Singapore Cases Hit One-Year High; Covax Shortfall: Virus Update

Covid-19 cases in Singapore touched a one-year high. Japan is planning to extend emergency measures in Tokyo, Osaka and 17 other prefectures until the end of the month.

Global inoculation program Covax cut its 2021 supply forecast by more than a quarter. “Too little action” has been taken toward achieving vaccine equity, the head of the World Health Organization said. 

U.S. President Joe Biden plans to call for an international summit on the pandemic and the need for shots for the developing world, the Washington Post reported. Biden on Thursday is set to outline his strategy to fight the delta variant and boost vaccinations.

Ireland will offer mRNA booster shots to older adults. Johnson & Johnson is considering a booster trial in South Africa, where a third wave of infections has  begun to wane.

Biden to Call for Covid Summit (5:15 a.m. HK)

U.S. President Joe Biden plans to call for a global summit on responding to the coronavirus crisis to be held during the UN General Assembly meetings in New York the week of Sept. 20, the Washington Post reported.

Majority of NFL Teams Have 95% Vaccine Rate (3:34 p.m. NY)

Seventeen of the National Football League’s 32 teams have vaccinated 95% of their players, league officials said, with the Atlanta Falcons and the reigning Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers reaching 100%. Vaccinations aren’t mandated for players but are for coaches and other personnel, yielding 99% coverage.

New Jersey Logs 14,813 Breakthrough Cases (3:11 p.m. NY)

New Jersey registered 14,813 breakthrough cases as of Aug. 23, Governor Phil Murphy said during a media briefing. Such cases accounted for 0.28% of people who are fully vaccinated.

The state reported that 5.66 million individuals are fully vaccinated. Fifty-seven percent of residents age 12 to 17 have received one vaccine dose, with 66% of those 16 to 17 years old getting one shot.

South Africa Sees Downward Trend in Cases (2:36 p.m. NY)

South Africa’s third wave of coronavirus infections is petering out, with the number of new cases and the positivity rate of those tested dropping, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases said. “The current surge in Covid-19 infections seems to be showing signs of a sustained downward trend,” the institute said. Infections are declining in all nine provinces.

Ireland to Offer MRNA Boosters to Older Adults (1:25 p.m. NY)

Ireland will offer mRNA booster shots to people over 65 years old in care homes and to anyone over 80, the health ministry said. Eligibility will be restricted to those who received their initial vaccine at least six months ago. Infection rates are declining across the country, “falling significantly” for adolescents and young adults, the ministry said.

WHO Head Knocks Rich Nations Over Vaccines (12:38 p.m. NY)

The head of the World Health Organization complained of “too little action” toward achieving vaccine equity. Manufacturers striking deals with affluent countries had left lower-income ones “deprived of the tools to protect their people,” Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters. 

Less than 15% of the one billion doses promised by high-income countries had materialized, he said. “We don’t want any more promises,” he said. “We just want the vaccines.

Tedros called for an extension of a moratorium on Covid-19 booster shots until at least year-end. A month ago, he asked for a global halt through September to prioritize vaccinating the most at-risk people globally who haven’t received their first doses.

Florida Judge Lets Schools Require Masks (12:20 p.m. NY)

Florida schools can start requiring masks while Governor Ron DeSantis appeals an earlier decision that struck down his ban on such mandates, Circuit Court Judge John C. Cooper ruled. The decision vacated an automatic stay of Cooper’s ruling last month in favor of parents who challenged the governor’s ban.

Singapore Cases Hit One-Year High; Covax Shortfall: Virus Update

In NYC, 65% of Eligible Students Have Shot (11:33 a.m. NY)

In New York City, 65% of 12- to 17-year-old students have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, less than a week before the Sept. 13 first day of school, Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

The largest school system in the U.S. hasn’t mandated vaccination for eligible students. The city has required all public school staff to get at least one shot by Sept. 27 or submit to weekly testing. The city is posting mobile vaccine sites at schools, where masks will be required. 

De Blasio is close to reaching his June goal of 5 million fully vaccinated New Yorkers, with more than 4.98 million residents qualifying.

Elizabeth Warren Presses Amazon (10:59 a.m. NY)

U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren pressed Inc. for more action to stop the “deeply troubling” spread of misinformation about vaccines and cures, according to CNBC. In a letter to Chief Executive Officer Andy Jassy, the Massachusetts Democrat acknowledged that the company has taken steps to direct users to accurate data but said top search results often still include products that promote false information. 

The company didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Covax Cuts 2021 Supply Forecast (9:21 a.m. NY)

The global program set up to immunize the world against Covid-19 cut its 2021 supply forecast by more than a quarter. Covax expects to have about 1.4 billion doses by year-end, the organizations coordinating the initiative said. 

In June, Covax had forecast that about 1.9 billion doses would be available by the end of this year. Some manufacturers and countries have prioritized bilateral deals, while export bans and challenges in scaling up production are among other factors hindering the rollout, they said. 

Swiss to Require Vaccine Certificates (8:34 a.m. NY)

Switzerland will require certificates showing that the bearer has been vaccinated, recovered from or tested negative for Covid-19 for indoor dining, fitness centers, and other leisure facilities as of Sept. 13. 

The move, vociferously opposed by the restaurant association and politicians on the right, is designed to reduce infections and take pressure off hospitals. The country is also considering toughening rules for unvaccinated travelers.

Slovakia to Vaccinate Kids: SME (8:17 a.m. NY)

Slovakia will open inoculation to children aged five to 11, SME newspaper reported, citing Health Minister Vladimir Lengvarsky. A selected group of people will also be eligible for a third booster shot.

Japan Extends Emergency Measures: NHK (6:38 a.m NY)

The Japanese government has told the ruling coalition it’s planning to extend the coronavirus state of emergency in Tokyo, Osaka and 17 other prefectures until Sept. 30, NHK reported without attribution. Miyagi and Okayama prefectures, currently included in the state of emergency, will be downgraded to less strict virus measures.

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