CategoryDenmark

Covid vaccinations: No reason to stop using AstraZeneca jab, says WHO

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Countries should not stop using AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine over fears it causes blood clots as there is no indication this is true, the World Health Organization says.

Bulgaria, Denmark and Norway are among the countries that have paused its use.

But on Friday a WHO spokeswoman said there was no link between the jab and an increased risk of developing a clot.

Margaret Harris said it was an “excellent vaccine” and should continue to be used.

Around 5 million Europeans have already received the AstraZeneca jab.

There have been about 30 cases in Europe of “thromboembolic events” – or developing blood clots – after the vaccine was administered. There were also reports that a 50-year-old man had died in Italy after developing deep vein thrombosis (DVT).

The WHO is investigating the reports, as it does any safety questions, Ms Harris said.

On Friday, AstraZeneca said the recorded number of blood clots in vaccinated people was “significantly lower… than would be expected among the general population”.

“An analysis of our safety data of more than 10 million records has shown no evidence of an increased risk of pulmonary embolism or deep vein thrombosis,” a spokesperson said.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-56370636

Denmark presents Covid-19 vaccination plan: first vaccines could be offered in December

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Health officials have presented Denmark’s plan to roll out vaccinations against Covid-19.

People in risk groups for serious illness with the virus will be given first priority once a coronavirus vaccination is available, officials confirmed.

The Danish Health Authority (Sundhedsstyrelsen) expects the country’s vaccination programme to commence at the beginning of 2021, with some optimism the very first vaccines could be given in December 2020, DR writes.

Those timescales are set out in a plan entitled Udrulning af vaccination mod Covid-19 (Rolling Out Vaccination Against Covid-19), published by the authority on Thursday.

According to the plan, vaccination will initially be offered to persons in specified risk groups and to selected key workers in the health, elderly and social care sectors.

No vaccine has been approved by the Danish Medicines Agency (Lægemiddelstyrelsen), but the country has pre-purchase agreements with five medical companies which are developing vaccines.

At least two candidates, from Moderna and BioNTech/Pfizer, are nearing approval stage, according to international reports.

“In the most optimistic scenario, the first vaccines will be delivered to Denmark at the end of this year,” health minister Magnus Heunicke said at a press briefing on Thursday evening.

https://www.thelocal.dk/20201127/denmark-presents-covid-19-vaccination-plan-first-vaccines-could-be-offered-in-decemberHELP US SPREAD GOOD NEWS!

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Denmark says mutated coronavirus from mink farms most likely extinct

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A new, mutated strain of the novel coronavirus stemming from mink farms in Denmark is “most likely” extinct, the health ministry said on Thursday, amid fears the new strain could compromise COVID-19 vaccines.

“No further cases of mink variant with cluster 5 have been detected since Sept. 15, which is why the State Serum Institute assesses that this variant has most likely become extinct,” the ministry said in a statement.

Two weeks ago, Denmark ordered all farmed mink in the country culled to curb widespread outbreaks of COVID-19 on farms, a situation exacerbated by the discovery of a mutated variant, which authorities said showed reduced sensitivity to antibodies.

https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-health-coronavirus-denmark-mink-idUKKBN27Z1B5HELP US SPREAD GOOD NEWS!

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Dr. Fauci says it appears Covid strain from Danish mink farms won’t be a problem for vaccines

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America’s leading expert on infectious disease said a mutated version of the coronavirus found in Denmark’s mink farms does not appear to have derailed hopes for a vaccine.

The Danish government ordered a mass cull of all 15 million minks in farms nationwide earlier this month, shortly after it was discovered a new coronavirus strain had passed from the animals to humans.

The WHO has since launched a review of biosecurity measures in mink farms across the globe to prevent further spillover events.

“Whenever you see something like that, you need to pay attention to it. You certainly can’t just blow it off,” Fauci said on Thursday, referring to Denmark’s outbreak of Covid in mink farms.

Speaking during a webinar hosted by think tank Chatham House, Fauci added: “You have got to look at it, you have got to take a look at what it means, what the mutation has to do with various aspects of the molecules that are responsible for the binding of antibodies.”

The White House coronavirus advisor, who has worked as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases for 36 years, said the institute’s vaccine research center had taken “a first look” at the discovery of a new coronavirus strain on Danish mink farms.

“It does not appear, at this point, that that mutation that’s been identified in the minks is going to have an impact on vaccines and affect a vaccine-induced response,” Fauci said.

