Coronavirus News Briefing – Nov. 17: New Year’s Eve Celebration in Times Square to be Limited to the Fully Vaccinated

By Anna Breuer on 17 November 2021
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Times Square on a rainy day earlier during the pandemic

New York City’s famed New Year’s Eve celebration in Times Square will return at “full force” come December 31, Mayor Bill De Blasio said Tuesday, albeit with a caveat: Only those who are fully vaccinated will be permitted to attend. 

Although the event is being held outdoors, attendance requires mandatory vaccinations because it is an extremely crowded hour-long event that draws people from around the country as well as across the globe, Hizzoner said.

In the nation’s capital, Mayor Muriel Bowser said that the indoor mask mandate would be eased starting November 22.  Almost 88% of the adult population of Washington, D.C. has received at least one dose of vaccine, health officials there said.

Meanwhile, eight residents of a Connecticut nursing home have died since an outbreak there started on September 30 and 89 others, including 22 staff members, have become infected with the virus.  All but two of the infected individuals had been fully vaccinated but many have underlying conditions that would make them more vulnerable to the disease.

Finally, officials in Spain’s Basque region announced new restrictions on gatherings as infection rates surged.  The 14-day average infection rate there is slightly above 180 cases per 100,000 inhabitants compared with a nationwide rate of 82 per 100,000.  The new restrictions suspend mass events and gatherings, especially those where food and drink would be served and where social distancing could not be guaranteed. 

As of Wednesday morning, the world has recorded 255.3 million Covid-19 cases and over 5.1 million deaths, according to Worldometer, a service that tracks such information. In addition, 230.8 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 85,861, an 18% increase.  The average daily death toll over the same period is 1,028, a change of -15% over the same period.

In addition, since the start of the pandemic the United States has, as of Wednesday, recorded over 48.2 million cases, a higher figure than any other country, and a death toll of 786,268. India has the world’s second highest number of officially recorded cases, almost 34.5 million, and a death toll of 464,153, 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, 611,526, and has seen almost 22  million cases.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that, as of Wednesday, 227.7 million people in the United States – or 68.6% – have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine. Of that population, 58.9%, or 195.4 million people, are now fully vaccinated, and the total number of doses that have been dispensed in the United States is now 443.4 million. Breaking this down further, 81.6% of the population over the age of 18 – or 210.6million people – has received at least a first inoculation and 70.6% of the same group – or 182.4 million people – is fully vaccinated.

Some 52.3% 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, 7.56 billion doses of the vaccine have been administered on a global basis.

Meanwhile, only 4.7% 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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