JUST GIVE ME POSITIVE NEWS

There is so much negativity in the news about COVID-19, we want to give you all the positive good news that is happening with research, clinical trials, improvements, vaccines and anything that we can be positive about that you may not have seen.

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Latest stories

California ‘weeks away’ from reaching herd immunity, UCSF doctors say

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California could reach herd immunity by June 15, according to projections by doctors at UCSF.

“I am predicting that Gov. Newsom was actually right,” said Dr. Monica Gandhi, an infectious disease physician with UCSF. “June 15th is when we’re going to be done…get to herd immunity.”

June 15 is about six weeks away. Gov. Gavin Newsom announced plans last month to fully reopen the economy on that date.

https://abc7.com/society/ca-weeks-away-from-reaching-herd-immunity-ucsf-doctors-say/10586281/

More than 70% of Americans at least 65 years old now fully inoculated as U.S. Covid cases

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More than 70% of Americans aged 65 and older are fully vaccinated, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data published Wednesday.

CDC data shows an average of 2.1 million reported vaccinations per day over the past week, down from a peak of 3.4 million in mid-April.

At the same time, the rate of new infections fell further. About 46,600 new cases are being reported each day in the U.S., based on a seven-day average of Johns Hopkins University data, the lowest level since the fall.

Among seniors, one of the most vulnerable groups and to whom vaccine eligibility opened earliest, those figures are much higher. 83% are at least partially vaccinated and more than 70% are fully vaccinated.

President Joe Biden on Tuesday set a goal of getting 70% of U.S. adults to receive at least one dose of a Covid vaccine by July 4. As of Wednesday, about 57% of adults have done so.

https://www.cnbc.com/2021/05/06/covid-19-cases-deaths-vaccinations-daily-update.html

Tweaked Moderna vaccine ‘neutralises Covid variants in trials’

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The first “tweaked” vaccine against the worrying coronavirus variants that emerged in South Africa and Brazil has successfully neutralised them in laboratory trials, the US company Moderna has said.

The results of the small trial suggest that boosters against the variants will be feasible and could be rolled out this year to counter the threat from variants that have appeared around the world and are feared in some cases to be more transmissible or partially vaccine-resistant.

Leading companies have been racing to produce adapted versions of their Covid vaccines. Pfizer/BioNTech, which has a similar mRNA vaccine to Moderna’s, and Oxford/AstraZeneca are also in the process of developing tweaked vaccines against the South African variant, B1351, and the Brazilian variant, P1, which appear to be the major threat to current immunisation programmes.

Moderna became the first to announce results on Wednesday night. They appear to be very positive, although only basic information from an initial analysis of results is available so far.

The US company has tested both a booster shot of its standard Covid vaccine and also a tweaked version of the vaccine in people who have previously had the full double dose. Twenty adults were recruited for each arm of the trial, or 40 in total.

Two weeks after the new jab, Moderna says both the booster shot and the tweaked vaccine increased the antibodies in the blood that can neutralise the two variants of concern.

But the tweaked vaccine – called mRNA-1273.351 and designed specifically to combat the South African and Brazilian variants, which have similar mutations to the spike protein – produced higher levels of neutralising antibodies than the standard booster shot, mRNA-1273.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/may/05/tweaked-moderna-vaccine-neutralises-covid-variants-in-trials

S.Korea says AstraZeneca, Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines 87% effective after first shot

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One dose of COVID-19 vaccines from AstraZeneca Plc (AZN.L) and Pfizer (PFE.N) was 86.6% effective in preventing infections among people aged 60 and older, real world data released by South Korea showed on Wednesday.

Data by the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) showed the Pfizer vaccine, jointly developed by BioNTech , was 89.7% effective in preventing infection at least two weeks after a first dose was given, while the AstraZeneca shot was 86.0% effective.

Its analysis is based on more than 3.5 million people in South Korea aged 60 and older for two months from Feb. 26 and included 521,133 people who received a first dose of either Pfizer or AstraZeneca shot.

There were 1,237 COVID-19 cases in the data and only 29 were from the vaccinated group, the KDCA said.

