This is how Europe prepares to fight an uncontrolled third wave

The Covid-19 pandemic is out of control in much of Europe and the increase in infections puts the health systems of the old continent on the ropes. To avoid sanitary collapse, each country puts its own measures:

Curfew to avoid saturation in France

In France there are about 25,000 patients hospitalized for Covid-19 and 2,600 in resuscitation services, figures that have been growing since the recent Christmas holidays. This means that 52% of ICU beds are currently occupied by Covid-19 patients. But the situation of the health centers is quite unequal as we observe the map of France, with a much greater pressure for care in the eastern regions of the country such as Burgundy, where this figure is already shooting up to 90%; Alsace or the Alps and much more relieved in the western half of the country, especially in Brittany, with 23% of coronavirus patients in ICUs. At the moment the situation seems somewhat more controlled than in neighbors such as the United Kingdom. But the British strain is already multiplying in several regions of France and this may lead to even more restrictive measures in the coming days, such as the advance of the curfew at 6 p.m. that has already been announced by the French Prime Minister, Jean Castex, in order not to reach the situation of hospital saturation that is already being experienced in other neighboring countries such as the United Kingdom.

United Kingdom already vaccinates in pharmacies

Some pharmacies in the United Kingdom have joined the country’s national vaccination program against Covid-19, which already exceeds 84,000 deaths and continues to record alarming numbers of infections, reports Efe. For now, there will be just six pharmacies located in Macclesfield, London, Telford, Widnes, Halifax and Guildford. The objective? Help meet the goal set by the Conservative government to vaccinate the four most vulnerable groups by mid-February. With this mission, the British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, announced this week that the Executive will enable “as soon as possible” operational vaccination points “24 hours a day, every day of the week”, while admitting that for the moment there are supply problems in the doses. The country is experiencing the worst death toll since the pandemic began. On Wednesday, it reached a new death record by counting 1,564. This has meant that several hospitals have had to resort to makeshift morgues for emergencies due to the lack of capacity in health centers.

Italy, on the brink of the maximum risk threshold

Italian hospitals are on the edge of the risk threshold. At the moment, the occupancy of Covid-19 patients in ICUs stands at an average of 30%, while in the rest of the distributions the rate is around 40%. In both cases, that is the limit set by the health authorities so that the medical centers can respond without too many problems. In some regions this ceiling is exceeded, such as in Trento, to the north, where rates exceed 50%. In any case, the numbers are much lower than a few months ago, since in the middle of the second wave in regions like Piedmont, Covid patients came to occupy more than 90% of hospital beds. Last year, with the onset of the pandemic, the Government doubled the number of ICUs, but when they were needed in November they were slow to make them available due to the absence of doctors. Italy has not yet fully entered the third wave, as it took longer to tackle the second, so hospitals are not in collapse. However, the Executive has extended the restrictions, which has tightened in some cases, for the next two months.

Germany confines until Easter

With 28,000 intensive care beds, which translates to almost 40 beds per 100,000 inhabitants, Germany has one of the strongest healthcare systems in the world. However, these figures could remain small if the number of infected continues to increase and set new records, at the rate that has been happening in recent days. According to data published by the newspaper “Bild”, the number of free ICU beds is around 4,000, which has set off alarms both in hospitals and within the government. The accumulated incidence in the last seven days stands at 151.2 cases per 100,000 inhabitants and new infections totaled 125,749 in the last week. For this reason, the country is expected to maintain confinement until at least Easter. The president of the Robert Koch Institute of Virology, Lothar Wieler, said on Thursday that the current restrictions do not constitute in his view a “total” halt in public life and that “there is still a lot of room” to tighten the measures.

