Good morning. This is Jonathan Spira reporting. Here now the news of the pandemic from across the globe on the 882nd day of the pandemic.
New York State lifted its widely ignored mask mandate for public transit on Wednesday, but it left in place a mandate for face coverings in all health-care settings including physicians’ offices and hospitals as well as in all adult-care facilities including nursing homes.
The move came as the number of coronavirus cases in the state appears to have stabilized, at least for the time being, Governor Kathy Hochul said in announcing the change.
Health Commissioner Mary Bassett said that nursing homes and health care facilities will continue to have a mandate in place due to the risks of Covid spread in such settings.
“This is to protect everyone in a health care facility, where we know there will be people infected,” she said. “The same goes for nursing homes.”
In other news we cover today, three U.S. senators tested positive for Covid, pharmacies and vaccination centers around the country began to offer the new bivalent vaccines, and the lockdown in Chengdu was once again extended.
Here’s a look at what has taken place over the past 24 hours.
Three members of the U.S. Senate tested positive this week for the coronavirus. The list includes Senator Jon Ossoff of Georgia, who tested positive while in India as part of an economic delegation, Senator Jacky Rosen of Nevada, and Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey.
With the release of newly formulated bivalent vaccines that target both the original virus as well as the BA.4 and BA.5 sublineages of the omicron variant, over 250 million people in the country are eligible to get the new booster. The updated vaccines are already available at many pharmacies and vaccination centers across the country.
Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, noted in an interview on MSNBC that the launch of the new vaccine means that, for the first time in the pandemic, “we have a shot that actually targets the variants we have circulating right now.”
Walensky said that the message from the CDC is simple: “You need to get your fall booster vaccine.”
Authorities in Chengdu once again extended its strict lockdown measures in 13 city districts, affecting over 21 million residents. The measures include mandatory daily testing for workers. Residents in high-risk parts of the city must remain at home, while those in medium-risk areas are limited to their own neighborhoods.
Meanwhile, the death toll from the 6.8-magnitude earthquake centered approximately 125 miles (200 kilometers) from Chengdu has risen to at least 74, and an additional 26 people remain unaccounted for.
Now here are the daily statistics for Thursday, September 8.
As of Thursday morning, the world has recorded 612.2 million Covid-19 cases, an increase of 0.6 million cases, and 6.5 million deaths, according to Worldometer, a service that tracks such information. In addition, 589.9 million people worldwide have recovered from the virus, an increase of 0.6 million.
Worldwide, the number of active coronavirus cases as of Thursday is 15,710,120 a decrease of 87,000. Out of that figure, 99.7%, or 15,668,216, are considered mild, and 0.3%, or 41,904, are listed as critical. The percentage of cases considered critical has not changed over the past 24 hours.
The United States reported 144,151 new coronavirus infections on Thursday for the previous day, compared to 125,894 on Wednesday, 16,508 on Tuesday, and 5,823 on Monday, according to data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The 7-day incidence rate is now 71,755. 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 71,906, a 21% 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 397, a decrease of 10% over the same period, while the average number of hospitalizations for the period was 35,323, a 12% decrease.
In addition, since the start of the pandemic the United States has, as of Thursday, recorded just under 96.9 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, just under 44.5 million, and a reported death toll of 528,090.
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, 34.64 million, although Brazil has recorded the third highest number of deaths as a result of the virus, 684,846, and has recorded 34.55 million cases, placing it in the number four slot.
Germany is in the number five slot with 32.4 million cases.
The other three countries with total case figures over the 20 million mark are South Korea, with just under 23.9 million cases, moving into the number six position on Thursday, the United Kingdom, with 23.5 million cases, placing it in the number seven slot, and Italy, with over 21.9 million, as number eight.
Meanwhile, Russia, with over 19.9 million recorded cases, will likely cross the 20 million mark within the next several days.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that, as of the 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, 12.62 billion doses of the vaccine have been administered on a global basis and 4.6 million doses are now administered each day.
Meanwhile, only 21% 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)