Good morning. This is Jonathan Spira reporting. Here now the news of the pandemic from across the globe on the 1,344th day of the pandemic and
OP-ED ON WEDNESDAY
In news we report today, a study suggests that pets may not necessarily increase emotional well-being, Dr. Ruth Westheimer will tackle the epidemic of loneliness, and 21% of patients taking the antiviral Paxlovid experience rebound.
A new study that looked at two groups of healthcare workers in Massachusetts shows higher levels of antibodies in the group who received both shots at once.
The study, Concurrent Administration of Covid-19 and Influenza Vaccines Enhances Spike-Specific Antibody Responses, which was presented this week at an annual Vaccines Summit in Boston, involved two groups of Massachusetts healthcare workers. One group was comprised of 12 people who received the 2022 bivalent Covid booster and the seasonal influenza shot together, and a second comprised of 30 people who received the two vaccines on different days within the same month.
Meanwhile, the ongoing review of New York State’s policies and decisions in the early days of the pandemic is dragging on almost as long as the pandemic has.
The firm that is under a $4 million state contract to conduct the review, the Olson Group, said it’s roughly halfway through and that it needs more time to complete the assignment.
The delay is ruffling some feathers.
“I’m frustrated at the pace that’s taking so long for the Covid report to come out,” Governor Kathy Hochul said toreporters on Thursday at an unrelated event in Albany. “I am anxious for the results. I requested this. I want to know what they are and get them out to the public. And it’s important.”
More people are rolling up their sleeves to get the 2023 coronavirus vaccine. As of Wednesday, 39.3 million people – including 3.5 million children – had received the jab, this according to the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control.
A new study has affirmed previous research that held that one in five individuals who take the antiviral medication Paxlovid to treat SARS-CoV-2 encounters a rebound infection.
The preliminary research, SARS-CoV-2 Virologic Rebound With Nirmatrelvir–Ritonavir Therapy – An Observational Study, was published in the peer-reviewed journal Annals of Internal Medicine on Monday. It shows that viral rebound occurred in approximately 21% of patients in the study versus 2% in those who had not taken Paxlovid.
Karola Ruth Westheimer, better known as Dr. Ruth, has assumed a new role, moving from sex therapist to New York City’s first loneliness ambassador. The 95-year-old Holocaust survivor will address the growing loneliness epidemic, which is linked to multiple physical and mental health issues.
Earlier this year, U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy sounded the alarm about the devastating impact of the epidemic of loneliness on and isolation in the United States, a phenomenon that has only increased since the onset of the pandemic.
An investigation found that a 28-year-old Leeds man died after suffering a rare blood clot caused by the administration of the AstraZeneca vaccine. The incident occurred after childhood records that mistakenly classified him as morbidly obese were used.
Alex Reid, an operations controller, was one of the first to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine in early 2021 because his physician when he was 11 years old had mistakenly recorded him as having a body mass index of 68.
Reid received his first dose of vaccine on March 21, 2021. He was due for a second dose on May 18 2021, by which time the government’s vaccine advisers had recommended that recipients under the age of 30 receive alternatives to AstraZeneca because of the extremely rare blood clots. However, because he had already received one dose, the decision was made to go ahead and give him a second dose of the same make of vaccine.
AMC Theatres reported record revenue for the third quarter of 2023 as well as the biggest theater audience numbers since the start of the pandemic. The company, which was founded in 1920 in Kansas City, Missouri, is now the largest movie-theater chain in the world, having acquired Odeon Cinemas, UCI Cinemas, and Carmike Cinemas in 2016.
The chain has, however, been forced to shutter 156 locations since January 2020.
OTHER HEALTHCARE NEWS
New York City is in the midst of a surge in bed bug complaints. The number of such complaints has increased by a revolting 17% since the start of 2023. The borough of Brooklyn has seen the highest number of complaints, with just under 1,000, followed by Manhattan, with 716. In Queens, that figure was 447, and Staten Island only had 61 reports, although that figure was a 45% increase over the previous year, when there had only been 42.
Now here are the daily statistics for Wednesday, November 15.
As of Wednesday morning, the world has recorded 697.87 million Covid-19 cases, an increase of .09 million from the previous day, and 6.94 million deaths, according to Worldometer, a service that tracks such information. In addition, just over 669.47 million people worldwide have recovered from the virus, an increase of 0.01 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 Wednesday at press time is 21,448,154, an increase of 86,000. Out of that figure, 99.8%, or 21,324,779, are considered mild, and 0.2%, or 37,873, are listed as critical. The percentage of cases considered critical has not changed over the past 12 months.
Since the start of the pandemic, the United States has, as of Wednesday, recorded 109.31 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 38.59 million total cases.
Brazil, which has recorded the third highest number of deaths as a result of the virus, 706,986, has recorded 38.02 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 26.28 million, as number eight, as well as the United Kingdom, with just under 24.81 million, and Russia, with 23.2 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 Wednesday, 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 7,510 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)