Delta Spikes Herd Immunity Threshold to Over 80%: Virus Update

(Bloomberg) - The spread of the delta coronavirus variant has raised the herd immunity threshold to well over 80% and possibly nearly 90%, the Infectious Diseases Society of America said.
Indonesia is effectively foregoing herd immunity efforts as Delta pushes the threshold out of reach. Thailand had record deaths and cases, while Australia found infection in the city of Cairns in the far north. Macau is closing bars and cinemas, and concerns about the outbreak in mainland China are growing.
US President Joe Biden criticized the pandemic response of the governors of Florida and Texas, both Republicans. The two states account for about a third of all new US cases in the past week.
Important developments:
Global Tracker: Cases of over 199.4 million; Deaths Pass 4.24 Million Vaccine Trackers: More Than 4.21 Billion Doses DeliveredChina's Recent Outbreak Threads to Endanger Consumer Recovery Biden Tackles GOP Governors Who Have Blocked New Mask Mandates Vanguard Offers Employees $ 1,000 For Inoculation
Delta digs up Indonesia immunity plan (1:45 p.m.)
Indonesia is moving away from its goal of achieving herd immunity as currently available vaccines are less effective in stopping the transmission of the Delta variant, allowing the virus to continue circulating even if everyone is vaccinated, according to data verified by the government.
Indonesia, which has become the epicenter of the global pandemic, plans to redouble its efforts to fight Covid-19 on the ground rather than relying on vaccinations alone to beat it, said Jodi Mahardi, spokesman for the minister responsible for the response monitored for the pandemic.
Macau Shuts Bars And Cinemas To Stop Infection (1:15 p.m. HK)
Macau will close gyms, cinemas and bars after the first local cases were reported in more than a year. In addition, theaters, indoor playgrounds, arcades, beauty salons, karaoke salons and nightclubs will be closed, the government said.
The Bloomberg Intelligence value of Macau casino stocks fell as much as 5.5% in Wednesday trading, although casinos are allowed to stay open for the time being.
Japan Plans To Relieve Hospitals See Backlash (1:00 p.m. HK)
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga is facing a backlash over plans to allow Covid-19 patients with mild infections to recover at home to ease the burden on hospitals that served 80,000 coronavirus patients on Monday.
Suga has been criticized on social media and by the opposition party, which is unlikely to win the upcoming election but which could loosen his power if it wins seats. According to his plan, doctors would monitor infected people at home and move people to hotels if there were concerns about possible intra-household transmission. People over 50 or with pre-existing conditions may be eligible for a drug cocktail treatment.
Delta increases herd immunity bar (11:30 a.m. HK)
The Delta variant has raised the herd immunity threshold to well over 80% and possibly nearly 90%, the Infectious Diseases Society of America said in a briefing Tuesday. This is a “much higher” standard than previous estimates of 60 to 70 percent, because according to the presentation, Delta is twice as transferable and significantly more dangerous than the original virus.
Herd immunity is based on the idea that if a certain percentage of the population has been vaccinated against the virus or becomes immune from previous infection, it will help protect the wider population and reduce transmission.
Nearly 60% of Americans have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, and about 50% have been fully vaccinated, which corresponds to about 165 million people, according to CDC data. In the United States, 35 million people have now tested positive for the virus in the course of the pandemic.
Tokyo Olympics Adds 29 Cases, Four Athletes (11:20 a.m. HK)
29 additional cases were reported at the Tokyo Olympics, including four athletes. Three of the athletes belonged to Greece's artistic swimming team, in which some officials were infected or close contacts were named. The team will no longer participate in group events.
South Korea's daily cases rise to over 1,700 (11:05 a.m. HK)
South Korea's daily virus cases jumped from 1,202 the day before to more than 1,700 as more people were tested after the weekend. The daily cases have been over 1,000 since the beginning of July. There were two more deaths, bringing the number to 2,106.
Australia finds case in the far north (9:50 a.m. HK)
The Australian state of New South Wales reported 233 new cases of the Delta variant of the virus on Wednesday as Sydney struggles to contain its outbreak despite having been in lockdown for more than five weeks. The city had two new deaths, including a man in his twenties who was home isolated.
Areas in the state of Queensland, including Brisbane, are also blocked. The state recorded 16 cases in its communities on Wednesday, including one in Cairns, more than 1,000 miles north of Brisbane.
China outbreak shows no sign of weakening (9:35 a.m. HK)
China reported 86 infections on Wednesday, including 15 asymptomatic cases, as an outbreak caused by Delta shows little sign of weakening. The outbreak began with a build-up of infections among airport cleaners in the eastern city of Nanjing in mid-July and has spread to 15 of 32 provinces in mainland China, including the original epicenter Wuhan and the heavily guarded capital Beijing.
The delta's greater portability and increased tourist traffic during the summer vacation have fueled the spread, making the surge the largest since China controlled its first eruption last year. Authorities have canceled events ranging from basketball games to outdoor festivals and are increasing vigilance to reduce infection. That is a setback for the country's air travel recovery.
