N.B. COVID-19 roundup: 1 new case, nearly 62% of eligible population fully vaccinated

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Epidemiologist and professor Prabhat Jha says the pandemic could go on for several more years if world leaders don't start to think of it as a global health threat rather than a local one. (Submitted by Prabhat Jha - image credit)
Epidemiologist and professor Prabhat Jha says the pandemic could go on for several more years if world leaders don't start to think of it as a global health threat rather than a local one. (Submitted by Prabhat Jha - image credit)

New Brunswick Public Health says "thousands" of Pfizer and Moderna appointments are available as the province's number of eligible fully dosed residents climbed to just under 62 per cent.

The province has fully vaccinated 61.7 per cent of the eligible population, while 81 per cent have received their first dose as of Thursday.

"Thanks to an increased supply of vaccine, all New Brunswickers are eligible for their second dose 28 days after their first," the province said in a news release.

"If at the time of your first dose you were given an appointment with a longer interval, you can move your second dose up by contacting the pharmacy or by booking an appointment through a regional health authority clinic."

New Brunswickers who have yet to be immunized with two doses of vaccine are encouraged to book an appointment through a participating pharmacy or at a Vitalité or Horizon health network clinic.

Mobile vaccination clinics meanwhile have been launched in four communities for people who haven't received their first or second doses.

  • La Salle du Citoyen, 4 St-Jean St., Kedgwick on Thursday between noon and 6 p.m.

  • Middle Southampton Community Hall, 1782 Campbell Settlement Rd. (off Route 105), Southampton on Thursday, between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.

  • Four Seasons Complex, 2551 Route 111, St. Martins on Friday between noon and 5 p.m.

  • Ambulance New Brunswick station, 523 St-Jean St., Unit A, Saint-Léonard on Friday between noon and 6 p.m.

1 new case, 8 active cases in all

New Brunswick Public Health reported a single new case of COVID-19 in the province on Thursday.

The case is in an individual in their 60s in Zone 3, the Fredericton region, and is travel-related.

With no new recoveries since Wednesday, the number of active COVID-19 cases stands at eight. None of these people are in hospital.

New Brunswick has had 2,347 confirmed cases of COVID during the pandemic. There have been 2,292 recoveries so far and 46 COVID-related deaths.

A total of 375,743 tests had been conducted, including 251 since Wednesday.


Pandemic at risk of lasting for years, expert warns

Restrictions may be easing in countries where the number of fully vaccinated residents is climbing, but one global health expert warns the danger is far from over — and could linger for years to come.

Epidemiologist Prabhat Jha, a professor of global health at the University of Toronto, says low vaccine rates and high transmission rates in lower- and middle-income countries pose a serious risk.

On average, Jha said in an interview with Information Morning Moncton on Thursday, only one per cent of people in lower-income countries have received any COVID-19 vaccine.

Jha said that to really combat the pandemic, world leaders must start to think of it as a global war rather than as a local one.

That's not something that has been happening.

While vaccination rates in developed countries like Canada, the U.S. and others are climbing, transmission is surging in many other parts of the world.

As well, he said, variants are continually evolving, and the virus "easily travels the world."

"If we don't get early control of transmission that's occurring in many countries, then those places can be considered as variant factories, cranking out new variants that eventually might threaten our success with our vaccines," Jha said.

"And the best strategy to fight these variants is to think of this as a global war. You don't just fight it in our borders. We have to go out and fight it where the transmission is occurring, which is in low-income countries, in Brazil and India … many other settings like this."

Jha said the financial cost of treating the war on COVID as a global battle could be staggering, but the cost of not doing so will be even greater.

He cited an International Monetary Fund study that said the cost of a global war on COVID-19 this year would be $50 billion.

"That's a lot of money," he said. "But compare that to a trillion dollars that we're losing in global economic output, and it's a bargain.

"So $50 billion for Western taxpayers to pay to protect the world and to keep the world economy open and to let kids go to school around the world is a bargain. And we should be thinking about how to do so."

Atlantic COVID roundup

Nova Scotia reported no new cases on Thursday but recorded the province's 93rd death from the disease, a woman in her 50s. The province now 11 active cases.

Newfoundland and Labrador reported no new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday. The Iver Ambition, which had been anchored in Conception Bay since July 5 with 14 COVID-positive crew members, has left the province, dropping the number of active cases to 32. Thirty-one of these are connected to the Princess Santa Joana still anchored in Conception Bay.

P.E.I. had no new cases as of Wednesday and no active cases.

Maine reported 106 new cases on Thursday and four deaths.

What to do if you have a symptom

People concerned they might have COVID-19 can take a self-assessment test online.

Public Health says symptoms of the illness have included a fever above 38 C, a new or worsening cough, sore throat, runny nose, headache, a new onset of fatigue, and difficulty breathing.

In children, symptoms have also included purple markings on the fingers and toes.

People with one of those symptoms should stay at home, call Tele-Care 811 or their doctor, and follow instructions.

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