Good morning. This is Jonathan Spira reporting. Here now the news of the pandemic from across the globe on the 1,024th day of the pandemic.
In news we cover today, former President Trump accused Florida Governor Ron DeSantis of being a covid skeptic phony, absences at U.S. companies are at an all-time high, and a prison in Connecticut was forced into lockdown over an outbreak of SARS-CoV-2.
Absences at work in the United States are at an all-time high and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that Long Covid appears to be a factor. Over one million people have called out sick each month over the past three years, the agency reported. In December, that figure was at 1.5 million. The last time that figure fell below one million was in November 2019.
A prison in Connecticut was forced to lock down prisoners for two weeks amidst an outbreak in cases of SARS-CoV-2. MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution was closed for over two weeks after over 50 prisoners tested positive on January 7 of this year.
Since announcing his campaign for reelection in November, former President Donald Trump had not hit the campaign trail until now. At a campaign stop, he called Florida Governor Ron DeSantis a Covid skeptic phony.
Trump accused the governor of “trying to rewrite history” over his response to the coronavirus pandemic. The former president said that DeSantis, who has been openly skeptical about government efforts to vaccinate people against the virus, “promoted the vaccine as much as anyone.” He praised governors who did not close down their states, noting that DeSantis ordered the closure of beaches and business in some parts of the state in the early months of the pandemic.
Media reports report that the Florida governor’s once clear and unadulterated public messaging about the need for vaccines became more diluted in the middle of 2021, when he began to stand head-and-shoulders with the anti-vaccine crowd.
Hundreds of coronavirus in Hong Kong patients will be allowed to leave isolation facilities starting Monday, as one of the last remaining pandemic control measures comes to end after more than three years. The city’s remaining anti-epidemic measures, namely mandatory tests for travelers and a quota for mainland China border crossings – could reported be dropped soon as well.
After a hiatus in issuing visas to Japanese citizens after Japan began to require negative coronavirus tests for travelers arriving from China, the Chinese embassy in Tokyo said on Sunday that it had begun once again to issue them, without offering a reason for the decision.
Now here are the daily statistics for Sunday, January 29.
As of Sunday morning, the world has recorded over 674.8 million Covid-19 cases, an increase of 0.5 million cases, and 6.76 million deaths, according to Worldometer, a service that tracks such information. In addition, 646.9 million people worldwide have recovered from the virus, an increase of 0.1 million.
The reader should note that infrequent reporting from some sources may appear as spikes in new case figures or death tolls.
Worldwide, the number of active coronavirus cases as of Sunday at press time is 21,110,012, a decrease of 10,000. Out of that figure, 99.8%, or 21,067,767, are considered mild, and 0.2%, or 42,245, are listed as critical. The percentage of cases considered critical has not changed over the past 24 hours.
The United States reported 2,200 new coronavirus infections on Sunday for the previous day, compared to 14,171 on Saturday, 31,731 on Friday, 113,283 on Thursday, 31,773 on Wednesday, and 32,412 on Tuesday, according to data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The 7-day incidence rate is now 39,663. 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 46,204, a figure down 25% 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 521, a decrease of 8% over the same period, while the average number of hospitalizations for the period was 34,015, a decrease of 24%. In addition, the number of patients in ICUs was 4,349, a decrease of 21% and the test positivity rate is now 11%, a 12% decrease.
In addition, since the start of the pandemic the United States has, as of Sunday, recorded over 104.1 million cases, a higher figure than any other country, and a death toll of 1.13 million. India has the world’s second highest number of officially recorded cases, just under 44.7 million, and a reported death toll of 530,740.
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 39.5 million, and Germany is in the number four slot, with 37.7 million total cases.
Brazil, which has recorded the third highest number of deaths as a result of the virus, 696,809, has recorded 36.8 million cases, placing it in the number five slot.
The other five countries with total case figures over the 20 million mark are Japan, with 32.5 million cases, South Korea, with over 30.1 million cases, placing it in the number seven slot, and Italy, with over 25.4 million, as number eight, as well as the United Kingdom, with 24.3 million, and Russia, with 21.9 million.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that, as of Thursday, 268.9 million people in the United States – or 81% – have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine. Of that population, 69.2%, or 229.6 million people, have received two doses of vaccine, and the total number of doses that have been dispensed in the United States is now 668.8 million. Breaking this down further, 91.9% of the population over the age of 18 – or 237.4 million people – has received at least a first inoculation and 78.9% of the same group – or 203.7 million people – is fully vaccinated. In addition, 18.8% of the same population, or over 48.6 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 Thursdays by 8 p.m. EDT, a statement on the agency’s website said.
Some 69.4% of the world population has received at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine by Sunday, according to Our World in Data, an online scientific publication that tracks such information. So far, 13.25 billion doses of the vaccine have been administered on a global basis and 1.6 million doses are now administered each day.
Meanwhile, only 26.4% 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)