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Entertainment Being vaccinated against coronavirus doesn't make you more likely to catch the South African variant

02:55  16 april  2021
02:55  16 april  2021 Source:   abc.net.au

3 possible futures for Covid-19 in the US — with hope for a return to normal

  3 possible futures for Covid-19 in the US — with hope for a return to normal The next month could determine who lives to see normalcy come back.Vaccines are rolling out quickly, setting up the country to crush the outbreaks that have warped our lives for the past year.

But there are still potential difficulties. Being vaccinated doesn ’ t necessarily prevent you from becoming asymptomatically infected with Covid-19 and passing the virus on. For example, clinical trials and laboratory studies show the AstraZeneca vaccine is only about 10% effective at protecting against the South African variant , but scientists still think the jab will protect against serious disease from this variant . Another question is how long vaccine immunity lasts for, and whether people become more susceptible to different variants as their antibody levels drop over time.

There is no evidence that the South Africa variant causes more serious illness for the vast majority of people who become infected. As with the original version, the risk is highest for people who are elderly or have significant underlying health conditions. But there are concerns it can spread more readily and vaccines may not work quite as well The South African variant carries a mutation, called N501Y, that appears to make it more contagious or easy to spread. Another mutation, called E484K, could help the virus dodge a person's immune system and may affect how well coronavirus vaccines work.

CoronaCheck is RMIT ABC Fact Check's weekly email newsletter dedicated to fighting the misinformation infodemic surrounding the coronavirus outbreak.

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CoronaCheck #61

In this week's CoronaCheck, we investigate reports that being vaccinated makes you more susceptible to contracting certain COVID-19 strains. Spoiler alert: that's not correct.

We also look at claims that China's president "invented" lockdowns, which are supposedly not backed by science. That's not right, either. Read on to find out why.

S. African Covid variant better at bypassing Pfizer/BioNTech jab: Israeli study

  S. African Covid variant better at bypassing Pfizer/BioNTech jab: Israeli study The South African coronavirus variant is better at "breaking through" the defences of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine than other forms of the virus, Israeli experts said Sunday. However, one of the authors told AFP that while the study showed the variant to be relatively successful in infecting vaccinated people, it did not provide any data on whether it could generate serious illness among vaccinees. The study by Tel Aviv University and Clalit Health Services, Israel's largest healthcare provider, compared 400 unvaccinated people infected with Covid-19 to 400 partially or fully vaccinated people who also had the virus.

The vaccine candidate produced by AstraZeneca showed little protection against the South African variant in recent trials. Is this likely to continue once the vaccine is rolled out? Among coronavirus variants most concerning for scientists and public health experts are the British, South

The study shows that the South African variant of the Coronavirus (B.1.351) was found 8 times more in individuals who were vaccinated than those who were unvaccinated. A top Israeli health-care provider, Clalit Health Services also helped in this study. “We found a disproportionately higher rate of the South African variant among people vaccinated with a second dose, compared to the unvaccinated group,” said Adi Stern of Tel Aviv University. “This means that the South African variant is able, to some extent, to break through the vaccine ’s protection.”

No, being vaccinated does not make you more likely to contract COVID-19

News headlines declaring that a South African variant of the novel coronavirus can "break through" the Pfizer vaccine have caused alarm on social media.

Some misleading and unclear headlines and articles have led some people to believe that a study from Israel showed that people vaccinated with the Pfizer jab were more likely to contract the South African variant than those who were unvaccinated.

"The Pfizer vaccine makes you more susceptible to contracting covid than the unvaccinated," claimed one woman, sharing a Facebook post by federal MP Craig Kelly.

But this is not the case.

The study, led by researchers at Tel Aviv University and Clatit, a healthcare provider, found that among people diagnosed with COVID-19, the South African variant was more common among those who had been vaccinated (and for whom the vaccine had not been effective).

Canada: What is known about the largest cluster in the world with the Brazilian Variant

 Canada: What is known about the largest cluster in the world with the Brazilian Variant with 877 confirmed cases, British Columbia has become the center of the largest number of contagions in the Brazilian variant, outside Brazil.