Portugal imposes a new blockade

Portugal launched a new blockade last Friday to control record cases of coronavirus, as announced on Wednesday by Prime Minister Antonio Costa. “We are in the most dangerous moment” of the pandemic, he said. “The rule is simple: we must all stay at home,” Costa reminded Portuguese citizens, in statements collected by Reuters. The blockade will be the same as that of the first wave, except that all schools, public and private, will remain open, since the number of infections reported in them was not significant. In addition, movement restrictions will be eased on January 24 due to the country’s presidential elections. Thus, as between March and April 2020, all non-essential businesses will be closed, although restaurants will be able to provide take-out services. Supermarkets, pharmacies, bakeries, gas stations and banks will remain open. Distance work will be compulsory whenever possible. These measures, although they must be reviewed every 15 days, are likely to last a month, as Costa advanced.


“The fatty diet can worsen the damage of the covid in liver and kidney”

The doctor Nicolas Olea, Professor of Radiology at the University of Granada, has spent years investigating the harmful effects of plastic on the body and has coordinated a report, Roche Institute, on how non-genetic factors, the so-called exposome, influence health, including covid infection. He warns that surgical masks are made of polypropylene, “one of the plastics that we don’t know how to get rid of”.

What is the exposome and how does it influence infection by coronavirus?

The exposome is a very broad concept, which encompasses all non-genetic factors, both exposure to chemical compounds, such as environmental exposure, diet, urban environment, socioeconomic status, etc. as opposed to the genome, which refers to genetic makeup. It is clear that any infection, such as covid-19, is conditioned by that environment. And there is evidence of this, such as the work recently published by the Canadian Government and the journal ‘Nature’ on the link between environmental exposures and the probability and severity of infection.

For example, what evidence is there of how air pollution affects covid infection?

The work in ‘Nature’ identifies a mechanism that links one of the proteins that the virus uses to infect epithelial cells, for example the lung, with greater exposure to small particles in the air. That is, the more contamination, the greater the probability of infection.

And how does diet or lifestyle affect?

In that same publication, it is stated that a diet rich in fat increases the expression of that protein that is on the surface of the cells of the fatty tissue of the liver and kidney, and it is thought that individuals with this diet are more likely to be damaged in these organs.

And the socioeconomic differences?

The exposome concept also includes economic, social and racial factors. And it is that if at the beginning of March it was said that the infection was going to be the great equalizer because it affects everyone equally, now we know that it is not like that. As a Canadian minister, whose government has studied these factors, said, we are experiencing a global storm surge, but not all of us are on boats of the same category. He referred to access to early diagnosis, care, everything that makes the disease more serious and the risk of sequelae and death greater, which is conditioned by socioeconomic status.

And outside of the coronavirus, how does the exposome affect health?

Those of us who have worked for many years in the chemical exposome know that respiratory, digestive or dermal exposure to these pollutants has an effect within the body and in multiple diseases, from asthma to lung cancer, through hormonal diseases, reproductive problems or problems. child development. Recent research shows, for example, that exposure to certain chemical compounds is associated with attention deficit and hyperactivity in children. Exposure to chemical compounds is highly studied for the ease of quantifying them in urine.

“The measures prepared to reduce single-use plastics have collapsed due to fear of the virus”

In fact, you claim that 100% of children pee plastic.

Yes. And a father asked me recently, very upset, in a conference: And you doctor, what piss? Now thanks to an NGO that has analyzed the urine of 52 Europeans, including mine, I know that I also pee on plastic and on some types of plastic I am a great champion.

Has exposure to plastics worsened with the pandemic?

Yes, it has increased enormously, because all the measures prepared to reduce plastics, it seems that they have gone to hell for fear of the virus. For example, regulation on single-use plastics has been delayed and there has been a huge increase in food packaging. And surgical masks are made of polypropylene, one of the plastics that we don’t know how to get rid of.

“I, like one hundred percent of children, pee plastic”

Have you studied how the continued use of masks affects our health?

The group of researchers in the world of plastics have not had the opportunity to study it nor have we wanted to be alarmists because we understand the situation and we do not want to introduce more uncertainty. But once the acute phase of the pandemic passes, we must start looking for alternatives and put safety limits on these plastics.

“Regulation always comes late, after a lot of exposure to substances that alter the hormonal balance”

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You are an expert in so-called endocrine disruptors, certain chemicals that alter hormonal balance. Can you give me some examples?

