• Infection, death and hospitalisation rates have shown little sign of falling
  • Data from Israel showed first dose of vaccine led to 33% reduction in cases
  • Figure is lower than the British estimate saying it may protect 89 per cent
  • Sir Patrick, the UK’s chief scientific adviser, played down the data on Friday
  • He said it was ‘very preliminary’ and people ‘hadn’t been followed long enough’

Sir Patrick Vallance today said it was too early too draw conclusions from Israel’s vaccination drive after alarm that hospitalisations have not yet dropped.

Israel is currently leading the global vaccination drive, with nearly 39 per cent of its citizens having had at least a single dose of a jab so far.  

However, infection and death rates, as well as the numbers of people in hospital, have shown little sign of falling. 

Latest figures show a further 7,027 tested positive for the virus on Thursday, with 64 new deaths from the disease. Out of 82,930 active cases, 1,918 are hospitalized. Last week, the hospitalisation figure was just over 1,000. 

Addressing the apparent failure of the jab regime in cutting infection rates, Israel’s top coronavirus medic said on Wednesday that the Pfizer vaccine was less effective than expected. 

Real-world data from Israel’s world-beating rollout showed the first dose led to a 33 per cent reduction in cases of coronavirus between 14 and 21 days afterwards in people who got the jab. 

The figure is lower than the British regulator’s estimate, which said it may prevent 89 per cent of recipients from getting Covid-19 symptoms.  

But Sir Patrick, the UK’s chief scientific adviser, told the Downing Street press conference on Friday that the Israeli data was ‘very preliminary’.Israel is currently leading the global vaccination drive, with nearly 39 per cent of its citizens having had at least a single dose of a jab so far

Israel is currently leading the global vaccination drive, with nearly 39 per cent of its citizens having had at least a single dose of a jab so far

Sir Patrick Vallance today said it was too early too draw conclusions from Israel's vaccination drive after alarm that hospitalisations have not yet dropped

Sir Patrick Vallance today said it was too early too draw conclusions from Israel’s vaccination drive after alarm that hospitalisations have not yet dropped

He said: ‘In terms of the Israeli data, I think that was information from one of the organisations that organises health in Israel, I think there are four, and it was preliminary data that came out on the numbers.

‘I think the Israeli health ministry has said they’re not entirely sure those are the final data and they’re expecting the effects to increase so I think it’s very preliminary.

‘These are preliminary information from a subset of people, they haven’t followed people for long enough. 

‘We had a discussion with the Israeli advisers yesterday and they are expecting to get more information over the next few weeks.

‘And I think we are going to have to monitor this very carefully, we’re going to have to keep looking at data and understanding the performance of vaccines in the real world.’

Dr Nachman Ash, one of the medics leading the Covid-19 response in Israel, had told local media Army Radio earlier this week: ‘Many people have been infected between the first and second injections of the vaccine.’ 

It can take 10 days or more for the immunity to kick in.Real-world data from Israel's world-beating rollout showed the first dose led to a 33 per cent reduction in cases of coronavirus between 14 and 21 days afterwards in people who got the jab

Real-world data from Israel’s world-beating rollout showed the first dose led to a 33 per cent reduction in cases of coronavirus between 14 and 21 days afterwards in people who got the jab 

Dr Ash’s comment came  after Britain’s decision to prolong the gap between the first and second doses from three weeks to 12 weeks triggered anger among scientists.

Pfizer’s own data shows that protection from Covid starts from about 12 days after the first dose but one jab can only prevent around 52 per cent of cases of disease, compared to the 95 per cent reduction offered by two. 

It does not offer any proof that a single dose works for longer than three weeks.

For this reason, the US pharmaceutical firm refused to endorse Britain’s decision to change the dosing schedule, saying there was no proof it would work.

Dr Ash suggests the level of protection after the first dose is even lower than the 52 per cent claimed by Pfizer.

Vaccine regulators in the UK have told MPs Pfizer’s jab appeared to work so well after a single jab that they questioned whether the second was necessary at all.Dr Nachman Ash, Israel's top coronavirus medic, said on Wednesday that the Pfizer vaccine was less effective than expected

Dr Nachman Ash, Israel’s top coronavirus medic, said on Wednesday that the Pfizer vaccine was less effective than expected

On Friday, the UK’s chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty defended the decision to delay offering a second vaccine jab, arguing it allowed for more people to be offered a level of immunity against Covid-19.

He said it was still the plan to offer people two doses of the vaccine because the follow-up injection is understood to boost the length of time that someone is protected for against the virus.

But the Government adviser argued that double the number of people would receive the ‘great majority’ of inoculation available against the deadly disease faster by following the strategy of extending the gap between doses from three weeks to 12.

