Coronavirus Morning News Brief – Jan. 26: Deaths at 12-Month High, New York Mask Mandate Back On

Neil Young Demands Spotify Remove His Music Over Vaccine Misinformation on the Platform

By Jonathan Spira on 26 January 2022
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Deaths from the coronavirus in the United States were almost 3,000 on Tuesday, the highest figure in over 12 months, and the 7-day average hit 2,367.

In other news that we cover, hospitalizations from omicron have been lower than in previous waves, New York’s mask mandate is back on, and Neil Young wants his music off Spotify because the streaming service allows “false information about vaccines” to be podcast by Joe Rogan.

UNITED STATES

On Tuesday afternoon, Justice Robert Miller, a New York state’s appeals court judge, granted a stay on another judge’s order blocking the state’s mask mandate. The ruling allows the mask rule to go back into effect and Justice Miller scheduled a second hearing on the matter for Friday.

A study showed that a smaller share of Americans with Covid has been hospitalized during the omicron variant-fueled surge than in previous waves, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control said late Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the Food and Drug Administration revoked emergency use authorization for two Covid-19 antibody drugs from Regeneron and Eli Lilly because they don’t work against the omicron variant.  The highly-contagious variant now accounts for virtually all new U.S. infections, health officials said Monday.  If the drugs prove effective against any future variants, the FDA could reauthorize their use.

Sarah Palin, the unvaccinated former governor of Alaska, was found to have dined at a restaurant in Manhattan despite New York City’s requirement that individuals dining inside such an establishment furnish proof of fully vaccinated status.  On Monday, Palin tested positive for the coronavirus.  The restaurant, Elio’s, admitted its mistake although it won’t face scrutiny for it since the agencies that enforce such rules only issue violations for incidents observed by a city inspector.

GLOBAL

An Australian naval ship carrying supplies to volcanic-ash-ravaged Tonga arrived there one day after the Australian defense minister announced that 23 people on board the vessel had tested positive for Covid.  The H.M.A.S. Adelaide docked in Tonga early Wednesday morning and supplies are being offloaded by machines in order to avoid human contact.

SPORTS AND ENTERTAINMENT

Over the past few days, touring productions of “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” in San Francisco and “The Prom” in Baltimore were cancelled because of Covid outbreaks among the respective companies.  “Hamilton,” meanwhile, has been forced to pause all of its touring productions, in Buffalo, Los Angeles, Salt Lake City, and San Antonio, due to similar outbreaks.

The off-Broadway production of “Assassins,” the musical by Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman, ended its run early as coronavirus cases broke out among cast members.  The Classic Stage Company production was slated to close on January 30.

Two Elton John concerts at the American Airlines Center in Dallas have been postponed because the singer tested positive for the coronavirus. The news came moments before the scheduled start of the first concert Tuesday evening at 8 p.m. local time.

Folk-rock singer Neil Young told Spotify Technologies to remove his music from its streaming service due to what he said was vaccine misinformation on podcasts created by Joe Rogan.  “I am doing this because Spotify is spreading fake information about vaccines – potentially causing death to those who believe the disinformation being spread by them,” he wrote in the letter.

TODAY’S STATISTICS

Now here are the daily statistics for Wednesday, January 26.

As of Wednesday morning, the world has recorded 359.9 million Covid-19 cases, an increase of 3.4 million new cases in the preceding 24 hour period, and 5.64 million deaths, according to Worldometer, a service that tracks such information. In addition, 285 million people worldwide have recovered from the virus, an increase of 2.8million.

Worldwide, the number of active cases as of Wednesday is 69,306,678.  Out of that figure, 99.9%, or 69,210,821, are considered mild, and 0.1%, or 95,857, are listed as critical.  The percentage of cases considered critical fell is largely unchanged over the past 24 hours.

The United States reported 512, 947 new cases on Wednesday for the previous day, compared with 1,029,906reported on Tuesday, 199,744 reported on Monday, and 337,388 on Sunday, 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 652,278, a 14% decrease, based on data from the Department of Health and Human Services, among other sources.  The average daily death toll over the same period is 2,362, an increase of 39% over the same period.

In addition, since the start of the pandemic the United States has, as of Wednesday, recorded 73.4 million cases, a higher figure than any other country, and a death toll of 894,880. India has the world’s second highest number of officially recorded cases, 40 million, and a reported death toll of 491,154.  Finally, Brazil has recorded the second highest number of deaths as a result of the virus, 623,901, and has seen 24.3 million cases.

VACCINATION SPOTLIGHT

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that, as of Wednesday, 251.3 million people in the United States – or 75.7% – have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine. Of that population, 63.5%, or 210.7million people, have received two doses of vaccine, and the total number of doses that have been dispensed in the United States is now 536.3 million. Breaking this down further, 87.5% of the population over the age of 18 – or 225.9 million people – has received at least a first inoculation and 73.9% of the same group – or 190.8 million people – is fully vaccinated.  In addition, 43.4% of that population, or 82.7 million people, has already received a third, or booster, dose of vaccine.

Over 60.7% of the world population has received at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine by Wednesday, a figure that is up .1 percentage point  in the past 24 hours, according to Our World in Data, an online scientific publication that tracks such information.  So far, 9.95 billion doses of the vaccine have been administered on a global basis.

Meanwhile, only 9.8% 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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