Coronavirus News Briefing – Nov. 19: Lockdown in Germany? ‘Nothing Should Be Ruled Out’

By Anna Breuer on 19 November 2021
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The Frankfurt skyline

On the heels of Austria’s announced planned lockdown, Germany’s health minister, Jens Spahn, indicated a similar measure might follow there.

“We are in a position where nothing should be ruled out” at a news conference in response to a reporter’s question about a lockdown for both vaccinated and non-vaccinated people.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna booster shots for all adults amidst a fear that waning efficacy of the vaccine and the onset of winter could set off a wave of breakthrough infections.

Finally, a scientist who is considered one of the world’s leading experts in tracing viruses said that a World Health Organization inquiry into the origins of the coronavirus had mostly likely gotten the early chronology of the pandemic wrong.  The findings by Michael Worebey, published in the journal Science, suggests that the first known patient to contract the virus was a vendor at a Wuhan live animal market.

As of Friday morning, the world has recorded 256.6 million Covid-19 cases, an increase of 0.6 million, and over 5.2million deaths, according to Worldometer, a service that tracks such information. In addition, 231.8 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 94,669, a 33% increase.  The average daily death toll over the same period is 1,158, a change of -1% over the same period.

In addition, since the start of the pandemic the United States has, as of Friday, recorded over 48.4 million cases, a higher figure than any other country, and a death toll of 789,164. India has the world’s second highest number of officially recorded cases, almost 34.5 million, and a death toll of 465,082, 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, 612,177, and has seen close to 22 million cases.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that, as of Friday, 228.6 million people in the United States – or 68.8% – have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine. Of that population, 58.9%, or 195.7 million people, are now fully vaccinated, and the total number of doses that have been dispensed in the United States is now 446.3 million. Breaking this down further, 81.7% of the population over the age of 18 – or 211 million people – has received at least a first inoculation and 70.7% of the same group – or 182.7 million people – is fully vaccinated.

Some 52.6% 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, 7.62 billion doses of the vaccine have been administered on a global basis.

Meanwhile, only 5% 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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