“It is shown that both vaccines provide a high protection against the disease after the first dose. (People) should get full vaccinations according to recommended schedule, as the protection rate will go up further after a second dose,” it said.

https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/skorea-says-astrazeneca-pfizer-covid-19-vaccines-87-effective-after-first-shot-2021-05-05/

Gibraltar 100% vaccinated and no (ZERO) cases for 3 weeks

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Daily life is closely tied to neighboring Spain. Each day, about 15,000 Spanish workers cross the border to Gibraltar, where well-paid jobs are abundant but affordable housing scarce. Watching the first COVID wave roll over Spain in March 2020, we knew it was only a matter of time before it struck us too.

When it happened, the government was ready and handled things better than most, right until the end of the year. A strict spring lockdown was followed by a relaxed summer and reasonably controlled autumn. Anyone who sneezed was ushered to a COVID swab, resulting in the highest number of tests per capita in the world. Infections were kept at bay, casualties remained in single digits. Watching how badly Europe and United States got hit, we felt blessed. We felt safe.

Everything changed just before Christmas. As the holiday season approached, COVID cases gradually increased to the point when I didn’t want to send my son to school anymore. The government, however, didn’t dare to deprive businesses of the most lucrative sales period in what has already been a tough year. Restaurants were restricted, but shops stayed open and locals flowed en masse over the border to Spain for food.

The winter was a crash course in exponential growth. Gibraltar went from 60 active infections in mid-December to more than 1,200 just three weeks later. Hospitalizations and deaths soon followed. During the whole of 2020, Gibraltar lost only 7 people to COVID-19. The score for January alone was 71.

These numbers may seem negligible on a global scale, but keep in mind that our pocket-size territory has less than 35,000 inhabitants. Fear became palpable. Boneheads who mocked masks and distancing on social media suddenly fell quiet. As the number of admissions into St. Bernard’s Hospital increased, many among us wondered what would happen when Gibraltar ran out of staff and ICU capacity, as neither Spain nor the U.K. had contingencies to spare. A tough lockdown eventually brought the situation under control, but the damage had already been done. Gibraltar’s per capita death toll soared to the very top of the global ranking, where it remained until the last week of April.

Just as the infections avalanche culminated in mid-January, the first shipment of Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines arrived from Britain. Then soon came another, and another.

Authorities didn’t leave anything to chance this time. The registration was simple and inoculations moved at a blistering pace. By the end of March, about 85 percent of the adult population had received both jabs, well over the strictest thresholds of herd immunity. Several thousand cross-border workers from Spain got vaccinated, too. (This is why Gibraltar confusingly has a 106.7 percent vaccination rate.) With the arguable exception of the even smaller Vatican City, Gibraltar became and to this day still remains the only fully vaccinated country in the world.

Our city-state now looks almost as if the pandemic was just a bad dream. Nonessential shops have been opened since mid-February, followed by schools one week later and finally restaurants and bars at the beginning of March. The bars here are packed again. Facial coverings are still required indoors, but not anymore on the streets. Spectators are allowed to attend sport events, albeit in limited numbers.

After two months of more or less unrestricted life, one thing is clear: Vaccines do work. There have been no active cases among Gibraltarian residents for three weeks now. The COVID ward of St. Bernard’s Hospital has seen two hospitalizations and zero deaths since March 14. If anyone still needs convincing that vaccination is worth it, they won’t find a better case study than “Gib.” Forget about the light at the end of the tunnel. It’s about leaving the tunnel far behind.

https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2021/04/gibraltar-covid-vaccination-safe.html

Germany’s COVID vaccine campaign ‘showing effect’

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German Medical Association President Klaus Reinhardt on Tuesday said the country was on the home stretch with its vaccine campaign.

While Germany has vaccinated only about 8% of its population with two doses of the vaccine, about 28% have had a first jab.

After a sluggish start to its vaccination program, Germany has picked up the pace with more than a million jabs administered in one day last week.

Speaking to German broadcaster ZDF, Reinhardt said what while the vaccination overage was “still far too low to give the all-clear,” it was “nevertheless showing effect.”

