Coronavirus Morning News Brief – June 15: China’s Draconian 3-Day Testing Requirement, New Cases in U.S. Level Off

Canada Ends Vaccine Passport Mandate for Internal Travel

By Jonathan Spira on 15 June 2022
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A food shop worker in Chengdu before the pandemic

Good morning. This is Jonathan Spira reporting. Here now the news of the pandemic from across the globe on the 797th day of the pandemic.

People in multiple countries have complained about onerous coronavirus restrictions over the past 27 months or so but these all pale when compared to China’s tough “zero Covid” policy.

Residents in at least 50 cities – which translates to well over 100 million people – now must take regular PCR tests every 48 to 72 hours to meet the new and much stricter requirements in place.

Negative test results are required to use public transit in those cities as well as to enter public spaces including shops, malls, office buildings, restaurants, cafés, and fitness centers.

The South China Morning Post reported that the lines for some testing locations are so long that people find the station closed by the time they get to the front of the line.

In other news we cover today, Canada is ending its internal travel vaccine passport requirement and Covid cases in the United States are beginning to level off.

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

UNITED STATES

The number of new Covid cases reported is starting to level off, according to a Morning News Brief database.  The 7-day incidence continues to remain over 100,000 but has trended lower in recent days.

Doctors at Yale New Haven Children’s Clinic are reporting that children are being admitted with a variety of viruses highly unusual for the season, and that in some cases  a patient is presenting two or even three of these viruses simultaneously.

The list includes adenovirus, rhinovirus, respiratory syncytial virus, and human metapneumovirus, influenza, and parainfluenza, as well as the coronavirus.

“That’s not typical for any time of year and certainly not typical in May and June,” Thomas Murphy, an associate professor of pediatrics and infection-control specialist told the Washington Post.

Reasons for the unusual appearance of these viruses include not being able to build natural immunity due to coronavirus precautions taken and fewer opportunities for primary care and inoculations during the past two years of the pandemic.

Meanwhile, the Greenwich, Connecticut school district said on its final day of classes that it had had twice the number of Covid cases since March 1, when it ended a mandatory masking policy, as compared to the period from September 2021 through March 1, when that figure was 1,412.

Finally, an FDA external advisory committee unanimously backed the approval of Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine for children in the age group 6 through 17.  The step precedes emergency use authorization by the agency.   The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for that age group already has such authorization.

GLOBAL

Canadians traveling within the country’s borders will no longer be required to have proof of vaccination starting June 20, as cases there continue to fall.  The change also applies to federal transport workers.

“It’s clear that the Covid situation is not the same now as it was last fall when we implemented the vaccine mandate,” the country’s minister of transport, Omar Alghabra, told reporters at a news conference on Tuesday.

Health officials in Beijing said that a total of 327 Covid cases have now been linked to Heaven Supermarket bar.   The 24-hour bar is known for inexpensive drinks and big crowds.  The bar had just reopened a little over a week ago as officials relaxed Covid curbs in the capital city.

Meanwhile, officials in Hong Kong reported 1,047 new Covid-19 infections on Wednesday.  The news was the first time the daily tally has topped 1,000 since mid-April.

TODAY’S STATISTICS

Now here are the daily statistics for Wednesday, June 15.

As of Wednesday morning, the world has recorded 541.9 million Covid-19 cases, an increase of 0.7 million new cases in the preceding 24 hour period, and 6.33 million deaths, according to Worldometer, a service that tracks such information. In addition, 517.1 million people worldwide have recovered from the virus, an increase of 0.6 million.

Worldwide, the number of active coronavirus cases as of Wednesday is 18,421,898, an increase of 9,500. Out of that figure, 99.8%, or 18,385,630, are considered mild, and 0.2%, or 36,268, are listed as critical.  The percentage of cases considered critical is unchanged over the past 24 hours.

The United States reported 134,095 new coronavirus infections on Wednesday for the previous day, compared to 126,403 on Tuesday, 18,393 on Monday, 35,173 on Sunday, and 135,999 on Saturday, according to data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  The 7-day incidence rate continues to remain over 100,000 and is now 106,640.  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 105,605, an increase of 7%, based on data from the Department of Health and Human Services, among other sources.  The average daily death toll over the same period is 322, an increase of 8% over the same period, while the average number of hospitalizations for the period was 29,728, an 8% increase.

In addition, since the start of the pandemic the United States has, as of Wednesday, recorded 87.5 million cases, a higher figure than any other country, and a death toll of 1.04 million. India has the world’s second highest number of officially recorded cases, over 43.2 million, and a reported death toll of 524,792.

New data from Russia’s Rosstat state statistics service showed at the end of May that the number of Covid or Covid-related deaths since the start of the pandemic there in April 2020 is now 812,827, giving the country the world’s second highest pandemic-related death toll, after the United States.  Rosstat reported that 11,583 people died from the coronavirus or related causes in April, down from 35,584 in March and from 43,543 in February.

Meanwhile, Brazil now has recorded the third highest number of deaths as a result of the virus, 668,404, and has recorded 31.5 million cases.

France continues to occupy the number four position in total cases with 29.9 million cases, and Germany is in the number five slot with 26.9 million.  The United Kingdom, with 22.4 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 Wednesday, over 259 million people in the United States – or 78% – have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine. Of that population, 66.8%, or 221.8 million people, have received two doses of vaccine, and the total number of doses that have been dispensed in the United States is now 591.4 million. Breaking this down further, 89.4% of the population over the age of 18 – or 230.9 million people – has received at least a first inoculation and 76.7% of the same group – or 198.1 million people – is fully vaccinated.  In addition, 50.5% of that population, or over 100 million people, has already received a third, or booster, dose of vaccine.

Over 66.3% of the world population has received at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine by Wednesday, according to Our World in Data, an online scientific publication that tracks such information.  So far, 11.95 billion doses of the vaccine have been administered on a global basis and 5.47 million doses are now administered each day.

Meanwhile, only 18% 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.

Anna Breuer contributed to this story.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

Accura News

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