A growing chorus of physicians and public health officials have warned that even with the mass rollout of safe and effective Covid-19 vaccines, the disease may become endemic.
White House coronavirus advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci, Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel and the World Health Organization’s Executive Director of the Health Emergencies Program Dr. Mike Ryan have all said in recent weeks that the coronavirus may never go away.
To date, more than 107 million people worldwide have contracted Covid-19, with 2.36 million deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
David Heymann, professor of infectious disease epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, had warned the virus appeared to be on course to become endemic late last year. He reaffirmed his position earlier this week during a webinar for think tank Chatham House.
“I think if you speak with most epidemiologists and most public health workers, they would say today that they believe this disease will become endemic, at least in the short term and most likely in the long term,” he said.
Heymann is the chair of the WHO’s strategic and technical advisory group for infectious hazards and led the health agency’s infectious disease unit during the SARS epidemic in 2002-2003.
He cautioned it was not yet possible to be sure of the virus’s destiny since its outcome depends on many unknown factors.
“Right now, the emphasis is on saving lives, which it should be, and on making sure that hospitals are not overburdened with Covid patients — and this will be possible moving forward,” Heymann said, citing the mass rollout of Covid vaccines.
‘Need to learn lessons from 2020’
The mass delivery of Covid vaccines started in many high-income countries almost two months ago and has since been gathering pace, but the mass immunization of populations will take time.
To be sure, some low-income countries are still yet to receive a single dose of a vaccine to protect people most at risk from the coronavirus.
A report published by the Economist Intelligence Unit last month projected the bulk of the adult population of advanced economies would be vaccinated by the middle of next year. In contrast, however, this timeline extends to early 2023 for many middle-income countries and even as far out as 2024 for some low-income countries.
It underscores the scale of the challenge to bring the pandemic under control around the world.
“Covid-19 is an endemic human infection. The scientific reality is that, with so many people infected worldwide, the virus will continue to mutate,” said Dr. Jeremy Farrar, director of Wellcome and a member of the UK.’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage).
“Living with this virus does not, however, mean we cannot control it. We need to learn lessons from 2020 and act swiftly. Every day counts,” he added.
Balancing our living with endemic diseases
“I think it is good to put this in context and think about the other infectious diseases that are endemic today,” Heymann said during an online event on Wednesday, when asked whether policymakers should be mindful of other endemic diseases in responding to the Covid pandemic.
He cited tuberculosis and HIV, as well as four endemic coronaviruses that are known to cause the common cold.
“We have learned to live with all of these infections, we’ve learned how to do our own risk assessments. We have got vaccines for some, we have therapeutics for others, we have diagnostic tests that can help us all do a better job of living with these infections.”
“There are a couple of unknowns that make it very difficult for political leaders and public health leaders to make decisions as to what would be the best strategies, inducing the fact that we don’t completely understand ‘long Covid’ and its impact or its occurrence after even very minor infections,” he continued.
“So, it is not a matter of this being a special disease. This is one of many that we will have to balance our living with and understand how to deal with it as we do influenza, as we do with other infections,” Heymann said.
The term “long Covid” refers to patients suffering from prolonged illness after initially contracting the virus, with symptoms including shortness of breath, migraines and chronic fatigue.
Public discourse on the pandemic has largely focused on those with a severe or fatal illness, whereas ongoing medical problems as a result of the virus are often either underappreciated or misunderstood.
Last month, the largest global study of long Covid to date found that many of those suffering with the ongoing illness after infection with the virus had been unable to return to work at full capacity six months later.
LuckyBet Unveils Mobile Agent
In a bid to empower Nigerians, LuckyBet has launched the LuckyBet Mobile Agent.
Announcing the new initiative recently, its Marketing Manager, Anthony Onyemauwa, disclosed that the business initiative was designed to reduce the barrier to entry of becoming a sports-betting agent, and give access to more Nigerians who have less than one hundred-thousand-naira start-up capital to play in the fast-growing sports-betting industry.
“Our desire has always been to help all our stakeholders create wealth, either as punters or agents by creating a platform that enables them to create their own luck, and their wealth, hence our pay-off line, to ‘Get Lucky, Get Rich.’
“The LuckyBet Mobile Agent initiative is not only an expression of this commitment, but also a call for all able-bodied men and women who have access to a laptop, a table and chair, and space, to take charge of their individual destiny by seizing this opportunity offered by our LuckyBet Mobile Agent initiative, disruptive initiative,” Onyemauwa said.
“LuckyBet Mobile Agents are guaranteed to earn up to N200,000 monthly, in addition to weekly sales bonuses, and is open to youths, young graduates, employed people looking for a business to invest in, male and female, who can read and write, know how to operate their laptop, and have a strong desire to be financially independent and create their own wealth, and destiny.”
