UK medical doctors name for return of Covid restrictions; new mutation watched

Fireman Dan Joslin, wearing a face shield, helps leave a Covid-19 patient vulnerable while working with critical care workers in the intensive care unit at Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth, southern England.

ADRIAN DENNIS | AFP | Getty Images

LONDON – British medical professionals have urged the UK government to reintroduce some Covid restrictions due to the increased infection rate and hospital admissions in the country.

Health officials warned late Tuesday that the UK is at risk of “falling into a winter crisis” if the government does theirs “Plan B,” a promise it made last month in which it said it would reintroduce Covid measures if data suggests the National Health Service “is likely to come under unsustainable pressure”.

Officials from the NHS Confederation, representing organizations across the UK health sector, called on the government to “Immediately introduce measures such as mandatory face-covering in crowded and enclosed spaces to preserve people’s health and prevent the NHS from overwhelming this winter.” . “

They warned the National Health Service “is seeing worrying increases in coronavirus cases in its hospitals and community at a time when it is preparing for a busy winter time, its employees are on the verge of burnout, and many of him are about to recover.” Services disrupted by the pandemic. “

The UK is currently seeing between 40,000 and 50,000 new Covid cases every day, and the number of hospitalizations and deaths is steadily increasing, albeit at a much slower pace than earlier in the pandemic thanks to Covid vaccines, which greatly reduce the risk of serious infection. Hospitalization and death.

On Tuesday, the UK reported 43,738 new Covid cases, down from Monday when 49,156 new cases were recorded, the highest daily number in three months.

Situation “only gets worse”

Covid restrictions in England were lifted on July 19 when pubs, restaurants and nightclubs reopened. Even outside of public transport, wearing masks has largely become a personal decision.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government previously insisted that Covid restrictions and possible lockdowns would only return as a last resort and that the country “needs to learn to live with the virus”.

On Wednesday, UK Economy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng reiterated this position, saying, “I absolutely think it would be completely wrong for us to go into lockdown again,” he told Times Radio.

He noted that hospital admissions and death rates were much lower than in previous pandemic climaxes, adding that “we are learning, I believe, to live with the virus”.

The NHS Confederation said Tuesday on the additional measures the UK might now adopt, “clear notifications to the public that the risk has increased, the introduction of certificates for people’s Covid vaccine status and the legal obligation to do so in certain environments To wear face covering. in addition to considering asking people to work from home when they can. “

Many of these measures, particularly with regard to the wearing of masks and Covid certification, “are already common in parts of Europe where the prevalence of the disease is lower,” the NHS association noted.

In his speech on Wednesday morning, Confederation chairman Matthew Taylor warned that the NHS, a popular institution in the UK and even more so during the pandemic, was “on the verge” of increasing the number of Covid patients being watched in hospitals.

“I speak to health officials every day, and I have literally not spoken to a leader who does not say that their ministry is now under a lot of pressure. This is the middle of October. Things are only getting worse, ”he told BBC radio.

“Health care is on the fringes … if you go much further, we won’t be able to provide the service that people need to be.”

New mutation

A new mutation of the Delta variant, which British experts are closely monitoring, may make things more difficult.

Last Friday, the UK Health Security Agency released a report stating that “a delta subline newly designated AY.4.2 is expanding in England” and that it is monitoring the subtype.

The highly contagious Delta variant is the world’s dominant version of the coronavirus, having usurped the previous “alpha” variant of the virus, which was first discovered in the UK

This new descendant of the Delta Covid variant, AY.4.2, has been identified in a growing number of UK Covid cases, with some suggesting that this could be another possible factor in rising case numbers, although it is too early to be to say for sure.

“This subline is currently increasing in frequency. It includes the spike mutations A222V and Y145H. In the week beginning September 27, 2021 (the last week with full sequencing data), this subline accounted for approximately 6% of all generated sequences on an increasing trajectory That estimate may be inaccurate … Another assessment is ongoing, “noted the UK Health Authority.

Official spokesman for the Prime Minister told Sky News on Tuesday the “[AY.4.2] we are watching very closely “and there is currently no evidence that this variant is more easily spread. I do not hesitate to take action if necessary,” he said.

Former Commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Scott Gottlieb also tweeted about the subtype over the weekend.

