Good morning. This is Jonathan Spira reporting. Here now the news of the pandemic from across the globe on the 1,057th day of the pandemic.
While global emissions dropped during the first full year of the pandemic, namely 2020, enough so as to cause a decline in asthma and other respiratory issues as well as bring a return to blue skies in many cities in China, where they hadn’t been visible for years, the world in 2022 emitted more carbon dioxide than any prior year on record, according to data released Thursday by the International Energy Agency.
Energy-related emissions grew about 0.9% from 2021 to 2022, reaching a new high of 36.8 gigatons. As a point of reference, a gigaton is a unit of mass is equivalent to one billion metric tons, 2.2 trillion pounds, or 10,000 fully-loaded U.S. aircraft carriers.
The world’s emissions took a slight dip in 2020, when covid-19 lockdowns halted international travel. Once travel started up again, CO2 emissions rose quickly the following year.
Meanwhile, there has also been a dramatic decline in the number of automated teller machines, known commonly as ATMs, as people continue to rely less on cash versus digital payments. The pandemic drove a surge in digital payments as many feared in the earliest days of the pandemic that the virus survived on surfaces including paper money.
The number of ATMs in the United States peaked in 2019 at 470,000. Since then, the figure has declined over the past few years and was at 451,500 at the end of 2022, according to Euromonitor International, a research firm that tracks such data.
The downside of this is that people who depend on cash versus cards or Apple Pay have fewer options available to them.
In other news we cover today, Covid cases are up in the San Francisco, California, Bay Area and a nurse in Spain has been charged with giving children fake vaccinations.
San Francisco is seeing an increase in Covid cases and hospitalizations. The city’s health department reported that the seven-day rolling positivity rate climbed back to 7.4 after falling to 5.2% just two weeks ago.
In the United Kingdom, Matt Hancock, the health secretary in the early days of the pandemic, told Simon Case, Britain’s most senior civil servant, they would need to “get heavy with the police” in order to enforce lockdown rules during the Covid pandemic, leaked text messages have revealed.
The Chinese city of Wuxi, a manufacturing hub on the country‘s eastern coast and home to 7.5 million people, held a ceremony on Thursday during which it destroyed one billion pieces of personal data collected under China’s draconian so-called “zero-Covid” policy. The move was announced by the city’s public security bureau in a statement on social media.
An anti-vaxxer nurse in Spain was charged in court of faking children’s inoculations. The nurse reportedly also told at least one parent that his toddler would be better off walking barefoot on grass than getting a tetanus jab. The charges came after the regional health authority tested the immunity levels of children who were “vaccinated” by the nurse. The tests confirmed that the children had not been properly immunized. The nurse is currently on leave from her place of employment.
OTHER HEALTHCARE NEWS
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration rejected Elon Musk’s bid to test his company’s brain chips in humans, citing safety risks. Neuralink had applied to proceed to human trials with its device, and Musk has boasted since at least 2019 that human trials for the implant were right around the corner. The company develops implantable brain computer interfaces.
Now here are the daily statistics for Friday, March 3.
As of Friday morning, the world has recorded 680.4 million Covid-19 cases, an increase of 0.1 million cases, and 6.8 million deaths, according to Worldometer, a service that tracks such information. In addition, 653.2 million people worldwide have recovered from the virus, an increase of 0.2 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 Friday at press time is 20,421,056, an increase of 29,000. Out of that figure, 99.8%, or 20,380,586, are considered mild, and 0.2%, or 40,442, are listed as critical. The percentage of cases considered critical has not changed over the past three months.
The United States reported 62,111, new coronavirus infections on Friday for the previous day, compared to 89,261 on Thursday, 25,343 on Wednesday, and 17,547 on Tuesday, according to data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The 7-day incidence rate is now 30,412. 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 32,333, 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 541, an increase of 36% over the same period, while the average number of hospitalizations for the period was 26,653, a decrease of 8%. In addition, the number of patients in ICUs was 3,462, a decrease of 8% and the test positivity rate is now 9.1%, a figure that is down by 7% over the same period.
In addition, since the start of the pandemic the United States has, as of Friday, recorded 105.4 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, 699,230, has recorded 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 Thursday, 269.6 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 230.1 million people, have received two doses of vaccine, and the total number of doses that have been dispensed in the United States is now 672.1 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 just under 204 million people – is fully vaccinated. In addition, 19.6% of the same population, or 50.5 million people, has already received an updated or bivalent booster dose of vaccine, while 22.7 million people over the age of 65, or 41.4% of that population have also received the bivalent booster.
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 Friday, according to Our World in Data, an online scientific publication that tracks such information. So far, 13.32 billion doses of the vaccine have been administered on a global basis and 700,144 doses are now administered each day.
Meanwhile, only 27.9% 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)