Good morning. This is Jonathan Spira reporting. Here now the news of the pandemic from across the globe on the 963rd day of the pandemic.
Respiratory diseases are filling hospitals across the United States and killing patients. I write these words as I sit here with what I believe to be a respiratory virus, likely either acute post-nasal drip or sinusitis, or both.
We enter the holiday season differently than we did last year when surging SARS-CoV-2 cases overwhelmed hospitals and urgent-care centers. We also have a more highly resistant population, thanks to vaccines and prior infections. This year, however, hospitals are still overwhelmed, albeit by a combination of Covid, RSV or respiratory syncytial virus, and influenza.
In the past few months, health officials across the country have reported record numbers of flu cases and RSV. Indeed, RSV and the flu are pushing pediatric emergency rooms and hospitals to capacity and the American Academy of Pediatrics called on U.S. President Biden to declare a health emergency that would make additional resources available.
I’ve used the term “tripledemic” several times in this space and it appears it’s already here.
There is one thing we can all do to reduce our own risk to one of these viruses – RSV is not limited to children, it’s important to note – and that is to don a face mask. In areas where respiratory viruses, namely Covid, RSV, and the flu, are surging, health authorities should bite the bullet and reinstate mask mandates.
Masks work to lower the infection rate. Moreover, they have a positive impact even if some ignore the mandate.
Regardless of whether a mask mandate is put into effect, I will continue to mask up. But it isn’t just me. Infectious disease doctors, pediatricians, emergency-room physicians, and many others will put a mask on public indoor spaces and public transit as well.
It’s worth noting that China is trying to make its citizens believe that other countries also have mask mandates and follow strict Covid protocols. Chinese authorities are censoring footage of maskless crowds in attendance at the World Cup.
The move came after the sight of celebratory fans in packed stadia added fuel to the anger back home, where hundreds of millions remain under strict pandemic restrictions.
In other news we cover today, the wave of protests is continuing in China, a so-called “superbug” is hitting Las Vegas on top of Covid, the flu, and RSV,
Marjorie Taylor Greene, U.S. representative for Georgia’s 14th congressional district who is known in some circles as a right-wing conspiracy theorist, spoke out against Chinese authorities early Monday morning, expressing solidarity with protesters in Wuhan who are against the Chinese government’s so-called “zero Covid” strategy. In a widely-shared tweet, Greens said that she’s “praying for these people” and said that Covid “has been an evil tool of oppression.”
Meanwhile, Las Vegas has a new problem and it isn’t a respiratory virus. It’s a superbug, Candida auris, and it’s spreading in the region. There have been 600 cases of the “once rare” infection in southern Nevada and more than one-third of the cases were identified at just two hospitals, the Las Vegas Review-Journal said. C. auris, which was first identified in 2009, causes bloodstream infections and, in some patients, death, particularly in hospital and nursing home patients with underlying medical issues. According to the CDC, over one in three patients dies after developing an invasive infection from C. auris, including infections affecting the blood, heart or brain.
The wave of protests against Covid lockdowns is spreading to university campuses there and communities abroad as China hit a fifth straight daily record of 40,347 new SARS-CoV-2 infections reported Monday for the prior day, the National Health Commission. The protests have hit at least a dozen cities across the globe in a strong display of solidarity with the protestors in China, who have demonstrated rare displays of defiance to government authorities.
The extreme dissent in China has resulted in a warning from investment bank Goldman Sachs, which said that China’s exit from zero-Covid may be “forced and disorderly. “The central government may soon need to choose between more lockdowns and more Covid outbreaks,” the firm wrote in a memorandum on Sunday.
The protests have also resulted in a dip in global oil prices to their lowest level in 2022. The fear of unrest in the world’s second largest economy also sent shares on Hong Kong and Chinese exchanges tumbling.
In the United Kingdom, health officials are telling hotels “to isolate migrants” in order to prevent outbreaks of diphtheria and Covid. As part of the emergency measures, asylum seekers there who are housed in hotels must remain in their rooms and will be sent meals with crockery and utensils that are not to be used by others, in order to prevent the spread of the diseases.
Meanwhile, Indonesia’s financial regulator said the government would extend loan forbearance for pandemic-impacted businesses such as hotels as well as the textile and footwear industries that have yet to recover, the country’s financial regulator said on Monday.
Now here are the daily statistics for Monday, November 28.
As of Monday morning, the world has recorded 646.3 million Covid-19 cases, an increase of 0.2 million cases, and 6.64 million deaths, according to Worldometer, a service that tracks such information. In addition, 624.8 million people worldwide have recovered from the virus, an increase of 0.2 million.
Worldwide, the number of active coronavirus cases as of Monday at press time is 14,800,122, a decrease of 56,000. Out of that figure, 99.7%, or 14,763,707, are considered mild, and 0.3%, or 36,415, are listed as critical. The percentage of cases considered critical has not changed over the past 24 hours.
The United States reported 6,304 new coronavirus infections on Monday for the previous day, compared to 1,190 on Sunday, 25,718 on Saturday, 36,030 on Friday, and 103,540 on Thursday, according to data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The 7-day incidence rate is now 37,086. 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 41,997, an increase of 6% 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 330, an increase of 6% over the same period, while the average number of hospitalizations for the period was 28,833, an increase of 3%. In addition, the number of patients in ICUs was 3,474, an increase of 8%.
In addition, since the start of the pandemic the United States has, as of Monday, recorded just under 100.5 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 530,614.
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 just under 37.7 million, and Germany is in the number four slot, with just under 36.4 million total cases.
Brazil, which has recorded the third highest number of deaths as a result of the virus, 689,560, has recorded 35.2million 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 just under 27 million cases, Japan, with 24.5 million, placing it in the number seven slot, and Italy, with 24.3 million, as number eight, as well as the United Kingdom, with 24 million, and Russia, with 21.6 million.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that, as of last Thursday, 267.8 million people in the United States – or 80.7% – have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine. Of that population, 68.8%, or 228.4 million people, have received two doses of vaccine, and the total number of doses that have been dispensed in the United States is now 653.5 million. Breaking this down further, 91.7% of the population over the age of 18 – or 236.6 million people – has received at least a first inoculation and 78.6% of the same group – or 202.8 million people – is fully vaccinated. In addition, 13.9% of the same population, or 36 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 68.5% of the world population has received at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine by Monday, according to Our World in Data, an online scientific publication that tracks such information. So far, 12.99 billion doses of the vaccine have been administered on a global basis and 2.19 million doses are now administered each day.
Meanwhile, only 24.6% 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)