Good morning. This is Jonathan Spira reporting. Here now the news of the pandemic from across the globe on the 863rd day of the pandemic.
The world hit a coronavirus pandemic milestone on Friday, crossing the 600 million mark in total cases of the virus. The news comes as the highly contagious omicron variant along with the BA.5 subvariant continues to cause one million cases per day across the globe.
What is truly interesting about the omicron wave is that it appears that approximately half of those infected with the omicron variant may have been unaware they had contracted it or Covid of any flavor, based on a study conducted in California.
Using 2,479 blood samples at Cedars-Sinai, a non-profit hospital in Los Angeles, researchers found that, of the 210 people who appear to have contracted the variant – based on antibodies in their blood – some 56% did not know they had had it.
It’s important to note that, even those who are asymptomatic can transmit the virus to others and the findings underscore the importance of continued testing, especially if someone even just feels under the weather or believes he has a slight cold.
In other news we cover today, the CDC will take control of managing pandemic hospital data and New York City will demolish abandoned outdoor dining structures that were built in the early days of the pandemic.
Here’s a look at what has taken place over the past 24 hours.
New York City began the demolition of dozens of outdoor dining structures that were opened by now-shuttered restaurants. The city’s outdoor dining program began in the early days of the pandemic in 2020, giving restaurants the opportunity to offer diners the opportunity to enjoy table service even when indoor dining was forbidden. Hundreds of restaurants – some which had erected outdoor sheds – closed in the first two-and-a-half years of the pandemic and attract debris and vermin. New York City Mayor Eric Adams noted that some have unfortunately also served as outdoor urinals, based on odors he noticed when announcing the demolition program at one such abandoned location.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will take back control of national coronavirus hospital data come December. The CDC abruptly lost control of the data early in the pandemic to an inexperienced private company with ties to then-President Donald Trump. The move came in July 202 as White House Coronavirus Task Force head Dr. Deborah Brix became increasingly frustrated at the CDC’s slow process of gathering and tidying the data, which includes statistics on admissions, patient demographics, bed availability, ventilator use, discharges, and personal protective equipment supplies.
Now here are the daily statistics for Saturday, August 20.
As of Saturday morning, the world has recorded 600.1 million Covid-19 cases, an increase of 0.9 million cases, and over 6.47 million deaths, according to Worldometer, a service that tracks such information. In addition, 574.1million people worldwide have recovered from the virus, an increase of 0.9 million.
Worldwide, the number of active coronavirus cases as of Saturday is 19,529,760, a decrease of 20,000. Out of that figure, 99.8%, or 19,485,741, are considered mild, and 0.2%, or 44,019, are listed as critical. The percentage of cases considered critical is unchanged over the pat 24 hours.
The United States reported 108,491 new coronavirus infections on Saturday for the previous day, compared to 126,323 on Friday, 160,103 on Thursday, 119,903 on Wednesday, 129,460 on Tuesday, and 10,704 on Monday, according to data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The 7-day incidence rate is now 94,642. 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 95,206, a 19% 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 460, a decrease of 7% over the same period, while the average number of hospitalizations for the period was 40,980, a 6% decrease.
In addition, since the start of the pandemic the United States has, as of Saturday, recorded 95.3 million cases, a higher figure than any other country, and a death toll of over 1.06 million. India has the world’s second highest number of officially recorded cases, 44.3 million, and a reported death toll of 527,289.
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 820,307, giving the country the world’s second highest pandemic-related death toll, behind the United States. Rosstat reported that 4,991 people died from the coronavirus or related causes in June, down from 7,008 in May and from 11,583 in April.
Meanwhile, France is the country with the third highest number of cases, 34.32 million, although Brazil has recorded the third highest number of deaths as a result of the virus, 682,457, and has recorded 34.25 million cases, placing it in the number four slot.
Germany is in the number five slot with over 31.8 million cases.
The other three countries with total case figures over the 20 million mark are the United Kingdom, with almost 23.5 million cases, in sixth position, South Korea, with 22.1 million cases, placing it in the number seven slot, and Italy, with over 21.6 million, as number eight.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that, as of Saturday, over 262.3 million people in the United States – or 79% – have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine. Of that population, 67.4%, or 223.7 million people, have received two doses of vaccine, and the total number of doses that have been dispensed in the United States is now 607.5 million. Breaking this down further, 90% of the population over the age of 18 – or 232.5 million people – has received at least a first inoculation and 77.2% of the same group – or 199.4 million people – is fully vaccinated. In addition, 51.5% of that population, or 102.7 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 Saturdays by 8 p.m. EDT, a statement on the agency’s website said.
Some 67.5% 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, 12.49 billion doses of the vaccine have been administered on a global basis and 5.52 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.
Paul Riegler contributed reporting to this story.
(Photo: Accura Media Group)