COVID-19 | The Delta variant is a game changer everywhere

With the fourth wave of COVID-19, many countries are forced to review their plan of action against the Delta variant, which is proving to be more contagious while also leading to an increase in hospital admissions, especially for people who have not been vaccinated. Overview in seven steps.

Posted on Aug 24, 2021 at 6:00 am

Eric-Pierre Champagne La Presse

United States

PHOTO KENZO TRIBOUILLARD, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE ARCHIVE

The Food and Drug Administration officially approved Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine on Monday.

The Food and Drug Administration officially approved Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine on Monday. The news convinced many objecters who said they did not trust a product that had received emergency clearance since December 2020. On the same day, the Pentagon announced that all members of the Bundeswehr should be vaccinated. New York City also ruled Monday that school staff, including teachers, should have received at least one dose by September 27. So far, 61% of the population have received at least one dose of vaccine, a proportion that the authorities consider to be clearly inadequate.

Israel

PHOTO MENAHEM KAHANA, AGENCE FRANCE PRESS ARCHIVE

An Israeli boy is tested for COVID-19 in Jerusalem

In order to cope with the increase in the number of infections caused by the Delta variant, vaccination kiosks will be set up in Israeli schools from September 1st. The government made the announcement on Monday in hopes of encouraging teenagers between the ages of 12 and 15 to get vaccinated with parental permission. Schools must ensure that at least 70% of the students in a class are vaccinated, otherwise classes will take place online. Just over 5.4 million Israelis have already received two doses, or 58% of the population.

Iran

PHOTO VAHID SALEMI, ARCHIVE-RELATED PRESS

Iranians wait for their COVID-19 vaccine in a shopping mall in Tehran.

Iran had its deadliest day on Sunday, with 684 COVID-19-related deaths. Given the more contagious Delta variant, the country could be particularly at risk as only 5.8 million people received two doses out of a population of 83 million. Authorities have just lifted restrictive measures, which include disrupting non-core economic activities, but maintained the provincial travel ban until August 27. Official statistics seriously underestimate the number of cases and deaths in the country, according to several Iranian officials.

Indonesia

PHOTO ANTARA PHOTO, REUTERS ARCHIVE

Indonesian health workers attended a ceremony in Jakarta on August 17 to mark the country’s 76th anniversary of independence.

For the first time since mid-June, Indonesia reported fewer than 10,000 new daily cases of COVID-19 on Monday. This is rarely good news in a country of 270 million people, where only 11% of the population is fully vaccinated. The virus hit children particularly hard, killing more than 1,200 people, especially in June and July. However, since mid-July the number of new cases has fallen by 78% as the vaccination rate improves.

United Kingdom

PHOTO JUSTIN TALLIS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE ARCHIVES

Participants in the Kaleidoscope Festival in London in late July

In Great Britain, experts fear an increase in the number of cases due to the delta variant a week before the start of the school year. All indicators have also been rising since the end of July, for new cases as well as hospital admissions or deaths. On Monday, the new contamination increased by 13% compared to the previous week. On the same day, authorities also announced that 4,700 people who had attended a music festival in Cornwall (or were in contact with someone present) had contracted the virus.

New Zealand

PHOTO PRAVEEN MENON, REUTERS ARCHIVE

Abandoned street in Wellington, New Zealand’s capital city, due to restrictions imposed by health authorities

The Delta variant is forcing authorities to review their strategy in New Zealand, a country that has recorded only 26 deaths since the pandemic began. The goal of “zero COVID-19” could be undermined with this new variant, which is much more contagious. Current containment will also be extended as new cases rise on the island, where only 20% of the population have received two doses of vaccine. 35 new cases were discovered on Monday, bringing the current total to 107 as authorities believe the delta variant has not yet reached its peak.

Mexico

PHOTO FERNANDO LLANO, ARCHIVE ASSOACITED PRESS

Nurse Takes Care of COVID-19 Patients in Mexico City Hospital

In the past two weeks, the number of new infections in Mexico has increased by 14% as the death toll rose by 47% in one of the countries hardest hit by the virus. However, by government officials themselves, the actual number of cases could be higher, up to 60% more than the above figures, it is estimated. In the past few weeks, Mexico was recording an average of 19,000 new cases per day. In this country of 128 million people, only 24% of the population is fully vaccinated.

Sources: The Guardian, The New York Times, Agence France-Presse, Reuters

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