Coronavirus News Briefing – Dec. 14: California Issues Statewide Mask Mandate

More Broadway Shows Cancel Performances Due to Covid

By Anna Breuer on 14 December 2021
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California issued a statewide indoor mask mandate, days after New York State did the same.  The state will require that all residents – regardless of vaccination status – don face masks indoors.  The mandate goes into effect on Wednesday and will remain in place until at least January 15.

The Broadway show “Freestyle Love Supreme” and off-Broadway’s “Little Shop of Horrors” cancelled some of their weekend performances due to exposure of cast or crew members to the coronavirus.  The two joined “Mrs. Doubtfire,” as previously reported, in taking such action.  All performers as well as show employees must be fully vaccinated in order to enter the theater.

American Airlines revealed some of its internal processes for handling in-flight mask violations, its vice president for in-flight services, Brady Brynes, told employees at a town hall-style meeting. The world’s largest carrier is tightening its investigative process for such incidents and using a new mask-compliance form for such reports.  Crew members making reports of more severe incidents will also receive follow-ups on any reports. 

Meanwhile, the United States commemorated the one-year anniversary of the first Covid vaccination shot outside of a clinical trial, which took place on December 14, 2020.  Sandra Lindsay, a nurse at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New York, was the first in the country to receive a jab.  The first vaccination ever outside of a clinical trial took place on December 8, 2020 in the United Kingdom, when Margaret Keenen, who was 90 years old at the time, received a dose of the vaccine.  She has since received her second shot as well as a booster.

Finally, four people in India were arrested and charged with helping a South African man leave the country using a fake negative Covid test result. The man, who was 66 years old and a director of a pharmaceutical company, tested positive for the virus on November 20 when he arrived in the country.  He was told to quarantine for 14 days but left the country on November 27 using the forged papers.  It was later determined via genomic sequencing that he had the omicron variant.

As of Tuesday morning, the world has recorded 271.3 million Covid-19 cases, an increase of 0.4 million new cases, and 5.3 million deaths, according to Worldometer, a service that tracks such information. In addition, 243.9 million people worldwide have recovered from the virus, an increase of 0.5 million.

The average daily number of new coronavirus cases in the United States over the past 14 days is 120,056, a 49% increase.  The average daily death toll over the same period is 1,276, an increase of 40% over the same period.

In addition, since the start of the pandemic the United States has, as of Tuesday, recorded over 51 million cases, a higher figure than any other country, and a death toll of 819,315. India has the world’s second highest number of officially recorded cases, 34.7 million, and a reported death toll of 475,888.  Finally, Brazil has recorded the second highest number of deaths as a result of the virus, 616,980, and has almost 22.2 million cases.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that, as of Tuesday, 239.3 million people in the United States – or 72.1% – have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine. Of that population, 60.9%, or 202.2 million people, are now fully vaccinated, and the total number of doses that have been dispensed in the United States is now 485.5 million. Breaking this down further, 84.4% of the population over the age of 18 – or 217.9 million people – has received at least a first inoculation and 72.1% of the same group – or 186.2 million people – is fully vaccinated.  In addition, 29.2% of that population, or 54.4 million people, has already received a booster shot.

Some 56.1% of the world population has received at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine, a figure that largely unchanged from the prior day, according to Our World in Data, an online scientific publication that tracks such information.  So far, 8.5 billion doses of the vaccine have been administered on a global basis.

Meanwhile, only 7.2% 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)

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