Good morning. This is Jonathan Spira reporting. Here now the news of the pandemic from across the globe on the 1,119th day of the pandemic and 404 Day, a day meant to call attention to Internet censorship in public schools and libraries in the United States, using the imagery of the standardized Error 404, “Page Not Found,” as its basis.
In news we cover today, cases continue to spike in India, researchers are launching a trial of a coronavirus vaccine designed just for children, and Long Covid is as much a data problem as it is a health issue.
Long Covid is not just a health problem but a data problem, said Indra Joshi, director of health, research, and artificial intelligence at Palantir, a big data company, speaking at the Wired Health Conference in London on March 21. Joshi, a former emergency medicine physician, hopes to use big data to learn more about the condition and uncover potential treatments.
Researchers at the Colorado University School of Medicine have launched a clinical trial for a coronavirus vaccine specifically designed for children. Currently, children in the six-month to five-year-old age group only have the original vaccine, which was not designed to take omicron variants into account, while the newer bivalent vaccinations from Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech are targeted at omicron variants.
Meanwhile, the New York City Department of Health reported that sexually transmitted infections rose significantly following the end of the pandemic-induced lockdowns in the Big Apple, in part due to reduced screenings and apparently because there was nothing else to do. From 2020 to 2021, the chlamydia rate increased by 13.2% among males and 5.2% among females, and, from 2020 to 2021, the primary and secondary syphilis rate decreased 1.5%. While there was a 4% drop among males, there was a 28.7% increase among females.
Cases continue to spike in India. The country has seen a 437% increase in over the past 28 days as of last Friday and a 114% increase in Covid-related deaths over the same period. The country recorded 1,830 new coronavirus cases over the past 24 hours bringing the active caseload in the nation to 20,219 as of Monday morning, according to data from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
OTHER HEALTHCARE NEWS
If you are reading the Morning News Brief while whipping up a batch of cookie dough, you might want to lower the wooden spoon and place it gently onto the counter without stopping to lick the remaining raw cookie dough. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is renewing its warning against eating raw cookie dough because it can lead to salmonella poisoning. Epidemiologic data is showing that the root cause of this is that flour contaminated with Salmonella is causing the illness. In an update last week, the CDC said it was working to identify the specific brand(s) that may be linked to these illnesses. CDC investigators said that six out of seven people interviewed after contracting Salmonella said they had eaten raw dough or batter before falling ill.
Meanwhile, a man in India recently became the world’s first known person to get sick from Chondrostereum purpureum. a fungus that normally attacks rose plants. The 61-year-old man had been suffering with a cough, fatigue, sore throat, and trouble swallowing when he visited an outpatient clinic in India, a move that led to his eventual diagnosis. The case was detailed in the April issue of Medical Mycology Case Reports.
The case seems to be a rare example of a plant pathogen crossing over into humans. Thankfully, the infection was treatable, but the incident could illustrate the growing danger that fungi will pose to people in the years to come, the doctors say.
Now here are the daily statistics for Tuesday, April 4.
As of Tuesday morning, the world has recorded 684.2 million Covid-19 cases, an increase of 0.1 million from the previous day, and 6.83 million deaths, according to Worldometer, a service that tracks such information. In addition, just over 657.2 million people worldwide have recovered from the virus, an increase of 0.1 million from the previous day.
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 Tuesday at press time is 20,165,447, a decrease of 36,000. Out of that figure, 99.8%, or 20,125,542are considered mild, and 0.2%, or 39,905, are listed as critical. The percentage of cases considered critical has not changed over the past five months.
The United States reported 138,481 new cases in the period March 23 through March 29, a figure that is down 16% over the same period one week earlier, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The death toll for the same period is 1,596, a figure that is down 12%. The average number of hospital admissions from Covid was 5,713 on March 31, a figure that is down 7% over the preceding 14 days. Finally, the test positivity rate is 7.1%, up 5% over the 14 days preceding March 28.
Starting on March 25, 2023, the Morning News Brief began to update case data as well as death tolls on a weekly basis.
In addition, since the start of the pandemic the United States has, as of Tuesday, recorded just under 106.3 million cases, a higher figure than any other country, and a death toll of over 1.15 million. India has the world’s second highest number of officially recorded cases, 44.7 million, and a reported death toll of 530,881.
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 39.8 million, and Germany is in the number four slot, with 38.4 million total cases.
Brazil, which has recorded the third highest number of deaths as a result of the virus, 700,239, has recorded 37.3 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 33.5 million cases, South Korea, with just under 30.9 million cases, placing it in the number seven slot, and Italy, with 25.7 million, as number eight, as well as the United Kingdom, with 24.4 million, and Russia, with just under 22.7 million.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that, as of last Thursday, over 269.9 million people in the United States – or 81.3% – have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine. Of that population, 69.4%, or 230.4 million people, have received two doses of vaccine, and the total number of doses that have been dispensed in the United States is now 674 million. Breaking this down further, 92.2% of the population over the age of 18 – or 238.1 million people – has received at least a first inoculation and 79% of the same group – or 204.2 million people – is fully vaccinated. In addition, 20% of the same population, or 51.6 million people, has already received an updated or bivalent booster dose of vaccine, while 23.1 million people over the age of 65, or 42.1% 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 Tuesdays by 8 p.m. EDT, a statement on the agency’s website said.
Some 69.8% of the world population has received at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine by Tuesday, according to Our World in Data, an online scientific publication that tracks such information. So far, 2.4 billion doses of the vaccine have been administered on a global basis and 1.3 million doses are now administered each day.
Meanwhile, only 28.7% 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)