Good morning. This is Jonathan Spira reporting. Here now the news of the pandemic from across the globe on the 1,178th day of the pandemic as well as the National Donut Day.
OP-ED ON FRIDAY
I Criticized Fauci First! No! I did!
In the Spring of 2020, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis was praising Dr. Anthony Fauci although he now lambasts then President Donald Trump for “turning the country over to Fauci in March 2020.”
In previously unreported quotes uncovered by CNN, the governor said that Fauci was “really, really good and really, really helpful” and “really doing a good job.”
In other comments released by CNN, the Florida governor noted that he deferred to Fauci’s guidance on coronavirus restrictions and he later cited Fauci’s advice when communicating the policies he was putting in place early in the pandemic in the state of Florida.
“You have a lot of people there who are working very, very hard, and they’re not getting a lot of sleep,” DeSantis said on March 25, 2020, while presenting a briefing on Florida’s response to the pandemic.
“They’re really focusing on a big country that we have. And from Dr. Birx to Dr. Fauci to the vice president who’s worked very hard, the surgeon general, they’re really doing a good job. It’s a tough, tough situation, but they’re working hard.”
The turnaround in DeSantis’ position is striking.
“I think [Donald Trump] did great for three years, but when he turned the country over to Fauci in March of 2020 that destroyed millions of people’s lives,” DeSantis said last Thursday. “And in Florida, we were one of the few that stood up, cut against the grain, took incoming fire from media, bureaucracy, the left, even a lot of Republicans, had schools open, preserved businesses.”
While DeSantis now claims to have started to criticize Dr. Fauci before Trump, that is a rewrite of history. A review of public appearances by both DeSantis and Trump show that Trump began to harshly lambast Fauci far before DeSantis. DeSantis continued to cite Dr. Fauci’s guidance and use his name in briefings in March and April 2020 when discussing justifications for his lockdown policies and coronavirus restrictions in the state.
In other news we cover today, a study shows that Long Covid remains a significant threat, President Biden will soon name a new CDC director, and the debt-ceiling bill passed by Congress in the United States will leave in place front-line Covid-19 investments such as next-generation vaccines and testing.
One in 10 people infected with the coronavirus during the Omicron wave suffered from Long Covid, according to a new study. The initial finding, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association on May 25, indicates that the syndrome responsible for a host of symptoms and remains a notable threat.
New York City’s rootin’ tootin’ sheriff, Anthony Miranda, touted “gimmick” coronavirus protections immediately prior to his appointment to his position by Mayor Eric Adams. (If you didn’t know that the Big Apple had a sheriff, you could be forgiven. However, he is not responsible for municipal law enforcement, but rather for civil law enforcement including carrying out seizures of property and arrests.) Miranda hawked the “1 invisible mask,” also known as the “1 Virus buster,” in league with a convicted racketeer and a Queens business leader who was embroiled in an Elon Musk-imposter matter. He called the device, which was worn like a conference badge, “very real” and “very effective.” The device claimed to work by “colliding” ions in a packet that produced a “protective gas” in front of the wearer’s nose and mouth, and purported to kill “up to 99.9%” of bacteria, viruses, and pathogens in a three-foot radius.
Meanwhile, President Biden reportedly plans to name Dr. Mandy Cohen as the next director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The doctor worked in the Obama administration and served as North Carolina’s secretary of health. She would replace Dr. Rochelle Walensky, who is stepping down from the position at the end of the month.
Finally, the debt-ceiling legislation passed by Congress this week will cancel almost $30 billion in pandemic relief funding but leave in place for front-line Covid-19 investments such as next-generation vaccines and testing. The bill will claw back billions in unspent pandemic relief funding.
Now here are the daily statistics for Friday, June 2.
As of Friday morning, the world has recorded 689.8 million Covid-19 cases, an increase of 0.1 million from the previous day, and over 6.88 million deaths, according to Worldometer, a service that tracks such information. In addition, just over 662 million people worldwide have recovered from the virus, an increase of less than 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 Friday at press time is 20,778,693, a decrease of 1,400. Out of that figure, 99.8%, or 20,740,694 (, are considered mild, and 0.2%, or 37,999, are listed as critical. The percentage of cases considered critical has not changed over the past eight months.
The United States reported 72,136 new cases in the period May 4 through May 10, a figure that is down 26% over the same period one week earlier, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The test positivity rate for the week ending May 27 was 6.79%, down from 7.96% in the prior week, according to data from the CDC Respiratory Virus Laboratory Emergency Department Network Surveillance, or RESP-LENS. By comparison, the test positive rate for influenza was 1.77% and, for RSV, that figure was 0.48%.
The death toll from Covid is down 1.3% in week ending May 20, 2023, and the trend in Covid-19 deaths is down 13.3% over the same period.
Finally, the number of hospital admissions from over the past week Covid was 8,256 as of May 23, a figure that is down 11% over the preceding 7-day period.
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, starting on May 15, 2023, the Morning News Brief has pressed pause on certain data sets as we assess the update of changes in reporting by U.S. health authorities at the CDC.
Since the start of the pandemic the United States has, as of Friday, recorded over 107.1 million cases, a higher figure than any other country, and a death toll of over 1.16 million. India has the world’s second highest number of officially recorded cases, just under 45 million, and a reported death toll of 531,874.
The newest data from Russia’s Rosstat state statistics service showed that, at the end of July 2022, 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 40.1 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, 702,907, has recorded 37.6 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 33.8 million cases, South Korea, with 31.7 million cases, placing it in the number seven slot, and Italy, with just over 25.8 million, as number eight, as well as the United Kingdom, with 24.6 million, and Russia, with 22.9 million.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that, as of May 11, over 270.2 million people in the United States – or 81.4% – have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine. Of that population, 69.5%, or 230.6 million people, have received two doses of vaccine, and the total number of doses that have been dispensed in the United States is now over 676.7 million. Breaking this down further, 92.23% of the population over the age of 18 – or 238.2 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, 20.5% of the same population, or 53 million people, has already received an updated or bivalent booster dose of vaccine, while 23.7 million people over the age of 65, or 43.3% 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. Starting on May 11, 2023, the CDC pressed pause on reporting new vaccine data, a hiatus it said would end on June 15 of this year.
Some 70% 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, 13.39 billion doses of the vaccine have been administered on a global basis and 66,122 doses are now administered each day.
Meanwhile, only 30% 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)