Good morning. This is Jonathan Spira reporting. Here now the news of the pandemic from across the globe on the 1,204th day of the pandemic as well as INTERNATIONAL CAPS LOCK DAY, which is also observed on October 22.
OP-ED ON WEDNESDAY
International Caps Lock Day
International Caps Lock Day is a holiday that apparently requires two days on the calendar to be given its due.
Derek Arnold, a software developer with somewhat ironic experience on the .NET platform, created the original day to poke fun at “typographical conventions.” Since then, it has become the day on which guardians of language can poke fun at those who illogically write by yelling, i.e. IN ALL CAPS.
Arnold later added the second day of celebration in honor of boardwalk-bred Billy Mays, the “As Seen on TV” pitchman. The Washington Post called Mays “a full-volume pitchman, amped up like a candidate for a tranquilizer-gun takedown,” something somewhat akin to yelling by virtue of typing with CAPS LOCK ON.
In news we cover today, it turns out one blood type could make you more vulnerable to getting Covid and the vaccine initiative for the world’s poorest countries will wind up most of its work by year’s end.
Dr. Sean Stowell, an associate pathology professor at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, released findings that show that one blood type in particular could make individuals more susceptible to contracting SARS-CoV-2 than other types.
Stowell found that, indeed, the cells from people with blood type A were more likely to get infected with SARS-CoV-2 than cells from people with blood type O.
Types A, B, and AB, however, each contain different groups of proteins, or antigens, which, as Stowell learned, makes them interact differently with the Covid-19 virus.
Meanwhile, the Covax Initiative, the coronavirus vaccine scheme for the world’s poorest countries, unexpectedly has $2.6 billion left to spend as the spread of the virus fades.
The Covax Initiative’s mission is set to end before January 2024, although some of its work will continue.
Now here are the daily statistics for Wednesday, June 28.
As of Wednesday morning, the world has recorded 690.9 million Covid-19 cases, an increase of under 0.1 million from the previous day, and 6.89 million deaths, according to Worldometer, a service that tracks such information. In addition, 663.4 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 Wednesday at press time is 20,603,922, a decrease of 880. Out of that figure, 99.8%, or 20,566,588, are considered mild, and 0.2%, or 37,334, 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 the most recent data available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The test positivity rate for Covid for the week ending June 17 was 7.8%, up from 7.04%, 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 2.21% and, for RSV, that figure was 0.28%.
The death toll from Covid was 1.2% in the week ending June 10, 2023, and the trend in Covid-19 deaths is down 7.7% over the same period.
Finally, the number of hospital admissions from Covid for seven days ending June 13 was 6,649, a figure that is down 7.6% over the preceding 7-day period.
As of March 25, 2023, the Morning News Brief began to update case data as well as death tolls on a weekly basis. In addition, as of 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. Where appropriate, the Morning News Brief has reintroduced data sets are they have become available.
Since the start of the pandemic, the United States has, as of Wednesday, recorded 107.3 million cases, a higher figure than any other country, and a death toll of 1.17 million. India has the world’s second highest number of officially recorded cases, 45 million, and a reported death toll of 531,903.
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, 703,719, has recorded over 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 32 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 June 15, the total number of updated bivalent doses given in the United States was 139.9 million.
Older – and no longer updated – data from the CDC shows that over 270.2 million people in the United States – or 81.4% – have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine as of May 11, 2023. 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.
Some 70.3% of the world population has received at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine by Wednesday, according to Our World in Data, an online scientific publication that tracks such information. So far, 13.47 billion doses of the vaccine have been administered on a global basis and 81,145 doses are now administered each day.
Meanwhile, only 32.2% 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 beginning 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)