Onyemauwa explained that the Mobile Agents would be provided with the most comprehensive branding for those with kiosks, and huge umbrellas for shade for those without kiosks, thermal printers to print out betting coupons, branded collaterals such as t-shirts, jotters, pens, wrist bands, banners, massive marketing support across all media, and top-notch training and business support to ensure that they achieve their business goals and dreams.
Licensed by the National Lottery Regulatory Commission and Lagos State Lotteries Board and widely acclaimed by punters as one of the most reliable online betting platforms in Nigeria, Luckybet is committed to empowering all her stakeholders to create their luck, and their wealth, hence to their pay-off, Get Lucky, Get Rich.
Facebook Partners With Reuters to Launch Free Online Course for Journalists
The Facebook Journalism Project has partnered with Reuters to launch a free online training programme for Journalists, called the Reuters Digital Journalism Course.
The Project works with publishers around the world to strengthen the connection between journalists and the communities they serve. Its training, programs, and partnerships work by: investing in organizations that fund quality journalism; training newsrooms globally; and partnering with publishers and nonprofits to combat misinformation, promote news literacy, and improve journalism.
Reuters developed the free online course curriculum after its Digital News Report found more people were using social media to access news. It focuses on digital news gathering, verification and reporting, and publishing on social media. It also covers wellness and resilience training while reporting.
According to Facebook, the course is aimed at both seasoned journalists and industry newcomers. Upon completing the course, participants will receive a certificate.
“At Facebook, we’re grateful to journalists across Africa who are working hard to keep their communities informed about the issues that matter,” Jocelyne Muhutu-Remy, Strategic Media Partnerships Manager, Sub-Saharan Africa said. “The Facebook Journalism Project will assist our region’s journalists in developing strong fundamental knowledge as they navigate the rapidly changing digital news landscape.” Muhutu-Remy added.
This Digital Journalism Course aims to support journalists across English speaking countries in Sub-Saharan Africa to build a strong foundation in digital reporting and editing.
“With news media firmly in the digital age, being able to use digital platforms safely and effectively is essential,” Reuters Executive Editor Gina Chua said in a statement.
“The Reuters Digital Journalism Course offers best practices from Reuters journalists around the world to provide the foundation for sound journalism, whether you’re a budding journalist or a seasoned one looking for a refresher.”
To sign up for the course, you must create an account on the Reuters Digital Journalism course website. The course is also available to journalists from other parts of the world.
Konga Travel Unveils Mega Summer Deals
Konga Travel and Tours, Nigeria’s frontline travel booking agency, is offering flyers the best travel packages to choice summer destinations around the world, in addition to putting its considerable expertise at their disposal in aiding them to process their visa and passport requirements.
The development serves as good news for millions of Nigerians in search of attractive travel deals for their summer vacations.
Top on the bill is a special offer on Virgin Atlantic for prospective travelers to the United Kingdom. Added to the attractive pricing offered by Konga Travel for this destination, each flyer who purchases a ticket automatically wins a free voucher to shop on Konga.
Further bound to excite flyers is a number of comprehensive and affordable summer packages to exotic locations such as Dubai, Zanzibar, Kigali, Mombasa and Nairobi.
For these locations, Konga Travel is offering a one-month visa, up to a week’s accommodation, daily breakfast, airport drop-off/pick-up and a tour of some of the most memorable sites in each location for travelers at unbelievable prices, starting from N564,731. Interestingly, the package also covers flights to each location (except Nairobi).
Also, Konga Travel is offering mouth-watering prices to Dubai, UAE and Seoul, South Korea as well as s number of destinations in the United States, including Houston, New York, Atlanta, Chicago and Washington D.C.
Eric Nana, VP, Konga Travel, says the summer deals being extended by the company are unmatched in the market, adding that the initiative is borne out of the desire to continually offer customers premium service and satisfaction.
‘‘Konga Travel is renowned for going over and beyond to ensure customer satisfaction. Right from inception, this is what we have been known for. Indeed, it is a factor that has made us stand out in the market. This is what we are putting on the table once again with these juicy summer vacation packages for our customers.
‘‘These deals have been carefully put together to deliver great value without burning a hole in our customers’ pockets. Also, you can rest assured that on Konga Travel, you can find the best prices for any local or international destination you may have in mind. I urge all intending travelers to check out the prices and offers on the website before making a decision,’’ he concluded.
Having emerged on the scene a little over two years ago, Konga Travel – which was recently named the Most Innovative Agency by the global airline, Virgin Atlantic, as well as Travel Agency of the Year at the 2020 Beacon of ICT (BoICT) Awards – has distinguished itself.
Within a short space of its existence, the company has grown nearly 25 percent on a month-on-month basis, acquired all the requisite and major travel certifications and rolled out multiple physical store locations nationwide.
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