World Coronavirus Dispatch: Why super-spreaders should be vaccinated first

Indoor public places, including restaurants, play a significant role in the spread of Covid-19
The United States reported record 198,000 daily infections and the caseload soared past 12 million as families weigh whether to gather for Thanksgiving. The seven-day average has exceeded 100,000 cases a day for the last two weeks. Meanwhile, in other news, Mexico has crossed 100,000 coronavirus deaths, becoming only the fourth country in the world to do so.

Let's look at the global statistics

Global infections: 58,144,199

Change over yesterday: 579,511

Global deaths: 1,380,474

Nations with most cases: US(12,089,440), India(9,095,806), Brazil (6,052,786), France (2,178,023), Russia(2,047,563)

Victoria passes 22 days with zero cases

Only one active coronavirus patient stays in hospital Victoria after the state reported its 22nd consecutive day of no fresh coronavirus cases or deaths. But, alarmed by the detection of trace samples of coronavirus in wastewater, the health minister urged everyone, even with the mildest of symptoms, to get tested. In abundance of caution, Victoria's health department announced that border permits would be required for interstate travel to and from South Australia. The system will apply to all Victorians returning home, people who have travelled through South Australia from other states and territories and those who live inside the 70 km interstate bubble. Read more...

Chinese drugmaker signals promising results for its vaccine

Even as scientists warn against administering vaccines that haven't passed the trial stage and proved safe, a chinese drug maker, Sinopharm, has been inoculating people — including its employees and their families — outside of the traditional testing process. The company's chairman told the local media that only a few people had reported mild symptoms from one of its vaccines, and that no one had suffered serious adverse reactions. China is accused of rushing the process to keep up with global players in vaccine hunt. Read more...

Europe’s retailers fret over Christmas lockdowns

Between the Black Friday promotions and Christmas, these four weeks generate 20-50 per cent of annual sales for many non-food retailers. But the year 2020 has other things to deal with --- Second wave of coronavirus infections and lockdowns. Across Europe, retailers are urging governments to lift lockdowns to save the crucial shopping period. The big guys are assured that online sales surge will save their day, while small retailers are hoping that positive news on vaccine should prompt governments to allow businesses to open. Retail sales in the eurozone fell by a record 21 per cent in the two months after the pandemic hit in March, before rebounding quickly after lockdowns were lifted. However, they started falling again in September as the second virus surge gathered pace. Read on...

Nigeria sinks into recession

Battered by the oil collapse on the back of coronavirus, the Africa’s biggest economy slumped back into its second recession in less than five years. The GDP contracted by 3.6 per cent in the three months ended September, official data showed, after shrinking by 6.1 per cent in the previous quarter. The oil production has slumped to 1.67 million barrels a day from 1.81 million barrels a day the previous quarter. Economic situation in Africa's biggest oil producer remains dire with more than half of Nigerians unemployed or underemployed and inflation and food prices spiking. The IMF has forecast that the Nigerian economy will sink by 4.3 per cent this year, which would be the largest contraction in nearly 40 years. Read more...

Hong Kong, Singapore defer travel bubble for two Weeks

Hong Kong and Singapore were expected to test the most comprehensive and world's first quarantine-free travel bubble starting November 22. In a setback for airlines and tourism businesses looking to kickstart a recovery, Hong Kong's fresh Covid spike, in what is being called the fourth wave, forced officials to impose fresh restrictions and postpone the travel bubble for two more weeks. As and when the arrangement kicks in, people from both countries will be able to travel without any quarantine and restrictions, provided they secure a negative test report before 72 hours of planned visit. Read on...


Why super-spreaders should get vaccine first?

We kept hearing about Covid-19 super-spreaders since the start of the pandemic. Many who get infected by coronavirus don't spread the virus. Most remain asymptomatic, some fall sick, and some of them die. But then there are some, who have more social contacts and are likely to travel places that favor spreading. Super-spreading makes the virus more complex and difficult to contain. Given that supplies of the vaccine are likely to be limited until mid-2021, instead of looking to vaccinate everyone and force our way to herd immunity, one strategy can be to vaccinate the super-spreaders first. But, the real question how do we find these highly connected individuals? Read on...

Long Read: Don't eat inside a restaurant

Indoor public places, including restaurants, play a significant role in the spread of Covid-19. Spending time with your loved ones over a sumptuous meal followed by a chocolate dessert, more than doubles your odds of catching the virus. So why are many lining up to restaurants? May be it's the fatigue of a terrible year, people are not missing any opportunity to cling onto every special event and have a dine out. Each of us, to get through the pandemic, has found some coronavirus factoid or another that we believe protects us. How about this one: The odds of catching the coronavirus are about 20 times higher indoors than outdoors. Read more...

A Holocaust survivor turns dark times into musical nights

Bravery and generosity weren't new to him. This man, as a kid, had lost everything by the end of World War II. In the height of the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic, Simon Gronowski, a 89 year-old, mustered some courage once again, moved his electric piano to beneath a windowsill and pushed the window open and began to tap out a jazz tune to make people feel good during a difficult time. He played regularly, filling the streets with jazz notes and bringing relief to his besieged neighbors throughout the lockdown that lasted into late May. The short window concerts burst into many families' confinement and lifted them up. As Belgium fights a second wave with another lockdown, Gronowski plays his piano, this time with windows closed. Read on...

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