Good morning. This is Jonathan Spira reporting. Here now the news of the pandemic from across the globe on the 951st day of the pandemic.
At some point in the next 36 hours, the United States will hit the 100 million mark in total coronavirus cases. Given that the 14-day incidence is over 42,000, it should happen in the next 12 to 15 hours, statistically speaking.
The milestone comes as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that it is tracking the “mild but vaccine-resistant” BN.1 sublineage of the omicron variant. The BN.1 variant is now behind one in 20 infections nationwide according to some estimates, and its numbers have been doubling roughly every two weeks.
In other news we cover today, the CDC is tracking the new BN.1 variant, office workers in New York City are falling to return to their offices, and a right-wing group of doctors led by an anti-vaxxer insurrectionist is imploding in scandal.
The Biden administration is asking Congress for $9.25 billion to be used to continue to combat the coronavirus pandemic as well as an additional $37.7 billion to support Ukraine in its war with Russia, U.S. officials said Tuesday.
In Washington, D.C., the Senate voted 62-36to end the Covid-19 Emergency Declaration. The declaration, first made by then President Donald Trump in early 2020, has allowed the administration to take actions, in response to the pandemic, such as suspend student loan payment deadlines, close ports of entry, and requires group health plans and insurers to pay for coronavirus tests and relating services without charging any fees. President Biden said he would veto the measure if it passes in the House.
Meanwhile, in New York, a report from the state’s Comptroller found that the state made $11 billion in improper unemployment payments in the first 26 months of the coronavirus pandemic. The report examined unemployment claims made through the state’s Department of Labor’s unemployment portal from January 2020 through March 2022.
In New York City, a new report shows that just 47% of workers are in the city’s business districts on any given weekday, according to data from Kastle Systems, a provider of access card systems that tracks such information. Data from the Partnership for New York City’s survey of large employers in September shows that 49% of office workers were at their desks in Manhattan.
Finally, an ultra-right-wing group of doctors led by a convicted January 6 insurrectionist is imploding in scandal. Simone Gold, who unlawfully entered and remained in a restricted area of the Capitol on January 6, 2021, has reportedly used funds from America’s Frontline Doctors, a group that gained notoriety for peddling unproven and possibly dangerous coronavirus treatments and doubting the efficacy of Covid vaccines, to acquire a $3.6 million house among other purchases. In addition to having participated in the attempted coup at the Capitol, she stands accused of having staged a coup at the organization following her release from federal prison. The move, detailed in a lawsuit filed by employees, left workers locked out of their e-mail accounts and left Gold in control of the $7.3 million of funds in the group’s bank accounts.
Sections of the Shanghai Disney resort are slated to re-open but the main theme park will remain shuttered until further notice, Disney said on Thursday.
The number of foreign visitors to Japan surged to nearly 500,000 in October, the Japan National Tourism Organization said. October was the first month that the country had been fully open to visitors after more than two years of pandemic-induced restrictions. The October figures are more than double those of September.
Japan is also ending a long-standing pandemic ban on foreign cruise ships. The ban was imposed following the deadly Covid outbreak on the ship Diamond Princess in February 2020.
Meanwhile, Chinese officials eased Covid-related restrictions on domestic travel for group tours organized by travel agencies, the culture and tourism ministry said on Tuesday.
OTHER HEALTHCARE NEWS
The flu season Texas is off to a very early start and the Lone Star State is already at a “very high” level of flu activity, according to the CDC. Health officials there said that the situation could get worse before it gets better.
Now here are the daily statistics for Wednesday, November 16.
As of Wednesday morning, the world has recorded 641.2 million Covid-19 cases, an increase of 0.4 million cases, and 6.62 million deaths, according to Worldometer, a service that tracks such information. In addition, 620.9million people worldwide have recovered from the virus, an increase of 0.8 million.
Worldwide, the number of active coronavirus cases as of Wednesday at press time is 13,759,052 an increase of 63,000. Out of that figure, 99.7%, or 13,723,273, are considered mild, and 0.3%, or 35,779, are listed as critical. The percentage of cases considered critical has not changed over the past 24 hours.
The United States reported 55,368 new coronavirus infections on Wednesday for the previous day, compared to 50,025 on Tuesday, 1,954 on Monday, 2,575 on Sunday, 11,324 on Saturday, and 87,849 on Friday, according to data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The 7-day incidence rate is now 42,923. 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 39,414, an increase of 2%, based on data from the Department of Health and Human Services, among other sources. The average daily death toll over the same period is 292, a decrease of 15% over the same period, while the average number of hospitalizations for the period was 27,807, an increase of 2%.
In addition, since the start of the pandemic the United States has, as of Wednesday, recorded over 99.9 million cases, a higher figure than any other country, and a death toll of 1.1 million. India has the world’s second highest number of officially recorded cases, almost 44.7 million, and a reported death toll of 530,535.
The newest data from Russia’s Rosstat state statistics service showed that, at the end of July, the number of Covid or Covid-related deaths since the start of the pandemic there in April 2020 is now 823,623, giving the country the world’s second highest pandemic-related death toll, behind the United States. Rosstat reported that 3,284 people died from the coronavirus or related causes in July, down from 5,023 in June, 7,008 in May and 11,583 in April.
Meanwhile, France is the country with the third highest number of cases, with 37.2 million, and Germany is in the number four slot, with 36.1 million total cases.
Brazil, which has recorded the third highest number of deaths as a result of the virus, 688,985, has recorded over 34.9 million cases, placing it in the number five slot.
The other five countries with total case figures over the 20 million mark are South Korea, with over 26.3 million cases, the United Kingdom, with 23.9 million cases, placing it in the number seven slot, and Italy, with 23.8 million, as number eight, as well as Japan, with 23.4 million, and Russia, with 21.5 million.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that, as of the past Thursday, 267 million people in the United States – or 80.4% – have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine. Of that population, 68.6%, or 227.8 million people, have received two doses of vaccine, and the total number of doses that have been dispensed in the United States is now 646.5 million. Breaking this down further, 91.4% of the population over the age of 18 – or 236.1 million people – has received at least a first inoculation and 78.4% of the same group – or 202.4 million people – is fully vaccinated. In addition, 11.7% of the U.S. population of the same population, or 30.3 million people, has already received an updated or bivalent 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 Thursday by 8 p.m. EDT, a statement on the agency’s website said.
Some 68.2% of the world population has received at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine by Wednesday, according to Our World in Data, an online scientific publication that tracks such information. So far, 12.94 billion doses of the vaccine have been administered on a global basis and 1.41 million doses are now administered each day.
Meanwhile, only 23.6% 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 at or below 10%.
In addition, with the start of vaccinations in North Korea in late September, Eritrea remains the only country in the world that has not administered vaccines.
Anna Breuer contributed reporting to this story.
(Photo: Accura Media Group)