Russia orders non-working week after record COVID deaths

(J. Harris: The Covid roller coaster ride continues worldwide. I must conclude that I have overestimated the intelligence of humans. Americans are not the only vaccine-hesitant group; our political division is only one cause of reluctance to trust science, leaders, educators, and local authorities. Many human beings are just not emotionally and intellectually capable of rational behavior and trust. Russia has had an adequate vaccine longer than anyone, and still, the population refuses to trust the science and the leaders. Now, they are again in desperate trouble. It may be that “herd immunity” will never develop against a constantly mutating virus. Constantly upgraded vaccines  will remain  our most viable defense.)

EUROPE SURGE COVID-19 is once again surging in Europe, particularly in the UK and Central and Eastern Europe. The daily incidence at the continent level increased by more than 45% since the most recent low on September 16. Over the past 2 weeks, 16 European countries have reported increases in daily incidence of 25% or greater, including Czechia (+102%), Latvia (+118%), and Poland (+123%) with greater than 100%. Additionally, Ireland and the UK reported increases of 23% and 20% over that period, respectively. Europe is exhibiting similar trends in terms of daily mortality as well, with 9 countries reporting biweekly increases of 50% or more, including Poland (+103%), Romania (+109%), and Luxembourg (+300%) with increases of more than 100%. With the exception of Iceland, Ireland, and the UK, nearly all of these countries are located in the Central and Eastern regions of Europe. As Europe transitions to colder weather and winter holidays, major COVID-19 surges could pose additional risk due to increased social activities and gatherings indoors.

US CDC HOLIDAY GUIDANCE The US CDC on October 15 released new public health guidance for 2021 winter holiday celebrations, with a focus on urging those who are unvaccinated against SARS-CoV-2 to get their shots before traveling or gathering with family and friends. To protect those too young to be eligible for vaccination, the agency recommends all those around them to be vaccinated. According to new data released the same day, the CDC noted that in August, unvaccinated individuals had an 11 times greater risk of dying from COVID-19 than those who were fully vaccinated. Like 2020, the CDC also recommended masking when in crowded indoor settings and trying to be outside as much as possible in group settings. The new guidance was released following some confusion earlier this month, when the CDC mistakenly posted old information to its website. Some public health experts warned that as long as there are gaps in vaccination coverage throughout the country, a winter surge in COVID-19 cases remains a possibility, especially if people do not follow the guidance.



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