He made the comments after being challenged by a concerned member of the public at a Downing Street press conference about the decision to delay the follow-up jab.

Prof Whitty said: ‘We are absolutely clear that everybody needs two vaccinations.

‘The first gives the great majority, as far as we can see, of the initial protection, but the second vaccine increases that, and probably makes it longer lasting as well.

‘So, we are very much committed to two vaccinations.

‘The reason for extending the course of the vaccination is primarily to double the number of people that can get vaccinated, and so it is a public health decision.

‘By a process of relatively simple maths, you can think that if a vaccine is more than 50 per cent effective, if you double the number of people who are vaccinated over this very risky period when there is a lot of virus circulating, you are overall going to get some substantial benefit.’

Prof Whitty, pressed on whether the delay could give the virus time to mutate and work against the protection afforded by the first jab, added the decision to delay the second vaccine doses was based on ‘a balance of risk’.

‘I think most people would agree that the risk that was identified was a relatively much smaller risk than the risk of not having people vaccinated, which essentially was the alternative,’ he added. 

Israel started vaccinating on December 19 and had already given doses to 800,000 people before the turn of the year two weeks ago, meaning a large chunk of the 8.7million population should have a fairly high degree of protection by now.  

Israel hopes that the vaccine drive will start to show an effect by mid-February and hopes to vaccinate all its adults by the end of March – when PM Benjamin Netanyahu will face the voters in a snap election.  


Image by Irina Polonina / Stocksy

We tend to associate pessimism with a defeated, the sky is falling sort of demeanor—a constant downer or an overall bummer to be around. But as performance expert Steven KotlerNew York Times bestselling author of The Art of Impossibleand founder and executive director of the Flow Research Collective, notes, pessimism actually casts a much wider net, and it doesn’t always mean doom and gloom.

In fact, “People do tend to get more pessimistic as they age,” he says on the mindbodygreen podcast. But wait—it’s not exactly what you think, and there is a way to combat the so-called negativity. 

Why people get more pessimistic as they age. 

OK, the term pessimistic might understandably give you pause—it’s not like you’re continuously seeing every scenario with a glass-half-empty mindset. What Kotler really means is people typically shift from a goal mindset to a fear mindset over time: “Everything we see and encounter is really shaped by two things: our fears or our goals,” he explains. 

As you age, the stakes can be much higher for every decision you make—perhaps you have a partner, kids, or career to keep front of mind—and, thus, you may become more reality-focused, automatically weighing security threats rather than leaping toward a lofty goal. “Safety and security will dominate,” Kotler notes.

You got married — maybe that was a goal. You had kids — that was a goal. You got a house — that was a goal. We hit our early thresholds, and we’ve stopped setting goals.Steven Kotler

Research has even shown that older adults are more risk-averse than younger people when making decisions. We should note: This isn’t necessarily a bad thing! After all, says Kotler, feeling risk-averse just means “the things you care about start to mount.” It’s when you stop making life goals altogether in fear of failure that he wants to squash. ADVERTISEMENT

What to do about it. 

Since every encounter is shaped by either fears or goals, the natural first step is to create enough milestones that your brain stays in this goal-setting mindset. The problem is, says, Kotler, many people stop setting goals once they’ve reached a certain societal threshold: “You got married—maybe that was a goal. You had kids—that was a goal. You got a house—that was a goal,” he explains. “We hit our early thresholds, and we’ve stopped setting goals. As a result, the system goes, ‘Well, if you don’t have any more goals, I want to keep you safe and help you survive.'” 

The solution? Don’t stop creating goals—not just process-oriented, daily goals (although these are great, too) but long-term dreams to reach. Of course, you want to keep them realistic—shoot for the stars, just make sure you have proper aim—so try to create tangible, specific plans. “You want to chunk those [long-term goals] down into hard, one- to five-year goals,” Kotler says. Perhaps start with setting intentions for the year or creating a vision board to map out your strongest desires. 

The takeaway. 

According to Kotler, it’s easy to fall victim to pessimism—disguised as realism—as you age. It only makes sense that as you encounter more responsibilities and success, your brain shifts into risk-averse mode. Just don’t put goal-setting completely on the back burner; by keeping your milestones in plain sight, you’ll have a healthy balance of security and ambition. 


Image by Lauren Naefe / Stocksy

Body language is the way people communicate nonverbally, through facial expressions, different gestures, pacifying movements, and vocal characteristics such as the tone and pitch of the voice, David Stephens, a senior mentor at the Body Language Academy by Joe Navarro, once told mbg.

Reading people’s cues can help you understand whether someone is comfortable, uncomfortable, nervous, angry, or even attracted to you. While people of all genders tend to have similar behaviors overall, there can be some subtle nuances more common among women. Here’s how body language experts break them down.

