China rushed to test an entire city of nine million within days of a minor coronavirus outbreak, as the WHO warned that releasing the pathogen to achieve herd immunity was “scientifically and ethically problematic.”
The virus is still spreading rapidly around the world, with more than 37 million infections, and countries that suppressed their first outbreaks are now battling new waves – especially in parts of Europe.
In the absence of a vaccine, governments are wary of allowing the virus to spread uncontrollably, with China launching a large-scale campaign to test all Qingdao residents after several cases were discovered on Sunday.
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Chinese authorities plan to test the entire city – about 9.4 million people – by Thursday.
In scenes contrasting with the worn-out experiments of other countries, health workers in protective clothing quickly pitched tents, and residents lined up deep Monday night to provide samples.
In contrast to economically painful blockades and social distancing, in some countries there are proposals to allow the coronavirus to circulate among the population in order to build “herd immunity” – where so much of the population is infected, there are not enough new virus victims. which to jump.
But the World Health Organization has said such plans are unfeasible and require mass vaccinations to work.
“Herd immunity is achieved by protecting people from the virus, not by exposing them to it,” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Gebreesus said on Monday, describing the idea as “scientifically and ethically problematic.”
“Allowing a dangerous virus that we don’t fully understand to work for free is simply unethical. It’s not an option.”
Further illustrating the challenge, a study published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases shows that exposure to the virus may not guarantee future immunity – and a second infection can come with even more severe symptoms.
– Weakening of the vaccine –
The pandemic has claimed more than a million lives worldwide and has stimulated tremendous efforts to develop vaccines and treat them effectively.
Some have reached a late stage in a clinical trial, but optimism sank on Monday when Johnson & Johnson announced it had suspended its study of 60,000 patients due to unexplained illness in one participant.
There are ten companies that conduct Phase 3 trials of their candidates worldwide, including Johnson & Johnson.
The pharmacological giant received about $ 1.45 billion as part of Operation Warp Speed, backed by President Donald Trump, who is holding a political push ahead of the November election with a coronavirus outbreak.
Critics have betrayed Trump to deal with the crisis, with more known infections and deaths in the United States than anywhere else in the world.
Trump was removed from the campaign trail for 10 days after receiving Covid-19, but returned to the scene on Monday.
“I went through it and now they say I’m immunized … I feel so powerful,” Trump told a cheering crowd in Florida, few of whom were wearing masks.
His claim to immunity is unproven.
– “Catastrophic, catastrophic” –
European countries are trying to control new increases in infections, and governments are tightening restrictions to avoid devastation from earlier outbreaks.
In recent days, cases have increased in France, Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic.
There is also a jump in Britain, which has the highest death toll in Europe.
He said businesses forced to close would receive support from the government, but his focus on closing hospitals sparked anger.
“Catastrophic, catastrophic,” said Simon Ashdown, owner of Chepstow Castle Pub in Liverpool.
“I don’t think there won’t be many businesses after this lock.”
bur-qan / hg