Protesters oppose hosting the Tokyo Olympics in Tokyo, Japan, May 9, 2021.
According to Johns Hopkins University, as of 5:00 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time on Friday (May 14), the total number of CCP virus (Wuhan pneumonia, COVID-19) cases worldwide exceeded 161 million (161,206,768) and the number of deaths exceeded 3.34 million (3,345,317).
New confirmed cases and deaths in a single day on Thursday, May 13: (some data or from worldometer)
38,087 confirmed cases and 802 deaths in the United States
2,663 confirmed cases and 11 deaths in the United Kingdom
Germany 13,631 confirmed cases and 402 deaths
19,461 confirmed cases and 131 deaths in France
343,144 confirmed cases and 4,000 deaths in India
74,592 confirmed cases and 2,383 deaths in Brazil
8,259 confirmed cases and 385 deaths in Russia
6,367 confirmed cases and 101 deaths in Japan
747 confirmed cases and 2 deaths in South Korea.
The following is about the CCP virus outbreak.
Over 350,000 netizens respond to the petition to suspend the Eastern Olympics
Japanese lawyer and former Tokyo governor candidate Kenji Utsunomiya poses with a “Stop the Tokyo Olympics” banner after handing over a petition to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government.
A petition calling for the cancellation of the Tokyo Olympics was submitted to organizers today and has garnered 350,000 signatures in a matter of days, reflecting growing public opposition to hosting the Games amid a fourth wave of the epidemic sweeping Japan.
According to reports, organizers of the campaign launched a petition on Change.org at noon on the 5th to “demand the suspension of the Tokyo Olympics in order to protect the lives and livelihoods of all people”. This is the fastest record since the Japanese version of Change.org went online in 2012.
Kenji Utsunomiya, a former president of the Japan Federation of Lawyers and organizer of the “Stop the East Olympics” campaign, said the international games should only be held if Japan can wholeheartedly welcome tourists and athletes.
“If the Olympics are held, valuable medical resources will be transferred to the Games.” Kenji Utsunomiya said he had personally presented a petition at the Tokyo Metropolitan Office in the morning, and additionally petitioned the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) by e-mail.
When asked about the campaign to “stop the East Olympics,” Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike said she would continue to work for a “safe and secure” Games.
She said at a regular press conference, “Despite the global pandemic, it is important to hold a safe and secure Tokyo 2020 Olympics.”
Japanese government declares state of emergency in Hokkaido, Okayama and Hiroshima prefectures
Japan’s Minister of Economy and Reconstruction Yasutoshi Nishimura speaks during a press conference at the Prime Minister’s Office in Tokyo on Sept. 17, 2020.
Japan’s Minister of Economic and Social Affairs, Yasutoshi Nishimura, said Friday that additional Hokkaido, Okayama and Hiroshima prefectures will be included in the emergency declaration. The move shows that the epidemic in Japan is a cause for concern.
Nishimura said Hokkaido, Okayama and Hiroshima will enter the same state of emergency as Tokyo, Osaka and four other prefectures on Sunday until May 31.
The government initially proposed declaring more targeted “priority measures such as preventing the spread” for the three prefectures, which now cover eight of Japan’s 47 prefectures.
“There were various opinions at the meeting (with experts). Based on those opinions, we withdrew the original proposal and made this new one, which was approved.” Yasutoshi Nishimura said.
The announcement comes just 10 weeks before the start of the Tokyo Olympics. Japan’s vaccination efforts are the slowest among advanced countries, with only 3 percent of the population vaccinated, according to Reuters data.
British study: Pfizer vaccine is stronger in antibody response at 12-week intervals
Schematic diagram, pictured with frozen Pfizer vaccine.
A British study found that when the Pfizer vaccine was administered to older people, a 12-week interval between doses produced 3.5 times more antibodies than those administered at 3-week intervals.
The study was supported by the UK Coronavirus Immunology Consortium (UK-CIC) and others.
Reuters noted that this is the first study to compare how lengthening the time between doses affects the immune response differently.
The U.K. previously recommended that the interval between doses of the Pfizer vaccine be lengthened to 12 weeks, allowing more people to receive one dose of the vaccine first. Previously, the Pfizer vaccine was developed with a 3-week interval in clinical trials, and the drug company also recommended a 3-week interval for the second dose.
