Coronavirus Morning News Brief – July 31: What Countries Lead in Returning to the Office, Austrian Doctor’s Suicide After Anti-Vaxxer Threats

President Biden Tested Positive for Covid Again, Albeit Without Symptoms

By Jonathan Spira on 31 July 2022
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The Basilika St. Michael in Mondsee in Oberösterreich

Good morning. This is Jonathan Spira reporting. Here now the news of the pandemic from across the globe on the 843rd day of the pandemic.

Mobile data from Google shows that British workers have returned to the office in far fewer numbers than in other European nations.

The number of commuters according to Google, which uses anonymous data from products such as Google Maps, is currently down 35% when compared to pre-pandemic figures in February 2020.

This is a huge contrast when compared to the five major economies on the Continent.  Italian and German workers lead the way, down only 19% and 22% respectively, while Spain only shows a 24% decline and France, 27%.

Meanwhile, commuting rates in both Ireland the United States are down 29%, while, in Australia, the rate is only 7%.

It’s perhaps worthwhile to contemplate on figures from Norway, however, where commuting rates are currently 59% lower than pre-pandemic levels

In other news we cover today, an Austrian doctor targeted by anti-vaxxers committed suicide and U.S. President Joseph Biden appears to have a rebound case of Covid.

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

UNITED STATES

President Joseph Biden tested positive for the coronavirus again Saturday morning, a letter released bypresidential physician Dr. Kevin O’Connor said

The infection is believed to be a “rebound” Covid-19 case that the doctor said is “observed in a small percentage of patients treated with Paxlovid.”

In a video made by Biden Saturday, he said he “feels fine” and has no symptoms.

The coronavirus is now not the only public health emergency in the United States.  Officials in New York City declared the monkeypox virus to also be a public health emergency, saying the Big Apple is the epicenter of the outbreak.

The declaration will allow the city’s Health Department to take measures to help stem the spread of the illness.

Meanwhile, citing declining Covid cases, Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said last week that her department would not impose a mask mandate.  Such action had been contemplated given the summer surge of cases fueled by extremely contagious omicron subvariants such as BA.5.

Finally, a study released by the Brookings Institution shows that some four million people may be sidelined from work by Long Covid.
The study drew on survey data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, and the Lancet.

GLOBAL

An Austrian physician who was targeted with death threats by anti-vaxxers committed suicide.

The body of Frau Dr. Lisa-Maria Kellermayr, who promoted the use of the coronavirus vaccines, was found at her practice in Wels, a city on the Traun river in Oberösterreich near Linz.

Earlier in the summer, Frau Dr. Kellermayr first temporarily then, several weeks ago, permanent closed her practice. She said she could not “offer any perspective for whether or when it will be possible for us to work under ‘normal’ circumstances.”

Austrian Bundespräsident Alexander Van der Bellen called for an end to the type of harassment that caused the physician to end her life.

“Let us end this intimidation and fear. Hatred and intolerance have no place in our Austria. Let us always find a way to live together peacefully,” he said in a tweet.

TODAY’S STATISTICS

Now here are the daily statistics for Sunday, July 31.

As of Sunday morning, the world has recorded 581.9 million Covid-19 cases, an increase of 0.6 million cases, and 6.42 million deaths, according to Worldometer, a service that tracks such information. In addition, 551.9 million people worldwide have recovered from the virus, an increase of 0.8 million.

Worldwide, the number of active coronavirus cases as of Sunday is 23,597,764, a decrease of 128,000. Out of that figure, 99.8%, or 23,555,428, are considered mild, and 0.2%, or 42,336, are listed as critical.  The percentage of cases considered critical is unchanged over the pat 24 hours.

The United States reported 11,967 new coronavirus infections on Sunday for the previous day, compared to 139,296  on Saturday, 148,149  on Friday, 227,253  on Thursday, and 163,367 on Wednesday, 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 125,382.  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 124,090, a 5% decrease, based on data from the Department of Health and Human Services, among other sources.  The average daily death toll over the same period is 437, an increase of 3% over the same period, while the average number of hospitalizations for the period was 44,207, a 9% increase.

In addition, since the start of the pandemic the United States has, as of Sunday, recorded 93.1 million cases, a higher figure than any other country, and a death toll of almost 1.06 million. India has the world’s second highest number of officially recorded cases, 44 million, and a reported death toll of 526,357.

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, France eclipsed Brazil as the country with the third highest number of cases, 33.83 million, although Brazil has recorded the third third highest number of deaths as a result of the virus, 678,537, and has recorded 33.82 million cases, placing it in the number four slot.

Germany is in the number five slot with almost 30.1 million cases,.

The other two countries with total case figures over the 20,000 mark are currently United Kingdom, with 23.3 million cases, in sixth position, and Italy, with 21 million, in the number seven slot.

VACCINATION SPOTLIGHT

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that, as of Friday, over 261.6 million people in the United States – or 78.8% – have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine. Of that population, 67.2%, or 223.2million people, have received two doses of vaccine, and the total number of doses that have been dispensed in the United States is now 603.7 million. Breaking this down further, 90% of the population over the age of 18 – or 232.3million people – has received at least a first inoculation and 77.1% of the same group – or 199.2 million people – is fully vaccinated.  In addition, 51.5% of that population, or 102.7 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 Mondays by 8 p.m. EDT, a statement on the agency’s website said.

Over 67% of the world population has received at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine by Sunday, according to Our World in Data, an online scientific publication that tracks such information.  So far, 12.34 billion doses of the vaccine have been administered on a global basis and 7.89 million doses are now administered each day.

Meanwhile, only 19.9% 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.

Anna Breuer contributed to this story.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

Accura News

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