“It might have an impact on certain monoclonal antibodies that are developed against the virus, we don’t know that yet. But, at first cut, it doesn’t look like something that is going to be really a big problem for the vaccines that are currently being used to reduce an immune response.”

https://www.cnbc.com/2020/11/13/covid-dr-fauci-says-it-appears-outbreak-in-minks-wont-be-a-problem-for-vaccines.htmlHELP US SPREAD GOOD NEWS!

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People with blood type O may have lower risk of Covid-19 infection and severe illness

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People with blood type O may be less vulnerable to Covid-19 and have a reduced likelihood of getting severely ill from the virus, according to two new studies.

The two independent studies, carried out by researchers in Denmark and Canada and published in the journal Blood Advances, found that individuals with blood types A and AB are most vulnerable to the disease.

The research provides further evidence that a person’s blood type may play a role in their susceptibility to coronavirus and could shed further light on why the illness proves deadly for some but others only experience mild symptoms, or none at all.

Lead author Dr Torben Barington, of Odense University Hospital, said: “We do not know whether this is some kind of protection of group O, or whether it’s some kind of vulnerability in the other blood groups.”

He added: “I think this has scientific interest, and when we find out what the mechanism is, perhaps we’re able to use that proactively in some way in regard to treatment.”

The Canadian study meanwhile found those with blood type A or AB were at higher risk of experiencing severe Covid-19 symptoms than those with O or B.

Analysis of 95 critically ill Covid-19 patients in a Vancouver hospital revealed people in the first category were more likely to require mechanical ventilation and dialysis for kidney failure.

https://www.standard.co.uk/news/world/studies-coronavirus-infection-symptoms-blood-type-a4571031.htmlHELP US SPREAD GOOD NEWS!

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Why is Singapore’s COVID-19 death rate the world’s lowest

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Singapore has the lowest coronavirus case fatality count globally, with just 27 deaths among the more than 57,000 people who have been infected with COVID-19 in the Southeast Asian island.

At 0.05%, Singapore’s death rate is well below the global average of around 3%, according to data compiled by Reuters from countries that have recorded more than 1,000 cases. A comparison with countries with a similar sized population shows a stark difference – Denmark’s death rate is around 3%, while Finland’s is around 4%. tmsnrt.rs/2RxksJF

Further, nobody has died from the disease in Singapore for more than two months, according to its health ministry. The country’s leading disease experts said the following are the main factors behind the phenomenon:

Singapore has managed to mitigate the spread of the virus via early detection using aggressive contact tracing and testing that won praise from the World Health Organization (WHO)

It has swabbed nearly 900,000 people, more than 15% of its 5.7 million population, according to official data – one of the highest per capita rates globally.

“The more we diagnose, then the lower the mortality rate is,” said Hsu Li Yang at Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health at National University of Singapore.

The pre-emptive approach has also applied to treatment. COVID-19 patients above the age of 45 years or with underlying conditions that make them vulnerable are cared for in hospital even if they are otherwise well, doctors said.

Singapore was already a medical tourism hub for Southeast Asia, with numerous private hospitals and high quality public healthcare facilities. It also built up bed space for coronavirus patients in cavernous exhibition halls and other temporary facilities to house those with mild or no symptoms.

This prevented the healthcare system from being overwhelmed so that attention and resources could be focused on the more severe cases, doctors said. Singapore currently has no COVID-19 patients in intensive care, while 42 are warded in hospital and a further 490 in temporary facilities.

The city-state made masks mandatory in public in April. While experts have said more studies need be done, there is growing evidence that wearing masks helps reduce the prevalance and severity of the virus.

Singapore sticks rigidly to the WHO’s case definition for classifying COVID-19 deaths. It does not include non-pneumonia fatalities like those caused by blood or heart issues among COVID-19 patients in its official tally.

https://www.reuters.com/article/idUSKBN2680THHELP US SPREAD GOOD NEWS!

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Sweden records its fewest daily Covid-19 cases since March

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While many European countries are seeing new cases surge to levels not seen since the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic, Sweden – whose light-touch approach has made it an international outlier – has one of the continent’s lowest infection rates.

According to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), the Scandinavian country’s 14-day cumulative total of new cases was 22.2 per 100,000 inhabitants on Tuesday, against 279 in Spain, 158.5 in France, 118 in the Czech Republic, 77 in Belgium and 59 in the UK, all of which imposed lockdowns this spring.

Twenty-two of the 31 European countries surveyed by the ECDC had higher infection rates. New cases, now reported in Sweden only from Tuesday to Friday, are running at roughly the rate seen in late-March, while data from the national health agency showed only 1.2% of its 120,000 tests last week came back positive.

Sweden also has fewer new daily infections than Norway and Denmark, its Nordic neighbours. Thirteen Covid-19 patients are in intensive care in Swedish hospitals, and its seven-day average of coronavirus-related deaths is zero.

