WHO Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, welcomed G20 plans to scale up the global vaccine equity drive on Twitter, but urged greater urgency and action from vaccine-manufacturing countries.
Ahead of New York City’s Covid vaccine mandate for public sector workers starting Monday, over 2,000 firefighters have taken sick days this week – which officials say is a large-scale protest at the measures.
The New York Times reports that the Fire Department’s deputy commissioner for public information, Frank Dwyer, said 2,000 have been on medical leave out of a total uniformed workforce of 11,000.
“Irresponsible bogus sick leave by some of our members is creating a danger for New Yorkers and their fellow firefighters,” the fire commissioner, Daniel A. Nigro, said in a statement. He attributed the uptick in sick leave to “anger at the vaccine mandate.”
The personnel shortage has put a strain on Fire Department operations. The department said that all its firehouses remain open, but maintaining coverage across the city has required shuffling personnel around to reconstitute fire companies.
Countries like France and Italy have also faced protests after enacting vaccine or testing requirements to drive down virus cases.
Here’s a visualisation of UK vaccination data. (See this earlier post for today’s stats).
As you can see, vaccinations dipped in September – to their lowest rates since the rollout started – before picking up speed again in October, driven by booster jabs (in red).
at 3.37pm EDT
Poland reports 7,145 new Covid cases
Covid cases continued to surge in Poland on Sunday, with health authorities recording 7,145 new cases.
That’s down slightly from the 9,798 new cases reported by local media on Saturday, but doesn’t buck Poland’s October trend of cases growing after it had flattened the curve between June and September.
Saturday’s tally of new cases is the highest jump since 23 April. A further nine people died from coronavirus on Sunday.
Eastern European countries have struggled against rising cases this month. But it’s worth noting that surging figures in countries such as Poland, Ukraine and Bulgaria are still far lower than the UK’s daily caseload.
at 3.38pm EDT
France sees highest Covid hospitalisations in six weeks
France reported the highest jump in daily Covid hospitalisations since 6 September, as 48 people entered hospital in the past 24 hours. That means there are 6,572 people in French hospitals with coronavirus.
France saw 6,329 new Covid infections on Sunday, down slightly on Saturday’s figure of 7,360 but a 26.5% rise from a week ago.
President Emmanuel Macron has banked on France’s “pass sanitaire,” which requires proof of vaccination or a negative test to take part in many public activities, to stamp down new infections after a summer surge driven by Delta.
French cases have ticked upwards slightly through October but have not reached the highs of more than 25,000 new cases a day seen back in August.
The country recorded 12 new coronavirus-related deaths on Sunday, down from 22 on Saturday and taking the country’s total death toll to 90,771.
A further seven people were admitted to intensive care for Covid in France, taking the current total of coronavirus intensive care patients to 1,046.
at 3.39pm EDT
UK vaccinates 420,099 on Sunday
UK vaccine stats are out. Government figures show 420,099 new vaccinations over the past 24 hours.
361,428 new booster and third shots
24,908 second jabs
33,763 first doses
That takes the total number people with at least one dose to 49,955,853, from the UK’s total population of about 68 million.
The UK’s Covid vaccination drive reached a nadir of 41,523 jabs on 26 September – the lowest daily count since the roll-out began – before kicking up a gear in October. The 7-day average for last week climbed above 330,000 shots a day.
My colleague Rachel Hall wrote earlier that 800 secondary schools in England will receive visits from health teams to offer the vaccine to children aged 12 to 15, in an effort to boost uptake for this age group.
at 2.19pm EDT
Moderna said the US Food and Drug Administration will require additional time to complete its assessment of the Covid-19 vaccine for adolescents aged 12 to 17.
The FDA told Moderna the review may not be completed by January 2022. Children in this age group are already able to get vaccinated from the Pzifer/BioNTech vaccine.
Reuters has the details:
The US biotech company said it was told late on Friday that the FDA needed the additional time to evaluate recent international analyses of the risk of a type of heart inflammation called myocarditis after vaccination, a rare side effect that has primarily affected young males.
Moderna also said it will delay filing its request for an EUA for a half strength 50-microgram dose of the vaccine for children ages 6 to 11 while the FDA completes its review of the 12-17 filing.
at 1.50pm EDT
Italy reports 4,526 new Covid cases
Italy reported 26 Covid deaths on Sunday, down from 37 on Saturday.
New cases also dipped slightly, with 4,526 on Sunday compared with 4,878 the day before.
Italy has the second-worst Covid death toll in Europe, recording 132,100 deaths in total – behind only the UK, which reports 163,515 deaths with Covid on the death certificate.
Italy has banked on its “green pass,” which requires workers to be vaccinated or give regular proof of a negative test or antibodies, to suppress cases. The measures are among the strictest in Europe and came into effect on 15 October.
Italian Covid deaths have mostly stayed below 100 a day since June.
at 1.51pm EDT
Here’s that new UK Covid case data visualised (up to 30 October).
As you can see, while new positive infections remain high, the September and October incline is starting to fall and become a spike.
at 12.19pm EDT
UK records 38,009 new Covid cases; weekly tally down 13.5%
The UK recorded 38,009 new positive Covid tests on Sunday. Cases remain high but have ticked down slightly from a mid-month peak of 56,658 new cases on 18 October.
Average new cases for this week were down 13.5% on the previous week, but deaths, which lag case rises, climbed.
A further 74 deaths were recorded in the past 24 hours, taking the number of UK over the last seven days to 1,099 – a jump of 15.8% on the previous week.
at 1.52pm EDT
Singapore recorded 3,163 Covid-19 cases on Sunday, a rise from 3,112 the previous day, Reuters reports.