“The UK reported its largest one-day increase in Covid cases in 3 months, just as the new Delta variant AY.4 with the S: Y145H mutation in the spike reached 8% of the sequenced cases in the UK,” said Gottlieb. “We need urgent research to find out if this delta plus is more transmissible, has partial immune evasion?”

Imperial College London professor of immunology Danny Altmann told CNBC on Monday that the subtype “needs to be monitored and carefully controlled as much as possible.”

“Since Delta has been the dominant mutant in several regions for about six months and has not been displaced by other variants, there was hope that Delta might be represented [the] Maximum performance of the mutation that the virus can achieve. AY.4 could cast doubt on this claim, “he warned.

Why is the UK in this mess?

Experts say there are a myriad of reasons behind the UK’s high Covid numbers – from half-hearted mask adoption (even when masks are required, like on public transport, the rule is rarely enforced) to large indoor gatherings that spread the virus.

The UK’s reluctance to vaccinate younger adolescents, which other countries in Europe and the US did much earlier, and the return to schools in September were also cited as reasons for the surge in cases. Although the infection boom among 0-18 year olds is now ebbing as infections increase in their parents’ generation, the data shows.

Ironically, the early introduction of vaccination in the UK – which began in December 2020 and was one of the first in the world – is also now seen as a contributor to its high case rate, as we know – due to a increasing amount of data – that immunity in vaccinated people decreases after about six months. To date, 78.9% of the UK population over 12 is fully vaccinated, show official data.

Panicked sufferers name medical doctors as Covid vaccine hesitancy rises with J&J blood clot concern

More Americans will likely refuse to get one Johnson & JohnsonThe Covid-19 vaccine, according to U.S. health officials, said six women had developed a rare bleeding disorder with one dead and another in critical condition, public health and vaccines experts told CNBC on Tuesday.

The Food and Drug Administration asked the states early Tuesday Temporarily stop with J & J’s single shot Vaccine “out of caution” after six women aged 18 to 48 years of the approximately 6.9 million people who received the shot developed a bleeding disorder known as cerebral venous sinus thrombosis, or CVST.

All women developed the condition that occurs when a blood clot forms in the venous sinuses of the brain that prevents blood from flowing back to the heart within about two weeks of receiving the shot from the brain, health officials told reporters on a phone call .

“People who have recently received the vaccine in the past few weeks should be aware if they are looking for symptoms,” said Dr. Anne Schuchat, the deputy chief director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention during a press conference Tuesday. “If you have received the vaccine and have severe headache, stomach pain, leg pain, or shortness of breath, you should contact your doctor and see a doctor.”

Shortly after the FDA issued the warning, more than a dozen states as well as pharmacies took steps to stop the vaccinations with J & J’s vaccine, sometimes replacing scheduled appointments with the Pfizer and Moderna Covid vaccines. Some doctors say they are already taking calls from worried patients.

People were already skeptical about vaccines before the coronavirus emerged as a brand new pathogen from China in December 2019. U.S. health officials’ warning to states may be even more reluctant to take J & J’s shot and the other vaccines, and threatens to block the vaccine Health experts warned CNBC of the recovery from the pandemic affecting more than 31.2 million Americans infected and killed at least 562,718 people in just over a year.

“Unfortunately, this is likely to exacerbate those who are a little hesitant about getting a vaccine,” said Isaac Bogoch, an infectious disease specialist who served on several drug data and safety oversight panels. “Senior public health officials need to continue to be open, honest, transparent, and most importantly, contextualize that this is a low risk.”

According to Dr. Anthony Fauci, President Joe Biden’s chief medical officer, the goal is to vaccinate between 70% and 85% of the US population – or about 232 to 281 million people – to achieve herd immunity and suppress the pandemic.

To date, more than 120 million Americans, or 36% of the total US population, have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, according to the CDC. Around 74 million Americans, or 22% of the total US population, are fully vaccinated, according to the CDC. Children under the age of 16 are not yet eligible to shoot in the United States, and some adults are likely to refuse to get a vaccine.

“This throws a wrench into the plans. It will slow down the rollout,” said Dr. Jeffrey Kahn, director of the Berman Institute of Bioethics at Johns Hopkins University. “People will say, ‘I don’t want this, I want one of the others who don’t have this problem,’ even if it’s an extremely rare occurrence.”