“We don’t have the resurgence of the disease that many countries have,” Anders Tegnell, the country’s chief epidemiologist and architect of its no-lockdown strategy, told broadcaster France-24 in an interview, adding that the country was broadly happy with its overall strategy.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/sep/15/sweden-records-its-fewest-daily-covid-19-cases-since-marchHELP US SPREAD GOOD NEWS!

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Great News About Births During Covid-19 – Pandemic shutdowns saw huge decreases in babies born prematurely

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Here at last is some good news about the Covid-19 pandemic and the wholesale disruption to our lives it has caused: In many places with strict lockdowns this spring, there were far fewer premature births than is considered normal.

The trend doesn’t appear to be universal, but where it applies, the data are staggering. In Denmark, the number of babies born after less than 28 weeks of gestation — 40 weeks is the norm — dropped by 90% during the country’s month-long lockdown this spring. In one region of Ireland, the rate of preemies with very low birth weight was down by 73% between January and April compared with averages over the preceding two decades. Somewhat smaller decreases have been observed in parts of Canada, Australia and the Netherlands. Elsewhere, clinics and doctors are now scurrying to examine their own data.

One reason to rejoice is, of course, that this means many parents had healthier, happier babies this spring. Premature birth and low gestational weight are associated with various medical complications, ranging from cerebral palsy or death in the worst cases to learning disabilities or visual problems in later life. For example, it’s why Stevie Wonder, an American singer who was born six weeks early, is blind.

But the bigger reason to cheer is that this phenomenon could eventually help us understand what causes premature birth in the first place, and thus how to prevent it. For now we can only speculate, as the researchers behind the Danish and Irish work freely admit — their papers haven’t yet been peer-reviewed.

One explanation for fewer premature births may be the decreases in air pollution during the lockdowns, as fewer people drove or flew and factories belched less. Another factor could be that the moms-to-be had fewer infections generally — and thus less inflammation in their bodies — as we reduced contact with people and germs and obsessively washed hands.

But the most obvious and plausible reason appears to be that for many expecting moms, though decidedly not all, the lockdowns reduced stress. This may seem counterintuitive, because a pandemic is itself a big a stressor. Moreover, the lockdowns deprived many people of their livelihood and thus caused additional financial and even existential anxiety.

https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2020-08-01/why-do-coronavirus-lockdowns-lead-to-fewer-premature-birthsHELP US SPREAD GOOD NEWS!

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School reopenings in Europe reduce virus concerns — mostly

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There’s some good news for countries just beginning to reopen schools.

Their European counterparts — such as Denmark, Austria and Germany — that began sending children back to classrooms in April and early May, haven’t seen significant increases in new cases. And experts are cautiously optimistic that sending children back to school may be relatively safe.

But it’s early days yet. Incremental returns to school and robust infection control measures have been part of the game plan in those countries that have reopened classrooms successfully. With big questions around the virus still hanging in the air, some experts are issuing plenty of caveats.

The exemplar is Denmark, where the first children began returning in mid-April, when the country had just under 200 new cases a day. As of June 8, Denmark had just 14 daily new cases. And while the reproduction rate of the virus increased after the country began reopening, it has since dropped.

The head of experimental virology at Copenhagen University’s Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, Allan Randrup Thomsen, was initially hesitant about the move. But now he notes that, since reopening, there “hasn’t been any effect that we can see.”

In fact, the statistical models predicted there would be more spreading than was actually observed, according to Søren Riis Paludan, professor in virology at Aarhus University. The puzzle is why that didn’t happen.

“Opening the schools has really not been translated into any imprint in the transmission numbers,” he said.

https://www.politico.com/news/2020/06/10/european-school-reopeningsreduce-virus-concerns-for-most-312595

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Denmark says easing lockdown has not caused increase in Covid-19 infections

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Denmark, the first country in Europe to relax its coronavirus lockdown said on Wednesday that the spread of Covid-19 has not accelerated since it eased restrictions and began the second phase of reopening society last month.

“The level of contagion in society is still very low,” the Danish health authority said in a report in Wednesday, according to Reuters news agency.

It added that the number of confirmed new infections had continued to fall despite more tests being carried out.

In April Denmark became the first country to reopen its schools and daycare centres and the following month bars and restaurants and shopping centres were allowed to resume business.

“There is no sign yet of noticeable changes in the extent of contagion despite the gradual reopening of society in April and early May,” the report said.

https://www.thelocal.dk/20200610/denmark-says-easing-lockdown-has-not-increased-infectionsHELP US SPREAD GOOD NEWS!

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