While things around you may look normal, whatever that term is supposed to mean, it’s worthy of note that Covid cases in the United States are on the rise and the average number of new daily infections is four times that of last Memorial Day.
Meanwhile, over the past two-and-a-half years, the world has started to learn what it did right – and what it failed at – in responding to the pandemic emergency. Some organizations are taking steps to learn from their missteps.
On Monday, the World Health Organization announced the formation of a committee that would respond faster to global health emergencies.
The new committee would convene soon after the declaration of any international public health emergency with an aim of providing guidance to the WHO’s executive board and director general, according to a draft decision.
In other news we cover today, Shanghai is poised to reopen, and a school principal who fought Florida Governor Ron DeSantis on restarting in-person classes died of Long Covid.
Here’s a look at what has taken place over the past 24 hours.
Jimbo Jackson, the Florida school principal who fought back against Governor Ron DeSantis’ push to restart in-person classes at the state’s schools, succumbed after a two-year battle with Long Covid.
In July 2020, Jackson, who was the principal at the Fort Braden School and a Leon County commissioner, tested positive. The former teacher, who was 55, leaves behind a wife, Beth, two daughters, and two stepsons.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new guidance for patients who test positive again and whose symptoms come back after completing a course of the antiviral Paxlovid.
The guidance states that such individuals should start a new isolation period and isolate for five full days. Patients can end their isolation period after those five additional days as long as they remained without fever for 24 hours and also feel better. They should, however, don a face mask for ten days once symptoms return.
The updated guidance comes after researchers at Columbia University found that patients who have a coronavirus rebound following treatment with the antiviral drug Paxlovid may be contagious and may not know they have the virus because they do not have symptoms.
The World Health Organization said it was not concerned of the possibility of a monkeypox pandemic. Over the past two weeks, more than 250 cases of the virus have been confirmed across the globe including ten in the United States.
The United States is one of 23 countries where monkeypox is not typically found.
Dr. Rosamund Lewis, the WHO’s technical lead on the disease, said over the weekend that the vast majority of cases being seen were in gay or bisexual men, but warned that anyone is potentially at risk of the disease.
Meanwhile, officials in Shanghai are poised to reopen the city, China’s financial hub, after a strict two-month lockdown.
China’s factory activity fell at a slower pace in May than in earlier months as lockdowns in Shanghai and the neighboring region were partially relaxed. Movement controls within the country continue to weigh on demand and production, putting the country’s economic growth in the second quarter in doubt.
Some 25 million residents were confined to their homes for the period.
The city will reopen shops and malls, restart public transit including buses and ferries, and reopen parks and other public venues.
Authorities there warned neighborhood officials not to arbitrarily restrict the movement of city residents.
“No unit or individual can use any excuse to restrict residents from their neighborhood from going out and returning home, or employees from going on and off shift to restart production,” said Zeng Qun, an official from the Shanghai bureau of civil affairs, at a news conference Tuesday.
Tesla’s Gigafactory Shanghai reached 70% of its pre-lockdown weekly output, sources said. The milestone was hit as the automaker added a second shift of workers to increase production.
Finally, Asia’s largest art show, Art Basel, returned to Hong Kong for the first time since 2019. The show is more subdued, with half the number of galleries exhibiting.
Now here are the daily statistics for Tuesday, May 31.
As of Tuesday morning, the world has recorded 532.2 million Covid-19 cases, an increase of 0.4 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, 503.2 million people worldwide have recovered from the virus, an increase of 0.5 million.
Worldwide, the number of active coronavirus cases as of Tuesday is 22,724,603, a decrease of 42,000. Out of that figure, 99.8%, or 22,687,216, are considered mild, and 0.2%, or 37,387, are listed as critical. The percentage of cases considered critical is unchanged over the past 24 hours.
The United States reported 32,152 new coronavirus infections on Tuesday for the previous day, compared to 9,045 on Monday, 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 91,170. 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. Monday was a bank holiday in the United States.
The average daily number of new coronavirus cases in the United States over the past 14 days is 109,905, a 14% 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 368, an increase of 22% over the same period, while the average number of hospitalizations for the period was 26,781, a 20% increase.
In addition, since the start of the pandemic the United States has, as of Tuesday, 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 524,630.
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, 666,568, 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 Tuesday, 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 in the afternoon of Tuesday, May 31.
Over 65.8% of the world population has received at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine by Tuesday, according to Our World in Data, an online scientific publication that tracks such information. So far, 11.83 billion doses of the vaccine have been administered on a global basis and 5.7 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)