Good morning. This is Jonathan Spira reporting. Here now the news of the pandemic from across the globe on the 1,146thday of the pandemic and May Day.
May Day, typically observed on May 1, is an ancient Northern Hemisphere spring festival that celebrates the season. It is also a public holiday in many countries, in most cases referred to as Labour Day or International Workers’ Day, and isintended to commemorate the1886 Haymarket riot in Chicago.
In an interview with the New York Times magazine, Dr. Anthony Fauci, until recently the medical advisor to President Joe Biden and the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases for just under 40 years, said that the general public “somehow” didn’t get his messaging that the “vulnerable are really, really heavily weighted toward the elderly.”
“Did we do enough to communicate the age skew of the disease?” he asked. “I still think, honestly to this day, that almost no one appreciates just how wide that age skew really is, given that the risk to someone in their eighties or nineties is perhaps hundreds of times as high as it is to someone in their twenties or thirties.”
Fauci continued to underscore the point.
“Did we say that the elderly were much more vulnerable? Yes. Did we say it over and over and over again? Yes, yes, yes. But somehow or other, the general public didn’t get that feeling that the vulnerable are really, really heavily weighted toward the elderly. Like 85% of the hospitalizations are there. But if you ask the person in the street, they may say, ‘Oh, yeah, elderly are more vulnerable, but everybody’s really vulnerable’ – which is true, but to a much lesser extent.”
In other news we cover today, how to still get free Covid test kits, what happened to a Chinese citizen journalist who showed the world what was happening in China in early 2020, and healthcare services in the Sudan are collapsing as the civil war continues.
When the federal government’s public health emergency declaration ends on May 11, coronavirus home test kits will continue to be available but there will be changes as to who pays for them.
Until then, free coronavirus home test kits continue to be available to those who haven’t requested any since December 2022 on the U.S. government’s special website, www.covidtests.gov. After May 11, it is unclear whether all or just some insurers will cover the cost of home Covid testing.
China reportedly released Fang Bin from prison after three years. The citizen journalist disappeared three years ago used videos of overcrowded hospitals and corpses during the SARS-CoV-2 outbreaks to show the world what was happening in the country, a relative and another person familiar with his case told reporters. Fang, who sold clothing for a living, and other citizen journalists shared details of the early toll of the pandemic in the country, moves that embarrassed Chinese officials who then faced public criticism for failing to contain the outbreak.
Fang’s final video was posted on Twitter showing a simple piece of paper on which was written, “All citizens resist, hand power back to the people.”
In Singapore, the number of weekly new SARS-CoV-2 cases is on the rise. In the week starting April 16, that figure was at over 27,000. In addition, the average daily number of hospitalized cases since the week starting March 5 has been steadily increasing, the country’s health ministry’s statistics show. As of the week starting April 16, that figure was above 300.
OTHER HEALTHCARE NEWS
As the battle for control of the Sudan enters its third week, the country’s healthcare system is collapsing. Doctors and nurses are working in harrowing conditions, hospitals lack power, and some healthcare workers are setting up field hospitals in people’s homes amidst the fighting. Over a dozen healthcare workers have been killed thus far and two-thirds of the hospitals in Khartoum are closed.
Now here are the daily statistics for Monday, May 1.
As of Monday morning, the world has recorded 687.1 million Covid-19 cases, a figure that is largely unchanged from the previous day, and 6.86 million deaths, according to Worldometer, a service that tracks such information. In addition, 659.7 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 Monday at press time is 20,586,952, a decrease of 4,000. Out of that figure, 99.8%, or 20,547,581, are considered mild, and 0.2%, or 39,371, are listed as critical. The percentage of cases considered critical has not changed over the past five months.
The United States reported 94,140 new cases in the period April 13 through April 19, a figure that is down 23% 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 1,160, a figure that is down 34%. The average number of hospital admissions from Covid was 4,569 on April 24, a figure that is down 13% over the preceding 14 days. Finally, the test positivity rate is 5.4%, down 12% over the 14 days preceding April 21.
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 Monday, recorded 106.6 million cases, a higher figure than any other country, and a death toll of 1.16 million. India has the world’s second highest number of officially recorded cases, 44.9 million, and a reported death toll of 531,533.
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 just under 40 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, 701,494, has recorded 37.4 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 33.7 million cases, South Korea, with just under 31.2 million cases, placing it in the number seven slot, and Italy, with just under 25.8 million, as number eight, as well as the United Kingdom, with over 24.5 million, and Russia, with 22.8 million.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that, as of the past Thursday, just over 270 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 230.5 million people, have received two doses of vaccine, and the total number of doses that have been dispensed in the United States is now 675.4 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 79.1% of the same group – or 204.3 million people – is fully vaccinated. In addition, 20.3% of the same population, or 52.3 million people, has already received an updated or bivalent booster dose of vaccine, while 23.3 million people over the age of 65, or 42.6% 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 70% of the world population has received at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine by Monday, according to Our World in Data, an online scientific publication that tracks such information. So far, 13.38 billion doses of the vaccine have been administered on a global basis and 157,212 doses are now administered each day.
Meanwhile, only 29.7% 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)