Good morning. This is Jonathan Spira reporting. Here now the news of the pandemic from across the globe on the 1,235th day of the pandemic.
OP-ED ON SATURDAY
Time for Another Wave
It’s been a while but the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention believe another summer wave may have started in the country, health officials there said.
The Morning News Brief reported several times in the past few weeks how our numbers were showing a noticeable increase in the number of active SARS-CoV-2 cases worldwide. Now the CDC is essentially saying the same thing specifically for the United States.
“After roughly six, seven months of steady declines, things are starting to tick back up again,” Dr. Brendan Jackson the CDC’s Covid-19 incident manager, told National Public Radio on Friday.
“We’ve seen the early indicators go up for the past several weeks, and just this week for the first time in a long time we’ve seen hospitalizations tick up as well,” Jackson told the broadcaster. “This could be the start of a late summer wave.”
While another wave is likely starting already, the overall numbers – based on current hospitalizations and test reports – should be far lower than in past waves.
In other news we cover today, Florida’s incompetent surgeon general tried to place the blame for a cardiac arrest suffered by two basketball players with the coronavirus vaccine, scientists find the most mutated Covid variant ever, and Facebook apparently bowed to White House pressure in removing certain Covid-related posts.
Despite scientific evidence from federal agencies to the contrary, Florida’s controversial and apparently unqualified surgeon general, Joseph Ladapo, earlier this week underscored the known-to-be-fictional link between the coronavirus vaccine and cardiac arrests suffered by two University of Southern California basketball players. One of those players is Los Angeles Lakers player Lebron James’ son.
This is the same person who the the Orlando Sentinel, the primary newspaper of record in Central Florida, noted this past May that Florida Surgeon General Joseph Lapado said that his anti-vaccine campaign “was God’s plan,” adding that it cost him the trust of his peers.
“Ladapo marked the third anniversary of the pandemic in March by heaping praise on his boss, Gov. Ron DeSantis, for putting the ‘kibosh on vaccine mandates.’ He then asserted that the mRNA COVID-19 vaccine “has a terrible safety profile,’ despite the fact that it actually has an extremely good safety record.
Scientists in Indonesia have discovered what they termed the “most mutated Covid variant ever.” The Covid variant, collected from a chronically ill patient there. Had 113 mutations, which experts say is one of the most mutated versions of the novel coronavirus, if not the most mutated, leading virologists said.
Thirty-seven of the alterations affect the spike protein, which the virus uses to latch onto human cells.
Meanwhile, sales of Covid home-test kits in the United Kingdom have risen by a third as cases there rise slightly
The Wall Street Journal reported last week that Facebook bowed to White House pressure and removed certain posts relating to SARS-CoV-2. The paper said that internal Meta emails (Meta is the parent company of Facebook) said that pressure from Washington was behind a decision to take down posts attributing pandemic to man-made virus
OTHER HEALTHCARE NEWS
A number of local officials in the United States want the current extreme heat to be declared a federal disaster. Two major organizations – the U.S. Conference of Mayors and the National League of Cities – are voicing their support for a bill in Congress with bipartisan support that would add extreme heat to the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s list of major disaster qualifying events.
Now here are the daily statistics for Saturday, July 29.
As of Saturday morning, the world has recorded 692.2 million Covid-19 cases, an increase of 0.1 million from the previous day, and 6.9 million deaths, according to Worldometer, a service that tracks such information. In addition, 664.49 million people worldwide have recovered from the virus, an increase of 0.01 million from the prior 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 20,809,082, a decrease of 28,600. Out of that figure, 99.8%, or 20,771,964, are considered mild, and 0.2%, or 37,118, are listed as critical. The percentage of cases considered critical has not changed over the past eight months.
The test positivity rate for Covid for the week ending July 22 was 13,89, up from 9.71% 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 1.41, down from 2.26%, and, for RSV, that figure was 0.66%, up from 0.25%.
The percentage of deaths due to Covid was 0.9% in the week ending July 22, 2023, a figure that is down 0.1% over the week.
Finally, the number of hospital admissions from Covid for seven days ending July 22 was 7,109, a figure that is up 10.3% over the preceding 30-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 Saturday, recorded 107.51 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 531,915.
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 40.14 million, and Germany is in the number four slot, with 38.43 million total cases.
Brazil, which has recorded the third highest number of deaths as a result of the virus, 704,659, has recorded 37.7 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 32.9 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 22.97 million.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that, as of July 12, the total number of updated bivalent doses given in the United States was 144.2 million, an increase of 4 million doses over the past month.
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 70.5% 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, 13.49 billion doses of the vaccine have been administered on a global basis and 155,445 doses are now administered each day.
Meanwhile, only 32.4% 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.
Paul Riegler contributed reporting to this story.
(Photo: Accura Media Group)