World Coronavirus Dispatch: Delta strain dominates discourse across nations

North Korea’s Kim pulls up officials for vague Covid crisis

Even though the scale of the coronavirus outbreak in North Korea is unknown to the world, its leader Kim Jong Un has criticised the ruling party officials for not implementing effective safety measures to tackle the ‘crisis’. What is the extent of that crisis is still in the dark for many outside the country. State media reported that Kim slammed the officials for risking the safety of the country people. North Korea has not officially confirmed any Covid-19 infections. Read here

Let’s look at the global statistics

Global infections: 183,098,615

Global deaths: 3,964,145

Vaccine doses administered: 3,134,166,553

Nations with most cases: US (33,709,176), India (30,502,362), Brazil (18,687,469), France (5,842,616), Russia (5,495,513).

Source: John Hopkins Coronavirus Research Center

Lambda Covid variant’s ‘unusual’ mutations puzzle scientists

Lambda, the latest coronavirus variant, first found in Peru that accounts for almost 80 per cent of the cases in the country spread across 27 nations till date is puzzling the scientists on whether the mutations in the variant make it more transmissible. The WHO in June named Lambda as the seventh “variant of interest” so far. According to the evidence so far, the variant has has a unique pattern of seven mutations in the spike protein that the virus uses to infect human cells. Researchers are particularly intrigued by one mutation called L452Q, which is similar to the L452R mutation believed to contribute to the high infectiousness of the Delta variant. Read here

Europe’s travel stocks hit bumps as Delta variant dashes hopes

After rallying to a record on bets of a summer filled with long hoped-for holidays, Europe’s travel stocks are hitting a rocky patch. The emergence of a more contagious Delta strain constantly changing restrictions on international travel are weighing on airlines hotels, even as vaccinations gain pace. The Stoxx 600 Travel Leisure Index is down 7 per cent since its April peak, making it one of the worst-performing sectors of the past three months. Read here

Is Biden declaring ‘independence from the virus’ too soon?

Joe Biden is pressing ahead with his plan to celebrate “independence from the virus” on July 4 despite less than half the country being fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, the highly contagious Delta variant threatening new outbreaks. But public health experts fear that scenes of cross-country celebrations — including a White House party with a liberation theme — will send the wrong message when wide swaths of the population remain vulnerable true independence from the worst public health crisis in a century may be a long way off. Read here

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