Good morning. This is Jonathan Spira reporting. Here now the news of the pandemic from across the globe on the 854th day of the pandemic.
North Korea declared victory over its first novel coronavirus outbreak, the Korean Central News Agency, the country’s state media outlet, said Thursday.
The victory is, of course, subject to dispute given that the hermit nation had little ability to test people for Covid and even less ability to treat it. As a result, health officials there counted “fever cases” and apparently among them was the country’s leader, Kim Jong-un, whose sister, a leading Workers’ Party official, said that he had had “fever symptoms.”
“He must be responsible to the end of the world and so cannot stay in bed even when he was suffering from the high and scary fever,” KCNA quoted her as having said.
The North Korean leader had warned citizens to “vigilantly deal with alien things” that come across the border by “balloons,” wind, or “other climate phenomena.”
Balloons had been cited because activists in the south, largely defectors from the north, have sent balloons across the border loaded with leaflets that denounce Kim Jong-un, among other items that have also included dollar bills and USB drives with news from the rest of the world, from which North Korea remains sealed off as far the average citizen is concerned.
In other news we cover, the WHO said that the number of new weekly Covid cases has stabilized in recent weeks and multiple new Chinese cities have been placed under lockdown.
Here’s a look at what has taken place over the past 24 hours
The World Health Organization said Thursday that the number of new Covid cases remained relatively stable, while deaths fell by 9%, both compared to the prior week ending Sunday. The WHO emphasized that its assessment of Covid-19 trends continues to remain compromised by countries that have dropped many of their testing, reporting, and sequencing efforts that have come about as many nations relaxed coronavirus-related protocols, despite the fact that the pandemic shows no sign of abating.
Chinese scientists are warning the world of the new Langya virus, a henipavirus that appears to be jumping from animals to humans in parts of China. Writing in a peer-reviewed study in the New England Journal of Medicine, the researchers said that LayV, as it is also known, belongs to a family of viruses “known to infect humans and cause fatal disease.” They said it is too early to tell whether this virus is deadly and whether it spreads among humans.
Meanwhile, multiple cities in the western region of Xinjiang to tourism hotspots, Tibet, and Hainan to Yiwu, a manufacturing hub in the east, have been placed under various forms of lockdown and restriction. Depending on the severity of the outbreak, officials are limiting people’s movement to work while closing public venues. The country reported a three-month high in new daily cases of 2,053 on Thursday.
Days after ferry service between Macau and Shenzhen was restored, Macau’s government suspended the service starting Friday due to an increased number of coronavirus infections.
Now here are the daily statistics for Thursday, August 11.
As of Thursday morning, the world has recorded 592.6 million Covid-19 cases, an increase of 1 million cases, and almost 6.45 million deaths, according to Worldometer, a service that tracks such information. In addition, 564.5 million people worldwide have recovered from the virus, an increase of 1.9 million.
Worldwide, the number of active coronavirus cases as of Thursday is 21,729,668, an increase of 158,000. Out of that figure, 99.8%, or 21,685,344, are considered mild, and 0.2%, or 44,324, are listed as critical. The percentage of cases considered critical is unchanged over the pat 24 hours.
The United States reported 175,162 new coronavirus infections on Thursday for the previous day, compared to 128,656 on Wednesday, 135,412 on Tuesday, 10,081 on Monday, and 10,568 on Sunday, according to data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The 7-day incidence rate continues to be over 100,000 and is now 109,538. 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 108,174, a 16% decrease, based on data from the Department of Health and Human Services, among other sources. The average daily death toll over the same period is 477, an increase of 9% over the same period, while the average number of hospitalizations for the period was 42,938, a 2% increase.
In addition, since the start of the pandemic the United States has, as of Thursday, recorded 94.3 million cases, a higher figure than any other country, and a death toll of 1.06 million. India has the world’s second highest number of officially recorded cases, 44.2 million, and a reported death toll of 526,879.
New data from Russia’s Rosstat state statistics service showed at the end of May that the number of Covid or Covid-related deaths since the start of the pandemic there in April 2020 is now 812,890, giving the country the world’s second highest pandemic-related death toll, after the United States. Rosstat reported that 11,583 people died from the coronavirus or related causes in April, down from 35,584 in March and from 43,543 in February.
Meanwhile, France is the country with the third highest number of cases, 34.14 million, although Brazil has recorded the third highest number of deaths as a result of the virus, 680,852, and has recorded 34.09 million cases, placing it in the number four slot.
Germany is in the number five slot with 31.4 million cases.
The other three countries with total case figures over the 20,000 mark are the United Kingdom, with almost 23.4 million cases, in sixth position, Italy, with 21.4 million, in the number seven slot, and South Korea, with 20.9 million cases, as number eight.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that, as of Thursday, over 261.6 million people in the United States – or 78.8% – have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine. Of that population, 67.2%, or 223.2 million people, have received two doses of vaccine, and the total number of doses that have been dispensed in the United States is now 604.2 million. Breaking this down further, close to 90% of the population over the age of 18 – or 232.2 million people – has received at least a first inoculation and 77.1% of the same group – or 198.9 million people – is fully vaccinated. In addition, 51.4% of that population, or 102.2 million people, has already received a third, or booster, dose of vaccine.
Starting on June 13, 2022, the CDC began to update vaccine data on a weekly basis and publish the updated information on Thursdays by 8 p.m. EDT, a statement on the agency’s website said.
Some 67.4% of the world population has received at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine by Thursday, according to Our World in Data, an online scientific publication that tracks such information. So far, 12.43 billion doses of the vaccine have been administered on a global basis and 6.6 million doses are now administered each day.
Meanwhile, only 20.7% 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 reporting to this story.
(Photo: Accura Media Group)