WHO: Variants raise questions about vaccines
The head of the World Health Organization has said the emergence of new Covid-19 variants has raised questions about whether or not existing vaccines will work, calling it "concerning news" that the vaccines developed so far may be less effective against the variant first detected in South Africa.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a media briefing on Monday that South Africa’s decision on Sunday to suspend its vaccination campaign using the AstraZeneca vaccine is “a reminder that we need to do everything we can to reduce circulation of the virus with proven public health measures.”
He said it was increasingly clear that vaccine manufacturers would need to tweak their existing shots to address the ongoing genetic evolution of the coronavirus, saying booster shots would most likely be necessary, especially since new variants of the virus are now spreading globally and appear likely to become the predominant strains.
Mexico's death toll rises to 166,731
Mexico's health ministry has reported 531 new confirmed deaths from Covid-19, bringing the total to 166,731.
Having COVID-19 may not protect against getting infected again with some of the new variants, new research suggests. Scientists still think reinfections are fairly rare and usually less serious than initial ones. https://t.co/nIcCAc6EhD— The Associated Press (@AP) February 8, 2021
The government says the real number of infected people and the death toll in Mexico are both likely significantly higher than the confirmed cases.
China reports 14 new cases
China reported 14 new Covid-19 cases on the mainland on Feb. 8, official data showed on Tuesday, unchanged from a day earlier and the second day of no locally transmitted infections.
All cases were imported infections originating from overseas, the National Health Commission said in a statement. The number of new asymptomatic cases, which China does not classify as confirmed cases, fell to 15 from 16 a day earlier.
The total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in mainland China to date is 89,720, while the death toll remained unchanged at 4,636.
Brazil reports 636 more deaths
Brazil recorded 23,439 additional confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in the past 24 hours, along with 636 deaths from Covid-19, the Health Ministry has said.
Brazil has registered more than 9.5 million cases of the virus since the pandemic began, while the official death toll has risen to 232,170, according to ministry data.
France administers first vaccine jab to 1.92M
The French Health Ministry said on Monday that 1.92 million people had received a first injection of the Covid-19 vaccine since the start of the vaccination campaign, while 296,265 second injections had been administered to date.
States are rolling back Covid-19 restrictions as new cases trend down from record highs across the country. But experts warn it might be too much too soon as variants pose an increased risk and that the pandemic is far from over. https://t.co/db7phYUIBD— NBC News (@NBCNews) February 9, 2021
Toronto residents to stay at home another two weeks
Canada's most populous province of Ontario has said that it would extend a stay-at-home order in Toronto and nearby suburbs by two weeks, but residents of three largely rural public health regions can leave their homes starting on Wednesday.
The stay-at-home orders in the remaining 28 regions will end Feb. 16. The order for Toronto, Canada's financial capital, and nearby suburban regions Peel and York will end Feb. 22.
"We can't return to normal – not yet, not while our hospitals could still be overwhelmed. But we can transition out of the province-wide shutdown," said Premier Doug Ford.
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