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Nikhil Prasad  Fact checked by:Thailand Medical News Team Dec 30, 2023  1 month, 3 weeks, 1 day, 7 hours, 3 minutes ago

COVID-19 News: SARS-CoV-2 Infections Rising In Taiwan With 37 COVID-19 Deaths Reported In The Previous Week!

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COVID-19 News: SARS-CoV-2 Infections Rising In Taiwan With 37 COVID-19 Deaths Reported In The Previous Week!
Nikhil Prasad  Fact checked by:Thailand Medical News Team Dec 30, 2023  1 month, 3 weeks, 1 day, 7 hours, 3 minutes ago
COVID-19 News: Taiwan is currently facing a concerning upswing in COVID-19 cases, with a notable increase of 26 percent in the week starting from December 19 to December 26. This alarming surge, as reported by the Taiwan Centers for Disease Control (CDC), is accompanied by a rise in COVID-19-related deaths, with 37 fatalities recorded during the same period, marking a 16 percent week-on-week increase.

Vaccination Disparities: A Stark Reality

A glaring trend among the new cases is the overwhelming majority of individuals who did not receive the XBB vaccine, available in Taiwan since September 26.
Shockingly, 99 percent of those newly infected had not taken the preventive measure of getting vaccinated. Equally concerning as reported by both the Taiwan CDC and also local COVID-19 News outlets is the revelation that of the 37 individuals who succumbed to COVID-19, only one had received the XBB vaccine. These statistics underscore the urgent need for vaccination, particularly among vulnerable populations.
Protecting the Elderly: A Vital Call to Action
Highlighting the significance of vaccination, the Taiwan CDC emphasizes the importance of senior citizens receiving the vaccine. Data reveal that about 90 percent of recent COVID-19 deaths in Taiwan involved individuals aged 65 and older.
 Citing a Dutch study, the CDC points out the XBB vaccine's efficacy rate of over 70 percent in preventing severe cases of COVID-19 among the elderly.
Encouragingly, nearly 770,000 people in Taiwan have received the XBB vaccine, according to the CDC. Despite this progress, there is a collective call for more individuals, especially those in vulnerable groups, to follow suit and contribute to the broader efforts in controlling the virus's spread and mitigating severe outcomes.
Variant Dynamics: Unraveling the Strains
Adding complexity to the situation is the revelation that 73 percent of domestic COVID-19 cases documented in the past four weeks are attributed to the EG.5 variant, with JN.1 at 9 percent and XBB.1.9.1 at 6 percent, according to the Taiwan CDC. The reassurance from health officials is that the XBB vaccine demonstrates effectiveness against both the EG.5 and JN.1 variants.
The Emergence of JN.1: A New Subvariant on the Horizon
A new COVID-19 subvariant, JN.1, has arrived in Taiwan, constituting approximately 3 percent of local cases. Despite its current low prevalence, health officials express concern about its potential to become the dominant strain in the coming months. The Taiwan CDC strongly urges the population to get the XBB.1.5-adapted vaccine to minimize the risk of serious complications and death associated with this emerging subvariant.
Case Study: Unraveling the Impact of JN.1
Taiwan CDC physician Dr Lin Yung-ching shared a poi gnant case, recounting the story of a man in his 50s who succumbed to COVID-19. Despite receiving four vaccine doses and contracting the virus last year, the man did not get vaccinated this year. Lin suggests that the individual's immunity may have waned over time, emphasizing the evolving nature of the virus and underscoring the importance of staying up-to-date with vaccinations.
Global Perspective: JN.1's International Presence
Taiwan CDC Deputy Director-General Dr Philip Lo sheds light on JN.1's global presence, noting that it is a novel subvariant descended from the Omicron subvariant BA.2.86. As of the latest reports, JN.1 has been reported in more than 40 countries and constitutes about 65 percent of COVID-19 cases in Singapore. While evidence suggests JN.1 is more transmissible, there is no indication of increased severity or heightened risk to public health, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
Looking Ahead: Preparedness Amid Uncertainty
Despite these challenges, the CDC's estimation of the next COVID-19 peak in the middle or late next month remains unchanged. To bolster confidence in vaccination efforts, Dr Lo highlights recent studies from the Netherlands, showcasing the effectiveness of the XBB.1.5-adapted vaccine in preventing hospitalization and admission to an intensive care unit.
In conclusion, Taiwan finds itself at a critical juncture in its battle against the evolving landscape of COVID-19. Vaccination remains a pivotal tool in combating the virus and its variants, and concerted efforts are needed to ensure the broader population is protected. The emergence of JN.1 adds an extra layer of complexity, urging authorities and the public alike to stay vigilant and adaptable in the face of an ever-changing pandemic landscape.
For the latest COVID-19 News, keep on logging to Thailand Medical News.


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