April 4, 2021
Happy Easter! We have just eaten our first Röhrlsalat (dandelion salad) from our roof garden. Of course with pumpkin seed oil.
Also this week, the COVID-19 update. So far, 131 million officially infected people have been registered around the world and about 2,861,000 people have officially died from COVID-19. The global trend in cases and deaths per day is again going up quite steeply. 652 million doses of vaccine have been administered to date.
Mixed Situation in Europe
Europe is mixed. The UK and Portugal are currently the model students. Norway and Finland have acted early enough and with still very low case numbers, they are now also stabilizing. Cases in Slovakia and Czechia are going down. In Denmark, there is an increase in cases, but not a particularly rapid one.
In Belgium, Slovenia, Switzerland and Spain, cases are starting to rise. All other countries are more or less in the middle of a wave (Austria, Germany, Hungary, France, Italy, Poland, Ukraine, Romania, Sweden, the Netherlands, Croatia, Greece, Bulgaria, Serbia, etc.). In some cases this wave is stronger than the waves before it, in others, quite weak.
Hopefully they will all be over soon, some of them already look like it.
Upward Trend in the US, Brazil Over the Peak
In the US, cases are going up slightly, let’s see how this continues. Especially Michigan is seeing a strong increase in cases at the moment. Over here, it is now really about winning the race “vaccination against virus.”
Cases in Canada are going up a bit faster and unfortunately, they have a big local cluster with the P.1 variant from Brazil. Mexico is holding up well, cases continue to go down. Brazil seems to have reached the peak of the wave, with a record of almost 4,000 deaths per day last week. Central America and the Caribbean are pretty stable, but South America is largely going back up.
More Cases in South Asia, Otherwise Stable
In Asia, the Bangladesh-India-Pakistan region is seeing a very strong rise in cases, with numbers in the Philippines also going up. The rest of Asia is relatively quiet.
In the Middle East, case numbers in Turkey, Iraq and Iran are going up, Jordan is in the middle of a wave. The rest of the Middle East and the Maghreb is quiet. In Israel, infection numbers continue to go down, they are now at about 375 cases per day, despite opening up the economy (and still falling – Israel has about the same population as Austria).
In Africa, Ethiopia and Kenya continue to show stark rises in cases, numbers in Gabon and Cameroon are also going up. But most of Africa looks stable.
Excellent Vaccine News
This week there was some excellent news regarding vaccinations.
Pfizer has published first study results in 12-15 year olds via press release. The vaccine was apparently safe and effective (I’m waiting for the scientific publication, as usual). Pfizer has also announced that they will now apply for “regular” approval in the US. They now have data on protection over 6 months – and the vaccine remains highly effective with about 92% efficiency over that period. In addition, data on protection against severe courses of COVID-19 was also collected and 100% protection was observed. What was also shown is that the Pfizer vaccine really does protect against the B.1.351 variant, first discovered in South Africa.
Independently of the Pfizer data, the CDC has published a study showing that the mRNA vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna also provide 90% protection against infections, not only against diseases. Very good data indeed.
Problematic Situation in Austria
There is nothing more to tell at the moment.
The situation in Austria is currently problematic, especially in regards to the utilization of intensive care units. However, the increase in cases is much less rapid than in the last wave. So we can only hope that the curve will flatten out soon.
I hope that was the last wave, and I also hope that vaccination will be faster soon.
I am very upset that so few vaccinations are taking place during the Easter break. You can’t dawdle now just because it’s Easter. By the way, New York City (population 8 million) set a vaccination record last Thursday – 93,000 people were vaccinated in one day. We also have vaccination centers that are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. One can only hope that the speed in Austria will pick up soon.
Stay healthy! Now it really doesn’t pay off to get infected!