OUTBREAKS of the South African variant could be effectively tackled with local lockdown style The highly transmissible variant , shown to weaken vaccine efficacy, currently makes up a small People take part in coronavirus surge testing on Clapham Common, south LondonCredit: PA. How the 'garlic breath test' can tell you if you 're likely to catch Covid. Testing will also be rolled out in the N3

Similarities between the South Africa variant and another variant identified in Brazil suggest the Brazilian variant will show similar resistance, they added. Liam Smeeth of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, who was not involved in the study, noted that these were The COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE is likely to protect against the more infectious variant of the virus discovered in Britain and now spreading around the world, according to laboratory tests. Researchers took blood samples from 16 people who had received the vaccine and exposed

As reported by Reuters, the South African variant accounted for around 1 per cent of the COVID-19 cases captured in the study.

Among patients who had been fully vaccinated with the Pfizer jab, however, 5.4 per cent were infected with the South African strain.

"This suggests the vaccine is less effective against the South African variant, compared with the original coronavirus and a variant first identified in Britain that has come to comprise nearly all COVID-19 cases in Israel, the researchers said."

However, the researchers note in their conclusion that they "can only cautiously speculate" on the vaccine's effectiveness against the South African strain due to the small sample size of the study (which has not yet been peer reviewed) and the fact that it "was not intended to deduce vaccine effectiveness against either variant".

"Our results emphasise the importance of tracking viral variants in a rigorous framework and of increasing vaccination, which we conclude is the safest and most effective means of preventing the onwards spread of [the South African strain] and other possible future variants of concern."

The Brazil variant: what we know

  The Brazil variant: what we know The "Brazil variant" -- a more contagious mutation of the coronavirus that emerged in the Amazon late last year -- is fueling fears the pandemic could flare anew, leading several countries to suspend flights from Brazil. Here is a rundown of what we know -- and don't -- about the variant known as P1. - Why is it worrying? - There are still a lot of unknowns about P1. Two certainties, though: it is more contagious than the initial strain of the novel coronavirus, and it can re-infect people who have had the original."The fear is justified. P1 is a more contagious variant, and it has spread rapidly across Brazil, which is an enormous country.

Bourla said it is possible that people will need to be immunized against the novel coronavirus annually. Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech began studying a third dose of their vaccine in late February. In March, Moderna and the National Institutes of Health also began testing a booster shot against the South African variant , with hopes it will be available in fall 2021. Currently, more than 123.9 million Americans - or 37.3 percent of the population - have received at least one dose with an average of 3.3 million shots in arms per day.

With the highest reported infection rate in Africa , South Africa is ground zero for the potential launch of a new Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine , hence why at least one is being tested there. But even traditional healers are saying not so fast. As is often the case, traditional healing protocols are once again being overlooked or ignored by government officials in Africa , even though they have been used for “What a sad commentary on South Africa and Wits University.” More related news about the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) is available at Pandemic.news. Sources for this article include

The scientific basis for lockdowns

A former public servant who became a popular anti-lockdown activist and COVID-19 conspiracy theorist on platforms such as Facebook and Telegram has claimed that Chinese President Xi Jinping "invented" lockdowns which are "rejected" by science.

Sanjeev Sabhlok says he quit Victoria's Department of Treasury and Finance last year in protest against "the Police State created by the Daniel Andrews government" and has been banned from LinkedIn and Twitter for spreading misinformation.

He has attracted attention from fringe political groups and myriad conspiracists who engage with encrypted sites such as Telegram and Parler.

Mr Sahblok's claims about President Xi and the scientific basis for lockdowns have been viewed hundreds of times on his personal Telegram page, but Fact Check found both to be incorrect.

Did Xi Jinping invent the lockdown?

While the Chinese city of Wuhan was the first to go into lockdown in response to the outbreak of COVID-19, Mr Xi did not invent the practice.

There is a long history of lockdowns being used to manage risk of infectious diseases across the world.

Is it time for Australia to dump its vaccination strategy and start making its own vaccine?

