COVID updates: In the middle of a spike, South African scientists find a unique variant. Thousands of individuals going for the holidays this week will first test for COVID-19 without the supervision of a doctor, lab, or any other medical professional.
While rapid home tests have been lauded as a great convenience and a clever method to safeguard loved ones, they have also presented a serious challenge to public health professionals. How can agencies track instances and trends in a thorough manner when many customers do not share home test results?
Since March 2020, federal and state health officials have been working to increase capacity to test, record, and track COVID-19 cases. According to public health professionals, reporting instances is crucial for recognising patterns and spikes so that hotspot areas may reduce risk and hospitals can prepare for a rush of individuals seeking care.
However, it is unknown how frequently customers report findings from the dozen permitted home coronavirus tests, which normally provide results in 15 minutes outside of a lab or doctor’s office. And the data gap in public health is only going to get worse.
Private test makers now produce more home antigen testing than regular laboratory tests — a disparity that might almost quadruple next month as new home tests flood the market.
South African Scientists have discovered a novel viral type in the midst of a virus outbreak.
A new coronavirus strain has been discovered in South Africa, raising concerns among experts due to its high number of mutations and quick dissemination among young people in Gauteng, the country’s most populated region, Health Minister Joe Phaahla stated Thursday.
As the coronavirus spreads, many new varieties, even ones with concerning mutations, typically die off. Scientists keep an eye out for alterations that might make the virus more transmissible or lethal, but determining whether new varieties will have an impact on public health can take years. South Africa has experienced a huge increase in new infections, according to Phaahla, who spoke during an online news conference.
“There has been more of an exponential growth in the last four or five days,” he said, adding that the new strain appeared to be driving the increase in cases. South African scientists are attempting to identify what percentage of the new instances are the result of the new strain.
The novel variety, now classified as B.1.1.529, has also been detected in Botswana and Hong Kong among South African visitors, he added.
The WHO’s technical working committee will meet on Friday to evaluate the new variety and determine whether or not to name it after a letter of the Greek alphabet.
The White House reports that the majority of government employees have complied with the immunisation mandate.
The Biden administration said Wednesday that almost nine out of ten federal employees have gotten at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine before the necessary deadline, while publishing agency-by-agency immunisation figures.
At the Agency for International Development, these rates reached 97.8 percent. Agriculture Department employees had the lowest rate: 86.1 percent.
Federal employees have until the end of Monday to be vaccinated or get a medical or religious exemption. Unlike a private-sector rule suggested by the Biden administration, federal employees cannot opt out of the immunisation requirement if they agree to weekly testing.
According to the White House, workers who are not in the process of being vaccinated or requesting an exemption would be subjected to a “period of instruction and counselling, followed by subsequent enforcement procedures.”