Yes. Research started on pesticides in the 1980s, many of which were banned because of their toxicity. Later, endocrine disruptors appeared in the world of plastics, for example, polycarbonate that uses bisphenol A or the phthalates that accompany PVC and which are fortunately easily eliminated. That is why the EU has banned polycarbonate bottles or their presence in baby food. There are also endocrine toxins in the world of cosmetics or textiles. The problem is that regulation always arrives late, after a lot of exposure to these substances, when the State’s obligation is to act preventively. In addition, the industry always claims that exposure doses are low, but the regulatory system does not consider the combined effect of multiple compounds.


New York could run out of COVID vaccine doses

Francisca Taboada received her vaccine against COVID-19 and commented on it: “A new life because I was a COVID patient and my husband was too. It is a second chance that God is giving us.”

Latinos in upper Manhattan received, as if it were a new opportunity to live, the coveted appointment to receive the coronavirus vaccine, the same day that the Mayor warned that there is approximately a week left until the 186,000 doses remaining in the five counties.

With some hospitals canceling pre-booked appointments and others failing to make new reservations, Governor Cuomo lashed out at the federal government for the shortage.

While 7 million New Yorkers qualify for it, New York State receives just 300,000 weekly.

Francisca and her husband Javier were lucky: “I called today at once they gave it to me. I called at about 1 in the afternoon and by 5 they gave me the appointment for myself and my husband. As quickly as possible, they didn’t. I was hoping to achieve this, but we have it, thank God. “

Others who came to the New York Presbyterian-run site at the Fort Washington Armory agree.

“No problem. I urge everyone to get the vaccine, which is the only way we can eradicate this virus. Any fear of the reaction? No, there is no fear. I am afraid of the virus “explained one patient.

You cannot get to this and other public places without an appointment: “I came to look for an appointment but they told me to call if I work here too but I have to call by phone,” explained a patient.

New Yorkers who want to know the requirements to receive the vaccine, make an appointment and also know if they are eligible, can visit the website:

Visit the NY1 News page with our special coverage on the coronavirus: Coronavirus outbreak


NYCHA Residents May Receive COVID-19 Vaccine

People over the age of 65 who are residents of City Public Housing Complexes (NYCHA) will have, starting today, the opportunity to get vaccinated against the coronavirus.

The efforts come as the New York City government faces a dose shortage at several vaccination centers.

And these are the most recent figures related to COVID-19 in the city:

  • The infection rate in a period of 7 consecutive days is 8.7%.
  • There were also 286 new hospitalizations and more than 4,600 new cases last Thursday.

Visit the NY1 News page with our special coverage on the coronavirus: Coronavirus outbreak


Johnson Faces Leadership Threat Without UK Blockade Exit Plan

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson faces a threat to his leadership from conservative lawmakers demanding a clear plan to emerge from an economically damaging third pandemic lockdown.

Steve Baker, a senior member of Parliament, said in a letter to his Conservative colleagues that a lockdown that lasted until the spring could be “a disaster.”

He urged them to write to Johnson’s team to warn that the prime minister’s position will be at risk unless he announces a route out of current restrictions.

“The government has adopted a strategy devoid of any commitment to freedom without any clarification as to when our most basic freedoms will be restored and with no guarantee that they will never be taken away again,” Baker wrote. “If we continue with a strategy that hits freedom, hits the private sector, hits small business owners and hits the poor, inevitably the prime minister’s leadership will be on the table.”

The UK entered its third national shutdown last week, with schools, non-essential retail businesses and hotels forced to close. The economy has already suffered its deepest recession in more than 300 years as a result of last year’s first shutdown and is at risk of falling into a double contraction.


“We do not expect any death”, “risk 0 does not exist”

Zero risk does not exist. In nothing. Before the pandemic, when the world population flew assiduously, they took planes even knowing that no one could assure them that they would land safely at their destination. Now, after a year dealing with the Covid-19 and already accusing pandemic fatigue, the latest CIS survey reveals that 40.5% of the population would be vaccinated immediately as soon as I could. This means that more than half would prefer to wait because they fear the adverse effects it may cause.

