Coronavirus updates | October 5, 2021

A resident getting vaccinated during the vaccination drive at Pondi bazar, Chennai.   | Photo Credit: K. Pichumani

Many States and Union Territories have organised mass vaccination camps across the country to reach target vaccinations, and to pre-empt the emergence of third wave of COVID-19.

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You can track coronavirus cases, deaths and testing rates at the national and State levels here. A list of State Helpline numbers is available as well.

Here are the latest developments:



Japan's dip in COVID-19 cases baffles experts; winter 'nightmare' still a risk

Japan's COVID-19 case numbers have plummeted to the lowest in nearly a year just as other parts of Asia are struggling with surging infections, leaving health experts perplexed and raising concern of a winter rebound.

New daily cases in Tokyo dropped to 87 on October 4, the lowest tally since November 2 last year, and a precipitous decline from more than 5,000 a day in an August wave that hammered the capital's medical infrastructure.

The pattern is the same across the country. - Reuters


Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine effectiveness drops after 6 months: study

The effectiveness of the Pfizer Inc /BioNTech SE vaccine in preventing infection by the coronavirus dropped to 47% from 88% six months after the second dose, according to data published on October 4 that U.S. health agencies considered when deciding on the need for booster shots.

The data, which was published in the Lancet published medical journal, had been previously released in August ahead of peer review.

The analysis showed that the vaccine's effectiveness in preventing hospitalization and death remained high at 90% for at least six months, even against the highly contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus. - Reuters


Australia to buy 300,000 doses of Merck's COVID-19 antiviral pill

Australia will buy 300,000 doses of Merck & Co's experimental antiviral pill, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on October 5, as the country looks to boost its vaccine arsenal to fight COVID-19 and aims to reopen its borders next month.

Molnupiravir, which would be the first oral antiviral medication for COVID-19 if it gets regulatory approval, could halve the chances of dying or being hospitalised for people most at risk of contracting severe COVID-19, according to experts. - Reuters


COVID vaccine mandate takes effect for NYC teachers, staff

A COVID-19 vaccine requirement for teachers and other staff members took effect on October 4 in New York City's million-plus-student public school system, in a key test of the employee vaccination mandates being rolled out across the country.

The city had planned to bring in substitutes where needed, with Mayor Bill de Blasio warning that unvaccinated school employees would be placed on unpaid leave. But 95% of the city’s roughly 148,000 public school staffers had received at least one vaccine dose as of the morning of October 4, including 96% of teachers and 99% of principals, Mr. de Blasio said. - AP


‘Most disproportionate loss of jobs because of the first wave of COVID-19 was among urban women’

The Consumer Pyramid Household Survey (CPHS) data of the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) tells us that COVID-19 had a devastating impact upon overall employment and that the net shortfall is of 6.3 million jobs or a loss of 1.5% of all jobs between March 2020 and March 2021. Urban male employment was worst hit in the second wave and women fared worse in all quarters between March 2020-21.

While women account for only 10% of the jobs, they accounted for 23% of the loss of jobs since March 2020 until March 2021. Of the 399.9 million jobs, women accounted for only 41.8 million jobs.

More specifically, the CMIE analysis states that the most disproportionate loss of jobs because of the first wave of COVID-19 was among urban women. Urban women account for about 3% of total employment, but they accounted for 39% of total urban job losses. - PTI

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Experts advise responsible travel, say mass gatherings can worsen possible 3rd Covid wave

Stressing on responsible travel, researchers have warned that a rise in population density driven by tourist arrivals or mass congregations due to social, religious or political events can lead to a surge in coronavirus infections worsening an anticipated third wave scenario in selected States.

Illustrating a scenario where population density in India has a stronger effect on transmission than in the USA, researchers said a holiday period can amplify a possible third wave peak by up to 103% and cumulative incidence in that wave by 43%.

It can also hasten the timing of the epidemic peak by four weeks, compared to a scenario of easing restrictions in the absence of holiday travel, they said. -  PTI

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70% of India's adult population administered first dose of COVID-19 vaccine: Union Health Minister

70% of India's adult population has been administered the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said on October 4 as the total doses given across the country crossed 91 crore.

According to officials, 25% of the adult population has been administered both doses.

"Strong Nation, Rapid Vaccination: India has administered the first dose of #COVID19 vaccine on 70% of the population. Under PM @NarendraModiji, India is achieving new landmarks in the fight against the pandemic. Keep it up India, let us fight Corona," the Minister said in a tweet.

The cumulative COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in the country under the nationwide anti-coronavirus inoculation drive crossed 91 crore on October. - PTI

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