WHO warns of uptick in Covid instances globally after weeks of decline

Medical workers move a patient to the intensive care unit of Sotiria Hospital as part of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic on March 1, 2021 in Athens, Greece.

Giorgos Moutafis | Reuters

World Health Organization officials said Wednesday that scientists are trying to understand why Covid-19 After weeks of infection, cases suddenly appear in large parts of the world.

2.6 million new cases were reported worldwide last week, up 7% from the previous week, the WHO said in its weekly epidemiological update, which reflects data received on Sunday morning. That follows six consecutive weeks of declining new cases around the world.

The reversal could be caused by the emergence of several new, more contagious variants of the coronavirus, easing public policies and what is known as pandemic fatigue, where people are tired of taking precautionary measures, the WHO said in its weekly report. Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO director of emerging diseases and zoonosis, said Wednesday during a question and answer session at the organization’s headquarters in Geneva that the global health agency is trying to better understand what is reversing the trend in each region and each Land caused.

“I can tell you that we are concerned about the introduction of vaccines and vaccinations in a number of countries. We still need people to do their actions on an individual level,” she said, urging people to exercise physical distancing practice and continue wearing masks when they are around others.

“Given this week-long increase in trends, it’s a pretty stern warning to all of us that we need to stay on course,” said Van Kerkhove. “We must continue to adhere to these measures.”

Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of the WHO’s health emergencies program, suggested the increase could be because “we may relax a little before we get the full effect of vaccination”. He added that he understood the temptation to socialize and return to more normal behavior, but “the problem is every time we did that before the virus took advantage of it.”

Ryan reiterated that the cause of the surge in the cases remains unclear, but added that the tried and tested public health measures highlighted during the pandemic are still in effect.

“When the cases are decreasing it’s never all we do and when they are increasing it’s never all a mistake,” he said.

Ryan noted that deaths have not yet risen with the cases, but that could change in the coming weeks. Hopefully, vaccinating those most severely affected by the disease could prevent an increase in deaths.

While the introduction of vaccines in some countries gives cause for optimism, Ryan noted that many nations around the world have not yet received doses. He said 80% of the doses were given in just 10 countries.

WHO’s remarks are consistent with those recently made by federal officials in the United States. Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has been warning for days that the decline in new cases every day in the United States has stalled and increased.

In the past seven days, the United States reported an average of more than 65,400 new cases a day, according to Johns Hopkins University. That’s well below the high of about 250,000 new cases per day the country reported in early January, but it’s still well above the infection rate the US saw the summer when the virus swept the sun belt.

“At this level of instances where variants spread, we will completely lose the hard-earned ground we have gained.” Walensky said Monday. “With these statistics, I’m really concerned that more states are rolling back the exact public health measures we have recommended to protect people from Covid-19.”

“Please listen to me clearly: at this level of cases with spreading variant, we are going to completely lose the hard-earned ground we have gained,” she said.

Hershey tracked Covid tendencies after seeing s’mores demand rise as instances grew, CEO says

Hershey sees strong demand for chocolates and seasonal sweets as people are locked in their homes looking for every small occasion to celebrate.

“Throughout the year, time of year was a major driver as consumers really wanted the comfort and normalcy associated with seasonal traditions and rituals at a time when Covid was uprooting their lives,” he said Hershey CEO Michele Buck in an interview with Sara Eisen from CNBC on Thursday “Close the bell.“”

A notable example was a trend Hershey spotted when coronavirus cases increased across the country, demand for s’mores ingredients increased. Families no doubt sought fun by setting up barbecues in their backyards and roasting S’Mores over the fire. Hershey said his chocolate sales were 40% to 50% higher in areas with an increased number of Covid-19 cases than in areas that were lower.

“Over the past year we have found that wherever the number of Covid cases has increased, there has been higher sales of s’mores ingredients. We were then able to use the case number as a harbinger of where we were doing some of that effort should focus and build shows and places media in these markets, “said Buck.

Retailers are also familiar with the trends and stocked up on Valentine’s Day and Easter candy sooner than ever to ensure they have plenty of choice.

Hershey stock closed Thursday less than 1% at $ 147.22 after sales rose 5.7% to $ 2.19 billion in the fourth quarter. Net income increased 41% to $ 291.4 million. Excluding items, Hershey earned $ 1.49 per share, beating analysts’ estimates.

JPMorgan is constructive on Indonesia regardless of surging Covid circumstances within the nation

SINGAPORE – JPMorgan sees the outlook for Indonesia as positive, although the country is still grappling with rising Covid infections. The number of cases has recently exceeded a million.

The country’s young population is part of the reason for this optimism, said James Sullivan, head of ex-Japan Asian equity research at the investment bank.

“Demographically, Southeast Asia is very different from some of the developed countries we compare these countries with,” Sullivan told CNBC’s Squawk Box Asia on Wednesday.

In 2015, the median age of the Indonesian population was 28.5 years, according to Statista.

“Because they’re so much younger, they tend to tackle the mortality side of this conversation significantly better than some of the older, developed economies,” he said. “That’s a very important distinction when we think about it.”

As a result, lockdowns “may not be as necessary” in such countries – compared to places with significantly older populations that are at higher risk from Covid-19, the analyst said.

India as an example

To make his point clear, Sullivan used the example of India, a country that, according to Johns Hopkins University, ranks second in the world after the United States in terms of the number of Covid infections.

“There was long talk of infection rates in India until around August last year,” he said, adding that there were “very dire predictions” about the impact of the pandemic on the Indian economy.

These fears regarding India do not appear to have materialized as the daily number of Covid cases in the country has decreased significantly since then. Analysts have also said the economic recovery has been stronger than expected.

Still, according to Hopkins, Indonesia has had the highest number of Covid-19 cases in Southeast Asia.

As of Wednesday, Indonesia recorded more than 1.11 million coronavirus infections while at least 30,770 people have died from Covid-19. Information from the country’s Ministry of Health shown.

Other factors

In addition to Indonesia’s relatively young population, JPMorgan also sees “positive efforts” to stimulate growth across Indonesia’s economy, Sullivan said.

The government is pushing for a mutual fund called the Indonesia Investment Authority. Reports suggest that Indonesian President Joko Widodo wishes this Raise up to $ 100 billion in funding.

Sullivan added that there has been a “significant recovery” in manufacturing, particularly in the export sector. In addition, the JPMorgan analyst cited the government’s vaccine efforts as another reason for its positive outlook.

Indonesia started a Covid-19 vaccination program in January Described by Reuters as one of the world’s largest campaigns. Of the country Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati recently told CNBC It will take at least a year for Indonesia to achieve “herd immunity” – which it does when large sections of the population become immune to the disease.

– CNBC’s Yen Nee Lee contributed to this report.