Coronavirus News Briefing – Nov. 16: Austria Locks Down the Unvaccinated As Cases in Europe Surge

By Anna Breuer on 16 November 2021
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The Secession Building in Vienna, the seat of the Wiener Secession art movement

Europe’s current wave of new coronavirus cases is rapidly getting worse.  Governments are reimposing mask mandates and social-distancing requirements, encouraging people to get booster shots, and advising people who can to work from home.

Austria on Monday introduced a lockdown for non-vaccinated individuals who did not have proof of a recent recovery from the coronavirus, one of the most stringent policies on the European continent. Individuals covered by this policy are only allowed to leave their homes to go to work, to shop for essentials, or in emergency situations.

The move is far stricter than the previous so-called 2G policy that has been in place in Austria and in parts of Germany for several months.  In that model, “2G” stands for “geimpft” (vaccinated) and “genesen” (recovered), and those who either vaccinated or recently recovered receive a barcode permitting entry into indoor spaces such as restaurants, cafés, museums, and fitness centers.

The Dutch government is now expected to consider a 2G plan of its own.   The words for vaccinated and recovered are conveniently “gevaccineerd” and “genezen.”  Currently a 3G rule is in place, wherein the third “g” stands for “getest” or tested.  The move being considered in Parliament would eliminate that last option for entry into indoor spaces.

Pentagon officials said that members of the Oklahoma National Guard must comply with the military’s vaccine mandate.  “It is a lawful order for National Guardsmen to receive the Covid vaccine,” Defense Department press secretary John Kirby told reporters. The comment came after Brigadier General Thomas Mancino, the adjutant general for Oklahoma, notified the state’s National Guard soldiers and airmen that they would not be required to get their shots.

Finally, American Express CEO Stephen Squeri said in a company-wide memorandum Monday that all U.S. employees working in or visiting company offices must be fully vaccinated against the coronavirus by November 18.  The company said it also expects to introduce similar vaccine mandates in other countries where it operates.

As of Tuesday morning, the world has recorded 254.8 million Covid-19 cases and  5.1 million deaths, according to Worldometer, a service that tracks such information. In addition, 230.3 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 84,863, an 14% increase.  The average daily death toll over the same period is 1,129, a change of -14% over the same period.

In addition, since the start of the pandemic the United States has, as of Tuesday, recorded over 48 million cases, a higher figure than any other country, and a death toll of 784,779. India has the world’s second highest number of officially recorded cases, almost 34.5 million, and a death toll of 463,852, 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, 611,384, and has seen over 21.9 million cases.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that, as of Tuesday, 227.1 million people in the United States – or 68.4% – have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine. Of that population, 58.8%, or 195.3 million people, are now fully vaccinated, and the total number of doses that have been dispensed in the United States is now 442 million. Breaking this down further, 81.4% of the population over the age of 18 – or 210.3 million people – has received at least a first inoculation and 70.6% of the same group – or 182.3 million people – is fully vaccinated.

Some 52.2% of the world population has received at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine, according to Our World in Data, an online scientific publication that tracks such information.  So far, 7.54 billion doses of the vaccine have been administered on a global basis.

Meanwhile, only 4.6% 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 65% of the population has received at least one dose of vaccine. In countries such as Ethiopia, Haiti, Syria, Senegal, Tanzania, and Uganda, for example, vaccination rates remain 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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