In the case of injection of Pfizer and BionTech, the most common adverse reactions in participants 16 years of age and older were “pain at the injection site (>80 %), fatigue (>60 %), headache (>50 %), myalgia and chills (> 30%), arthralgia (> 20%) y fever and swelling at the injection site (> 10%), and were generally of intensity mild or moderate and were resolved within a period of A few days later of vaccination “, as stated by the Spanish Agency for Medicines and Health Products (Aemps) in its Datasheet.

“This is normal, means that the immune system is responding, it’s a good sign in fact and it happens with many other vaccines “, explains Adelaida Sarukhan, doctor in Immunology and scientific writer at the Institute of Global Health (ISGlobal), who remembers that zero risk does not exist in any area of ​​life.

So far, after the administration of the first doses in Spain, the Minister of Health, Salvador Illa, noted that no case of adverse effects has been reported.

It is possible – and even expected – that some adverse effects that had not been observed (in the trials) will begin to be observed, but in the end it is about putting in a balance the risk and benefit of a vaccine: if the risk of getting sick or dying from Covid is much greater than the risk of being able to suffer a serious adverse effect, whose probability is very very low, no discussion“, zanja Sarukhan.

The dilemma of the elderly

The vaccine is being administered in the first place to those who have suffered the most from the effects of Covid: the elderly in residences. These people, due to their advanced age, have a greater probability of dying. This aspect, says the immunologist from ISGlobal, a center promoted by the “la Caixa” Foundation, led one of the experts from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (CAPI) lets vote against people over 80 being vaccinated.

“Being vaccinated and then dying can undermine confidence in vaccines”

“He argued that it was a risk because this sector of the population is already at an age when mortality is higher and the fact that they are vaccinated and then die can undermine trust in vaccines “, explains Sarukhan, who thinks that” it is a risk that must be assumed “and” it will have to be explained very well “.

And it is that not everything that happens after being vaccinated will be attributable to these and will have to be studied. In this sense, he gives an example: “The day after a person gets the vaccine, they can also fall down the stairs and we can’t say he broke his leg from the vaccine“.

No long-term adverse effects

His colleague, the professor of Health Sciences at the Open University of Catalonia (UOC) Francesc Xavier Bosch, adds that “any negative effect on health that is suspected of being associated or caused by the vaccine must be communicated and investigated“, although he emphasizes that” for now we know that the vaccine has no severe side effects (in controlled studies with tens of thousands of people observed months after vaccination) “and remember that”vaccines generally have no long-term adverse effects“.

So, What will happen when vaccinated older people die? “It is a risk, we are trying to protect a population that is very vulnerable and whose health status is no longer ideal. The chance that older people will die after receiving the vaccine is high because older people are more likely to die, obviously. This will have to be explained very well “, explains the immunologist.

“Vaccines are not completely effective and there will be people who get sick despite being vaccinated”

The media now face a great accountability and disclosure challenge to make the population trust the vaccines against Covid. To do this, says Bosch, “we must maintain open communication between experts and the media and explain again and again the importance of what we are gambling with this vaccination. If we jump on the news and draw conclusions we run the risk of underusing one of the main resources we have to control this pandemic“, he warns.

The doctor assures that “we do not expect any deaths that can be attributed to vaccination“Although that does not mean that there are no deaths after immunization against Covid. And this is what will have to be studied and communicated rigorously, the experts emphasize.

Phase 4, two more years of research

His colleague Sarukhan, points out that “surely there will be” deaths after vaccination and argues this: “Vaccines are not completely effective yy there will be people who get sick despite being vaccinated and it is not ruled out that I can die of Covid, although at the moment it has not been seen in the studies, but we cannot rule it out either. “

The adverse effects that are reported after the administration of the vaccines will be studied in the step 4. “After a vaccine is approved, its safety continues to be evaluated in phase 4. Pfizer is going to conduct a tracing to the more than 40,000 participants in his clinical trial over the next two years“adds the immunologist to underline that” it is watching a lot in the long term to assess whether or not the effects will have to do with vaccination. “


The ‘Apple Watch’ for diabetics that measures blood sugar levels without pricks

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Almost six million people suffer from diabetes in Spain, according to the Ministry of Health; a staggering number that makes it the most common non-contagious disease in the world.

