Good morning. This is Jonathan Spira reporting. Here now the news of the pandemic from across the globe on the 1,034th day of the pandemic.
I’ve never accepted that the antiviral Paxlovid causes a Covid rebound and now there are studies that support this view.
The research suggests that the virus can wax and wane before going away completely, regardless of whether the patient takes an antiviral. Of course, the antiviral is successful in almost all patients in fending away severe symptoms of the virus and keeping patients out of hospital.
In recent months, a number of peer-reviewed and preprint studies have looked at patients with Covid-19 in the placebo groups of clinical trials for Paxlovid and other treatments. As part of the trials, the patients in these groups were required to fill out daily symptom trackers. All of the studies found that as much as 30% of those who did not take an antiviral experienced a rebound in coughing, fatigue, headache, or other symptoms after initially feeling better, the very same symptoms associated with so-called “Paxlovid Rebound.”
In other news we cover today, a healthy diet and getting sufficient sleep could prevent Long Covid one study says, President Joseph Biden said that the United States has “broken the Covid grip,” and the White House said it opposes legislation in Congress eliminating the vaccine mandate for foreign travelers.
Research published earlier this week indicates that following a healthy diet and getting sufficient sleep, among other practices, is not only good for one’s overall health but could significantly reduce the risk of developing Long Covid after a SARS-CoV-2 infection. The study, published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, looked at 1,981 women who tested positive for Covid-19. In this group, there was a 49% lower risk associated with developing Long Covid for those who adhered to five to six healthy lifestyle factors when compared to women who didn’t, researchers at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health reported.
The lifestyle factors cited by the researchers include a “healthy body mass index, never smoking, high-quality diet, moderate alcohol intake, regular exercise, and adequate sleep.”
In his State of the Union message Tuesday night, President Joseph Biden said that SARS-CoV-2 is still prevalent in society but said that the country has “broken the Covid grip.” He praised the ingenuity of medicine that allowed the country to start to move away from the dark days of the pandemic and insisted that Congress keep funding those efforts to uphold the safety of Americans.
New data shows that 4 in 10 U.S. households were impacted by one of the three “tripledemic” viruses during the holiday season. The three are influenza, SARS-CoV-2, and RSV, or respiratory syncytial virus.
In Australia, Health Minister Mark Butler said on Wednesday that the nation will roll out a fifth dose of coronavirus vaccine later this month to all citizens aged 18 and above who have not yet contracted coronavirus or been vaccinated in the past six months.
Meanwhile, China is maintaining that it has always shared Covid-related data and information with the World Health Organization, the country’s National Health Commission said on Wednesday amidst global criticism that it is not doing so.
Hong Kong officially welcomed back cross-border students for full-day, in-person classes on Wednesday. The move came amidst the total resumption of travel between China and the special administrative region, marking an end to three years of online lessons.
Finally, just when you thought you could sit back and relax, the United Nations is advising that superbugs – i.e., drug-resistant diseases – are now killing millions. The report said that industries, including the pharmaceutical and agricultural concerns are largely responsible for this growing threat, as they are inadvertently causing dangerous pathogens to evolve to outsmart currently available medications.
In the United States, the White House said Tuesday that it opposes legislation currently before Congress that would end a requirement that most foreign air travelers be fully vaccinated against the coronavirus.
Spain ended its mask mandate for public transit. The country’s health minister, Carolina Darias San Sebastián, hailed it as an “important step towards normality.”
As more people return, at least in a hybrid fashion, to the office and telecommute less and government agencies try to step back from the ongoing pandemic, Zoom, which made much of pandemic life possible if not bearable for some, said it is laying off 15% of its workforce amidst a downturn in usage and earnings.
Now here are the daily statistics for Wednesday, February 8.
As of Wednesday morning, the world has recorded 676.7 million Covid-19 cases, an increase of 0.2 million cases, and 6.78 million deaths, according to Worldometer, a service that tracks such information. In addition, 649.2 million people worldwide have recovered from the virus, an increase of 0.3 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 Wednesday at press time is 20,689,723, a decrease of 44,000. Out of that figure, 99.8%, or 20,648,553, are considered mild, and 0.2%, or 41,170, are listed as critical. The percentage of cases considered critical has not changed over the past 24 hours.
The United States reported 24,780 new coronavirus infections on Tuesday for the previous day, compared to 2,718 on Monday, 2,986 on Sunday, 64,375 on Saturday, 67,603 on Friday, and 109,666 on Thursday, according to data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The 7-day incidence rate is now 43,301. 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.
New data for Wednesday was not available at press time but it will be updated as it becomes available.
The average daily number of new coronavirus cases in the United States over the past 14 days is 39,460, a figure down 14% 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 449, a decrease of 17% over the same period, while the average number of hospitalizations for the period was 29,459 , a decrease of 18%. In addition, the number of patients in ICUs was 3,696, a decrease of 19% and the test positivity rate is now 11%, a figure that has not changed in the past 24 hours.
In addition, since the start of the pandemic the United States has, as of Wednesday, recorded just over 104.5 million cases, a higher figure than any other country, and a death toll of 1.14 million. India has the world’s second highest number of officially recorded cases, 44.7 million, and a reported death toll of 530,746.
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 last reported that 3,284 people died from the coronavirus or related causes in July 2022, 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 over 37.8 million total cases.
Brazil, which has recorded the third highest number of deaths as a result of the virus, 697,533, has recorded 36.9 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 32.8 million cases, South Korea, with 30.3 million cases, placing it in the number seven slot, and Italy, with 25.5 million, as number eight, as well as the United Kingdom, with 24.3 million, and Russia, with 22 million.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that, as of the past 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 Wednesday, according to Our World in Data, an online scientific publication that tracks such information. So far, 13.27 billion doses of the vaccine have been administered on a global basis and 725,256 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.
Anna Breuer contributed reporting to this story.
(Photo: Accura Media Group)