Infection rates were 31% higher among households in high-transmission areas in which a member celebrated a birthday, the data showed. They were about 57% higher in households in which a child celebrated a birthday and about 22% higher in those in which an adult did so. “Informal gatherings, such as birthday parties, are still an important source of COVID-19 transmission that have received less attention up until now and should not be overlooked by the public,” study co-author Christopher Whaley told UPI in an email. “Many policies designed to slow COVID-19 spread previously were targeted at formal gatherings [such as] work, travel, dining, etc., but our findings suggest that [informal] gatherings may have deserved additional focus,” said Whaley, a researcher with the RAND Corporation in Berkeley, Calif.
Source: Study: Households that host social gatherings have higher rates of COVID-19 spread – UPI.com
A right-wing populist wave in Eastern Europe, lifted by Donald J. Trump’s surprise victory in 2016, has not crashed as a result of his defeat last November. But it has collided with a serious obstacle: Its leaders are not very popular. After winning elections by railing against widely disliked elites, right-wing populists on Europe’s formerly communist eastern flank, it turns out, are themselves not much liked. That is due in large part to unpopular coronavirus lockdowns, and, like other leaders no matter their political complexion, their stumbling responses to the health crisis. But they are also under pressure from growing fatigue with their divisive tactics. In Hungary, Prime Minister Viktor Orban is being countered by an uncharacteristically united opposition. In Poland, the deeply conservative government has made an abrupt shift to the left in economic policy to win back support. And in Slovenia, the hard-right governing party of the Trump-loving prime minister is slumping disastrously in the polls.
The Health Ministry is recommending that all youth between the ages of 12 and 15 get inoculated and has asked the health funds to prepare for the vaccination campaign. “It should be emphasized that in view of the expected increase in travel abroad, the removal of masks and the abolition of the green pass – and in order to take all steps to maintain the routine way of life that we managed to achieve in Israel – it is highly recommended to get vaccinated and protected,” the Health Ministry said in a statement.
Source: Israel’s COVID policy shift: ‘Strongly’ recommends young teens vaccinate – The Jerusalem Post