Can body language be gendered?

There are certainly some body language cues that might be more common among women than men, and vice versa. Though whether body language is inherently gendered is more complex. Many of the nuances in male vs. female behaviors can often be boiled down to socialization, culture, and environment, though some may be hard-wired in us, behavioral advisor Anne-Maartje Oud, tells mbg.

One of the most common myths is that only women are fidgeting, playing with hair, or adjusting their outfits. People often think of these behaviors as being stereotypically “female,” Oud says, but that’s not the case. As humans, we engage in a lot of the same general actions, but how people execute those actions may vary.

“When we look at body language, it’s about human body language,” Oud says.

That said, some studies have found gender affects body language reading; that is, your gender might affect how accurately you can read other people’s body language. Some research has found women are generally better at recognizing emotions in facial expressions, whereas other studies have found women to be better at recognizing negative emotions like anger whereas men can pick up on emotions like happiness with more ease.

Physical signs a woman might be interested.

1. Exposing their neck.

Because the neck contains the jugular vein, it’s a vulnerable part of the body. In an attempt to protect themselves, a person may be inclined to reach for their neck in discomfort. When they’re feeling comfortable and safe though, they might expose their necks. To do this, they could brush their hair to the side or tilt one shoulder forward and down, body language expert Blanca Cobb, M.S. tells mbg.

2. Playing with jewelry.

While grabbing for the neck is generally a sign of discomfort, if a woman reaches for her necklace, she may be sending the opposite signal. If the movement is slower, sensual, and more of a caress, Cobb says that can be a sign of flirting. Fidgeting with rings, however, could be a sign of discomfort and nervousness.

3. Moving objects. 

When eating at a restaurant or sitting across from someone, a woman might move objects out of the way. This could be a sign she wants to be closer to the other person, Oud explains, particularly if it’s followed by physical touch. This tends to be a sign of affection among all genders.

4. Showing facial expressions. 

The feedback loop in conversation tends to be more visible in women than men. Nodding of the head, arching the eyebrows, smiling, or saying things like ‘oh, really?’ may be signs of flirtation or interest, Oud explains. While men do this too, women may be generally more obvious in their flirty facial expressions.

5. Playing with hair.

When a woman plays with or twirls her hair around her finger, that can be a sign of flirtation, especially when showing the inside of her wrist.  

According to Cobb, women will generally pull a strand from the back or side of their head when flirting. “When they’re readjusting with the front, like a bang, that’s more nervousness,” she explains. 

6. Biting or licking the lips.

Biting the lip can be a sign of nervousness and flirtation—sometimes both at the same time, Cobb explains. “Some women might lick their lips,” she adds. In some cases, this is done to draw attention to the lips or to moisten them before kissing.

7. Turning their palms upward.

While clenched hands can be a sign of withdrawal or discomfort, open hands with palms facing upward, can signal trust and openness.

8. Touching.

When interested in someone, a woman might engage in some kind of physical touch. This could be a brush of the hand, a tap on the shoulder or the knee, or something more obvious like a hug or hand-holding. “Men do the same in reverse,” Cobb says. However, a man’s intent might be more to see how the woman will react and whether she’s comfortable enough.

9. Changing their voice pitch.

When a woman is excited or interested, her voice may become faster and slightly higher. But, depending on where a person lives, they may actually draw out their words and speak a bit more slowly to flirt. While the latter helps the other person hear what you have to say, it could also draw attention to the lips, Cobb explains.

10. Tilting their head.

“The more interested you are in somebody, the more attention you’re going to give them,” Cobb says. One way to show that attention is by tilting the head as someone talks or nodding for them to continue. On a more sensual note, a woman might tilt her chin down slightly, then slowly look up. “Particularly when you have the smolder look with it, that can be very captivating,” she says.

The bottom line.

Nonverbal cues and verbal cues play equal roles in communication, but without explicit confirmation, it can be difficult to understand exactly what someone is trying to say.

“If you’re a guy and you’re looking for a date, you’ll look to see how a woman is acting toward you. That’s very fair,” Cobb says. Still, avoid making assumptions and always keep context in mind. “Just because someone smiles at you, doesn’t necessarily mean they like you,” she adds. Instead of taking one body language cue as a sign that someone’s interested, you should look for a cluster of clues that happen around the same time.

Even if some women demonstrate flirting in a specific way, there are always outliers, Cobbs adds. When we stop taking into account people’s unique tendencies, that’s where stereotypes come into play. 

Gender aside, Oud recommends anyone thinking about what their body language might be conveying to consider: Who am I, what are my behaviors and nonverbal communications, and is that effective for what I want to achieve?


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