Good morning. This is Jonathan Spira reporting. Here now the news of the pandemic from across the globe on the 1,186th day of the pandemic as well as the 46th anniversary of the market introduction of the Apple II computer.
OP-ED ON SATURDAY
Apple II – The First Personal Computer
The Apple II, which was styled as apple ][, was first sold on June 10, 1977. After seeing a crude, wire-wrapped prototype demonstrated by Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs November 1976, Byte magazine predicted in its April 1977 issue that the Apple II “may be the first product to fully qualify as the ‘appliance computer’ … a completed system which is purchased off the retail shelf, taken home, plugged in and used.” Because the Apple II had color graphics capability, the company added the rainbow stripes to its Apple-shaped logo to underscore the point.
In the May 1977 issue of Byte, Wozniak, in a story he penned about the Apple II, said that “[T]o me, a personal computer should be small, reliable, convenient to use, and inexpensive.’
By the end of production in 1993, almost d six million Apple II series computers – which included ca. 1.25 million Apple IIGS models as well as the Apple II+, Apple IIe, Apple IIc, and Apple IIc Plus – had been produced and the Apple II had the longest production run of any home computer series, after being in production for just under 17 years. All of these models were able to operate the same software programs.
The Apple II was unquestionably the most recognizable and successful computer in the United States during the 1980s and early 1990s and led the way to the personal computer revolution which saw computer mainframe behemoth IBM enter the personal computer market with the IBM PC in 1982.
In other news we cover today, there’s more news about the use of the diabetes drug metformin to prevent Long Covid and Texas passed two bills legislating against vaccines.
Yesterday we covered the news about the metformin study conducted by researchers at the University of Minnesota. Here are some more details. The phase 3 trial – considered the gold standard in research – revealed that metformin could reduce the risk of Long Covid by up to 63% among participants who started treatment within three days of their initial SARS-CoV-2 diagnosis. It’s important to caution that the study does not indicate whether metformin would be effective as a treatment for individuals already suffering from Long Covid.
Two bills related to vaccines passed in the Texas legislation in the 2023 session. One, SB29, permanently enacts multiple executive orders first issued by Governor Greg Abbott including a prohibition on adding coronavirus vaccines to the schedule of vaccines required to attend public school in the state. Th second, HB 44, penalizes physicians who have vaccination requirements for their patients from being eligible for Medicaid reimbursements.
Now here are the daily statistics for Saturday, June 10.
As of Saturday morning, the world has recorded over 690.1 million Covid-19 cases, an increase of less than 0.1 million from the previous day, and 6.89 million deaths, according to Worldometer, a service that tracks such information. In addition, 662.2 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 Saturday at press time is 20,640,946, a decrease of 21,000. Out of that figure, 99.8%, or 20,603,330, are considered mild, and 0.2%, or 37,616, 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 was 1.5% in the week ending May 27, 2023, and the trend in Covid-19 deaths is up 7.1% over the same period.
Finally, the number of hospital admissions from Covid for the week ending May 30 was 7,643, a figure that is down 8.4% 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 Saturday, recorded 107.2 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 531,888.
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, 703,291, 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 31.8 million cases, placing it in the number seven slot, and Italy, with 25.9 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 70.1% of the world population has received at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine by Saturday, according to Our World in Data, an online scientific publication that tracks such information. So far, 13.41 billion doses of the vaccine have been administered on a global basis and 298,483 doses are now administered each day.
Meanwhile, only 30.2% 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.
Paul Riegler contributed reporting to this story.
(Photo: Accura Media Group)