Coronavirus Morning News Brief – July 1: North Korea Says ‘Alien Things’ Brought Covid, N.Y.C. Widens Paxlovid Distribution

White House Orders 100 Million Doses of Updated Vaccine

By Jonathan Spira on 1 July 2022
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A pop-up coronavirus testing site in New York City’s Theater District

Good morning. This is Jonathan Spira reporting. Here now the news of the pandemic from across the globe on the 813th day of the pandemic.

Please do not assume that I inadvertently wandered into Ripley’s Believe It or Not but North Korean officials on Friday suggested that SARS-COV-2 had entered the country on foreign objects from South Korea, specifically “alien things,” that its citizens had touched.

The hermit kingdom did not directly blame its southern neighbor but the State Emergency Epidemic Prevention Headquarters of North Korea warned citizens to “vigilantly deal with alien things” that come across the border by “balloons,” wind, or “other climate phenomena.”

Balloons were cited because activists in the south, largely defectors from the north, have sent balloons across the border loaded with leaflets that denounce Kim Jong-un, among other items that have also included dollar bills and USB drives with news from the rest of the world, from which North Korea remains sealed off as far the average citizen is concerned.

In other news we cover, the White House ordered 100 million doses of a yet-to-be-developed coronavirus vaccine, New York City will give out antivirals at its mobile testing sites, and a 14-year-old tiger died from coronavirus-related complications.

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


New York City will offer the Paxlovid at its mobile coronavirus testing sites. The move will allow people who test positive for Covid to immediately receive the antiviral at no charge.  The new “Test to Treat” program was announced by Mayor Eric Adams on Thursday.

Meanwhile, the Biden administration said it had ordered over 100 million doses of an updated Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine.  The doses are intended for a fall booster campaign and will be aimed at subvariants of the omicron variant.

Ten percent of the country’s National Guard troops have failed to prove that the have been fully vaccinated for the coronavirus found themselves at midnight on Thursday in direct violation of a long-standing order mandating their compliance.   As a result, they will no longer be able to drill with their units until such proof is provided.

The 43,600 troops will not be immediately separated from their units.

“We’re going to give every soldier every opportunity to get vaccinated and continue their military career,” said Llieutenant GeneralJon A. Jensen, director of the Army National Guard, in a statement. “We’re not giving up on anybody until the separation paperwork is signed and completed.”

Jupiter, a 14-year-old Amur tiger at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium in Ohio, died after developing pneumonia caused by SARS-COV-2.  The tiger “had been on long term treatment for chronic underlying illnesses, which made him more susceptible to this virus,” the zoo said in a statement on Facebook.


Now here are the daily statistics for Friday, July 1.

As of Friday morning, the world has recorded 552.8 million Covid-19 cases, an increase of 0.9 million new cases in the preceding 24 hour period, and 6.36 million deaths, according to Worldometer, a service that tracks such information. In addition, 528 million people worldwide have recovered from the virus, an increase of 0.6 million.

Worldwide, the number of active coronavirus cases as of Friday is 18,426,771, an increase of 253,000. Out of that figure, 99.8%, or 18,389,961, are considered mild, and 0.2%, or 36,810, are listed as critical.  The percentage of cases considered critical is unchanged over the pat 24 hours.

The United States reported 123,718 new coronavirus infections on Friday for the previous day, compared to196,230  on Thursday, 122,495 on Wednesday, 131,797 on Tuesday, and 18,240 on Monday, according to data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  The 7-day incidence rate continues to be over 100,000 and is now 113,691.  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 114,000, a 10% 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 378, an increase of 18% over the same period, while the average number of hospitalizations for the period was 33,077, a 10% increase.

In addition, since the start of the pandemic the United States has, as of Friday, recorded 89.4 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, 43.5 million, and a reported death toll of 525,139.

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, 671,466, and has recorded 32.4 million cases.

France continues to occupy the number four position in total cases with 31.1 million cases, and Germany is in the number five slot with 28.3 million.  The United Kingdom, with 22.7 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.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that, as of Friday, over 259.9 million people in the United States – or 78.3% – have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine. Of that population, 66.9%, or 222.9million people, have received two doses of vaccine, and the total number of doses that have been dispensed in the United States is now 596.2 million. Breaking this down further, 89.6% of the population over the age of 18 – or 231.5 million people – has received at least a first inoculation and 76.8% of the same group – or 198.5 million people – is fully vaccinated.  In addition, 51.1% of that population, or 101.5 million people, has already received a third, or booster, dose of vaccine.

Starting on June 13, the CDC began to update vaccine data on a weekly basis and publish it on Fridays by 8 p.m. EDT, a statement on the agency’s website said.

Over 66.6% 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, 12.11 billion doses of the vaccine have been administered on a global basis and 5.44 million doses are now administered each day.

Meanwhile, only 17.4% 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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