Good morning. This is Jonathan Spira reporting. Here now the news of the pandemic from across the globe on the 1,121st day of the pandemic and the first day of Passover, a holiday that commemorates the Israelites escape from slavery in Egypt.
The New York Times recently reported on how the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention failed to warn the public about how the then novel coronavirus was being spread. Instead, CDC leadership and high officials in the Trump administration were silencing scientists in the vaunted Epidemic Intelligence Service on the subject., the paper reported.
To the scientists of the EIS, the implication was clear: CDC leadership realized that the virus was being spread not just by people who were coughing and sneezing, but also by people who were asymptomatic. But the agency refused to warn the public, the Times said.
“All of us knew tens of thousands were going to die, and we were helpless to stop it,” said Dr. Daniel Wozniczka, one of the trainees, told the paper. “It was really heartbreaking and difficult on a psychological level not to be able to do anything.”
America’s fascination with the censorship of coronavirus-related information in China is legion, but we really need to zoom in on who prevented the scientists in the Epidemic Intelligence Service from warning the public, plus we need to take steps to ensure this never takes place again.
In other news we cover today, we examine how Long Covid affects children and young adults, $1.6 billion in pandemic funds is missing in Tanzania, and anti-vaxxer Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is planning to run for president of the United States, following in the footsteps of his late father and uncle.
Unlike what many people think, children are not immune from Long Covid. Children’s National Hospital in Washington, D.C. is conducting a study that will eventually enroll 1,000 kids. The team of researchers there is being led by Dr. Roberta DeBiasi, chief of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at the hospital.
The study encompasses children as young as 2 and young adults as old as 20. Already, 800 children are enrolled and the study has concluded that the prevalence of Long Covid in children ranges from 5% to 10%. While on average, each child averages ten symptoms, the study has found that children are less likely to suffer from pulmonary-related issues than older Long Covid patients. In addition, the majority of children with Long Covid do recover and are able to resume normal activities.
The anti-vaccine activist Robert F. Kennedy Jr. announced he will seek the office of president in 2024, the same office held by his famous uncle, John F. Kennedy in the 1960s. Kennedy, who is the son of the late Robert F. Kennedy, who was assassinated while seeking the nation’s highest office, was once a bestselling author and environmental lawyer who worked on issues such as clean water. Kennedy’s candidacy against an incumbent is a long shot at best, experts say.
The United Republic of Tanzania, a country in East Africa, mismanaged $1.6 billion in coronavirus pandemic funds. The country’s controller and auditor general found irregularities in excess of that amount in the budget allotted for the country’s socioeconomic recovery from the pandemic and reported that it appears to have been stolen from government coffers.
In the first few years of the pandemic, Tanzania was one of multiple countries whose leadership underplayed its seriousness even as millions died across the globe. Then president John Pombe Magufuli, claimed that prayer and herbal remedies were more than sufficient to combat SARS-CoV-2. Meanwhile, the country’s healthcare system was overrun by the pandemic. To date, there is no accurate data on how many people in Tanzania died from the coronavirus.
Magufuli died on March 17, 2021 from heart complications at a hospital in Dar es Salaam, his successor, Samia Suluhu Hassan, said in an address on state television. Hassan is the country’s sixth, and first female, president. Members of the opposition, however, said that Magufuli died from SARS-CoV-2.
Now here are the daily statistics for Thursday, April 6.
As of Thursday morning, the world has recorded 684.5 million Covid-19 cases, an increase of 0.2 million from the previous day, and just under 6.84 million deaths, according to Worldometer, a service that tracks such information. In addition, just over 657.4 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 Thursday at press time is 20,264,242, an increase of 53,000. Out of that figure, 99.8%, or 20,224,462 are considered mild, and 0.2%, or 39,780, 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 5,673 on April 3, a figure that is down 6% over the preceding 14 days. Finally, the test positivity rate is 6.8%, up 2% over the 14 days preceding March 31
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 Thursday, recorded 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 530,929.
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, 700,556, 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 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 22.7 million.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that, as of the past 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 Thursdays by 8 p.m. EDT, a statement on the agency’s website said.
Some 69.9% of the world population has received at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine by Thursday, according to Our World in Data, an online scientific publication that tracks such information. So far, 13.37 billion doses of the vaccine have been administered on a global basis and 903,230 doses are now administered each day.
Meanwhile, only 29.2% 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)