Thailand Has Record Cases And Deaths (8:45 a.m. HK)
Thailand today reported 20,200 new Covid-19 infections and 188 deaths, both at record levels. The country had 672,385 cases and 5,503 deaths on Wednesday, according to the health ministry.
Cabinet yesterday approved a doubling of the budget to fund payouts to workers and businesses to about 60 billion baht ($ 1.8 billion) after social distancing restrictions were expanded from 13 to 29 provinces.
FDA Seeks Approval For Pfizer Soon, Says NYT (8:00 a.m. HK)
The US Food and Drug Administration intends to finalize the vaccine from Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE by early next month, the New York Times reported, citing people involved in the effort. While the vaccine received emergency approval last year, final approval could increase vaccination rates, the newspaper said.
UK recommends vaccinations for 16 and 17 year olds (6:30 a.m. HK)
The UK is expected to approve vaccinations against Covid-19 for people aged 16 and 17, the Telegraph reports, citing a government source. The demographic is advised to receive the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, which are in line with guidelines for other younger UK residents.
And most children who get Covid-19 recover within a week, according to a large UK study that may help allay fears over whether children who get sick face the most protracted forms of the disease. About 4.4% of 1,734 children with symptomatic Covid in the study had symptoms for more than four weeks, most commonly fatigue, headache and loss of smell, said researchers in The Lancet Child and Adolescent Health. The research team tracked 250,000 children between the ages of five and 17 in the UK between last September and February 22.
Biden Says CDC Will Issue New Eviction Ban (5:40 p.m. NY)
President Joe Biden said U.S. authorities plan to announce new measures to protect struggling tenants after an eviction moratorium passed days ago, sparking a firestorm of criticism from Democrats and housing advocates.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's new moratorium would apply to counties with high coronavirus infection rates, according to two people familiar with the matter. The move shows the extent to which the spread of the delta variant has turned the government's agenda upside down.
Biden Blasts Florida, Texas Governors (5:05 p.m. NY)
US President Joe Biden highlighted Florida and Texas, where cases are increasing, and criticized the pandemic response by Republican governors in those states. The two states are responsible for about a third of all new cases in the United States in the past week, the government said on Monday.
"We need guidance from everyone," Biden said at a briefing. “Some governors are unwilling to do the right things to make this happen. I tell these governors that if you don't want to help, at least avoid the people who are doing the right thing. "
The number of people hospitalized in Florida with Covid-19 rose to a record 11,863, despite Governor Ron DeSantis reiterating his stance against new public health mandates.
Vanguard Offers $ 1,000 Vaccine Incentive (5:05 p.m. NY)
Vanguard Group Inc. is offering $ 1,000 to employees who get vaccinated through October, according to a person familiar with the matter.
The asset manager is extending payments to any workers who can show they received a Covid-19 vaccine, even if they were vaccinated before the company extended the offer. A spokeswoman for Vanguard confirmed that the company is offering an incentive.
Brazil Lift Restrictions As Cases To Ease Deaths (4:35 p.m. NY)
Brazilian states and cities prepare to put most of the restrictions on businesses and conventions aside as Covid cases and deaths drop to their lowest levels in months and vaccinations rise.
In Sao Paulo, many schools reopened at full capacity for face-to-face tuition this week, and the state will end opening hours and capacity restrictions on most businesses starting August 17. Rio de Janeiro also plans to relax the rules from September 2, including on the use of masks. The reopening will include a four-day celebration, said Mayor Eduardo Paes, adding that the New Year celebrations will be the largest in the city's history.
U.S. Prepare for Future Pandemics, Fauci Says (3 p.m. NY)
The US government is in "active" and "sensitive" discussions about investing in a comprehensive pandemic preparedness program, said Anthony Fauci, the country's leading infectious disease expert.
Speaking at an event Tuesday with the Center for Strategic & International Studies, a Washington-based think tank, Fauci said the U.S. continues to plan for the future and keep a constant focus on how vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics will be used to combat future pandemics could.
Argentina Receives 3 Million Sputnik Doses (11:20 PM NY)
The Russian Direct Investment Fund announced that it reached an agreement this month to manufacture 3 million doses of the second shot of its Sputnik-V vaccine in Argentina after an adviser to the President in the Latin American country criticized delays in deliveries.
Laboratorios Richmond SA will begin delivering Sputnik vaccines in Argentina this week with a first batch of 150,000 doses, Russia's state fund, which is responsible for the international rollout of Sputnik, said via email on Tuesday.
Weekly Dutch Cases Down 44% (9:22 a.m. NY)
Weekly cases in the Netherlands continue to decline, with 21,005 infections reported on Tuesday, up from 37,343 the previous week. The national health service said the country appeared to have peaked in Covid-19 hospital admissions, with 541 new admissions reported in the past week, down 23.
Scotland continues with waiver restrictions (9:15 a.m. NY)
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon confirmed the country will lift most of the virus restrictions on August 9, in line with the government's plan and after a decline in infections.
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