Good morning. This is Jonathan Spira reporting. Here now the news of the pandemic from across the globe on the 781st day of the pandemic.
The Memorial Day bank holiday weekend in the United States this year had more than a passing resemblance to Memorial Day weekends of years past, I.e., prior to the start of the pandemic.
Over 39 million people in the country were expected to have taken to the road and skies to travel a distance of more than 50 miles (80 kilometers), a higher figure than in the same period in the first two years of the pandemic.
Travel is not back to where it was in 2019 but it is slowly picking up steam.
The Transportation Security Administration has seen an average of two people per day at the nation’s airport security checkpoints. While this figure is still 20% below that of 2019, it is also 20% higher than 2021 and almost six times that of 2020, when travel almost came to a complete halt.
In other news we cover today, Covid figures in North Korea are rising, Beijing and Shanghai started to reopen, the Archbishop of Canterbury tested positive.
Here’s a look at what has taken place over the past 24 hours.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released data that showed that the number of counties deemed a high risk for community Covid transmission fell to 250, a 16% decline from the previous week, when that figure was 297.
Last week, 20% of the counties were in New York State. That figure is now 30, or 12% of the total.
The majority of counties with high Covid transmission were in the Northeast and Florida.
In China, the number of new Covid cases fell to 20 from 54 the prior day. Officials in Shanghai aid businesses could start to reopen without having to apply for approval starting Wednesday, while in Beijing, the nation’s capital, major malls and shopping centers announced they would reopen next Sunday.
Meanwhile, North Korea, which in the middle of May declared a “maximum emergency” and said over the weekend that its first and only reported Covid outbreak is under control, reported a higher number of cases Monday than on the previous day.
Kim Jong-un, the leader of the hermit kingdom, convened the Political Bureau of the Workers’ Party Sunday and received “a positive evaluation of the pandemic situation being controlled and improved across the country,” the state-run Korean Central News Agency said.
On Monday, officials reported 100,710 possible new cases, an increase of over 12,000 from the 89,500 reported the prior day.
The country has tallied over 3.5 million possible “fever cases,” using fever as a measure because it lacks testing kits and infrastructure. It has reported a death toll of 70, which would be extremely low – .002% – for such a high number of cases, particularly in a country with poor health care standards and high rates of malnutrition.
Much, however, particularly in the area of coronavirus vaccines, has changed.
While only 62% of Americans over the age of 18 had at this time last year received an initial dose of vaccine, that figure is now almost 90% and some 77% of that group are fully vaccinated, although only 50% have received a third, or booster dose, an important step because the vaccine’s efficacy has been proven to wane over time.
In the United Kingdom, the Archbishop of Canterbury announced he had tested positive for Covid on Friday, and said he would not attend a thanksgiving service at St. Paul’s Cathedral for the Platinum Jubilee celebration coming up on Friday.
Now here are the daily statistics for Monday, May 30.
As of Monday morning, the world has recorded 531.8 million Covid-19 cases, an increase of 0.3 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, 502.7 million people worldwide have recovered from the virus, an increase of 0.6 million.
Worldwide, the number of active coronavirus cases as of Monday is 22,766,214, a decrease of 273,000. Out of that figure, 99.8%, or 22,728,646, are considered mild, and 0.2%, or 37,568, are listed as critical. The percentage of cases considered critical is unchanged over the past 24 hours.
The United States reported 9,045 new coronavirus infections on Monday for the previous day, compared to 13,762 on Sunday, 138,749 on Saturday, and 124,584 on Friday, 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 105,626. 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 109,997, a 21% 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 374, an increase of 20% over the same period, while the average number of hospitalizations for the period was 26,804, a 23% increase.
In addition, since the start of the pandemic the United States has, as of Monday, recorded over 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 524,611.
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, 666,496, 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 Monday, 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.
The CDC is not updating data on over the Memorial Day bank holiday weekend. The next update will be on Tuesday, May 31.
Over 65.8% of the world population has received at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine by Monday, 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 5.73 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.
Paul Riegler contributed to this story.
(Photo: Accura Media Group)