Coronavirus Morning News Brief – May 21: Long Covid Symptoms Still Present 2 Years After Infection Says Study, Cases in Philadelphia Double

Scotland’s First Minister in Isolation After Testing Positive

By Jonathan Spira on 21 May 2022
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Logan Square in Philadelphia

Good morning. This is Jonathan Spira reporting. Here now the news of the pandemic from across the globe on the 772nd day of the pandemic.

A study of patients at a Chinese hospital found that the majority of those hospitalized with Covid in the early days of the pandemic still had lingering symptoms two years later.

The study, published Wednesday in the Lancet, found that some 55% of those in the study had at least one remaining symptom two years later.  This figure is actually an improvement over what researchers found at the six-month mark, which was that 68% of patients continued to present with symptoms.

The research study is one of the most comprehensive and longest on record that followed patients with Long Covid.

Researchers at the China-Japan Friendship Hospital looked at the patient records of 1,192 people who had been hospitalized at Jin Yin-tan Hospital in Wuhan, China, and discharged between in the period between January 7 and May 29, 2020.

In other news we cover today, new Covid cases have doubled in the City of Brotherly Love in the past three weeks, the CDC recommended people over 50 get a second booster dose, and the head of the Scottish government is isolating after testing positive.

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

UNITED STATES

Health officials in Philadelphia said that the number of new daily coronavirus infections has doubled over the past three weeks, hitting figures last seen in early February,  and that hospitalizations have nearly doubled as well.

“The entire Philadelphia region is seeing COVID-19 cases rise dangerously,” said the city’s Health Commissioner Dr. Cheryl Bettigole, in a statement.  She added health officials will not be reinstating a mask mandate at this time.

“We strongly recommend that every Philadelphian and visitors wear a mask whenever they’re indoors in public.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a statement strongly recommending that all people 50 years of age or older should get a second booster shot if at least four months has passed since their first booster.  The new guidance supersedes previous guidance merely offering the option of a second booster dose although it recommended it for people over 65.

The CDC said it updated its advise due to the steady rise of new infections over the past month, along with “a steep and substantial increase in hospitalizations for older Americans.”

Separately, the head of the CDC said that certain members of its Incident Management Structure team that coordinated the national pandemic response would return to some of their normal duties.  The team itself is not being disbanded and it will continue to meet “the demands of this evolving pandemic,” according to a memorandum sent to employees of the agency on Friday by the its director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky.

GLOBAL

The head of the Scottish government, Nicola Sturgeon, said she had tested positive for the coronavirus Friday, adding that she was experiencing “mild symptoms.”

The first minister’s case comes as the number of new infections continues to fall in Scotland.   The Office for National Statistics estimated 122,000 people tested positive in the week ending May 13, the eighth week in which a decline was reported.

China is making travel from at least 12 countries easier as of last week.  Visitors from Britain, France, and Japan, among others, will no longer need to present a negative RT-PCR test from seven days prior to the flight

Visitors from some countries including the United States will still be required to produce a negative antigen test taken within 12 hours of departure.  The news comes on the heels of the relaxation of similar rules for China-bound passengers from the United States.

ENTERTAINMENT

Singer Eric Clapton is “unfortunately suffering from Covid,” his team said, which added that “traveling and performing… could substantially delay his full recovery.”  The 77-year-old singer is vaccinated but known his criticism of pandemic safety regulations and the coronavirus vaccines

TODAY’S STATISTICS

Now here are the daily statistics for Saturday, May 21.

As of Saturday morning, the world has recorded 526.8 million Covid-19 cases, an increase of 0.8 million new cases in the preceding 24 hour period, and just under 6.3 million deaths, according to Worldometer, a service that tracks such information. In addition, 496.6 million people worldwide have recovered from the virus, an increase of 0.7 million.

Worldwide, the number of active coronavirus cases as of Saturday is 23,904,662,   decrease of 11,400. Out of that figure, 99.8%, or 23,866,466, are considered mild, and 0.2%, or 38,108, are listed as critical.  The percentage of cases considered critical is unchanged over the past 24 hours.

The United States reported 139,427 new coronavirus infections on Saturday for the previous day, compared to 112,599  on Friday, 171,191 on Thursday, 134,102 on Wednesday, and 147,834 on Tuesday, according to data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  The 7-day incidence rate continues to climb and is now 108,274.  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 107,952, a 50% 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 301, a decrease of 19% over the same period, while the average number of hospitalizations for the period was 24,077, a 30% increase.

In addition, since the start of the pandemic the United States has, as of Saturday, recorded 84.9 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, over 43.1 million, and a reported death toll of 524,348.

New data from Russia’s Rosstat state statistics service showed at the end of April that the number of Covid or Covid-related deaths since the start of the pandemic there in April 2020 is now over 803,000, giving the country the world’s second highest pandemic-related death toll, after the United States.  Rosstat reported that 35,584 people died from the coronavirus or related causes in the month of March, compared to 43,543 in February.

Meanwhile, Brazil now has recorded the third highest number of deaths as a result of the virus, 665,595, and has seen close to 30.8 million cases.

France continues to occupy the number four position in total cases with 29.3 million cases, and Germany is in the number five slot with 26.1 million.  The United Kingdom, with 22.2 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 Saturday, 258.1 million people in the United States – or 77.7% – have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine. Of that population, 66.5%, or 220.8 million people, have received two doses of vaccine, and the total number of doses that have been dispensed in the United States is now 583.5 million. Breaking this down further, 89.1% of the population over the age of 18 – or 230.2 million people – has received at least a first inoculation and 76.4% of the same group – or 197.4 million people – is fully vaccinated.  In addition, 50% of that population, or 98.8 million people, has already received a third, or booster, dose of vaccine.

Over 65.7% of the world population has received at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine by Saturday, according to Our World in Data, an online scientific publication that tracks such information.  So far, 11.76 billion doses of the vaccine have been administered on a global basis and 7.13 million doses are now administered each day.

Meanwhile, only 15.9% 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.

Only a handful of the world’s poorest countries – Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia and Nepal – have reached the 70% mark in vaccinations. Many countries, however, are under 20% and, in countries such as Haiti, Senegal, and Tanzania, for example, vaccination rates remain in the single digits, if not lower.

In addition, North Korea and Eritrea are now the only two countries in the world that have not administered vaccines.

Paul Riegler contributed to this story.

 

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

Accura News

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