Coronavirus Morning News Brief – March 13: Oregon and Washington State End Mask Mandates, Djokovic Banned from More Tournaments

Broadway’s ‘For Colored Girls’ to First Open in April Due to Omicron Surge-Related Delays

By Jonathan Spira on 13 March 2022
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Portland, Oregon’s bright orange bikes

Good morning. This is Jonathan Spira reporting. Here now the news of the pandemic from across the globe on the 72nd day of 2022.

Despite plummeting rates of new cases, the number of active coronavirus infections has increased over the past two days by over 350,000 on Sunday and over 400,000 on Saturday.  The increases are the first since coronavirus cases began to plummet in many parts of the world where the omicron variant-fueled surge had been taking place.

In other news we cover today, more states in the United States are ending mask mandates, Novak Djokovic is banned from additional tennis tournaments due to his refusal to get vaccinated, and the number of new cases in China continues to climb.

Here’s a look at what has taken place over the past 24 hours.

UNITED STATES

Two states known for their cautious approach to containing the coronavirus, Oregon and Washington, lifted their mask mandates for most settings.  Face masks will continue to be mandated in hospitals, doctors’ offices, and nursing homes. In addition, the federal mask mandate remains in place, requiring masks on all forms of public transit, at train and subway stations, and at airports.

The number of new infections has plummeted in both states in recent weeks and the total death rate is among the lowest in the country.

In Washington, D.C., the Food and Drug Administration said it would extend the shelf life of the Johnson & Johnson Jannsen coronavirus vaccine from six months to nine, the third time the shelf life was extended since it was introduced.  The FDA said in a news release that it took the action following “a thorough review of data” submitted by the manufacturer.

GLOBAL

New cases continue to climb in China, hitting a two-year high and levels not seen since early 2020.  Officials in Shenzhen, a city which borders Hong Kong, announced a seven-day lockdown.  Buses and trains are being halted, all non-essential workers must remain home, and all adults are required to undergo three PCR tests over the course of the lockdown.

Cases in Hong Kong, meanwhile, have fallen fro their pandemic high on March 4 of 52,523.  On Sunday, the figure was down to 15,789.

The National Health Commission reported 3,122 new cases Sunday, more than double that of the 1,524 reported the prior day.

Officials in Shenzhen and in Shanghai restricted non-essential travel over the weekend.  Travel for essential purposes required a recent negative PCR test.

Meanwhile, Shanghai Disneyland put all theater shows on pause and is now requiring all visitors to the park to produce a recent negative coronavirus test as well.

In South Korea, officials reported yet another pandemic high in the infection count, 383,665. The number of new infections has increased by 104% there in the past two weeks, according to figures from Our World in Data.

SPORTS AND ENTERTAINMENT

The Broadway revival of Ntozake Shange’s “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/ When the Rainbow is Enuf,” directed and choreographed by Camille A. Brown, announced the postponement of its opening by a month, with performances now set to begin on April 1 at the Booth Theatre. The official opening night is now April 20.

The postpone was due to a delay in rehearsals due to the omicron variant-fueled coronavirus surge earlier in the year.

In the tennis world, Novak Djokovic won’t be allowed into the United States to play in tournaments at Indian Wells or Miami due to his refusal to get vaccinated against the coronavirus.

Djokovic was unceremoniously deported from Australia in Australia after arriving to play in the Australian open.

The Indian Wells Masters, also known as the Indian Wells Open, currently underway in Indian Wells, California.

The banned tennis player’s only tournament participation in 2022 was at the Dubai Championship in February where he lost in the quarterfinals to then-ranked NO. 123 Jiri Vesely.  This in turn led to Daniil Medvedev taking over the world’s No. 1 ranking from Djokovic.

Medvedev, a professional tennis player from Russia, is playing at Indian Wells, albeit without flags, symbols, or anthems as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The decision to eliminate his national identity was made by the International Tennis Federation and the tour.

TODAY’S STATISTICS

Now here are the daily statistics for Sunday, March 13.

As of Sunday morning, the world has recorded 457.6 million Covid-19 cases, an increase of 1.7 million new cases in the preceding 24 hour period, and over 6.1 million deaths, according to Worldometer, a service that tracks such information. In addition, 390.9 million people worldwide have recovered from the virus, an increase of 1.2 million.

Worldwide, the number of active coronavirus cases as of Sunday is 60,539,457.  Out of that figure, 99.9%, or 60,473,971, are considered mild, and 0.1%, or 64,684, are listed as critical.  The percentage of cases considered critical is largely unchanged over the past 24 hours.

The United States reported 10,902 new coronavirus infections on Sunday for the previous day, compared to 44,358  on Saturday, 40,147 on Friday, 47,236  on Thursday, 31,820 on Wednesday, and 69,459 on Tuesday, according to data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.   Weekend figures are typically 25% to 30% of those posted on weekdays due to a lower number of tests being conducted.

The average daily number of new coronavirus cases in the United States over the past 14 days is 34,232, a 48% 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 1,297, a decrease of 31% over the same period.

In addition, since the start of the pandemic the United States has, as of Sunday, recorded almost 81.2 million cases, a higher figure than any other country, and a death toll of 993,693. India has the world’s second highest number of officially recorded cases, over 42.9 million, and a reported death toll of 515,850. Finally, Brazil has recorded the second highest number of deaths as a result of the virus, 654,993, and has seen 29.4 million cases.  France continues to occupy the number four position, 23.5 million cases, and the United Kingdom is in the number five slot with over 19.5 million.

VACCINATION SPOTLIGHT

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that, as of Sunday, 254.5 million people in the United States – or 76.7% – have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine. Of that population, 65.2%, or 216.6 million people, have received two doses of vaccine, and the total number of doses that have been dispensed in the United States is now 556.8 million. Breaking this down further, 88.1% of the population over the age of 18 – or 227.5 million people – has received at least a first inoculation and 75.2% of the same group – or 194.2 million people – is fully vaccinated.  In addition, 47.7% of that population, or 92.6 million people, has already received a third, or booster, dose of vaccine.

Over 63.5% of the world population has received at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine by Sunday, a figure that is largely unchanged in the past 24 hours, according to Our World in Data, an online scientific publication that tracks such information.  So far, 10.86 billion doses of the vaccine have been administered on a global basis.

Meanwhile, only 13.7% 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.

Paul Riegler contributed to this story.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

Accura News

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