  Is it time for Australia to dump its vaccination strategy and start making its own vaccine? The vaccine rollout is done for and there's no real plan to get it back on track. Is it time to roll up our sleeves and get the job done ourselves?Today: in the face of new COVID-19 variants and supply shortages, is it time to stop relying on foreign companies and start manufacturing our own vaccines in earnest?

In Britain, King Charles II imposed a lockdown on people in towns, cities and ports during the great plague of the 1660s. He controlled the movement of villagers and banned public gatherings in his "Rules and Orders" declaration.

Similarly, schools were closed, restaurants abandoned and public gatherings shunned in Hong Kong when the SARS epidemic ripped through the region in 2003.

"We learnt from the work in Asia at the time of SARS how protective lockdown can be," said immunology professor Catherine Bennett, of Deakin University.

"This is also why countries in the region did well in the early days of this pandemic as they knew what to do and could put this in place quickly and effectively," she told CoronaCheck.

The SARS epidemic prompted neighbouring China to respond with urgency, creating public guidelines and clear control measures for its population. In May, 2003, the entire city of Beijing was locked down and thousands of public areas were closed.

The scientific evidence for lockdown

A peer-reviewed health policy paper produced by the National Center for Biotechnology Information in the US found that COVID-19 lockdowns were effective by suppressing the spread of the virus.

"Lockdown has a negative and statistically significant coefficient, suggesting that countries that implemented the lockdown have fewer new cases than countries that did not," the paper concluded. "We can also see that the benefits of lockdown increase exponentially with the passing of time."

'Joints for jabs': free marijuana for vaccinated New Yorkers

  'Joints for jabs': free marijuana for vaccinated New Yorkers New Yorkers who have been vaccinated against Covid-19 were able to get an unlikely freebie Tuesday: a marijuana joint. For Overholt, marijuana and the vaccine are essential. "I smoke every day and I am a better person if I smoke, trust me," she said with a smile."Everybody should get vaccinated. It should not be weed that is getting them there. But if it works, then it works," added Overholt, who received her first vaccine shot on March 25 and gets her second on Thursday.Alex Zerbe, a 24-year-old a trader who came from his nearby office, agreed. He has already had both doses and said he smokes a joint once or twice a day.

Meanwhile, the medical journal The Lancet analysed Italy's lockdown by tracking mobile phone data over 10 weeks in early 2020 in three regions hardest hit by COVID-19.

It found that "greater compliance with the mobility restrictions was associated with a swifter and more marked decrease in SARS-CoV-2 positive tests".

Australia's Burnet Institute and the Institute for Disease Modelling in the United States also developed modelling to assess the impact and risk of relaxing physical distancing policies on COVID-19 resurgence.

Subsequent modelling of Victoria's lockdown found that easing of government-imposed restrictions on Melbourne in mid-September last year would have posed an extremely high risk of a COVID-19 resurgence.

Professor Bennett told CoronaCheck most of the evidence for lockdowns was based on the change in transmission rates once lockdowns were introduced.

Lockdowns, she said, involved keeping people in their homes to decrease the average number of contacts each person had so as to suppress disease transmission and make contact tracing more manageable.

Research into government intervention showed "compelling and repeatable evidence that lockdowns work," she added. Though a "blunt instrument", lockdowns slowed transmission and could also be used as "circuit breakers" over short periods of time.

From a US murder trial

The trial of Derek Chauvin, the US police officer charged with second-degree manslaughter in the death of George Floyd, has prompted a number of false and misleading claims.

Rand Paul Calls for Joe Biden to Burn Face Mask to Promote COVID Vaccine

  Rand Paul Calls for Joe Biden to Burn Face Mask to Promote COVID Vaccine Rand said that "virtually zero" people have died of COVID-19 after being vaccinated. The number is closer to 5,800, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.Paul made his comment during a Wednesday appearance on the Fox News program The Story with Martha MacCallum. Paul's comment came in reaction to a clip of infectious diseases expert Dr. Anthony Fauci stating that vaccinated people are capable of infecting others with COVID-19 and, thus, should still wear face masks.

