Coronavirus News Update – Oct. 22: New Cases in Britain Hit 9-Month High After Loosening of Restrictions

By Anna Breuer on 22 October 2021
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Tower Bridge in London

 

Britain, which four months ago shed almost all Covid-era restrictions, is experiencing a surge in cases, with new infections almost a pandemic high.  The number of new cases October 21, 2021 was 51,484.  The high, reached earlier this year, was 68,053 on January 8, while the number of new cases was only 1,712 on April 25 of this year.

Meanwhile, hospital admissions and deaths are rising again, just as the effect of vaccines administered earlier in the year is beginning to wane.  In addition, cold weather, when more people spend time indoors where transmission of the virus is easier, is looming.

Drugmaker Pfizer said that its vaccine is “highly effective” in children ages 5 through 11.  The vaccine has a 90.7% efficacy rate in preventing symptomatic infections in a trial in that age group.  The children in the trial received a dose of 10 micrograms, compared to 30 for an adult.

Anticipating approval for the vaccine within weeks, the White House has been outlining plans for a massive rollout to the kindergarten-through-grammar school set.  Vaccinations will be available at some 25,000 pediatric practices as well as thousands of pharmacies, schools, and rural health clinics.  The vials as well as the needles used to administer the dose will be different from other versions to ensure there is no confusion and that an adult dose isn’t inadvertently administered.

After 262 days in lockdown, Melbourne celebrated its reopening as restrictions began to ease.  The residents of the Australian city have spent more days in lockdown than anywhere else in the world.  Saying he was “bloody proud” of his state, Daniel Andrews, the premier of Victoria, the state that Melbourne is the capital of, also said that the pandemic was “exhausting in every sense of the word.”

Officials in Thailand announced that they would allow fully vaccinated visitors from 46 countries to enter quarantine free.  The list of countries includes Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, China, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Poland, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, the United States, as well as Hong Kong.

As of Friday morning, the world has recorded 243.5 million Covid-19 cases and over 4.95 million deaths, according to Worldometer, a service that tracks such information. In addition, 220.2 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 75,498, a -24% change.  The average daily death toll over the same period is 1,509, a change of -15% over the same period.

In addition, since the start of the pandemic the United States has as of Friday recorded 46.2 million cases, a higher figure than any other country, and a death toll of 753,749. India has the world’s second highest number of officially recorded cases, over 34.1 million, and a death toll of 453,090, 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, 604,764, and has seen 21.7 million cases.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that, as of Friday, 219.6 million people in the United States – or 66.2% – have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine. Of that population, 57.2%, or 189.9 million people, are now fully vaccinated, and the total number of doses that have been dispensed in the United States is now 411 million. Breaking this down further, 79.2% of the population over the age of 18 – or 204.5 million people – has received at least a first inoculation and 68.7% of the same group – or 177.5 million people – is fully vaccinated.

More than 3.8 billion people across the globe  have received a dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, a figure that roughly equates to 49.6% of the world’s population, a 0.2 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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