And despite that, diabetic people still suffer the consequences of their disease in their daily lives; for example, the need to measure blood sugar levels periodically, usually with a prick to draw a blood sample.

Although there are technological advances to measure the glucose level without spikes, and smart pills that inject insulin automatically, they are still far from the average user; or not.

Apple Watch for diabetics

Because now, the Japanese company Quantum Operation claims to have developed a prototype of wearable able to measure blood sugar level without the need for pricks. The device has been presented during CES 2021, which this year is celebrated in a virtual way due to the global pandemic.

It is a promise that has raised many hopes in the Internet community, but also many doubts. The startup claims that it is capable of non-invasively monitoring glucose levels, thanks to the development of new technologies that can already be miniaturized to be integrated into a wearable.

The diabetic watch that could measure blood glucose

Quantum Operation


Specifically, this prototype uses a small spectrometer, capable of scanning the blood as it passes through the blood vessels in the arm. The key is in new spectroscopic materials, installed in both the watch and the strap; Quantum Operation keeps the secret of how it works, although it claims that it has been patented.

Same as measuring heart rate

The operation of this kind of Apple Watch for diabetics would be very similar to measuring the oxygen level in the blood; once the function was activated on the touch screen, we would only have to wait about twenty seconds for the scan to be carried out.

When finished, the data will be displayed on the screen, allowing us to keep track of the blood glucose level; It is to be imagined that it would have its own app, or it will be compatible with platforms such as Apple Health.

In addition, this watch also has the necessary sensors for other measurements, such as heart rate and is even capable of doing cardiograms like Apple Watch.

Quantum Operation afirma a Engadget that his customers will be health care providers and insurers, but he believes that the data obtained by these watches can also be very useful in obtaining information to accelerate research on diabetes.

Diabetic watch measurements vary from conventional monitor

Diabetic watch measurements vary from conventional monitor

Quantum Operation


The first tests, published by the company itself, show that there is a certain variation between what the watch measures and a conventional glucose monitor, the FreeStyle Libre. Therefore, at the moment it does not seem to be a real alternative if we want precise data to calculate the dose of insulin we need; but it can be used to get a general idea of ​​the levels, instead of having to do a test.

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US exceeds record 22 million COVID-19 cases

2021 had a bleak start in terms of the pandemic in the country.

In just nine days, more than two million new cases of coronavirus and 24,000 deaths were registered.

According to information compiled by Johns Hopkins University, the total number of new cases exceeds 22 million since the pandemic began.

Some 372,000 people have died as a result of the disease.

Last Thursday in the United States it reached a record number with more than 4,000 daily deaths in just one day.

The spike in deaths comes after the holiday travel period and the delay in reporting new figures.

Visit the NY1 News page with our special coverage on the coronavirus: Coronavirus outbreak


Disinfectant doormats against COVID-19: are they needed?

With the onset of the pandemic, ways to maximize the effectiveness of antiviral resources have increased considerably. Hand liquids, disinfectants for surfaces, ozone machines for different environments, etc.

Ozone machines as a coronavirus disinfectant: neither effective nor safe

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To this list of objects is added another object: the disinfectant or sanitary carpetss. Although most of the actions to reduce the risk of contagion of Covid-19 focus on the hands and face (disinfectant gel and mask), another possible critical point, which is the feet and shoes, is often overlooked. .

Virus and shoes

There have been several warnings that the virus can enter any house or building through the shoes we wear on the street. Even before this pandemic, a study I already warned that more than 90% of shoe soles have high levels of disease-carrying microbes. And with the pandemic came the recommendation of the health authorities to take off our shoes when we got home.

