“A village vanishes daily in Romania!” declares Catalin Cirstoiu, head of the Bucharest University Emergency Hospital, AP reports.    In recent weeks, Romania has reported the world’s highest per-capita COVID-19 death rate, The New York Times reports.  

In a North Korean hospital, 10 patients with COVID-19 symptoms were sent to an unheated ward typically used to treat tuberculosis, Radio Free Asia reports; they later died amid freezing temperatures.   The hospital, in Chongjin, then falsified the cause of their deaths—…

African scientists are working hard to test new drugs against COVID-19 that would also be affordable, but they are running into significant challenges, Nature reports.   Why new drugs are needed:

A new Lancet study offers proof that England’s 13-year-old HPV vaccination program prevented thousands of women from developing cervical cancer—not just precancers, The Guardian reports. 

2 Ecuadorian scientists face 10–13 years in prison after being embroiled in a criminal case involving Quito’s purchase of allegedly sub-par COVID-19 tests.   Scientists and universities have come out in defense of molecular biologist Linda Guamán and public health scientist…

Kids ages 5–11 will begin rolling up their sleeves in the US this week after a CDC expert panel endorsed use of Pfizer’s COVID-19 pediatric vaccine yesterday.   The panel voted 14–0 to recommend the vaccine’s use, and CDC Director Rochelle Walensky approved the…

Vaccinated people can pass the Delta variant to their vaccinated housemates, though at lower rates than to unvaccinated people, according to a new Lancet study from Imperial College London, Reuters reports. 

By year’s end, just 5 African countries will meet the World Health Assembly goal of fully vaccinating 40% of their populations against COVID-19, WHO Africa said yesterday.   Takeaways: 

Could the next COVID-19 treatment already be in the global medicine cabinet?   In a project looking at 8 drugs to find out, 1 inexpensive antidepressant looks promising, AP reports. Major advantage: The drug is already widely available in many poorer…

Vaccine mandates can be a key tool in limiting the pandemic’s spread—but Cambodia’s mandates threaten human rights, according to Human Rights Watch.   Mandates handed down by the Phnom Penh governor this month require proof of vaccination for everyone ages 6 and up to enter…