Good morning. This is Jonathan Spira reporting. Here now the news of the pandemic from across the globe on the 877th day of the pandemic.
As cold weather approaches, health officials in the United States are beginning to see the makings of a late-fall surge in cases although they remain guardedly optimistic that this year’s surge won’t be as devastating as last year’s.
The optimism stems from the introduction of new bivalent mRNA boosters from drugmakers Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech. The bivalent jabs target both the original coronavirus as well as the highly-transmissible BA.5 sublineage that is currently dominant in the States.
Experts hope that the new vaccines along with immunity from recent infections will suppress the worst of a potential surge.
In news we cover today, the FBI is on the hunt for an anti-vaxxer who illegally crossed the Canadian border into the country, the U.K. will launch new bivalent miRNA vaccines shortly, and Apple employees continue to resist the return-to-office siren.
Here’s a look at what has taken place over the past 24 hours.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation issued an alert Friday asking police to be on the lookout for Virpaul Singh Mahil, a reported “anti-vaxxer” who was seen blowing through a checkpoint on the Canadian border after he was refused entry in the United States after voicing anger over vaccines and who said he wanted to “protest the U.S. Open.” Officials said he drove the wrong way south in northbound lanes into New York State in a white Honda Civic heading in the direction of New York City. He was last spotted in Ulster County near Saugerties.
The Jehovah’s Witnesses, a millenarian restorationist Christian denomination with nontrinitarian beliefs distinct from mainstream Christianity, restarted its door-to-door ministry Thursday after a more than two-and-a-half year pause. The religious group ended all public interactions in early 2020, a step that was not even taken during the Spanish flu pandemic in 1918 through 1920.
The United Kingdom will soon begin a rollout of new bivalent mRNA coronavirus vaccines from both Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech. The U.K. version of the vaccine targets both the original virus as well as the BA.1. sublineage of the omicron variant. The vaccine differs from what the U.S. authorized, which will target the original virus and the BA.5 sublineage, which is currently dominant in many parts of the world.
Lockdowns in various Chinese cities continue. The latest is a lockdown in Shenzhen’s city center. Authorities have shut down all public transit including buses and subways and are telling people to stay home. Simultaneously, health officials in China’s technology hub are conducting city-wide coronavirus testing of roughly 90% of the city’s 18 million residents after reporting 87 new cases there on Friday.
Chengdu, the China’s sixth-largest city, was ordered into lockdown on Thursday, after health officials reported 150 new cases there. There were 155 on reported on Friday.
Chinese authorities reported 1,819 new local cases on Friday in 25 out of its 32 provinces and municipalities, according to a statement released by the National. Health Commission, after reporting 1,885 on Thursday.
A resistance movement against mandatory return-to-office is in the core of Apple. Workers are supposed to begin returning to corporate offices in the coming week after the Labor Day bank holiday weekend but an internal petition against that move is reportedly gaining momentum. The Morning News Brief reached out to Apple for comment.
Now here are the daily statistics for Saturday, September 3.
As of Saturday morning, the world has recorded 609.6 million Covid-19 cases, an increase of 0.7 million cases, and 6.5 million deaths, according to Worldometer, a service that tracks such information. In addition, 585.9 million people worldwide have recovered from the virus, an increase of 0.6 million.
Worldwide, the number of active coronavirus cases as of Saturday is 17,208,463, an increase of 18,000. Out of that figure, 99.8%, or 17,165,938, are considered mild, and 0.2%, or 42,525, are listed as critical. The percentage of cases considered critical is unchanged over the pat 24 hours.
The United States reported 88,353 new coronavirus infections on Saturday for the previous day, compared to 108,660 on Friday, 154,500 on Thursday, 117,036 on Wednesday, 112,006 on Tuesday, and 8,539 on Monday, according to data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The 7-day incidence rate is now 85,472. 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 87,638, 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 494, an increase of 7% over the same period, while the average number of hospitalizations for the period was 37,115, a 9% decrease.
In addition, since the start of the pandemic the United States has, as of Saturday, recorded 96.6 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 527,965.
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, 34.56 million, although Brazil has recorded the third highest number of deaths as a result of the virus, 683,334, and has recorded 34.51 million cases, placing it in the number four slot.
Germany is in the number five slot with 32.2 million cases.
The other three countries with total case figures over the 20 million mark are the United Kingdom, with 23.52million cases, in sixth position, South Korea, with 23.49 million cases, placing it in the number seven slot, and Italy, with just under 21.9 million, as number eight.
Meanwhile, Russia, with almost 19.7 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 this past Thursday, over 262.9 million people in the United States – or 79.2% – have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine. Of that population, 67.5%, or 224.1 million people, have received two doses of vaccine, and the total number of doses that have been dispensed in the United States is now 610 million. Breaking this down further, 90.2% of the population over the age of 18 – or 232.8 million people – has received at least a first inoculation and 77.3% of the same group – or 199.7 million people – is fully vaccinated. In addition, 51.6% of that population, or 103.1 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 Saturday, 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 4.74 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)