Good morning. This is Jonathan Spira reporting. Here now the news of the pandemic from across the globe on the 875th day of the pandemic and the first day of meteorological fall.
New data from the U.K. Office of National Statistics shows that one in every 32 Britons in the country had some form of Long Covid at the end of July, a figure equivalent to two million people. In addition, an estimated 430,000 were still suffering from Long Covid two years after first contracting the virus, the ONS said.
Approximately 20% of those with Long Covid – some 384,000 people – reported that their ability to undertake day-to-day activities had been “limited a lot.”
The most common symptom reported, by 62%, was fatigue. They reported continued weakness or tiredness, while roughly one third reported shortness of breath (37%), difficulty concentrating (33%), and muscle aches (31%).
In other news we cover today, Chengdu placed over 22 million under lockdown and the EU health regulator approved two bivalent coronavirus vaccines.
Here’s a look at what has taken place over the past 24 hours.
The U.S. Coast Guard Academy, which is located in New London, Connecticut, expelled seven cadets for failing to comply with a vaccine mandate. The seven had applied for religious exemption but it was rejected by Coast Guard officials.
National test results released on Thursday showed that the pandemic effectively erased two decades of progress as test scores in 9-year-olds for math and reading fell to levels last seen two decades ago. The test scores were markedly worse for the lowest-performing students.
The European Medicines Agency, the EU health regulator, gave approval to bivalent coronavirus vaccines from both Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech that target both the original virus and the BA.1 sublineage of the omicron variant. The approval applies to people aged 12 and older who have completed a full course of primary Covid vaccine. Final approval from the European Commission, the bloc’s governing body, is expected shortly.
Authorities in Chengdu, the city that is home to China’s panda population, announced a lockdown of 21.2 million residents and launched four days of city-wide coronavirus testing.
Meanwhile, Shenzhen, China’s tech hub, further tightened coronavirus restrictions banning large events and indoor entertainment for three days in the district of Baoan, its largest by population.
Officials in Hong Kong reported over 10,000 new coronavirus cases Thursday, the highest level in five months. The news came as the city’s new leader, John Lee, announced he had secured preliminary support from mainland China for a “reverse quarantine” scheme that would allow residents to travel across the border after spending the obligatory quarantine time in isolation in Hong Kong.
Finally, some Chinese immigrants in Singapore are criticizing the government’s decision to ease its indoor mask mandate. A number of Chinese have said on social media they plan to continue to don face masks for the time being. Singapore ended mask mandates in most public spaces except public transit and in hospitals and other healthcare settings. The country now allows travelers to enter without a quarantine period.
Amtrak, the U.S passenger rail service, said it was restarting one of its most scenic routes at the end of September. The Amtrak Cascades winds its way through the Pacific Northwest and has been on pause since the spring of 2020.
Now here are the daily statistics for Thursday, September 1.
As of Thursday morning, the world has recorded 608.3 million Covid-19 cases, an increase of 0.8 million cases, and 6.49 million deaths, according to Worldometer, a service that tracks such information. In addition, 584.6 million people worldwide have recovered from the virus, an increase of 1.1 million.
Worldwide, the number of active coronavirus cases as of Thursday is 17,237,698, a decrease of 224,000. Out of that figure, 99.8%, or 17,194,831, are considered mild, and 0.2%, or 42,867, are listed as critical. The percentage of cases considered critical is unchanged over the pat 24 hours.
The United States reported 154,500 new coronavirus infections on Thursday for the previous day, compared to 117,036 on Wednesday, 112,006 on Tuesday, 8,539 on Monday, and 8,821 on Sunday, according to data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The 7-day incidence rate is now 87,473. 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 90,338, an 8% 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 502, an increase of 2% over the same period, while the average number of hospitalizations for the period was 37,657, a 9% decrease.
In addition, since the start of the pandemic the United States has, as of Thursday, recorded over 96.3 million cases, a higher figure than any other country, and a death toll of over 1.07 million. India has the world’s second highest number of officially recorded cases, over 44.4 million, and a reported death toll of 527,911.
The newest data from Russia’s Rosstat state statistics service showed that, at the end of May, 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, 34.5 million, although Brazil has recorded the third highest number of deaths as a result of the virus, 683,914, and has recorded 34.47 million cases, placing it in the number four slot.
Germany is in the number five slot with 32.1 million cases.
The other three countries with total case figures over the 20 million mark are the United Kingdom, with 23.5 million cases, in sixth position, South Korea, with 23.3 million cases, placing it in the number seven slot, and Italy, with just under 21.9 million, as number eight.
Meanwhile, Russia, with over 19.5 million recorded cases, will likely cross the 20 million mark within under two weeks.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that, as of Thursday, over 262.3 million people in the United States – or 79.1% – have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine. Of that population, 67.4%, or 223.9 million people, have received two doses of vaccine, and the total number of doses that have been dispensed in the United States is now 608.9 million. Breaking this down further, 90.1% of the population over the age of 18 – or 232.7 million people – has received at least a first inoculation and 77.3% of the same group – or 199.6 million people – is fully vaccinated. In addition, 51.6% of that population, or 102.9 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 67.7% 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, 12.58 billion doses of the vaccine have been administered on a global basis and 4.61 million doses are now administered each day.
Meanwhile, only 20.9% 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)