now in the midst of its highest ever case numbers. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine this past week found that a third or booster dose of the Pfizer vaccine in over 60s that have had more than five months elapse since their last COVID vaccine were ten times less likely to get infected with COVID and nearly 20 times less likely to become unwell with severe illness. The USA’s decision on their booster programme is pending but expect more countries that have the resources to roll out winter booster programmes. How this will affect vaccine supplies to poorer countries with low to minimal vaccination coverage remains to be seen.

Good news for travellers to the United States as they announce that they will end the so-called “travel ban” which meant that UK and European travellers who had been in Europe/UK prior to entering the US were banned from entry. US travellers to Europe and the UK have been allowed in since earlier in the summer. Full details of the scheme are yet to be released but entry is only to those that have completed a full course of vaccination and have a recent negative COVID test. Fauci suggested that the US authorities would allow those vaccinated with AstraZeneca (currently not approved in the US) entry into the US. The relaxed rules go live from November 2021.

What do we know about Covid-19?

The current coronavirus pandemic is an evolving situation that Healix International is monitoring closely. Our regularly updated Covid-19 advisory has been developed to bring your organisation the latest insight from our medical experts, to better enable you to stay abreast of the most recent developments and help plan for a future beyond the pandemic.

Covid-19 country band categorisations

Extreme
>250 cases per 100,000 over 7 days

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Bermuda ↑
  • Botswana ↑
  • Costa Rica
  • Cuba
  • Dominica
  • Estonia ↑
  • French Guiana
  • Georgia
  • Grenada
  • Israel
  • Lithuania ↑
  • Malaysia
  • Mongolia
  • Montenegro
  • New Caledonia ↑
  • Sint Maarten
  • Serbia
  • Seychelles ↑
  • Slovenia ↑
  • St Kitts & Nevis
  • St Lucia
  • St Vincent & the Grenadines ↑
  • Suriname
  • United Kingdom
  • USA – Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Guam, Indiana, Iowa, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine ↑, Minnesota ↑, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania ↑, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont ↑, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin ↑, Wyoming
  • West Bank / Gaza Strip

Severe
>100-250 cases per 100,000 over 7 days

  • Albania
  • Armenia
  • Aruba ↓
  • Austria
  • Azerbaijan
  • Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Belarus
  • Bonaire ↓
  • Bosnia & Herzegovina
  • Brazil ↑
  • Brunei
  • Bulgaria
  • Croatia
  • Curacao
  • Cyprus
  • Fiji
  • Gibraltar
  • Greece
  • Greenland ↑
  • Guatemala
  • Guadeloupe ↓
  • Guyana
  • Iran
  • Ireland
  • Jamaica
  • Kazakhstan
  • Kosovo ↓
  • Latvia
  • Liechtenstein
  • Maldives
  • Moldova ↑
  • Martinique ↓
  • North Macedonia
  • Philippines
  • Romania ↑
  • Saint Barthelemy
  • Saint Martin ↓
  • Sao Tome and Principe ↑
  • Switzerland
  • Thailand
  • Turkey
  • Turks and Caicos Islands ↓
  • USA – Arizona ↓, California, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Colombia, Hawaii ↓, Illinois, Louisiana ↓, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Rhode Island, US Virgin Islands

High
>50-100 cases per 100,000 over 7 days

  • Andorra ↑
  • Anguilla ↓
  • Belgium
  • Cape Verde
  • Cayman Islands
  • Canada ↑
  • Falkland Islands ↑
  • Faroe Islands ↑
  • Finland
  • France ↓
  • Gabon ↑
  • Germany
  • Honduras
  • Iceland
  • Iraq ↓
  • Jordan
  • Lebanon ↓
  • Libya ↓
  • Liechtenstein
  • Luxembourg
  • Mauritius ↓
  • Netherlands ↓
  • Norway ↓
  • Portugal ↓
  • Reunion ↓
  • Russia
  • San Marino
  • Singapore ↑
  • Slovakia ↑
  • Sri Lanka ↓
  • Sweden
  • Trinidad & Tobago
  • Ukraine ↑
  • Vietnam

Moderate
>20-50 cases per 100,000 over 7 days

  • Argentina ↓
  • Australia
  • Bahrain
  • Cambodia ↑
  • Colombia
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark ↓
  • Djibouti ↑
  • El Salvador
  • Equatorial Guinea ↑
  • Eswatini ↓
  • Hungary ↑
  • Italy ↓
  • Japan ↓
  • Laos
  • Malta ↓
  • Mayotte
  • Mexico ↓
  • Monaco ↓
  • Montserrat
  • Morocco ↓
  • Myanmar
  • Nepal
  • Namibia
  • Panama ↓
  • Qatar
  • South Africa ↓
  • South Korea
  • Spain ↓
  • Timor Leste ↓
  • Tunisia ↓
  • UAE ↑
  • Uganda
  • Uruguay
  • Venezuela

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