Good morning. This is Jonathan Spira reporting. Here now the news of the pandemic from across the globe on the 954th day of the pandemic.
In news we cover today, the rise in Covid cases in Australia is bringing about numerous changes including strict mask mandates on cruise ships, while in the United States, the Biden administration is offering grocery coupons to people who get the new bivalent booster shot.
The White House is offering people grocery coupons in order to boost low uptakes on booster rates. American who gets a bivalent booster shot at a CVS, Winn-Dixie, or Rite-Aid location will get up to $20 off their purchases.
John Kerry, a former senator and secretary of state who was the 2004 Democratic presidential candidate and who currently serves as the country’s special presidential envoy for climate, tested positive while attending the United Nations COP27 international climate summit in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.
Masks were scarce at the United Nations COP27 although more were in evidence at the end of the week as the number of people at the summit who would test positive for Covid continued to increase.
China stood out with strict requirements for anyone who wanted to enter the country’s pavilion to don a face mask up and sanitize his hands.
In Germany, the Ständige Impfkommission am Robert-Koch-Institut, or Standing Committee on Vaccination, known as STIKO, an independent advisory panel, recommended that Pfizer-BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine for children from six months to four years should only be given routinely to those at risk of severe disease from SARS-CoV-2.
The number of new infections in China was slightly lower Saturday. Health authorities said there had been 24,473 new cases. In Beijing, some businesses including restaurants were required to shut down as the city battled new outbreaks after authorities urged people to remain home over the weekend.
OTHER HEALTHCARE NEWS
Data from the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene shows a massive increase in cases of RSV, or respiratory syncytial virus, in recent months. There has been a ten-fold increase in reported cases since the middle of September, with over 4,500 last week alone.
Carnival Australia announced mask mandates with immediate effect on its three cruise lines, Carnival Cruise Line, Princess Cruises, and Holland America Line. Passengers and crew members must don face masks when embarking and disembarking a vessel and have to wear masks at all times indoors unless they are eating or drinking. They must also wear masks outside when they cannot socially distance and “when on company transfers (tenders and buses),” Carnival said in a statement.
Now here are the daily statistics for Saturday, November 19.
As of Saturday morning, the world has recorded 642.7 million Covid-19 cases, an increase of 0.6 million cases, and 6.62 million deaths, according to Worldometer, a service that tracks such information. In addition, 621.9 million people worldwide have recovered from the virus, an increase of 0.4 million.
Worldwide, the number of active coronavirus cases as of Saturday at press time is 14,166,172, an increase of 150,000. Out of that figure, 99.7%, or 14,130,053, are considered mild, and 0.3%, or 36,119, are listed as critical. The percentage of cases considered critical has not changed over the past 24 hours.
The United States reported 52,365 new coronavirus infections on Saturday for the previous day, compared to 71,311 on Friday, 85,283 on Thursday, 55,368 on Wednesday, and 50,025 on Tuesday, according to data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The 7-day incidence rate is now 44,108. 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 41,621, anincrease of 3% averaged over the past 14 days, based on data from the Department of Health and Human Services, among other sources. The average daily death toll over the same period is 296, a decrease of 10% over the same period, while the average number of hospitalizations for the period was 27,881, an increase of 4%.
In addition, since the start of the pandemic the United States has, as of Saturday, recorded over 100.1 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 530,553.
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 37.3 million, and Germany is in the number four slot, with 36.2 million total cases.
Brazil, which has recorded the third highest number of deaths as a result of the virus, 688,958, has recorded 35 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 26.5 million cases, Italy with 24 million, placing it in the number seven slot, and the United Kingdom, with over 23.9 million cases, as number eight, as well as Japan, with 23.7 million, and Russia, with 21.5 million.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that, as of Thursday, 267.5 million people in the United States – or 80.6% – have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine. Of that population, 68.7%, or 228.1 million people, have received two doses of vaccine, and the total number of doses that have been dispensed in the United States is now 650.8 million. Breaking this down further, 91.6% of the population over the age of 18 – or 236.4 million people – has received at least a first inoculation and 78.5% of the same group – or 202.7 million people – is fully vaccinated. In addition, 13.1% of the same population, or 33.8 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 68.4% 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, 12.96 billion doses of the vaccine have been administered on a global basis and 2.11 million doses are now administered each day.
Meanwhile, only 24.4% 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.
Paul Riegler contributed reporting to this story.
(Photo: Accura Media Group)