Coronavirus News Briefing – Oct. 30: The World Hits the 5 Million Mark in Covid Deaths, and the Pandemic is Far From Over

By Paul Riegler on 30 October 2021
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A hall in the Grand Kremlin Palace

At some point over the past 24 hours, the five millionth person to die from the coronavirus did just that, without any fanfare or knowledge that he was hitting a grim milestone of sorts in the almost two-year-old pandemic.

In many countries including the United States, Russia, much of Europe, and India, among others, Covid-19 is now a leading cause of death alongside heart disease cancer, and stroke.

Meanwhile, many experts believe the actual death toll is far higher than what has been reported.

The world’s death toll from Covid covers only confirmed cases and reporting standards vary greatly with the figures not including collateral deaths, such as those people who were too sick to go to hospital and died at home from Covid as well as those who died from other illnesses because they were unable to seek care at hospitals overloaded with Covid patients.

Meanwhile, the pandemic marches on.

The U.S. Supreme Court declined on Friday to block the state of Maine’s vaccine mandate for healthcare workers.

A new study from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that vaccines offer more protection against the virus than prior infection does.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for children ages 5 to 11.

Finally, just as New York City’s vaccine mandate for public employees takes effect, vaccination rates rose sharply for police officers, firefighters, emergency service personnel, sanitation workers, and other city employees.

As of Saturday morning, the world has recorded 246.9 million Covid-19 cases and, as mentioned, 5 million deaths, according to Worldometer, a service that tracks such information. In addition, 223.7 million people worldwide have recovered from the virus.

The average daily number of new coronavirus cases in the United States over the past 14 days is 72,766, a -14% change.  The average daily death toll over the same period is 1,366, a change of -12% over the same period.

In addition, since the start of the pandemic the United States has, as of Saturday, recorded over 46.8 million cases, a higher figure than any other country, and a death toll of 765,722. India has the world’s second highest number of officially recorded cases, 34.3 million, and a death toll of 457,787, although experts believe that both numbers are in reality significantly higher.  Finally, Brazil has recorded the second highest number of deaths as a result of the virus, 607,504, and has seen 21.8 million cases.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that, as of Saturday, 221.3 million people in the United States – or 66.7% – have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine. Of that population, 57.6%, or 191.2 million people, are now fully vaccinated, and the total number of doses that have been dispensed in the United States is now 417.8 million. Breaking this down further, 79.8% of the population over the age of 18 – or 206.1 million people – has received at least a first inoculation and 69.2% of the same group – or 178.6 million people – is fully vaccinated.

More than 3.87 billion people across the globe have received a dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, a figure that roughly equates to 50.4% of the world’s population, a .2 percentage point increase in the past 24 hours. There remains, however, a countries such as Canada, China, Denmark, France, Italy, the United Kingdom, and the United States, where at least 65% of the population has received at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine, and countries such as Ethiopia, Haiti, Syria, Senegal, Tanzania, and Uganda, for example, where vaccination rates are in the single digits, if not lower.

Figures from the World Health Organization show that well-off countries are vaccinating people at the rate of one person per second, while the majority of poor countries have yet to give a single dose to its citizens.

It is critical that the world do a better job of sharing vaccines with poorer nations.

Sharing vaccines is not merely a form of charity.  Rather, the equitable distribution of vaccines is in every country’s health and economic interest and no country will be able to move past the pandemic until other countries have recovered as well.

Jonathan Spira contributed to this story.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

Accura News

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