Coronavirus Morning News Brief – Jan. 20: Germany Reports Record Cases, 40% of U.S. Has Gotten Booster

Not Yet Vaccinated? Look at the Statistics, Says Fauci

By Jonathan Spira on 20 January 2022
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The Vlata River, in German the Moldau, in Prague

Good morning. This is Jonathan Spira reporting. Here now the news of the pandemic from across the globe on the 20th day of 2022.

Over 40% of the U.S. population is now what is slowly becoming considered “fully” vaccinated, meaning having had two shots plus a third, or booster, dose, while 25% has yet to get an initial jab.  The figures sound much more promising when looking at the adult population, where over 87% of people 18 years of age or older have gotten at least one dose of vaccine and 74% have had two.

In other news we cover, an American Airlines flight turned around over the Atlantic Ocean after a passenger refused to comply with mask rules, and a singer who deliberately exposed herself to the coronavirus to flout local restrictions in Czechoslovakia died of the virus.   Finally, the world added over 4 million new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, a pandemic high.

UNITED STATES

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the president’s chief medical advisor, told non-vaccinated individuals to “look at the statistics” when considering whether to get jabbed.

“The latest statistics are an unvaccinated person has a ten times greater chance of getting infected, a 17 times greater chance of getting hospitalized and a 20 times greater chance of dying compared to a vaccinated person,” he said in an interview with Blue Star Families.

“Those statistics alone should get you to be really enthusiastic about protecting yourself and your family,” he added.

The attorney general of Minnesota sued the Center for Covid Control for failing to deliver test results and delivering falsified results.  Some people reported getting their coronavirus test results much later than promised and never receiving results of their rapid antigen or PCR tests.

Coffee house chain Starbucks said it would no longer require its U.S. employees to be vaccinated or submit to weekly coronavirus testing.  The move follows the Supreme Court’s decision last week to block the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate for larger businesses.

Despite the move, Starbucks said it supported the “sprit” of the mandate.

“I want to emphasize that we continue to believe strongly in the spirit and intent of the mandate,” John Culver, the company’s COO, said in an internal memorandum to employees viewed by the Morning Brief.

Meanwhile, in New Jersey, workers at hospitals, nursing homes, prisons, and jails will not only face a vaccine mandate but a requirement for a third, or booster, dose as well, Governor Philip Murphy announced Wednesday.

GLOBAL

The Robert Koch Institut in Germany reported that there were 112,323 new Covid infections on Wednesday, the first time during the pandemic that the count has gone over 100,000.  The country’s Gesundheitsminister, Karl Lauterbach, said that he expected Germany to peak in mid-February.

Lauterbach also said that the country should make vaccinations mandatory before another variant appears.  Neighboring Austria will require vaccinations for all residents starting in February.

In the Caribbean, the number of reported coronavirus cases has doubled in 17 countries and territories. The countries “are witnessing the steepest increase in Covid-19 infections since the start of the pandemic,” said the director of the Pan American Health Organization, a division of the World Health Organization, Dr. Carissa F. Etienne, at a news conference Wednesday.

Officials in Algeria announced that all primary and secondary schools will close for a period of ten days starting Thursday, in an effort to stem the spread of the coronavirus.

The announcement came after the president of the republic, Abdelmadjid Tebboune, presided over “an extraordinary meeting dedicated to the assessment of the pandemic situation in the country,” the Algérie Presse Service said.  The meeting was attended by the government committee overseeing the pandemic response, the country’s prime minister, and many top ministers in the government.

Universities in the country have the option to close, depending on their exam schedule, officials said.

In Canada, Alberta Health Services temporarily closed the dining room of the Granary Kitchen in Red Deer after its staff had allowed diners to fake required vaccination proof to enter by showing photos of dogs instead of the vaccine passport.

TRAVEL

American Airlines Flight 38, operating from Miami International Airport to London Heathrow Wednesday night, turned around approximately one hour after takeoff because of a passenger who refused to comply with rules that require all passengers to wear face masks throughout their journeys.

Police officers met the flight when it returned to the airport but it was not clear at press time whether the passenger involved in the incident was charged.

In a statement, American said that the flight “returned to MIA due to a disruptive customer refusing to comply with the federal mask requirement.”

The Boeing 777 was carrying 129 passengers and 14 crew members.  It was off the coast of North Carolina when it turned back.

Meanwhile, the pandemic claimed Genting Hong Kong, which is owned by Malaysian billionaire Lim Kok Thay.  The cruise operator, which runs cruises under the Star, Dream, and Crystal brands, said it was out of cash and filed a winding-up petition with the Supreme Court of Bermuda, asking for court approval to appoint outside professionals to lead a restructuring.

ENTERTAINMENT

The Czech singer Hana Horká, who was a member of the band Asonance, died this past Sunday of Covid after deliberately catching the virus.  She exposed herself to family members with the coronavirus in order to gain proof of a recent infection in order to regain access to venues closed to the non-vaccinated, in her case a sauna and theater.

TODAY’S STATISTICS

Now here are the daily statistics for Thursday, January 20.

As of Thursday morning, the world has recorded 340.1 million Covid-19 cases, an increase of 4.3 million new cases in the preceding 24 hour period, and almost 5.6 million deaths, according to Worldometer, a service that tracks such information. In addition, 273.4 million people worldwide have recovered from the virus, an increase of 1.9 million.

Worldwide, the number of active cases as of Thursday is 61,166,519.  Out of that figure, 99.8%, or 61,070,753, are considered mild, and 0.2%, or 95,766, are listed as critical.  The percentage of cases considered critical was largely unchanged over the past 24 hours.

The United States reported 851,781 new cases on Thursday for the previous day, compared with 1,178,403 that were on Wednesday, 712, 051 on Tuesday, and 337,984 on Monday according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The average daily number of new coronavirus cases in the United States over the past 14 days is 753,990, a 29% increase, based on data from the Department of Health and Human Services, among other sources.  The average daily death toll over the same period is 1,971, an increase of 48% over the same period.

In addition, since the start of the pandemic the United States has, as of Thursday, recorded 69.8 million cases, a higher figure than any other country, and a death toll of 880,876. India has the world’s second highest number of officially recorded cases, almost 38.2 million, and a reported death toll of 487,719.  Finally, Brazil has recorded the second highest number of deaths as a result of the virus, 621,927, and has seen 23.4 million cases.

VACCINATION SPOTLIGHT

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that, as of Thursday, 249.7 million people in the United States – or 75.2% – have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine. Of that population, 63.1%, or 209.5 million people, have received two doses of vaccine, and the total number of doses that have been dispensed in the United States is now 530.4 million. Breaking this down further, 87.1% of the population over the age of 18 – or 224.9 million people – has received at least a first inoculation and 73.6% of the same group – or 190.2 million people – is fully vaccinated.  In addition, 42.1% of that population, or 80 million people, has already received a third, or booster, dose of vaccine.

Over 60.2% of the world population has received at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine by Thursday, a figure that is up 0.1 percentage point in the past 24 hours, according to Our World in Data, an online scientific publication that tracks such information.  So far, 9.79 billion doses of the vaccine have been administered on a global basis.

Meanwhile, only 9.4% 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 75% 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.

Anna Breuer contributed to this story.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

Accura News

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