By Dana Malcolm
September 18, 2022 – A new report by the Lancet Commission, a scientific body, investigating the response to COVID19 is recommending that the WHO and other agencies place more focus on the origins of the COVID19 virus which remain murky.
“As a Commission, we strongly support the call for an objective, open, data-driven, transparent, and independent scientific debate about the origin of SARS-CoV-2.44, 45 WHO, governments, and the scientific community should intensify the search for the origin of SARS-CoV-2, including a possible natural spillover or a possible research-related spillover,” the report maintained.
The Commission says it has not ruled out the possibility that COVID emerged from a genetically altered virus or that it emerged from an animal.
“As of the time of publication of this report, all three research-associated hypotheses are still plausible: infection in the field, infection with a natural virus in the laboratory, and infection with a manipulated virus in the laboratory.”
The Lancet went on to cite the heavy secrecy surrounding investigations surrounding other coronaviruses that governments including the United States had been researching at that time. The report stressed that in the absence of this sort of unbiased and rigorous research by a transparent team of experts the ‘public’s trust in science will be imperiled with potentially grave long-term repercussions.’
Imminent Worldwide Measles Threat; 25 Million CHILDREN miss First Dose
By Dana Malcolm
December 2, 2022 – Forty million children are at risk of Measles as what the World Health Organization is describing as an “imminent threat” takes shape. A joint report between the WHO and the U.S. Centres for Disease Control revealed that a record number of children missed their measles dose with 25 million children missing their first dose and 14.7 million children missing their second dose in 2021 alone.
Nine million cases of measles were recorded last year, twenty-two countries experienced large and disruptive outbreaks and 128,000 deaths occurred, the report says.
“The paradox of the pandemic is that while vaccines against COVID-19 were developed in record time and deployed in the largest vaccination campaign in history, routine immunization programmes were badly disrupted, and millions of kids missed out on life-saving vaccinations against deadly diseases like measles,” said Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General.
Measles is easily one of the most contagious viruses in the world and while many people think itchy spots when they think of the disease it can cause pneumonia, seizures and brain damage in about 30 percent of infected individuals.
Herd immunity will not work with this disease, say experts, unless 95 per cent of people or more are vaccinated; only 71 per cent of children in 2022 are fully vaccinated.
“Measles anywhere is a threat everywhere” the report said, emphasizing that no WHO region has achieved and sustained measles elimination.
Chinese Gov’t relenting on strict COVID Zero lockdowns
By Dana Malcolm
#China, December 2, 2022 – Just days after the country experienced a record amount of Covid-19 cases, mainland China will ease some of its restrictions. Mass protests which are extremely rare for the nation broke out last week all across the country as residents tired and frustrated by the weeks of severe lockdowns and upset over a deadly fire clashed with riot police. Residents’ escape from the fire which killed 10 people may have been delayed because of Covid-19 protocols, Chinese officials deny the claims but citizens are not convinced.
It has sparked what international media is calling the white paper revolution. Residents afraid of being arrested under the country’s extreme censorship laws are holding up blank pieces of white paper as a symbol for the things they are not allowed to vocalize Vice Premier Sun Chunlan quickly released a statement about COVID weakening as the protests quelled and restrictions were lifted according to Reuters.
“The country is facing a new situation and new tasks in epidemic prevention and control as the pathogenicity of the Omicron virus weakens, more people are vaccinated and experience in containing the virus is accumulated,” she said
As of November 30th most areas in Shanghai and Guangzhu specifically have been released from lockdown despite the rising cases as tensions overflowed in the business and the manufacturing cities respectively. Earlier this year officials put Shanghai under quarantine for what was supposed to be a single week, residents ended up locked at home for two months.
Since the beginning of the Pandemic China has employed a ZERO COVID policy, whether that will continue as protocols loosen is yet to be seen.
JAMAICA: Government Strengthens Response to Substance Use Among Youth
#Jamaica, December 2, 2022 – Jamaica is putting robust measures in place to address the use of harmful substances among young people.
She pointed out that the introduction and popularity of new substances and ease of access among youngsters “are cause for major concern”, and it is imperative that robust strategies be implemented to address the problem.
In detailing the measures during a National Forum on Youth Drug Use on Wednesday (November 30), the State Minister said that a clause-by-clause analysis of the Tobacco Control Bill, 2020 is ongoing, and decisions concerning a National Harmful Alcohol Policy are in motion.
Additionally, she informed that plans are in the works for a National Drug Prevalence Survey.
“This is part of efforts to assess the use of new and emergent psychoactive substances, including molly, across the population. We are also looking towards the updating of the National School Policy on Substance Use,” the State Minister said at the forum held at the Terra Nova All-Suite Hotel.
She noted that the efforts involve the Ministry of Education and Youth.
“Substance abuse is also to be woven into Jamaica’s Mental Health Strategic Plan. Protecting the health and well-being of all Jamaicans remains the principal mandate of the Ministry of Health and Wellness, and it will continue to support the work of the NCDA as it plays its role in fulfilling this mission,” she said.
The forum consisted of representatives from several State agencies and
civil society partners, who engaged in discussions surrounding substance use among the youth, explored areas for further partnership and capacity-building, and shared best practice interventions for the target group.
November was observed as Drug Abuse Month, and the NCDA convened a series of town hall meetings and a school tour to engage with the young people, parents, caregivers and other stakeholders to intensify a national conversation around safeguarding Jamaicans from harmful use of substances.
“I applaud the outstanding team at the NCDA for their efforts in highlighting the troubles related with substance use, accompanying interventions and work towards policy shift. The public health system remains grateful for the agency’s work,” Mrs. Cuthbert-Flynn said.
Contact: Garfield L. Angus
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