Photo by Mufid Majnun on Unsplash

Staff reports | The World Health Organization (WHO) this month is drafting a legally binding treaty centered on making global access to vaccines, drugs and diagnostics more equitable in the event of another pandemic, according to the weekly science journal Nature. WHO aims to adopt an agreement in 2024. 

The WHO’s proposal seeks to address socioeconomic inequalities uncovered during the Covid-19 pandemic, such as disproportionate availability and distribution of vaccines in high-income versus low-income countries, Nature reported. Global health policy researcher Suerie Moon told Nature that 73% of people in high-income countries have received at least one dose of vaccine compared to only 31% in low-income countries. 

The treaty includes guidelines that establish a global supply and distribution network for drug ingredients. It also seeks to bolster the research and development of pandemic-related vaccines and therapeutics, according to Nature. WHO will consider granting countries more access to intellectual property that dictates the rapid manufacturing of medical equipment, masks, diagnostics, drugs and vaccines when a pandemic occurs. 

Though WHO is looking for ways to improve the global response to another pandemic, many Americans are putting Covid-19 worries on the backburner. Kaiser Family Foundation published a survey indicating that Covid-19 and other respiratory illnesses such as the flu and syncytial viruses are of minimal concern to the American public, according to CNN.

State health officials encourage residents to refer to the CDC’s community levels map to track the severity of Covid-19. As of Feb. 7, Charleston County’s community level is low, which is in line with the previous reporting period. 

For the week ending Feb. 4, Covid-related hospitalizations in Charleston were down 1.6% in comparison to the week ending Jan. 28. For the week ending Feb. 4, state officials reported 58 people died from Covid-19 — 10 more deaths than the previous week. In this period, 5,463 new cases were reported — 164 fewer than the previous reporting period.

Latest COVID-19 data

As of Dec. 20, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) will no longer include data on ventilations and weekly trends due to a new system of tracking adopted from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 

SCDHEC transitioned to weekly reporting of new Covid data in December 2022. The most recent numbers were reported Tuesday and covered Jan. 15-21. In other data:

  • Percentage of S.C. residents age 12+ with at least one vaccine: 69.5%
  • Percentage of S.C. residents age 12+ who have completed vaccination: 60.7%
  • Percentage of S.C. residents age 5-11 with at least one vaccine: 23.5%
  • Percentage of S.C. residents age 5-11 who have completed vaccination: 19.5%

For more information, visit the S.C. SCDHEC COVID-19 dashboard.

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