Coronavirus Morning News Brief – June 21: Children Under 5 Start to Get Vaccinated, Omicron Study Finds Low Risk of Severe Illness

Korean CEO Says Return to 2019 Levels of Travel ‘Will Take a Few More Years’

By Jonathan Spira on 21 June 2022
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A Korean Air Aribus A380 at JFK

Good morning. This is Jonathan Spira reporting. Here now the news of the pandemic from across the globe on the 803rd day of the pandemic

Children under the age of 5 – at least in the United States – will begin to get inoculated against the coronavirus on Tuesday, placing the United States in the vanguard of being perhaps the only country to vaccinate all age groups except infants under 6 months of age.

The move to allow older infants and preschoolers to get the vaccine will allow them – and their parents – to move more freely about the day and will allay parental fears of the risks of taking them on summer excursions and even going to kindergarten where most children are likely to not be wearing a facemask.

Many pediatricians will offer the vaccine and the Biden administration is planning to set up pop-up vaccination sites at children’s museums and libraries.

The group was far less risk than earlier groups to have been vaccinated because they do not have as much social intercourse but the lack of vaccines for this age group has kept children out of daycare and away from other parents and children, which limits the interpersonal social skills they typically acquire at a tender young age.

In other news we cover today, Hong Kong could open a business-travel corridot with China, a study finds that the risk of severe disease from the omicron variant is low, and the CEO of Korean Air believes it will take several more years for travel to return to 2019 levels.

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

UNITED STATES

In North Carolina, Governor Roy Cooper said he tested positive for the coronavirus and reported that he is fully vaccinated and has received two booster doses. He reported “mild symptoms” and is working from home, his office said.

GLOBAL

Hong Kong could open a quarantine-free business-travel corridor with China, according to government advisors.

The State Council’s Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office on Sunday laid out five expectations for the incoming chief executive of Hong Kong, John Lee Ka-chu, and his team, including reopening the border and strengthening the city’s role as “an international hub connecting the mainland and the world.”

Also in Hong Kong, government officials and lawmakers attending events marking the 25th anniversary of Britain’s handover of the special administrative region on July 1 will only need to quarantine at designated hotels for one day under a revised plan that calls for them to remain in a somewhat loose closed-loop arrangement from June 23 through June 30.  Those covered by the protocol must be fully vaccinated and should avoid going anyplace except work and home until the day of the celebration itself.

In Mexico, Secretaria de Relationes Exeriores Marcelo Ebrard said Monday that he had tested positive for the coronavirus.  In a tweet, he said that his symptoms were “nothing to worry about” and added that he would carry out his official duties from home.

Finally, a study published by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention found that relatively few people who contracted the omicron variant of the coronavirus suffered severe illness or hospitalization.

The study found that, out of 33,000 patients after testing positive, only 22 developed severe illness.  All were over 60 years of age and had underlying medical conditions, according to the study, which was carried out in the period March 22, 2022 through May 3, 2022, at four hospitals in Shanghai.

In China, anyone who tests positive for Covid is sent either to a hospital or an isolation center under the country’s zero-Covid policy.

TRAVEL

The CEO of Korean Air, Walter Cho, said that rising inflation could keep the pandemic recovery at bay.  He also said that, while passenger demand is strong, a return to 2019 levels is still a few years away.

“It will take a few more years for everything to recover to 2019 levels,” he told the cable business news channel CNBC in an interview.

TODAY’S STATISTICS

Now here are the daily statistics for Tuesday, June 21.

As of Tuesday morning, the world has recorded 545 million Covid-19 cases, an increase of 0.6 million new cases in the preceding 24 hour period, and 6.34 million deaths, according to Worldometer, a service that tracks such information. In addition, 520.3 million people worldwide have recovered from the virus, an increase of 0.5 million.

Worldwide, the number of active coronavirus cases as of Tuesday is 18,319,429, a decrease of 170,000. Out of that figure, 99.8%, or 18,283,393, are considered mild, and 0.2%, or 36,036, are listed as critical.  The percentage of cases considered critical is unchanged over the past 24 hours.

The United States reported 54,156 new coronavirus infections on Tuesday for the previous day, compared to 14,607  on Monday, 14,212 on Sunday, 116,485 on Saturday, and 104,135 on Friday, according to data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  The 7-day incidence rate is now 87,380.  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 96,417, a decrease of 3%, based on data from the Department of Health and Human Services, among other sources.  The average daily death toll over the same period is 311, an increase of 17% over the same period, while the average number of hospitalizations for the period was 30,076, a 3% increase.

In addition, since the start of the pandemic the United States has, as of Tuesday, recorded 88.1 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, 43.3 million, and a reported death toll of 524,873.

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 812,890, 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, 669,217, and has recorded 31.8 million cases.

France continues to occupy the number four position in total cases with 30.2 million cases, and Germany is in the number five slot with 27.2 million.  The United Kingdom, with 22.5 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 Tuesday, over 259.2 million people in the United States – or 78.1% – have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine. Of that population, 66.8%, or 221.9 million people, have received two doses of vaccine, and the total number of doses that have been dispensed in the United States is now 592.3 million. Breaking this down further, 89.5% of the population over the age of 18 – or 231 million people – has received at least a first inoculation and 76.8% of the same group – or 198.2 million people – is fully vaccinated.  In addition, 50.6% of that population, or 100.2 million people, has already received a third, or booster, dose of vaccine.

Because of the bank holiday on Tuesday, the CDC is not publishing updates of vaccination or other data until the afternoon of Tuesday, June 21.

Over 66.3% of the world population has received at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine by Tuesday, according to Our World in Data, an online scientific publication that tracks such information.  So far, 12 billion doses of the vaccine have been administered on a global basis and 6.57 million doses are now administered each day.

Meanwhile, only 17.8% 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.

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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