Good morning. This is Jonathan Spira reporting. Here now the news of the pandemic from across the globe on the 1,348th day of the pandemic.
OP-ED ON SUNDAY
Sometimes We Overdo Things a Little Bit…
Zoltan Karparthy, that dreadful Hungarian teacher of speech, wasn’t even there but I thought that I could do it, namely walk up a long flight of stairs even though going up a staircase had been the bane of my existence for the past few years. My iliotibial, or IT, bands, a long fibrous band of fascia tissue that runs from the outside of your hip down to the outside of your knee, had long since seemingly recovered from whatever had ailed them and this one staircase didn’t seem like it would be overdoing it.
I didn’t expect a chorus of housekeepers to sing “Congratulations, Professor Spira,” at the top of the staircase but I also didn’t expect to awaken the next morning in excruciating pain, with the feeling that my hip was on fire. It was my glutes – the gluteal muscles are a group of muscles that make up the buttock area, the muscle group consists of the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus – that were equally upset with my decision.
As a result, I could not sit down for more than 30 seconds without screaming out in pain. I still can’t but I can stand at my standing desk (Stehpult, in German) for long enough to write today’s Morning News Brief.
This brings the total number of times I’ve missed an issue up to five since the start of January 2020, still not a bad record, I might add.
This was not my best worst mistake, as the song by Anthony Rapp and Jason Tam from the hit show “If/Then” goes. Next time, I’ll take the lift up.
In news we report today, a new poll finds that getting sick from SARS-CoV-2 is not a concern for most adults in the United States, while hospitalizations there are continuing to rise, and New York City will use new funding to raise awareness of Long Covid.
New York City plans to raise awareness of Long Covid and introduce a $4 million “vaccine equity” campaign targeted at limiting new cases and deaths from the latest strains of SARS-CoV-2 in the city’s poorest communities.
Part of the funding will be used to “raise awareness of Long Covid and the impact it can have on individuals’ health and wellbeing,” the city’s bid package reads.
The Health Department will provide grants to 18 not-for-profit groups to expand vaccine coverage in two dozen mostly minority neighborhoods with low vaccination rates.
A new study found that most adults are not worried about getting sick from SARS-CoV-2 or spreading it over the holidays. The report from the Kaiser Family Foundation found that only about half say that they plan to get the 2023 vaccine, and the pollsters found a similar split between taking other precautions as well.
Meanwhile, new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that hospitalizations from SARS-CoV-2 are rising. More than 16,200 Americans were hospitalized in the week ending Nov. 11, an 8.6% increase from the previous week.
New Zealand is currently experiencing a fifth wave of SARS-CoV-2 infections. Case numbers are rising once again as the country heads into summer. Hospitalizations are on the rise as is the death toll.
“The wastewater testing…doesn’t depend on human behaviour, and this is showing a really big uptick in detections of the virus across the country at the moment,” Michael Baker, a Professor in the Department of Public Health, University of Otago, Wellington, told Radio New Zealand earlier in the week.
Now here are the daily statistics for Sunday, November 19.
As of Sunday morning, the world has recorded 697.96 million Covid-19 cases, an increase of .03 million from the previous day, and 6.94 million deaths, according to Worldometer, a service that tracks such information. In addition, just over 669.55 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 Sunday at press time is 21,477,412, an increase of 4,000. Out of that figure, 99.8%, or 21,442,098, are considered mild, and 0.2%, or 35,314, 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 Sunday, recorded 109.36 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 38.61 million total cases.
Brazil, which has recorded the third highest number of deaths as a result of the virus, 707,286, 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 November 4, 2023, the test positivity rate was, based on data released on November 16 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – 8.5%, a figure that is down 0.5 percentage points 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 8.1%.
The number of people admitted to hospital in the United States due to SARS-CoV-2 in the same 7-day period was 14,728, a figure that is down 8% over the past 7-day period. Meanwhile, the percentage of deaths due to SARS-CoV-2 was 2.3%, a figure that was largely unchanged over the same period.
Some 70.6% 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, 13.53 billion doses of the vaccine have been administered on a global basis and 9,717 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.
Paul Riegler contributed reporting to this story.
(Photo: Accura Media Group)