Coronavirus Morning News Brief – Aug. 13: L.A. Times Sued for Defamation After Calling Singer ‘Anti-Vaxxer,’ Mask Mandates Return in India

Royal Caribbean and Celebrity End Vaccination Requirements for Some Sailings

By Jonathan Spira on 13 August 2022
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Good morning. This is Jonathan Spira reporting. Here now the news of the pandemic from across the globe on the 856th day of the pandemic.

In news we cover today, face mask mandates return in India and two cruise lines are changing their vaccination requirements for passengers.

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

UNITED STATES

Joseph Arthur, a singer-songwriter from Akron, Ohio, is suing the Los Angeles Times for defamation over a coronavirus article, alleging that the paper labeled him an anti-vaxxer.  Arthur, who repeatedly questioned on social media the safety of Covid vaccines and denounced vaccine passports as a form of segregation, said the story “was instantly understood to convey a defamatory meaning, including that Arthur is an anti-vaxxer, spreading disinformation.”

GLOBAL

Officials in Punjab, the sixteenth largest Indian state with 27 million residents, announced a return to face mask mandates in an attempt to stem the increase in cases that started at the end of July.

In Hong Kong, problems continued to plague the new health-code system on Friday.  The new system, which was introduced earlier in the week, has left some users with delays in status that determined if they could access premises under the Covid-19 vaccine passport requirements.

In Macau, the world’s largest gambling hub, Casino operator Wynn Macau said that its loss for the first half of the year had increased by two-thirds to 3.6 billion Hong Kong dollars ($459 million).  Given the uncertainty around the future of the pandemic, the company “cannot predict”  future closures and therefore “cannot reasonably” estimate the impact on future results, it said in a filing.

TRAVEL

More cruise lines are dropping vaccine requirements.  Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises, updated their websites to indicate that passengers are welcome “regardless of vaccination status” on specific cruises, provided they meet testing requirements.  For Celebrity, that translates to cruises departing from Los Angeles, the United Kingdom, and Europe (except for Iceland). For Royal Caribbean, the change is for cruises sailings from, Los Angeles, Galveston, Texas, and New Orleans as well as European ports.

TODAY’S STATISTICS

Now here are the daily statistics for Saturday, August 13.

As of Saturday morning, the world has recorded 594.2 million Covid-19 cases, an increase of 0.7 million cases, and almost 6.45 million deaths, according to Worldometer, a service that tracks such information. In addition, 566.6million people worldwide have recovered from the virus, an increase of 1.1 million.

Worldwide, the number of active coronavirus cases as of Saturday is 21,326,809, a decrease of 202,000. Out of that figure, 99.8%, or 21,281,069, are considered mild, and 0.2%, or 46,740, are listed as critical.  The percentage of cases considered critical is unchanged over the pat 24 hours.

The United States reported 121,768 new coronavirus infections on Saturday for the previous day, compared to 137,589  on Friday, 175,162 on Thursday, and 128,656 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 104,211.  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 105,593, a 15% 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 491, an increase of 13% over the same period, while the average number of hospitalizations for the period was 42,640, a 3% decrease.

In addition, since the start of the pandemic the United States has, as of Saturday, recorded just 94.6 million cases, a higher figure than any other country, and a death toll of over 1.06 million. India has the world’s second highest number of officially recorded cases, 44.2 million, and a reported death toll of 526,996.

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 is the country with the third highest number of cases, 34.19 million, although Brazil has recorded the third highest number of deaths as a result of the virus, 681,317, and has recorded 34.14 million cases, placing it in the number four slot.

Germany is in the number five slot with 31.5 million cases.

The other three countries with total case figures over the 20,000 mark are the United Kingdom, with over 23.4 million cases, in sixth position, Italy, with almost 21.5 million, in the number seven slot, and South Korea, with 21.2million cases, as number eight.

VACCINATION SPOTLIGHT

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that, as of Saturday, over 261.9 million people in the United States – or 78.9% – have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine. Of that population, 67.3%, or 223.5 million people, have received two doses of vaccine, and the total number of doses that have been dispensed in the United States is now 606.2 million. Breaking this down further, 90% of the population over the age of 18 – or 232.2 million people – has received at least a first inoculation and 77.2% of the same group – or 199.3 million people – is fully vaccinated.  In addition, 51.4% of that population, or 102.5 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 the updated information on Saturdays by 8 p.m. EDT, a statement on the agency’s website said.

Some 67.4% 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, 12.45 billion doses of the vaccine have been administered on a global basis and 6.53 million doses are now administered each day.

Meanwhile, only 20.7% 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 reporting to this story.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

Accura News

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