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 SUNDAY
Why the Uneven Death Toll of the Pandemic Between Republicans and Democrats Could Be a Factor in the 2024 Election
A study published this past week in JAMA Internal Medicine supports with facts what many Americans had long surmised, namely that the coronavirus pandemic impacted card-carrying Republicans significantly harder than their counterparts in the Democratic Party.
We’ve known since the start of the second year of the pandemic that the politicization surrounding coronavirus vaccines would likely to hesitancy, resistance, and opinion polarization, but of course we also hoped we would be wrong.
In June 2020, several polls showed that about 34% of the American public would accept a coronavirus vaccine, but large differences existed in opinions between Republicans and Democrats. Republicans, needless to say, lagged in accepting the idea of these vaccines and delayed their inoculations.
This latest new study – Excess Death Rates for Republican and Democratic Registered Voters in Florida and Ohio During Pandemic – conducted by researchers at Yale University, makes it painfully clear how deadly a game it was to politicize the vaccines in the first place.
The study looked at some 538,000 deaths of people 25 and older in in the two states between March 2020 and December 2021. The researchers’ findings were telling: they were able to show larger increases in excess deaths in that period among Republicans, particularly after the Covid vaccine was introduced.
Specifically, he Yale researchers found registered Republicans saw a 15% higher increase in excess deaths than Democrats over the period examined in the study. Much of that was driven by the time period after April 1, 2021, when the Covid vaccine was readily available.
More frightening, in the period between April 2021 and December 31, 2021, registered Republicans saw a 43% higher increase in excess deaths than Democrats did in Ohio and Florida. Moreover, a good deal of the difference seems to have been driven by Republicans in Ohio.
Now let’s look at the margins in some of the states where the winner was determined by 40,000 votes or fewer, namely in Arizona, Georgia, and Wisconsin.
In Georgia and Wisconsin, counties that voted for Trump saw more Covid deaths than counties that voted for Biden, and the difference only grew after the broad introduction of coronavirus vaccines. Given that it doesn’t take much in some states to see how the excess deaths among Republican voters could play a role in the 2024 presidential election, although other factors including weather and who the candidates are of course playing a role as well.
In other news we cover today, scientists believe they have found the most mutated Covid variant ever, Facebook apparently bowed to White House pressure in removing certain Covid-related posts, and Florida’s surgeon general tried to place the blame for a cardiac arrest suffered by two basketball players with the coronavirus vaccine.
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 Sunday, July 30.
As of Sunday morning, the world has recorded slightly over 692.2 million Covid-19 cases, an increase of less than 0.1 million from the previous day, and 6.9 million deaths, according to Worldometer, a service that tracks such information. In addition, 664.53 million people worldwide have recovered from the virus, an increase of 0.04million 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 Sunday at press time is 20,771,526, a decrease of 38,000. Out of that figure, 99.8%, or 20,771,964, are considered mild, and 0.2%, or 37,119, 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 Sunday, 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 Sunday, 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)