Good morning. This is Jonathan Spira reporting. Here now the news of the pandemic from across the globe on the 1,339th day of the pandemic as well as the continuation of the 85th anniversary of Kristallnacht, the Novemberpogrome carried out by the NSDAP’s Sturmabteiling or SA paramilitary and the Schutzstaffel or SS paramilitary forces along with the participation of members of the Hitlerjugend and many ordinary Germans, which took place over a two-day period.
In news we report today, a man stole $8 million in pandemic relief funds and bought an island, HV.1 is now the dominant variant in the United States, and Britain’s former home secretary testified that the fines of £10,000 for the violation of some pandemic rules were too high.
New research appears to have uncovered one of the reasons that people who had SARS-CoV-2 have an increased risk for cardiovascular disease or stroke up to one year after infection.
The researchers found that SARS-CoV-2 infects coronary arteries and increases inflammation in atherosclerotic plaques.
The findings suggest how Covid-19 could increase the risk of heart attack and stroke.
“These results shed light onto a possible connection between preexisting heart issues and Long Covid symptoms,” Dr. Chiara Giannarelli at New York University School of Medicine, said in a National Institute of Health research brief. “It appears that the immune cells most involved in atherosclerosis may serve as a reservoir for the virus, giving it the opportunity to persist in the body over time.”
A North-Central Florida blimp company executive was sentenced to over five years in federal prison for pandemic relief fraud earlier in the year. The case first came to the notice of the Morning News Brief this week.
Patrick Parker Walsh is currently serving 66 months in the clink after pleading guilty to one count of wire fraud and one count of money laundering after defrauding the U.S. government of nearly $8 million.
Unlike most fraudsters who committed similar crimes, Walsh’s use of some of the funds was unique: He purchased Sweetheart Island, a 2.12 acre (0.9 hectare), buildable island off the coast of Yankeetown, Florida. Yankeetown is a small, hidden hamlet on the Gulf of Mexico.
Walsh was ordered to pay restitution to the Small Business Administration in the amount of $7,818,167, and the court entered an order of forfeiture in the same amount.
The new variant HV.1 now comprises an estimated 25.2% of new cases of SARS-CoV-2, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as of October 28, the latest date for which such data is available. HV.1 is fairly similar to other sublineages of the omicron variant, so there are few differences in any in terms of what to expect from it. Other newer sublineages out in the wild at the present time BA.2.86, which has significantly more mutations than earlier subvariants, as well as JN.1. Neither is very common in the United States and the latter comprises 0.01% of current cases.
As Britain’s inquiry into the government’s handling of the pandemic continues, the home secretary during the first years of the pandemic, Dame Priti Patel told the panel that she had considered the on-the-spot fines of £10,000 ($12,224) for breaching pandemic restrictions on large gatherings were too high.
Dame Priti told the Covid inquiry that the penalty was not proportionate to the violation and that she, along with her officials at the Home Office, had pushed back against it at the time.
The penalties, which the government had said would be a “new deterrent” against breaches of the restrictions, had been introduced ahead of the August bank holiday in 2020. Hundreds of such fines were issued by police. The restrictions made gatherings of more than 30 people unlawful and therefore subject to the penalty.
Meanwhile, a new lawsuit contends that the Oxford AstraZeneca Covid jab was “defective.”
The plaintiffs in the multi-million pound landmark legal action suggest that claims over its efficacy were “vastly overstated.” The case was brought by Jamie Scott, an IT engineer who suffered a brain hemorrhage the day after his first AstraZeneca jab, leaving him with permanent brain damage.
The vaccine also triggered blood clots in a very small number of people, and some led to fatal complications. The condition is known as vaccine-induced immune thrombocytopenia and thrombosis, or VITT.
Now here are the daily statistics for Friday, November 10.
As of Friday morning, the world has recorded just over 697.64 million Covid-19 cases, an increase of 0.04 million in the past, and 6.94 million deaths, according to Worldometer, a service that tracks such information. In addition, just over 669.33 million people worldwide have recovered from the virus, an increase of 0.03 million.
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 Friday at press time is 21,371,175, an increase of 18,000. Out of that figure, 99.8%, or 21,333,314, are considered mild, and 0.2%, or 37,861, are listed as critical. The percentage of cases considered critical has not changed over the past ten months.
Since the start of the pandemic, the United States has, as of Friday, recorded 109.29 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 533,295.
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 38.58 million total cases.
Brazil, which has recorded the third highest number of deaths as a result of the virus, 706,986, has recorded 38 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 26.26 million, as number eight, as well as the United Kingdom, with 24.8 million, and Russia, with 23.16 million, as nine and ten respectively.
CURRENT U.S. COVID STATISTICS AT A GLANCE
In the United States, in the week ending October 28, 2023, the test positivity rate was – based on data released on November 2 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – 9%, a figure that is essentially unchanged from the previous 7-day period, while the percentage of emergency department visits that were diagnosed as SARS-CoV-2 was 1.2%, a figure that is down 5.7%.
The number of people admitted to hospital in the United States due to SARS-CoV-2 in the same 7-day period was 14,745, a figure that is up 0.01%. Meanwhile, the percentage of deaths due to SARS-CoV-2 was 2.5%, a figure that is unchanged over the same period.
The CDC did not update the above data on November 10 due to the observed Veterans Day holiday in the United States.
Some 70.6% of the world population has received at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine by Friday, according to Our World in Data, an online scientific publication that tracks such information. So far, 13.53 billion doses of the vaccine have been administered on a global basis and 20,499 doses are now administered each day.
Meanwhile, only 32.8% 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.
Anna Breuer contributed reporting to this story.
(Photo: Accura Media Group)