First, the good news: The number of Americans getting a dose of Covid-19 vaccine has jumped to about 1 million a day, according to data this past week from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
New cases are declining, with about 93,814 infections reported each day this past week, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Daily Covid-19 deaths are slowly decreasing, with an average of 1,692 deaths per day.
And the US Food and Drug Administration will consider whether to authorize an antiviral pill to treat Covid-19.
Now, the bad news: The highly contagious Delta variant is not done. And cooler weather may drive more transmission indoors, health experts say.
Religious leaders are urging people in Papua New Guinea to be vaccinated against COVID-19 when it is their turn and take other protective measures to curb transmission.
In a video recorded by the World Health Organization (WHO), Sir John Cardinal Ribat, the Cardinal of Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, said vaccination and protective measures expressed the Christian commandment for people to love their neighbours.
“His commandment is this: Love Him and love one another. We too need to work, not just Him.
“There are behaviours that they’ve shown us already. Wear a mask, clean your hands with soap and water or hand sanitizer, maintain physical distancing. These are ways to help each other.”
Sir John urged people not to fear the vaccine.
“The vaccine is here for our safety, and also the frontliners. Doctors, health workers, pastors, priests, many people come to us and we meet them all. So these people will be first to be offered the vaccine. Because it will protect them and have them ready to tend to everyone.
“What made me take the vaccine? My belief in God. It’s something to trust. If God wills it, it will help many people and it will be good.”
Since the start of the pandemic, health workers have been working on the frontline saving lives daily. The work they do often exposes them to health care associated infections, stigma, psychological and emotional stress, illness and even death.
“In Lao People’s Democratic Republic, protecting healthcare workers have always been a priority for WHO and the Ministry of Health by ensuring that health care workers have access to personal protective equipment (PPE), received training on proper use of PPE and understand Infection, Prevention and Control (IPC) measures that allowed them to carry out their tasks safely” said Dr. Jun Gao, WHO Officer-in-Charge.
While the number of health workers infected with COVID-19 has been declining globally since last year, it still accounts for about 8 per cent of positive cases. Health workers still experienced more than three times the risk of infection compared to that of the general population.
Two health care workers from the Ministry of Health who have recovered from COVID-19 shared their stories.
Deputy Chief of Nakhanthoung Health Center, Dr. Lhoi Chantala
Dr. Lhoi Chanthala is a medical doctor and deputy chief at Nakhanthoung Health Center, Xaythany District in Vientiane Capital. Before the COVID-19 outbreak, his main role was to manage the Maternal and Child Health Unit at the health center.
However, when caseload steadily increased in July this year with migrant workers returning from neighbouring countries, Dr. Chantala was reassigned by the Vientiane District Health Office to work at the Khoksivilay Secondary School (21 km) quarantine center, where he was responsible for checking the temperature of the returnees and bringing them food.