Good morning. This is Jonathan Spira reporting. Here now the news of the pandemic from across the globe on the 1,299th day of the pandemic.
A Nobel Prize was awarded on Monday to two coronavirus vaccine pioneers. The Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine went to Katalin Karikó and Drew Weissman, recognized for work that led to the development of the mRNA vaccines that were administered to billions around the world.
The work of discovery by Drs. Karikó and Weissman “fundamentally changed our understanding of how mRNA interacts with our immune system,” the panel that awarded the prize said. The work “contributed to the unprecedented rate of vaccine development during one of the greatest threats to human health in modern times,” it added.
Drs. Karikó and Weissman by chance at a photocopier at the University of Pennsylvania in 1998.
After years of research and testing, the scientists discovered that cells protect their own mRNA using a specific chemical modification. Taking this as a clue, they made the same change to mRNA synthesized in the lab before injecting it into cells. It worked: The mRNA was taken up by cells without provoking an immune response.
In news we report today, the vaccine launch in the United States is off to a good start, a doctor in California defrauded pandemic programs to the tune of $150 million, and the U.K. prime minister failed to comply with a high court ruling to provide records of certain conversations while he was chancellor of the exchequer.
A study we inadvertently overlooked in September 2022 asks the question what effect does a reinfection of SARS-CoV-2 have on someone who has already had the virus and is now suffering from Long Covid? By surveying 484 adults and 112 children, the researchers found that 80% of respondents reported that reinfection worsened the symptoms of Long Covid, while 10% said that their symptoms either resolved or improved. In 60% of people who were in recovery or remission with Long Covid, reinfection caused a recurrence of Long Covid.
Some 1.8 million people received the new coronavirus vaccine in late September, this according to publicly available data. The vaccines became available after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention approved the new version on September 12. Approximately one million people have received the Pfizer-BioNTech-made vaccine, while the remainder have received Moderna’s.
In California, an Orange County doctor was charged with defrauding a pandemic program for uninsured patients. Anthony Hao Dinh, a doctor of osteopathy and an ear, nose, and throat specialist, now faces 12 counts of wire fraud, five counts of money laundering, and a count of obstructing justice., prosecutors said. Dinh, who lives in Newport Beach, was released on a $7-million bond, according to court records.
In Britain, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak failed to hand over his WhatsApp messages from his time as chancellor of the exchequer to the government’s pandemic inquiry, despite a high court ruling that ministers should disclose their communications for scrutiny.
Sunak said in a witness statement viewed by the Morning News Brief that he did “not have access” to his WhatsApp messages from the time he chancellor because he had changed his mobile several times and had not made backups of the devices.
OTHER HEALTHCARE NEWS
Woodhull Medical Center, which is located in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, was forced to temporarily close on Friday due to flooding caused by the severe weather from the remnants of Storm Ophelia. Patients and staff were evacuated to nearby facilities. Repairs at the facility will likely take several days to be completed.
Don’t take these findings sitting down: A new study found that remaining seated for more than ten hours per day doesn’t only cause obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and other ailments, but it may also result in dementia. The study, “Sedentary Behavior and Incident Dementia Among Older Adults,” published in mid-September in the Journal of the American Medical Association, or JAMA, found that, “[A]mong older adults, more time spent in sedentary behaviors was associated with higher risk of incident all-cause dementia,” the authors of the study said.
CURRENT U.S. COVID STATISTICS AT A GLANCE
As of September 28, 2023, we are presenting these statistics in a new, more easy-to-read format.
In the United States, in the week ending September 23, 2023, the test positivity rate was – based on data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – 11.6%, a figure that is down 1.1% from the previous 7-day period, while the percentage of emergency department visits that were diagnosed as SARS-CoV-2 was 1.8%, a figure that is down 11.7%.
The number of people admitted to hospital in the United States due to SARS-CoV-2 in the same 7-day period was 19,079, a figure that is down 3.1%. Meanwhile, the percentage of deaths due to SARS-CoV-2 was 2.7%, a figure that is up 8% over the same period.
Now here are the daily statistics for Monday, October 2.
As of Monday morning, the world has recorded 696.04 million Covid-19 cases, an increase of .03 million, and 6.92 million deaths, according to Worldometer, a service that tracks such information. In addition, 668.01 million people worldwide have recovered from the virus, a figure that is virtually unchanged 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 Monday at press time is 21,071,628, a decrease of 23,000. Out of that figure, 99.8%, 21,033,618, are considered mild, and 0.2%, or 38,010, are listed as critical. The percentage of cases considered critical has not changed over the past eight months.
Since the start of the pandemic, the United States has, as of Monday, recorded 108.75 million cases, a higher figure than any other country, and a death toll of 1.18 million. India has the world’s second highest number of officially recorded cases, 45 million, and a reported death toll of 531,930.
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 38.49 million total cases.
Brazil, which has recorded the third highest number of deaths as a result of the virus, 705,775, has recorded 37.8 million cases, placing it in the number five slot.
The other five countries with total case figures over the 20 million mark are South Korea, with 34.57 million cases, as number six; Japan, with 33.8 million cases placing it in the number seven slot; and Italy, with 26.08 million, as number eight, as well as the United Kingdom, with 24.7 million, and Russia, with 23.03 million, as nine and ten respectively.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that, as of September 5, the total number of updated bivalent doses given in the United States was 153.47 million, a number that remained is largely static over the past month.
Some 70.5% of the world population has received at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine by Monday, according to Our World in Data, an online scientific publication that tracks such information. So far, 13.51 billion doses of the vaccine have been administered on a global basis and 14,607 doses are now administered each day.
Meanwhile, only 32.6% 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 in any significant number.
Paul Riegler contributed reporting to this story.
(Photo: Accura Media Group)