“We’ve had declining incidence figures for a week now,” said Reinhardt. “I’m sure that this trend will continue.”

While herd immunity is only achieved when about 70% of the population has antibodies, Reinhardt said that transmission drops as vaccinations rise.

The example of Israel, he said, showed that from the moment 20% percent of the population was vaccinated, “the incidence rate decreased rapidly and continuously, down to almost zero.”

Reinhardt said he believed it was “very appropriate” to say that Germany was on the “long home stretch” when it came to a return to normality, thanks to the vaccination campaign. “It should give people a bit of hope,” he added.

https://www.dw.com/en/germanys-covid-vaccine-campaign-showing-effect/a-57426369

Biden Sets New Goal: At Least 70% Of Adults Given 1 Vaccine Dose By July 4

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President Biden on Tuesday announced a new goal to administer at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine to 70% of American adults by the Fourth of July.

The administration also plans to see 160 million adults fully vaccinated by then, a push to improve the level of immunity in the country to the point where the coronavirus has less of an opportunity to spread and so that more public health restrictions can be lifted, administration officials told reporters.

As of Monday, more than 246 million vaccine doses have been administered across the United States. More than 56% of the adult population has received at least one dose, while 40% of adults have gotten two doses, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The July Fourth goal will mean about 100 million shots during the next 60 days – a slowdown from the earlier vaccination pace, recognizing that those most eager to get the shot have already done so, administration officials said.

https://www.npr.org/2021/05/04/993537622/biden-sets-new-goal-for-at-least-70-of-adults-to-be-vaccinated-by-july-4

One in four Spaniards has had one dose of COVID-19 vaccine

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One in four Spaniards has now had one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, health authorities said on Monday, as the country speeds up its inoculation programme.

In total, 12,162,359 people have received one dose of one of the four vaccines being used in Spain – or 25.6% of the population of 47 million.

Some 5,098,903 people have had both doses of the vaccine, or 11% of the population.

Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said last month he expected 70% of the population to be vaccinated by the end of August.

The country’s two-week coronavirus contagion rate fell to 223 cases per 100,000 people on Monday compared with 229 on Friday, according to health ministry data.

https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/one-four-spaniards-has-had-one-dose-covid-19-vaccine-2021-05-03/

Israel – Only 13 new COVID cases diagnosed in 24 hours, lowest in 14 months

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As Israel continues its world-leading vaccination campaign, just 13 new coronavirus cases were diagnosed in the country on Saturday, the lowest rate in 14 months, according to Health Ministry data released Sunday.

According to the ministry, a total of 9,238 coronavirus tests were conducted Saturday, with 0.1 percent returning positive. While weekend numbers are generally significantly lower due to reduced testing, the new figures still represent a relative drop, with last weekend’s positivity rate at 0.5%.

Of the 1,310 active cases in the country, there were 100 serious cases, including 60 people on ventilators, the Health Ministry data showed. The death toll stands at 6,366.

As infections have dwindled, Israel has rolled back restrictions on public life, including lifting the requirement to wear face masks outdoors, which ended last month.

https://www.timesofisrael.com/only-13-new-covid-cases-diagnosed-in-24-hours-lowest-in-14-months/

One Third of New Yorkers Fully Vaccinated as COVID Positivity Drops to New 6-Month Low

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Vaccinations are up and new COVID-19 infections down across the Empire State – key metrics for the state’s leaders eager to push New York to a complete reopening in the coming months.

More than one out of every three New Yorkers has been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on Saturday. That number has steadily increased with the rise in vaccine supply and opening of statewide eligibility to everyone 16 and older. As of Sunday, 34.9 percent of New Yorkers had completed their vaccine series.

The number of people to get at least one shot is creeping up on a milestone marker as well, with nearly half the state to get a shot of the COVID-19 vaccine. According to the governor’s weekend numbers, some 46.5 percent of New Yorkers had received at least one dose.

https://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/coronavirus/one-third-of-new-yorkers-fully-vaccinated-as-covid-positivity-drops-to-new-6-month-low/3032009/