Coronavirus News Briefing – Dec. 4: U.S. Poised to Cross 50 Million Mark in Cases

By Paul Riegler on 4 December 2021
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A country road in northern Italy

The United States will cross the 50 million mark in coronavirus cases at some point in the next 48 hours, based on the current 14-day average of over 104,000 new daily infections.

The news comes as the detection of omicron variant-related cases in the country expands.  At least two dozen of the highly mutated variant have been reported in 12 states.

Coronavirus cases in South Africa have nearly quadrupled, as a fourth surge overtakes the country, fueled by the new omicron variant.

On Friday, health officials there reported 16,055 new infections, while only 4,373 were reported on Tuesday.

A nurse in South Carolina has been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of supplying fraudulent Covid vaccination cards, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of South Carolina said Friday.

Tammy McDonald filled out vaccine cards for people whom she knew had not received a coronavirus vaccine show on two occasions during the summer. She later lied to federal agents when being questioned about the matter in October, according to the indictment.

Finally, a dentist in the northern Italian city of Biella tried to obtain a Covid vaccine shot in a fake arm in order to obtain a vaccine passport that would give him entrée into restaurants, bars, and theaters.  A nurse, Filippa Bua, uncovered the attempt.  “When I uncovered the arm, I felt skin that was cold and gummy, and the color was too light,’’ Bua told the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera.

The man had already been suspended from his position as a dentist because Italy requires medical workers to be fully vaccinated.  He admitted the deceit to Bua and now faces fraud charges. Prosecutors are reviewing the case.

“The case could be classified as ‘ridiculous,’ except that we are talking about a gesture of enormous gravity, unacceptable for the sacrifice that the whole community is paying for the pandemic,” read a joint communiqué from the Piedmont region’s president and health councilor.

As of Saturday morning, the world has recorded 264.4 million Covid-19 cases, an increase of 0.7 million new cases, and almost 5.3 million deaths, according to Worldometer, a service that tracks such information. In addition, 239.2million 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 104,264, a 13% increase.  The average daily death toll over the same period is 1,121, a decrease of 2% over the same period.

In addition, since the start of the pandemic the United States has, as of Saturday, recorded 49.9 million cases, a higher figure than any other country, and a death toll of 808,229. India has the world’s second highest number of officially recorded cases, 34.6 million, and a reported death toll of 470,530.  Finally, Brazil has recorded the second highest number of deaths as a result of the virus, 615,454, and has over 22.1 million cases.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that, as of Saturday, 234.7 million people in the United States – or 70.7% – have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine. Of that population, 59.7%, or 198.2 million people, are now fully vaccinated, and the total number of doses that have been dispensed in the United States is now 466.3 million. Breaking this down further, 83.1% of the population over the age of 18 – or 214.6 million people – has received at least a first inoculation and 71.4% of the same group – or 184.3 million people – is fully vaccinated.

Some 54.9% of the world population has received at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine, a 0.3 percentage point increase over the prior day, according to Our World in Data, an online scientific publication that tracks such information.  So far, 8.14 billion doses of the vaccine have been administered on a global basis.

Meanwhile, only 6.2% 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)

Accura News

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