Coronavirus Morning News Brief – July 2: California Covid Levels As High As Ever, China Loosens Some Travel Restrictions

Denmark’s Minkkommissionen Reports on the Killing of 17 Million of the Mammals

By Jonathan Spira on 2 July 2022
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A member of the Danish Royal Guard, or Den Kongelige Livgarde, at Amalienborg Palace

Good morning. This is Jonathan Spira reporting. Here now the news of the pandemic from across the globe on the 814th day of the pandemic.

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

UNITED STATES

The pandemic is far from over, at least according to data from regional wastewater plants in California. The levels of Covid are currently as high in the state’s wastewater as they were during the original omicron surge earlier in the year.

Data from the Sewer Coronavirus Alert Network, a wastewater analysis program at Stanford University, shows that the wastewater in parts of Northern California show levels of Covid exceeding those found in the original omicron surge, while the figures in Sacramento are milder, hitting just over half of the figures seen in January.

Meanwhile, New York State renewed its outdoor dining program that allows restaurants to continue their recovery from the depths of the pandemic.   The program was extended for a three-year period.  New York City already has a permanent program that allows many restaurants to operate outdoor dining sections in sidewalk sheds on the street.

The Big Apple also discontinued its three-color Covid alert system, issuing a statement saying it is being re-evaluated.  Meanwhile, the N.Y.C. website reports that “there are currently high transmission levels of Covid-19 throughout the city.”

GLOBAL

In Denmark, Statesministerin Mette Fredriksen issued an apology to the country’s mink farmers after the Minkkommissionen issued a report that blamed top government officials for mishandling the cull of the country’s mink population over fears that a mutated version of SARS-CoV-2 that had infected minks and was found to have then leapt to humans, a process known as zoonosis, could diminish the effectiveness of then soon-to-be released coronavirus vaccines.

“I know you lost your life’s work, and I am truly sorry for the frustration and grief it has caused,” she said, although she also said that the move had been “necessary.”

TRAVEL

China will loosen entry restrictions on U.S. citizens, who currently are only allowed when traveling directly from the United States. The new rules, posted by the Chinese embassy in Washington D.C. on Friday said that Americans will be allowed to enter if transiting from a third country.

TODAY’S STATISTICS

Now here are the daily statistics for Saturday, July 2.

As of Saturday morning, the world has recorded 553.8 million Covid-19 cases, an increase of 1.0 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, 528.5 million people worldwide have recovered from the virus, an increase of 0.5 million.

Worldwide, the number of active coronavirus cases as of Saturday is 18,932,585, an increase of 506,000. Out of that figure, 99.8%, or 18,895,602, are considered mild, and 0.2%, or 36,983, are listed as critical.  The percentage of cases considered critical is unchanged over the pat 24 hours.

The United States reported 151,929 new coronavirus infections on Saturday for the previous day, compared to123,718  on Friday, 196,230 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 113,182.  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 114,101, a 12% 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 387, an increase of 23% over the same period, while the average number of hospitalizations for the period was 33,387, a 10% increase.

In addition, since the start of the pandemic the United States has, as of Saturday, recorded 89.5 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, 43.5 million, and a reported death toll of 525,168.

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, 671,764, and has recorded 32.4 million cases.

France continues to occupy the number four position in total cases with 31.2 million cases, and Germany is in the number five slot with 28.4 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.

VACCINATION SPOTLIGHT

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that, as of Saturday, 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, 2022, the CDC began to update vaccine data on a weekly basis and publish it on Saturdays by 8 p.m. EDT, a statement on the agency’s website said.

Over 66.5% 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, 12.08 billion doses of the vaccine have been administered on a global basis and 5.73 million doses are now administered each day.

Meanwhile, only 17.6% 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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