According to an investigation carried out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the coronavirus spreads easily and quickly in the ground from various areas of Huoshen Hospital in Wuhan, China. Based on the study, half of the health workers’ shoes tested positive for Covid-19 and areas where there were no patients, such as the pharmacy floor, also tested positive. This indicates, therefore, that hospital workers carried the virus from one room to another.

Despite results like this, World Health Organization (WHO) recognized a few months ago that the probability of Covid-19 being transmitted through footwear is low, although this does not mean that it does not recommend leaving them at the entrance of the house, as the Spanish Ministry of Health also does as a precaution additional.

For the CDC experts, disinfecting shoe mats could somewhat alleviate the risk of viral transmission of Covid-19 through the ground. Your sale in the livestock field it was already very widespread. And now it does it in public buildings, offices, hospitals, hotels, shops and areas with a lot of traffic.

How Sanitizing Mats Work

Most sanitary or disinfectant mats are made of a synthetic rubber on which the disinfectant is put, which is usually a mixture of water with sodium hypochlorite (WHO recommends a 0.1% or 1000 ppm mix, one part 5% bleach to 50 parts water). In some cases, there is a second mat to dry the sole.

The objective is that, when stepping on the disinfectant mat, the entire sole of the shoe is covered so that the action is more effective. But for there to be disinfection it is not enough to go over and that’s it. Several conditions have to be met, such as staying in contact with the disinfectant for a while, that there is sufficient disinfectant and the way in which it is applied.

Health authorities recommend, for example, clean all surfaces before disinfectingtherefore, the same should be done with shoes. This would limit the effectiveness of these sanitary mats somewhat.

Factors such as:

  • The disinfectant used: not all disinfectants are the same. The fact that a chemical is classified as capable of killing the virus (the Ministry of Health offers a list one of the most effective ones that you update periodically), it does not mean that it is safe to use on a mat or mat. The most used disinfectants are bleach (chlorine-based), quaternary ammonium salts and iodines. Ammonium salts are considered safer to use in soil because, although bleach and iodine can kill viruses and bacteria, they also stain and damage soil. Quaternary ammonium is generally relatively insensitive to temperature and matter, making it very suitable for use on carpets and rugs.
  • The use made of the mat: In addition to the disinfectant used, another of the most important factors in killing the virus is time. For a disinfectant solution to be effective it must come into contact with the surfaces that need to be disinfected, in this case, the soles of the shoes. Therefore, it is important that the carpets constantly have the correct disinfection solution to cover the sole well.

The frequency with which the disinfectant must be renewed of a foot mat depends on aspects such as the amount of organic matter that is deposited on it, the type of disinfectant used, whether it is outdoors (it could be diluted by rain or affected by sunlight), etc.

As has been insisted since the pandemic appeared, the main concern with Covid-19 has to do with physical contact, neither with clothing nor with shoes. The virus, on rough surfaces, such as the sole of a shoe, tends to dry out because needs moisture to survive, according to a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine.

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Minsalud reports 114,720 active cases of covid-19, today there were 15,537 new positives

Margarita Coneo Rincón –

The Ministry of Health reported 15,537 new cases of covid-19 in the country according to its latest report for a total of 1,786,900; There were 330 deaths and 55,727 tests processed in the last day, of which 42,276 were PCR type and 13,451 antigen type.

Currently the country has 114,720 active cases. Today the highest number of cases was presented in Bogotá with 4,294 positives, Antioquia in 2,837, Cundinamarca with 1,130, Tolima in 757 and Boyacá closes the first five in 613.

The situation in the country continues to worsen as they are confirmed the positives of those infected in the last days of agglomerations such as Christmas and New Year’s Eve celebrations and matches in the final of Colombian Professional Soccer, according to the health minister, Fernando Ruiz Gómez.

“These agglomerations and these events generate an impact that is more contagious five or six days after each of these dates have been presented, which has been accumulating and generates an impact on the consumption of intensive care units at the level national ”, he assured.

Meanwhile, ICU occupancy has already reached 70% throughout the country, taking into account that of the total, 11,700 beds, only 5,400 are being occupied by patients suspected or positive for covid-19; the remaining are non-covid patients who require this care.