Coronavirus Morning News Update – April 22: Philadelphia Ends Mask Mandate (Again), Los Angeles to Require Masks at Airports

Book by White House Covid Coordinator to Provide ‘Definitive, Inside Account’ of Trump Administration’s Pandemic Response

By Jonathan Spira on 22 April 2022
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The Tony Awards in Radio City Music Hall

Good morning. This is Jonathan Spira reporting. Here now the news of the pandemic from across the globe on the 773rd day of the pandemic.

The book “Silent Invasion: The Untold Story of the Trump Administration, Covid-19, and Preventing the Next Pandemic Before It’s Too Late” by Deborah Brix, who served as the country’s first coronavirus response coordinator, this in the  Trump administration, published by HarperCollins, will go on sale on April 26.

The tome is meant to be the “definitive, inside account of the Trump Administration’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic.”

“Silent Invasion”offers an in-depth and sometimes personal look at the first year of the pandemic and the work she undertook, visiting 44 states.  Brix relates her reaction to when then-President Donald Trump discussed bleach as a possible treatment against Covid.   When Trump said that “[i]t would be interesting to check that,”namely the injection of disinfectants into people’s veins, she recalls in a moment viewed by millions on television, “I looked down at my feet and wished for two things: something to kick,”she wrote in the book,”“and for the floor to open up and swallow me whole.”

In other news we cover today, Philadelphia ended its indoor mask mandate four days after it started, Los Angeles will require masks at airports and on public transit, and Delta will allow some passengers who refused to don face masks in flight to apply to return to the airline.

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

UNITED STATES

Officials in Philadelphia, who last week announced an indoor mask mandate that went into effect this past Monday, ended the mandate on Friday amid improving conditions.  In making the announcement, the Department of Public Health said it would encourage but not require residents and visitors to wear a mask in indoor public spaces.

Masks will continue to be required in healthcare settings such as hospitals and doctors’ offices and congregate settings such as nursing homes and homeless shelters.

The pandemic has resulted in the disruption of routine vaccinations for kindergartners.  The national average for vaccine coverage for kindergartners in the United States fell from 95% to below 94%, a report from the CDC revealed.  The one-percentage-point drop represents about 350,000 children who weren’t vaccinated against preventable diseases such as measles and whooping cough.

Officials in Los Angeles County said that they would continue to require travelers to don face masks on public transit and at all transportation hubs including airports there.

The order covers commuter trains, subways, buses, taxis, and cars provided by ride-hailing services such as Uber and Lyft.  It also covers indoor transportation hubs, including bus terminals, subway stations, seaports and other indoor port terminals, the California Department of Public Health said in making the announcement.

The Biden administration extended vaccine requirements for visitors to the United States arriving at a land crossing or by ferry through borders with Canada and Mexico.

Even as mask mandates for travel fall, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country’s leading infectious disease specialist, said he plans to continue wearing an N95 face mask when flying.  In an interview on the CBS news program “Red and Blue,” Fauci said that he found it “disturbing” that the mask mandate was ended by a federal judge’s ruling rather than by health experts.

GLOBAL

Shanghai officials continued to ease lockdown measures there and allowed four million more people to go out of their homes on Wednesday. Almost half of the city’s population of 25 million is now no longer under lockdown.

Spain is easing its indoor mask rules after two years.  Visitors to medical facilities will still have to don masks while patients in nursing homes will not. Masks will remain mandatory on all forms of public transit, however.

In addition, employers will be able to determine company mask policies going forward, the government said.

Meanwhile, in Cyprus, the requirement to present a vaccine passport for most indoor venues will end on May 15.  The change will not apply, however, to nightclubs, concert halls, clinics, hospitals, and nursing homes.

TRAVEL

Delta Air Lines said that it would allow those individuals who had been placed on its no-fly list for refusing to donmasks in accordance with the federal mask mandate to fly with the carrier once again.

“With masks now optional, Delta will restore flight privileges for customers on the mask noncompliance no-fly list,” the airline said in a statement. The reprieve, however, will not be automatic, the carrier said.  Banned former passengers will have to request a restoration of flight privileges, which will be granted “only after each case is reviewed and each customer demonstrates an understanding of their expected behavior when flying with us.”

ENTERTAINMENT

The Antoinette Perry Award for Excellence in Broadway Theatre, more commonly known as the Tony Awards, will require all attendees to this year’s award ceremony in June to be vaccinated.  The organizers also added, this year, a no-violence policy, promising that the perpetrator will immediately be removed from the ceremony.  The move follows an incident at the Academy Awards ceremony in March when actor Will Smith walked on stage and slapped comedian Chris Rock for a joke he didn’t like.

TODAY’S STATISTICS

Now here are the daily statistics for Friday, April 22.

As of Friday morning, the world has recorded 507.9 million Covid-19 cases, an increase of 0.8 million new cases in the preceding 24 hour period, and over 6.2 million deaths, according to Worldometer, a service that tracks such information. In addition, 460.4 million people worldwide have recovered from the virus, an increase of 1 million.

Worldwide, the number of active coronavirus cases as of Friday is 41,309,491, a decrease of 16,000 from the prior day. Out of that figure, 99.9%, or 41,267,764, are considered mild, and 0.1%, or 41,727, are listed as critical.  The percentage of cases considered critical is largely unchanged over the past 24 hours.

The United States reported 59,094 new coronavirus infections on Friday for the previous day, compared to 62,898 on Thursday, 50,453 on Wednesday, 60,075 on Tuesday, and 10,662 on Monday, according to data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  The 7-day incidence rate is 43,059.  Figures for the weekend (reported the following day) are typically 30% to 60% 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 43,142, a 52% 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 376, a decrease of 33% over the same period.

In addition, since the start of the pandemic the United States has, as of Friday, recorded over 82.6 million cases, a higher figure than any other country, and a death toll of over 1 million. India has the world’s second highest number of officially recorded cases, just over 43 million, and a reported death toll of 522,116. Meanwhile, Brazil has recorded the second highest number of deaths as a result of the virus, 662,556, and has 30.3 million cases.  France continues to occupy the number four position with 28 million cases, and Germany is in the number five slot with 23.9 million.  The United Kingdom, with just over 21.9 million cases, is now number six and is the only other country in the world with a total number of cases over the 20 million mark.

VACCINATION SPOTLIGHT

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that, as of Friday, over 257.1 million people in the United States – or 77.4% – have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine. Of that population, 66%, or 219.2 million people, have received two doses of vaccine, and the total number of doses that have been dispensed in the United States is now 571.2 million. Breaking this down further, 88.8% of the population over the age of 18 – or 229.4 million people – has received at least a first inoculation and 75.9% of the same group – or 196.1 million people – is fully vaccinated.  In addition, 49% of that population, or 96.2 million people, has already received a third, or booster, dose of vaccine.

Over 65 % of the world population has received at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine by Friday, according to Our World in Data, an online scientific publication that tracks such information.  So far, 11.5 billion doses of the vaccine have been administered on a global basis and 10.77 million doses are now administered each day.

Meanwhile, only 15.2% 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 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.

Anna Breuer contributed to this story.

 

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

Accura News

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