Some americans, especially in black, Hispanic, and rural communitieswere already reluctant to get the J&J vaccine, especially because they found it to be worse than Pfizer and Moderna. The highly effective J&J shot, especially against serious illnesses, showed 72% effectiveness in protecting against Covid in the US about a month after inoculation. This is comparable to the effectiveness of the two-dose vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna of about 95%.

Single-dose vaccines like J&J were critical in “getting into communities where a two-dose regimen was impractical or even possible,” Kahn said. US health officials used J & J’s vaccine primarily to reach poorer urban and rural areas where residents could not easily get to a vaccination clinic or did not have reliable internet access.

“These communities are also the hardest hit by Covid,” said Kahn. “Using J&J interrupt … one stroke to do this effectively and quickly.”

Dr. Stephen Schrantz, who was part of the team leading a J&J vaccine study at the University of Chicago Medicine, said he already had patients who didn’t want the J&J vaccine and said the news would give them more evidence give to say, “See, I told you.”

“I suspect that vaccine adoption and uptake will slow down, there will be a move away from the J&J vaccine even if the CDC and FDA conclude that there is no causal link,” he said. “And when the mask comes off, there may be more cases like we have in Michigan that show up elsewhere.”

Dr. Scott Gottlieb, who sits on Pfizer’s board of directors, predicted the move will nonetheless fuel some people’s “reluctance” to get a Covid vaccine.

“Even if there is no causal link, even if it is extremely rare, we will likely see that the entire conversation is now ignited on social media.” he told CNBC in an interview.

Dr. Purvi Parikh, an infectious disease allergy and immunology specialist at NYU Langone Health, described the FDA warning Tuesday as a “double-edged sword” and said it would likely raise concerns for already reluctant Americans. She also said she had already received “panic calls” from her own patients about the J&J vaccine.

“But if anything, I would like to repeat again: This only gives me more confidence in our system because these security checks work. Hopefully it will give some people peace of mind,” she added on “Squawk on the Street”. “” “Again, to look at the bigger picture, the benefits still far outweigh the risks of this vaccination.”

Dr. Archana Chatterjee, pediatric infectious disease specialist and member of the FDA’s Advisory Committee on Vaccines and Related Biological Products, echoed Parikh’s remark. She added that there is nothing “unusual” in the way US health officials are addressing the problem.

“This is a normal procedure that occurs,” she said.

“But of course whenever a serious adverse event is reported about a vaccine that raises public concern,” she added. “If you talk about vaccine trust or vaccine reluctance, could it have an impact? It certainly is possible.”

Dr. Paul Offit, another member of the Advisory Committee on Vaccines and Allied Biological Products, hopes Americans will be “rational” about the problem, adding that cases of blood clots seem extremely rare. He noted that convincing people in hard-to-reach communities could be a challenge.

“It should be reassuring to the people that the officials are still looking [at the vaccine,] even for rare side effects, “he said.

CNBC’s Kevin Stankiewicz contributed to this article.

Native docs donate year-end celebration cash to nonprofit

FRESNO, California (KSEE) – Local doctors help Armenia – a country in dire need of help after a 44-day war.

When the pandemic prevented doctors from doing that Permanent medical group After holding their annual holiday celebrations, they decided to use the money allocated for these gatherings – and some additional donations – to help people in need and send half of it to war-torn Armenia.

“They are mission-oriented, we worked hard in the hospitals despite the COVID, everyone was so busy, but still they still want to do more for the community – my hats to them,” said Dr. Shahzad Jahromi, the chief physician at Kaiser Permanente.

Many of the doctors in the medical group are of Armenian descent and traveled to Armenia from Fresno on the medical mission.

The doctors raised $ 10,000 for the nonprofit Advance Armenia Foundation use for war restoration efforts.

“As representatives of this organization of Armenian origin, we cannot simply react to what is happening there and remember our brothers and sisters in Armenia. That is why we came up with this idea,” said Dr. Garo Khatchikian, the chief medical officer at Kaiser Permanente.

Berj Apkarian, Honorary Councilor of the Republic of Armenia in Fresno, accepted the check today on behalf of the Foundation and praised the generosity.

“DR. Jahromi and the leadership of the Permanente Medical Group deserve tremendous credit for taking the money they normally spend on vacation. The doctors got together and said we want to change people’s lives, that’s this Spirit of the oath they took. “

The Permanent Medical Group also donated another US $ 10,000 Central Sierra Resiliency Fund to help with Creek Fire Recovery projects.