Coronavirus Morning News Brief – July 4: BA.5 Surge Is Here, U.K. Release New List of Top Symptoms

Cases in China Have Increased By a Ten-Fold

By Jonathan Spira on 4 July 2022
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An older tube station in London

Good morning. This is Jonathan Spira reporting. Here now the news of the pandemic from across the globe on the 816th day of the pandemic.

In the United States, today is the third Fourth of July, or Independence Day, to take place since the start of the pandemic.

Last year, Americans, most notably among them President Joseph Biden, had hopes of declaring independence from the coronavirus.  Instead of a return to normalcy, days before the holiday, officials raised the alarm as the number of new cases dramatically began to climb

Just one year prior, in perhaps some of the darkest days of the pandemic, airlines and hotels were laying off staff left and right, while partnering with companies such as Lysol and the maker of Clorox to assure customers that they were fighting Covid germs.

The number of cases on a global basis stood at 11.5 million according to data compiled by the Morning News Brief, versus the mindboggling 554 million today, a roughly 48-fold increase in just two years.

We now know a lot more about how the virus spreads although we don’t know everything.  It doesn’t, as opposed to what was originally believed, spread on surfaces, and this makes our efforts to wipe off our groceries and mail with disinfectant wipes somewhat quaint.  On the other hand, the virus did and does have the power to roil the world economy and leave the global supply chain in chaos, creating a domino effect along the way.

Historians will write of early efforts to combat the pandemic much in the way we shake our heads at the earlier belief that infectious diseases such as cholera were spread by “miasma,” noxious vapors that were being emitted from rotting organic matter.

Perhaps we have not come that far after all.

In other news we cover, the decline in cases in New York City has ended, the positivity rate in the United States is the highest in five months, and cases in China have increased by a ten-fold.

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

UNITED STATES

The test positivity rate, considered by many epidemiologists to be a more reliable indicator of case surges than other figures, hit a 7-day average of over 15% for the first time since February 3.

Meanwhile, New York City health officials announced that the decline in was over, effectively heralding the start of a BA.5 wave.

“Reported cases are at a high plateau, which means actual transmission is very high,” Dr. Jay Varma, the city’s chief medical officer, said in a tweet.

GLOBAL

Just as the number of infections in the United Kingdom has jumped by over half a million over the past week, new data from the National Health shows the top symptoms patients are experiencing with the current surge.  The list starts with a runny nose, followed by fatigue (mild or severe), headache, sore throat, and sneezing.

Covid cases in China have increased almost by a ten-fold over the course of the past week.  On June 29, locally transmitted cases numbered just 29, but that figure jumped to 385 on Saturday.

China is imposing new restrictions in eastern cities where cases are climbing the most.  The country recorded 380 locally transmitted cases on Sunday, the National Health Commission reported Monday morning.  Two-thirds of these cases were located in Anhui, an eastern province.

The restrictions include movement restrictions in addition to city-wide testing in some cases.

TODAY’S STATISTICS

Now here are the daily statistics for Monday, July 4.

As of Monday morning, the world has recorded 554.5 million Covid-19 cases, an increase of 0.3 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, 529.4 million people worldwide have recovered from the virus, an increase of 0.5 million.

Worldwide, the number of active coronavirus cases as of Monday is 18,697,460, a decrease of 218,000. Out of that figure, 99.8%, or 18,659,171, are considered mild, and 0.2%, or 38,289, are listed as critical.  The percentage of cases considered critical is unchanged over the pat 24 hours.

The United States reported 10,402 new coronavirus infections on Monday for the previous day, compared to 8,516  on Sunday, 151,929  on Saturday, 123,718  on Friday, and 196,230 on Thursday, 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 106,469.  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 113,235, 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 33,802, an 11% increase.

In addition, since the start of the pandemic the United States has, as of Monday, recorded over 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 525,223.

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, 672,017, and has recorded 32.5 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 Monday, 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 Mondays 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 Monday, according to Our World in Data, an online scientific publication that tracks such information.  So far, 12.09 billion doses of the vaccine have been administered on a global basis and 5.74 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.

Anna Breuer contributed to this story.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

Accura News

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