COVID19 🦠 Newsbites
New Delhi's teachers are being sent to the Covid frontlines, some without training, PPE or even pay
In 2020, at least 28,000 teachers were deployed to Covid-19 roles, according to two teachers' associations in New Delhi. At least 35 teachers have died from Covid-19 during the pandemic, and hundreds more fell ill, they said. CNN reached out to the Delhi Ministry of Health to verify these numbers and received no response.

Several teachers in the Indian capital told CNN they were given no training and are juggling their coronavirus duties with their normal teaching roles. Those working for the municipal corporations, which are the local-level governing civic bodies in Delhi, say they haven't been given enough personal protective equipment (PPE) to shield them from the virus. Others say they haven't been paid their normal salaries for months.

... Teachers who do not report for their assignments can be threatened with action under the Delhi Disaster Management Act, according to Sant Ram, an elected member of the Government School Teachers' Association (GSTA). The first orders under the act were made in March as coronavirus spread throughout the country.

Since then, more than 10,000 people have died in New Delhi, of more than 150,000 deaths nationwide. India is second only to the United States with more than 10.4 million confirmed cases, according to the global tally by John Hopkins University.

When the virus started spreading through India in March, the central government ordered a nationwide shutdown that forced schools to shut. In major metropolises, including New Delhi, they have remained closed since.

Teaching moved online and state and local authorities in the capital started assigning teachers to alternative duties to help execute the government's efforts to combat the virus.

Brazil authorizes two Covid-19 vaccines for emergency use
Brazil is the country hit hardest by Covid-19 in Latin America. It has recorded more than 8 million cases and more than 200,000 deaths from coronavirus. While several of its neighbors have already approved vaccines for use, Brazil has seemed to lag despite its renowned public health and vaccination track record.

Coronavac, developed by Chinese company Sinovac, is now authorized for use of 6 million imported doses. It has a history in Sao Paulo state, where the local Butantan Institute conducted Phase III clinical trials of the vaccine. Butantan will also produce future doses.

However, Coronavac has shown a low average efficacy rate of 50.4%— barely above the 50% minimum established by the World Health Organization. The number, which falls far below the 78% previously announced, has raised questions about the veracity of the data and fueled skepticism over the apparent lack of transparency regarding Chinese vaccines.

The technical report from ANVISA greenlighting Coronavac stressed that the agency had also taken into account the urgency of Brazil's skyrocketing Covid-19 cases and "the absence of therapeutic alternatives." ... The Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, which showed 70.4% average efficacy in preliminary Phase III trials, has also been approved for use of 2 million doses, which will be imported from India's Serum Institute by Brazil's Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz).

Covid-19 'superspreader' in northeast China linked to 102 infections
The individual, who worked as a salesman promoting health products to the elderly, had traveled from his home province of Heilongjiang to neighboring Jilin province, bringing the virus with him.

Authorities claim he unknowingly spread the virus among elderly residents for several days before he was tracked down by health officials as a close contact of a confirmed case.


"The superspreading phenomenon occurred in our province mainly because when the superspreader was discovered, he was still in the early phase of his infection and had relatively strong ability to shed the virus," Zhao Qinglong, an official with the Jilin provincial disease control and prevention center, told state-run news agency Xinhua.

A superspreading event occurs when an individual infects a large number of people, because of a higher viral load in their droplets, or other factors such as behaviors and timing.

The apparent superspreading event in Jilin occurred as China is battling its worst coronavirus outbreak in months, which has seen hundreds of cases reported and tens of millions of people placed under lockdown in its northern provinces.

It also demonstrated the extent and speed of contact tracing and screening by Chinese health authorities, which have played a crucial role in taming local outbreaks.