Good morning. This is Jonathan Spira reporting. Here now the news of the pandemic from across the globe on the 779th day of the pandemic.
It was a different kind of lockdown for top echelon politicians in Britain versus the rest of the country.
While their fellow countrymen were told to stay home and not co-mingle households, things were hopping at No. 10 Downing Street, the official residence and executive offices of the prime minister.
An official government report provides details: Parties that went on until the wee hours of the morning; intoxicated staff fighting amongst themselves and vomiting. Walls stained with red wine.
Parties that went on until the early hours of the morning. Drunken staff vomiting and fighting with each other. Downing Street walls stained with red wine. And an illegal birthday party for Britain’s Prime Minister, complete with six-packs of beer and dozens of sandwiches.
In her report, which included photographs of these activities, including Boris Johnson making a toast sans mask, senior civil servant Sue Gray said that “the senior leadership at the centre” of Johnson’s administration “must bear responsibility” for a culture that allowed these activities to take place.
A snap poll taken by Savanta ComRes and published on Wednesday showed that two thirds of Britons said that Johnson should resign his office based on the findings of the report.
The headlines over “Partygate” are far from over, however.
The Gray report’s findings have raised questions as to whether Johnson misled lawmakers when he previouslydenied that these parties had taken place. Johnson also faces a separate parliamentary committee investigation as a result.
In other news we cover today, cases continue to fall in Shanghai, a province that neighbors North Korea is reporting a new outbreak of Covid, and North Korea says conditions are improving.
Here’s a look at what has taken place over the past 24 hours.
In China’s financial capital, daily new infections fell to a record low since the start of the lockdowns.
New cases fell 35.6% to 170 cases on Friday, the seventh consecutive day of decline, according to data released on Saturday by local officials.
In keeping with instructions received from Premier Li Keqiang earlier in the week, Shanghai authorities said they would take steps to boost the local economy as the city prepares to end its two-month lockdown on June 1.
Meanwhile, in Jilin, a province that neighbors North Korea, officials are reporting new domestically transmitted Covid cases of unknown origin. Jilin shares a long frontier border with the hermit kingdom.
In North Korea, health officials are testing waste water, air, and garbage and ramping up testing and disinfection as anti-coronavirus measures intensify.
The isolated nation, which says cases are “stabilizing,” declared a state of emergency and entered into a lockdown earlier in the month.
The country reported 100,460 additional people with so-called “fever cases” as of Thursday evening, compared with nearly 400,000 about ten days ago, the state-run Korean Central News Agency said, citing data from the state emergency epidemic prevention headquarters.
The country is one of two that does not have any form of coronavirus vaccine program in place and it has reportedly turned down offers of vaccines from both Russia and China since the start of the pandemic in 2020.
Now here are the daily statistics for Saturday, May 28.
As of Saturday morning, the world has recorded 531.1 million Covid-19 cases, an increase of 0.6 million new cases in the preceding 24 hour period, and 6.3 million deaths, according to Worldometer, a service that tracks such information. In addition, 501.7 million people worldwide have recovered from the virus, an increase of 1.3 million.
Worldwide, the number of active coronavirus cases as of Saturday is 23,080,330, a decrease of 23,000. Out of that figure, 99.8%, or 23,042,692, are considered mild, and 0.2%, or 37,638, are listed as critical. The percentage of cases considered critical is unchanged over the past 24 hours.
The United States reported 138,749 new coronavirus infections on Saturday for the previous day, compared to124,584 on Friday, 187,530 on Thursday, and 132,365 on Wednesday, according to data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The 7-day incidence rate continues to remain over 100,000 and is now 110,838. Figures for the weekend (reported the following day) are typically 30% to 60% of those posted on weekdays due to a lower number of tests being conducted.
The average daily number of new coronavirus cases in the United States over the past 14 days is 109,925, a 22% increase, based on data from the Department of Health and Human Services, among other sources. The average daily death toll over the same period is 375, an increase of 13% over the same period, while the average number of hospitalizations for the period was 26,258, a 27% increase.
In addition, since the start of the pandemic the United States has, as of Saturday, recorded 85.7 million cases, a higher figure than any other country, and a death toll of over 1 million. India has the world’s second highest number of officially recorded cases, over 43.2 million, and a reported death toll of 524,572.
New data from Russia’s Rosstat state statistics service showed at the end of April that the number of Covid or Covid-related deaths since the start of the pandemic there in April 2020 is now over 803,000, giving the country the world’s second highest pandemic-related death toll, after the United States. Rosstat reported that 35,584 people died from the coronavirus or related causes in the month of March, compared to 43,543 in February.
Meanwhile, Brazil now has recorded the third highest number of deaths as a result of the virus, 666,365, and has seen over 30.9 million cases.
France continues to occupy the number four position in total cases with 29.5 million cases, and Germany is in the number five slot with 26.3 million. The United Kingdom, with 22.3 million cases, is now number six and is the only other country in the world with a total number of cases over the 20 million mark.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that, as of Saturday, 258.5 million people in the United States – or 77.8% – have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine. Of that population, 66.6%, or 221.2 million people, have received two doses of vaccine, and the total number of doses that have been dispensed in the United States is now 586.5 million. Breaking this down further, 89.2% of the population over the age of 18 – or 230.5million people – has received at least a first inoculation and 76.6% of the same group – or 197.7 million people – is fully vaccinated. In addition, 50.2% of that population, or 99.2 million people, has already received a third, or booster, dose of vaccine.
Over 65.8% of the world population has received at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine by Saturday, according to Our World in Data, an online scientific publication that tracks such information. So far, 11.82 billion doses of the vaccine have been administered on a global basis and 6.66 million doses are now administered each day.
Meanwhile, only 16.2% of people in low-income countries have received one dose, while in countries such as Canada, China, Denmark, France, Italy, the United Kingdom, and the United States, at least 75% of the population has received at least one dose of vaccine.
Only a handful of the world’s poorest countries – Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia and Nepal – have reached the 70% mark in vaccinations. Many countries, however, are under 20% and, in countries such as Haiti, Senegal, and Tanzania, for example, vaccination rates remain in the single digits, if not lower.
In addition, North Korea and Eritrea are now the only two countries in the world that have not administered vaccines.
Anna Breuer contributed to this story.
(Photo: Accura Media Group)