Bill Gates Says COVID Risks Have ‘Dramatically Reduced’ but Another Pandemic Is Coming + More By for Children’s Health Defense
The Defender’s COVID NewsWatch provides a roundup of the latest headlines related to the SARS CoV-2 virus, including its origins and COVID vaccines.
Bill Gates Says COVID Risks Have ‘Dramatically Reduced’ but Another Pandemic Is Coming
Speaking to CNBC’s Hadley Gamble at Germany’s annual Munich Security Conference, Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, said that a potential new pandemic would likely stem from a different pathogen to that of the coronavirus family. But he added that advances in medical technology should help the world do a better job of fighting it — if investments are made now.
Two years into the coronavirus pandemic, Gates said the worst effects have faded as huge swathes of the global population have gained some level of immunity. Its severity has also waned with the latest Omicron variant. However, Gates said that in many places that was due to virus itself, which creates a level of immunity, and has “done a better job of getting out to the world population than we have with vaccines.”
He added that the world should move faster in the future to develop and distribute vaccines, calling on governments to invest now.
2,044 Fully Vaccinated Indiana Residents Died of COVID; 329,000 Breakthrough Cases Recorded
More than 2,000 fully vaccinated residents in Indiana have now died of COVID-19 despite a decline in new coronavirus cases in the state.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, health officials in Indiana have registered a total of 2,044 breakthrough COVID-19 deaths. At least 86% of these occurred in residents aged 65 and older, with an average age of 78. The number of deaths represents 0.056% of all vaccinated people in the state.
As of Thursday, health officials have also recorded 329,167 breakthrough infections and 3,858 hospitalizations with COVID-19 among the vaccinated. The figures represent 8.961% and 0.105% of all fully vaccinated individuals across Indiana, respectively, data from the Health Department showed.
A Test to Determine COVID Immunity Could Reshape U.S. Policy
Two years into the COVID pandemic, and we still don’t have a way to determine for sure whether the immunity you gain from either an infection or the vaccine is sufficient to protect from reinfection or from serious illness. We call it a correlate of protection. We can still only guess.
It is also clear that previous infection with COVID provides a valuable source of immunityagainst reinfection, but this protection doesn’t last forever and doesn’t always protect us against the immuno-evasive Omicron variant.
A new study from Qatar just published in the New England Journal of Medicine shows that previous infection provided 60% protection against Omicron with substantial protection against hospitalization, but we haven’t seen the same pattern here in the U.S.
As a country, our approach has been too narrow and rigid. On the one hand, we don’t acknowledge that recent infection provides protection, the way Israel does. On the other hand, we narrowly stick to the view that the vaccine provides complete protection when it does no such thing, especially against Omicron.
Arkansas County Praises Doctor Who Gave Inmates Ivermectin
A northwest Arkansas county issued a resolution praising the doctor at its jail who faces a lawsuit from inmates who say they were unknowingly prescribed ivermectin to treat COVID-19, despite warnings from health officials about the anti-parasitic drug.
The Washington County Quorum Court voted 9-4 Thursday night in favor of the resolution praising Dr. Robert Karas for his work treating inmates with COVID-19 at the county jail. The panel also rejected, by a 10-4 vote, a separate resolution supporting the principle of informed consent for medical treatments.
Karas is scheduled to appear in April before the state Medical Board, which has been investigating complaints against him over the drug’s use at the jail. Karas has said he began giving inmates ivermectin in November 2020. He told a Medical Board investigator that 254 inmates were treated with the drug.