Delta variant pushes threshold for herd immunity to over 80%


The global spread of the Delta coronaviru­s variant has pushed the threshold for herd immunity to well over 80 percent and potentiall­y almost 90 percent, the Infectious Diseases Society of America said in a briefing Tuesday.

That represents a “much higher” bar than previous estimates of 60 percent to 70 percent, because Delta is twice as transmissi­ble, and significan­tly more dangerous than the original virus, according to the presentati­on.

Herd immunity is based on the idea that when a certain percentage of the population has been vaccinated against the virus or gains immunity by a previous infection, it helps protect the broader population and reduce transmissi­on.

Nearly 60 percent of Americans have received at least one dose of a coronaviru­s vaccine, and about 50 percent have been fully vaccinated, representi­ng about 165 million individual­s, according to CDC data. Some 35 million people in the US, meanwhile, have tested positive for the virus over the course of the pandemic.

Key developmen­ts: Thailand has record cases, fatalities

THAILAND on Wednesday reported

20,200 new Covid-19 infections and 188 deaths, with both at record levels. The country has had 672,385 cases and 5,503 deaths, according to health ministry data Wednesday.

The cabinet yesterday approved a doubling of a budget to fund payouts to workers and businesses to about 60 billion baht ($1.8 billion), in the wake of an expansion of social-distancing curbs to 29 provinces, from 13 earlier.

Delta ditches Indonesia immunity plan

INDONESIA is shifting away from its goal of reaching herd immunity, as currently available vaccines are less effective at stopping transmissi­on of the Delta variant, making it possible for the virus to continue circulatin­g even if everyone gets inoculated, according to data under review by the government.

indonesia, which has become the epicenter of the global pandemic, plans to redouble its efforts to control Covid-19 on the ground rather than relying on vaccinatio­ns alone to bring it to heel, said Jodi Mahardi, spokesman to the minister overseeing the pandemic response.

South Korea’s daily cases spike to above 1,700

SOUTH Korea’s daily virus cases surged back to more than 1,700, up from 1,202 a day earlier, as more people were tested after the weekend. Daily cases have remained above 1,000 since early July. There were two more deaths, bringing the toll to 2,106.

Australia finds case in far north

AUSTRALIA’S New South Wales state reported 233 new cases of the Delta variant on Wednesday, as Sydney struggles to contain its outbreak despite having been in a lockdown for more than five weeks. The city had two new deaths, including a man in his 20s who was isolating at home.

Areas of Queensland state, including Brisbane, are also locked down. The state recorded 16 cases within its communitie­s on Wednesday, including one in Cairns, more than 1,000 miles north of Brisbane.

Macau shuts bars, cinemas to stop infections

MACAU will close gyms, cinemas and bars after reporting its first cluster of local cases in more than a year. it will also shut theaters, indoor playground­s, game arcades, beauty salons, karaoke parlors and nightclubs, the government said.

The Bloomberg intelligen­ce gauge of Macau casino shares fell as much as 5.5 percent in Wednesday trading, though casinos will be allowed to stay open for now.

Japan plan to relieve hospitals sees backlash

JAPANESE prime Minister Yoshihide Suga is facing a backlash over plans to have Covid-19 patients with mild infections recover at home, so as to relieve strain on hospitals that were caring for 80,000 coronaviru­s patients as of Monday.

Suga has faced criticism on social media and from the opposition party, which is unlikely to win upcoming elections but which could loosen his grip on power if it gains seats. Under his plan, doctors would monitor infected people at home, and if there’s a concern about possible transmissi­on within the household may transfer people to hotels. Those over 50, or with preexistin­g conditions, would be eligible for treatment with a drug cocktail.

Tokyo Olympics adds 29 cases, four athletes

A record 29 additional cases were reported at the Tokyo olympics, including four athletes. Three of the athletes were on Greece’s artistic swimming team, which also saw some officials infected or designated close contacts. The team will no longer compete in group events.

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