Fact checkers at the USA Today newspaper found that a viral image purporting to show US President Joe Biden kneeling in front of Mr Floyd's son to "beg for forgiveness" was miscaptioned: the child pictured is not Mr Floyd's son but the son of a clothing store owner whose shop was visited by Mr Biden.

PolitiFact, meanwhile, found that Mr Floyd's brother had not been arrested in North Carolina over the shooting of a couple in a road rage incident.

"A man named Dejywan Floyd was recently charged with murder in a shooting death in North Carolina, but there's nothing to suggest that he is related to George Floyd," the fact checkers reported.

The fact checkers also debunked an out-of-context video supposedly showing that Chauvin did not have his knee on Mr Floyd's neck, as alleged.

"Video of the final seconds in the approximately eight minutes of Floyd's restraint show Chauvin's knee on Floyd's shoulder," PolitiFact said. "The rest of the video shows Chauvin's knee on or next to his neck.

"Doctors say pressure in that area would cut off the flow of blood and oxygen."

In other news

Just how wide is Rupert Murdoch's reach within Australian media?

Former prime minister Kevin Rudd's petition to establish a royal commission into media diversity in Australia attracted more than half a million signatures and took aim at Rupert Murdoch, whose media empire Mr Rudd labelled a "cancer on democracy".

Another ex-prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, also weighed in, branding it "an absolute threat to our democracy" and "the most powerful political actor in Australia".

Mr Rudd's petition, with the support of Mr Turnbull, led to a Senate inquiry into Australia's news media and Mr Murdoch's role in it.

So, just what is his reach?

In a fact file released this week, Fact Check found that News Corp publications certainly dominate the national print media market, with 2016 figures (the latest available) showing its share of circulation among national and capital city dailies was 65 per cent, and likely similar for regional papers.

India’s new COVID variant: When did it emerge? Should we worry?

  India’s new COVID variant: When did it emerge? Should we worry? The B.1.617 variant has appeared elsewhere, with concerns about it leading some countries to slap travel restrictions.A key question is whether a new variant with potentially worrying mutations – B.1.617 – is behind what is currently the world’s fastest-growing outbreak, which added more than 330,000 fresh infections on Friday.

More recent data (December 2020) shows that newspapers owned by News Corp commanded more than twice the total audience of those owned by Nine Entertainment.

On the internet, however, where far more people get their news, Nine's traditional mastheads are individually more popular than those of News Corp.

Measured by monthly readers, the combined reach of News Corp's hard copy and digital newspapers is only around 7 per cent greater than Nine's, despite owning twice the number of titles.

Among news websites more broadly, News Corp's news.com.au ranks second to the ABC for monthly visitors, and its traditional newspaper brands are outperformed by digital-only offerings such as nine.com.au and Daily Mail Australia.

In December 2020, News Corp's news websites collectively reached 1.2 million fewer readers than those owned by Nine Entertainment.

There is little to suggest that News Corp dominates when it comes to broadcast news audiences.

Its radio investments are comparatively small compared to those in print, for example, in a market where ownership is relatively more diverse.

News Corp's sole television news outlet, Sky News Australia, attracts a significantly smaller audience than the ABC's rival 24-hour news channel. And, according to one survey, the number of people who got their news from Sky was roughly a third of those tuning into Channel Seven or Channel Nine.

On social media, however, Sky has an outsized audience.

In the second half of 2020, its Facebook posts were shared more often than any of the 65 accounts analysed by Fact Check, while news.com.au placed third, behind the Daily Mail.

On YouTube, Sky's subscriber base far exceeds that of Channel 7 and Channel 9 and in March it had surpassed ABC News, while its videos receive millions more views per month.

Importantly, it is likely that a significant chunk of Sky's YouTube traffic comes from overseas, given reports that nearly a third of its website traffic comes from outside Australia.

Edited by  with thanks to Emile Pavlich

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India’s new COVID variant: When did it emerge? Should we worry? .
The B.1.617 variant has appeared elsewhere, with concerns about it leading some countries to slap travel restrictions.A key question is whether a new variant with potentially worrying mutations – B.1.617 – is behind what is currently the world’s fastest-growing outbreak, which added more than 330,000 fresh infections on Friday.

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