Coronavirus News Briefing – Dec. 5: Thousands Protest in Vienna Against New Strict Pandemic Measures

By Paul Riegler on 5 December 2021
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Vienna as seen from the Risenrad, or Giant Ferris Wheel, in the Prater

Over 40,000 people took to the streets of Vienna to protest a tough new national lockdown and comprehensive vaccine mandate for all adults in an attempt to stem a sharp increase in new infections and deaths there.  The Landespolizeidirektion Wien said in a tweet confirmed the number in tweet, adding that 1,500 people staged counterprotests.

The far-right Freiheitliche Partei Österreichs, the third largest group in Parliament, has led the fight against the measures while amplifying conspiracy theories about the vaccines and promoting discredited treatments such as ivermectin, a drug used to deworm animals.

Google announced it would postpone its planned January 10, 2022 return to the office for all workers. The company will wait until the new year to assess when workers can safely return to a “stable, long-term working environment,” said Chris Rackow, the company’s vice president for security, in an e-mail viewed by Frequent Business Traveler.

Finally, seven students at Neil Cummins Elementary School, north of San Francisco, tested positive for the coronavirus after parents of one child who knew he had Covid sent him to school anyway.  Seventy-five students were exposed to the virus as a result.

As of Sunday morning, the world has recorded 265.9 million Covid-19 cases, an increase of 1.5 million new cases, and almost 5.3 million deaths, according to Worldometer, a service that tracks such information. In addition, 239.6 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 108,469, a 19% increase.  The average daily death toll over the same period is 1,178, an increase of 5% over the same period.

In addition, since the start of the pandemic the United States has, as of Sunday, recorded 49.9 million cases, a higher figure than any other country, and a death toll of 808,608. India has the world’s second highest number of officially recorded cases, 34.6 million, and a reported death toll of 470,620.  Finally, Brazil has recorded the second highest number of deaths as a result of the virus, 615,606, and has over 22.1 million cases.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that, as of Sunday, 235.3 million people in the United States – or 70.9% – have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine. Of that population, 59.8%, or 198.6 million people, are now fully vaccinated, and the total number of doses that have been dispensed in the United States is now 468.5 million. Breaking this down further, 83.3% of the population over the age of 18 – or 215 million people – has received at least a first inoculation and 71.4% of the same group – or 184.5 million people – is fully vaccinated.

Some 55% of the world population has received at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine, a 0.1 percentage point increase over the prior day, according to Our World in Data, an online scientific publication that tracks such information.  So far, 8.18 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)

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