Good morning. This is Jonathan Spira reporting. Here now the news of the pandemic from across the globe on the 1,055th day of the pandemic, the first day of the month of March and of meteorological spring.
Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator under the Trump Administration, said on Tuesday that the country isn’t doing enough to prevent another pandemic such as SARS-CoV-2.
“To me, what’s really important as we went through this after SARS, and the World Health Organization’s developed treaties, we spent literally hundreds of millions of dollars on saying we were ready and we would prevent the next pandemic and it happened,” Birx said on the television program “CNN This Morning.”
“So, let’s be very clear that what we have done today has failed. And I worry that we haven’t put the new things in place that will keep us and protect us from the next pandemic,” she added.
“Is the United States doing enough to prevent this from happening again?” host Kaitlan Collins asked Birx during the program.
“No,” Birx replied.
In other news we cover today, the White House said that there is no consensus within the administration on the origins of the coronavirus,
The official word is that there is no official word on the origins of the coronavirus pandemic. The White House said on Tuesday that there is no consensus within the Biden administration over the origins of SARS-CoV-2, a day after the disclosure of a Department of Energy assessment that the pandemic appeared to originate with a lab leak in Wuhan.
In California, Los Angeles County officials said that the county’s coronavirus emergency declaration will end at the end of March.
Vaccine maker Novavax raised doubts about its ability to remain a going concern. On Tuesday, it announced plans to slash spending as it works to prepare for a fall vaccination campaign.
In New York, the Rockland County coronavirus call center will close its doors after three years of operation. The call centers’ last day is Tuesday. The center was launched in early March 2020 at the start of the pandemic due to the high volume of calls the Health Department was fielding about the virus.
In Germany, a Dresden doctor was arrested for accepting money to issue exemptions from coronavirus pandemic mandates without there being a medical basis for them. According to a police statement, the doctor earned €12,500 ($13,300) for issuing the fraudulent exemptions. The arrest warrant accuses her of issuing some 162 exemption certificates to individuals who would not have qualified for them.
Despite intense criticism, Chinese officials maintained that they have been “open and transparent” on questions related to the origin of the coronavirus pandemic. The Biden administration continues to press Beijing on the matter.
OTHER HEALTHCARE NEWS
Officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are raising concerns over a diarrhea-causing superbug. Data from the CDC shows a noticeable rise in extensively drug-resistant strains of Shigella bacteria over the past five years. Although these infections are typically not severe, antibiotics are needed to prevent and treat life-threatening cases, and the bacteria can pass on their resistance genes to other troublesome germs.
A panel of outside advisers to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommended Pfizer’s RSV, or respiratory syncytial virus, vaccine on Tuesday. The approval brings the vaccine closer to becoming one of the first RSV shots for older adults in the United States to get the green light.
Now here are the daily statistics for Wednesday, March 1.
As of Wednesday morning, the world has recorded 680.1 million Covid-19 cases, an increase of 0.2 million cases, and 6.8 million deaths, according to Worldometer, a service that tracks such information. In addition, 652.9 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 Wednesday at press time is 20,346,833, a decrease of 6,000. Out of that figure, 99.8%, or 20,306,341, are considered mild, and 0.2%, or 40,492, are listed as critical. The percentage of cases considered critical has not changed over the past three months.
The United States reported 25,343, new coronavirus infections on Wednesday for the previous day, compared to 17,547 on Tuesday, 2,318 on Monday, 1,527 on Sunday, 11,171 on Saturday, 64,478 on Friday, and 127,499 on Thursday, according to data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The 7-day incidence rate is now 36,212. 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 34,462, a figure down 12% 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 445, an increase of 4% over the same period, while the average number of hospitalizations for the period was 26,903, a decrease of 8%. In addition, the number of patients in ICUs was 3,497, a decrease of 4% and the test positivity rate is now 9.2%, a figure that is down by 5% over the same period.
In addition, since the start of the pandemic the United States has, as of Wednesday, recorded 105.3 million cases, a higher figure than any other country, and a death toll of 1.15 million. India has the world’s second highest number of officially recorded cases, 44.7 million, and a reported death toll of 530,772.
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 39.6 million, and Germany is in the number four slot, with 38.2 million total cases.
Brazil, which has recorded the third highest number of deaths as a result of the virus, 699,087, has recorded just under 37.1 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 33.2 million cases, South Korea, with 30.5 million cases, placing it in the number seven slot, and Italy, with 25.6 million, as number eight, as well as the United Kingdom, with over 24.3 million, and Russia, with 22.3 million.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that, as of the past Thursday, 269.5 million people in the United States – or 81.2% – have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine. Of that population, 69.3%, or just under 230 million people, have received two doses of vaccine, and the total number of doses that have been dispensed in the United States is now 671.6 million. Breaking this down further, 92.1% of the population over the age of 18 – or 237.8 million people – has received at least a first inoculation and 79% of the same group – or 203.9 million people – is fully vaccinated. In addition, 19.5% of the same population, or 50.3 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 Thursdays by 8 p.m. EDT, a statement on the agency’s website said.
Some 69.7% 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, 13.31 billion doses of the vaccine have been administered on a global basis and 572,805 doses are now administered each day.
Meanwhile, only 27.8% 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)