Wednesday, February 9, 2022

WHO: Infusion of Aid Could End Pandemic’s Emergency Phase. February 2022

Feb 9, 2022

GHN News


Workers unload COVID-19 vaccines at an airport in Bujumbura, Burundi, Oct. 14, 2021.

Image: Evrard Ngendakumana/Xinhua via Getty


WHO: Infusion of Aid Could End Pandemic’s Emergency Phase

Wealthy countries have the power to end the emergency phase of the pandemic—but they must do more to bridge vast global disparities, WHO leaders urged yesterday, according to Al Jazeera

Paying a ‘fair share’: Only 5% of funding has been raised for the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) initiative, WHO’s campaign to bring more tests and vaccines to low-resource countries, reports Reuters. The agency still needs $23 billion, and has calculated “fair share” asks to wealthy countries.

The vast gap: 10% of people in low-income countries have had 1 vaccine dose, compared to 68% in richer countries. The inequity costs lives, economies, and “risks the emergence of new, more dangerous variants,” WHO stated.

Global case counts are falling, the WHO also reported yesterday–-down 17% last week; global deaths are down 7%, the AP reports.

And yet: Omicron has driven the number of US daily deaths past pre-vaccine levels last spring, The Washington Post reports, mainly claiming those over 75, the unvaccinated, and the medically vulnerable. 

BA.2’s eclipse: WHO also forecasts the Omicron subvariant will likely become more common than the current dominant strain, CNBC reports.

Global Health Voices





The Latest

Global Numbers

  •  401,389,331 cases
  •  5,766,875 deaths
  •  10,115,095,644 vaccine doses administered

—Source: Johns Hopkins University

Key Developments

Johnson & Johnson shut down production of its COVID-19 vaccine last year, according to the New York Times; the company says it is still on track to fulfill its contracts with African Union nations reliant on the single-dose vaccine. CBS News
Don’t delay mammograms after COVID-19 vaccination, says a new study that found lymphadenopathy—swollen lymph nodes that are a side effect of the COVID-19 vaccines—are common, but malignant lymph nodes were found in just 9 of 1,217 patients. Radiology

Compared to their uninfected peers, pregnant people with COVID-19 are ~40% more likely to die or become seriously ill from conditions such as high blood pressure-related pregnancy disorders and postpartum hemorrhage, according to a study of 41,104 women across 17 US hospitals. CIDRAP 
A shadowy minority of American doctors are driving a surge in prescriptions for ivermectin as a COVID-19 treatment; a patient video sheds light on how they profit from the demand for the unproven treatment. NPR Shots


Can you get long COVID after an infection with omicron? – AP

"The next culture war": Vaccines for young kids – Axios

The Violence Epidemic: Firearm Injuries Increased 51% During the COVID-19 Pandemic – HCPLive

Testing fractional doses of COVID-19 vaccines – Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

Tracking COVID-19 infections: time for change – Nature (commentary)

America’s split-screen pandemic: Many families resume their lives even as hospitals are overwhelmed – The Washington Post

Will Covid-19 Vaccine Nasal Sprays Be the Pandemic Game-Changer We Need?  – Rolling Stone

With Mask Restrictions Set to Lift, a Haze of Uncertainty Lingers – The New York Times

How sneezing hamsters sparked a COVID outbreak in Hong Kong – Nature




Study Clouds Effectiveness of E-cigarettes as a Quitting Tool

Despite e-cigarettes’ rising popularity, the number of people actually using them to quit smoking has declined—and those who did adopt them as a quitting tool found them less effective than other aids like gum, patches or lozenges, according to the new PATH cohort study.

The study—drawing on 2017-2019 US data and including 1,323 recent former smokers and 3,578 previous-year smokers with recent quit attempts—provides more real-world evidence casting doubt on the effectiveness of vaping as a quitting tool, despite randomized clinical trials showing them to be helpful. 

Relapse common: Nearly 60% of smokers-turned-e-cigarette users returned to smoking within 2 years. 

More study needed: The usage of high nicotine e-cigarettes for cessation ticked up in 2019—which bears further study in the next PATH survey, researchers said. 

Limitations: Because the study is self-reported, exposure variables were not controlled. 

Loophole: Unregulated synthetic nicotine products, which use flavored cartridges popular to teens, are becoming more popular, Politico reports

Related: Smoke and mirrors: What you need to know about the hazy world of the proposed vaping tax – Bhekisisa


Global Health Voices





The EU Push for a Pandemic Treaty with Teeth

The European Union wants a legally binding treaty to guard against new pandemics—potentially banning wildlife markets and setting incentives like access to medicines and vaccines for countries to report new viruses or variants.
But the US, Brazil, and some other countries have balked, favoring a non-binding agreement. International negotiators from Japan, the Netherlands, Brazil, South Africa, Egypt and Thailand—representing the world’s major regions—are convening today to draft the text. 

Organizers hope for a preliminary agreement by August; any resulting treaty would not be expected to be signed until 2024.
In parallel talks, the US has expressed support for firmer rules to boost transparency and speed WHO access to outbreak sites.

Related: The costs and benefits of primary prevention of zoonotic pandemics – ScienceAdvances




In Life and in Death, a Health Equity Powerhouse

Shalon Irving had great health insurance, adoring friends and family—and a dazzling public health career tackling health inequities.
Yet in 2017, 21 days after giving birth, she died from sudden cardiac arrest, after pleading with her medical team for help.
Despite all her advantages, “She was still a Black woman” vulnerable to the covert bias of providers, write her family, friends, and colleagues in a new essay.
Maternal mortality rates for Black mothers are more than double those of white women.
Shalon’s story is one reason such alarming statistics are becoming more widely known. Those she left behind have picked up the baton, using her story to galvanize new research resources and national policies aimed at reducing maternal disparities—and all-important media coverage of the issue.  
Health Affairs




The Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Crisis: A Priority for Black America

Marking Black History Month, USAID’s Harry T. Moore Blacks in Government Chapter and the Office of Civil Rights and Diversity will host a discussion on the critical health emergency affecting Black mothers.

On the panel:

  • Representative Lauren Underwood, Black Maternal Health Caucus founder and co-chair
  • Wanda Irving, board chair of Dr. Shalon’s Maternal Action Project
  • Ebony Marcelle, director of Midwifery at Community of Hope Family Health and Birth Center; doula and owner of DC Metro Maternity

The event is free and open to the public, but registration is mandatory.

  • Friday, February 11, 11:30 a.m. EST
  • Register




Missed 1

Thanks to a typo in our summary Monday of an Atlantic article about Denmark's COVID response, we under-reported Denmark’s booster rate by quite a lot: Danes are 61% boosted, not 6%.

It should have read:

  • With 81% of adults vaccinated with 2 vaccine doses, and 61% boosted, Denmark has avoided high levels of hospitalizations, severe illness, and death seen in countries with higher populations of unvaccinated people—like the US.

Thanks to Frederik Seelig of the Global Vector Hub at LSHTM and others for pointing this out!


Daily Diversion



Quick Hits


Ethiopia accused of ‘serious’ human rights abuses in Tigray in landmark case – The Guardian

Appeals court upholds Biden changes to family planning program – The Hill

Association of Preterm Singleton Birth With Fertility Treatment in the US – JAMA Network Open

The white nationalist threat to antiracist medicine in Boston – The Boston Globe

A Latina scientist co-created a new Covid vaccine. She's nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. – NBC

Data Science Paves the Way for Road Safety – The Hub (JHU) 

Turkey’s Doctors Are Leaving, the Latest Casualty of Spiraling Inflation – The New York Times

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