Both Pfizer and its partner, German biotech company BioNTech, said there was no data to support the British approach, but that it could be used at the discretion of public health considerations.
Helen Parry, author of the study, said, “Our study showed that the peak antibody response to the Pfizer vaccine was significantly enhanced in older people when the interval between doses was lengthened to 12 weeks.”
The study examined 175 vaccinated seniors aged 80 to 90 years and found that the peak antibody response was 3.5 times higher when the second dose was administered 12 weeks apart than when the dose was administered three weeks apart. However, the study has not been peer-reviewed. The authors of the study also said that more research is needed to determine the best results at intervals of several weeks.
Taiwan-made COVID-19 vaccine to go on sale at the end of July
President of the Republic of China Tsai Ing-wen holds a high-level meeting on national security at the presidential palace on May 13, and delivers a speech at the presidential palace after the meeting. (Courtesy of the Presidential Office)
Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen said Friday that three COVID-19 vaccines are currently under development in Taiwan, and one of them will be available by the end of July.
Until then, Taiwan is largely unaffected by the pandemic compared to countries around the world, but the lack of indigenous virus strains has affected Taiwan’s vaccine development.
Taiwan has booked hundreds of thousands of doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine and is set to order the mRNA vaccine later this year.
At a national security meeting Friday, Tsai said a locally produced vaccine in Taiwan will be available within three months.
The second phase of clinical trials for the Taiwan-made vaccine is nearly complete, Tsai said. The national security meeting was called by Taiwan authorities in response to the current outbreak in northern Taiwan. In recent days, a cluster of infections involving dozens of cases has been reported in several counties and cities in northern Taiwan.
Authorities said a total of 1,290 cases have been confirmed in Taiwan since the outbreak began, of which 1,073 were imported from outside the country. A total of 34 new cases were confirmed on Friday, 29 of which were local cases.
Taiwan can help build a global health system, according to a special article by Chen Shizhong in the British media
Chen Shih-chung, commander of Taiwan’s Central Epidemic Command Center. (Courtesy of the Central Epidemic Command Center)
The British newspaper City A.M. published an article by Taiwan’s Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung on May 13. He said that Taiwan is one of the countries that have been successful in responding to epidemics worldwide and called on WHO and the international community to recognize Taiwan’s contribution to the international community and that Taiwan can help build a global health system.
The World Health Assembly (WHA) will take place on the 24th, and Taiwan has not been invited for five consecutive years.
In a special article, Chen Shih-chung said, “Taiwan had been predicted to be one of the countries most severely affected by the epidemic because of its geographical proximity to China.” However, because of its experience fighting Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in 2003, Taiwan is highly alert to the threat of epidemic pneumonia and knows when to sound the alarm.
Since December 31, 2019, before most countries realized the seriousness of COVID-19, the ROC government initiated an enhanced surveillance system, and Taiwan has been working tirelessly to contain the disease since the first confirmed case occurred on January 21, 2020, Chen Shih-chung said. By April 2021, there were only 1086 confirmed cases and 11 deaths in Taiwan. In Taiwan, the majority of the population maintains a normal life and work, and there was a record of 253 consecutive days without local transmission from April to December 2020.
Chen said that while the global economy is shrinking, Taiwan’s GDP growth in 2020 will be about 3.11%, with a growth of nearly 5% in the fourth quarter. The public’s trust and cooperation with the government is an important factor in Taiwan’s success in curbing the pandemic. The government of the Republic of China strives to meet the public’s right to know, while maintaining individual privacy and freedom. While some countries have used pandemics as a control tool to deny people access to critical information, openness of information has been a key principle in the ROC government’s handling of the epidemic.
“Taiwan has never restricted people’s freedom of expression, assembly and participation in public activities, etc. during an epidemic. Although this is due to Taiwan’s low infection rate, yet protecting people’s freedom remains a core goal of the government.” Chen Shih-chung emphasized.
“Taiwan is one of the successful countries in the world in responding to epidemics,” he stressed, but the important factors that contributed to Taiwan’s success must be replicated in countries around the world, and a surveillance and alert system for emerging infectious disease threats worldwide, including Taiwan, must be established.