Coronavirus Morning News Brief – Aug. 17: U.K. Expects Surge of Cases, 2 Flight Attendants Charged With Breaking Covid Quarantine

Don’t Turn Off the Fridge to Save Energy, Says UK Health Chief

By Jonathan Spira on 17 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 860th day of the pandemic.

Good morning. This is Jonathan Spira reporting. Here now the news of the pandemic from across the globe on the 860th day of the pandemic.

The head of the UK Health Security Agency, Dame Jenny Harries, is telling people not to turn their refrigerators off to save energy. even temporarily, due to the risk of infection in food due to spoilage when proper temperatures, namely 39° F (4° C).  Dame Jenny, speaking on the “Today” program,

Her comment follows a warning from Health Secretary Steve Barclay who said that the National Health Service is facing a triple threat come winter of the cost of living crisis, the coronavirus, and the flu.

Like many countries, England is expecting a surge of coronavirus cases as temperatures drop and people spend more time inside.

In addition, what could be a bad flu season combined with the deteriorating health of many people due to soaring food and energy prices, is expected to exacerbate the stress placed on NHS services there.

In other news we cover today, two flight attendants were accused of having broken coronavirus quarantine while infected and the West Nile virus reappeared in New York City.

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


Two people in New York City have been infected with the West Nile virus, a single strand RNA virus that transmits West Nile fever and is primarily carried by mosquitoes.  The city’s health department said it had detected mosquitoes in all five boroughs of the city that were carrying and spreading the virus.

Meanwhile, a Florida judge let stand the dismissal of a Broward county teacher who refused to comply with a school district’s mask and social-distancing policy last year. Judge Cathy Sellers issued a 44-page ruling that concluded that the teacher, John Alvarez of Piper High School, had “engaged in gross insubordination by continued, intentional failure to obey numerous direct orders, reasonable in nature and given by and with proper authority.”


Officials in mainland China are “actively considering” allowing residents of Hong Kong to quarantine in their own city before crossing the border amidst a shortage of designated hotel accommodations, reserved for such quarantine, on the other side of the border.

Officials in Nevis, a small island in the Caribbean Sea that forms part of the inner arc of the Leeward Islands chain of the West Indies, have lifted all coronavirus-related entry protocols.  The changes went into effect earlier in the week.

Finally, Wong Yoon-loong and Nilsson Lau Kok-wang, two former Cathay Pacific flight attendants, were alleged to have breached Covid-19 quarantine rules in Hong Kong while infected with the coronavirus. The two maintained that visits to friends and going out to dinner were allowed during self-isolation periods.


Now here are the daily statistics for Wednesday, August 17.

As of Wednesday morning, the world has recorded 597.3 million Covid-19 cases, an increase of 1 million cases, and almost 6.46 million deaths, according to Worldometer, a service that tracks such information. In addition, 571.4 million people worldwide have recovered from the virus, an increase of 1 million.

Worldwide, the number of active coronavirus cases as of Wednesday is 19,458,357, an increase of 14,000. Out of that figure, 99.8%, or 19,413,943, are considered mild, and 0.2%, or 44,414, are listed as critical.  The percentage of cases considered critical is unchanged over the pat 24 hours.

The United States reported 119,903 new coronavirus infections on Wednesday for the previous day, compared to 129,460 on Tuesday, 10,704 on Monday, 6,854 on Sunday, 121,768 on Saturday, and 137,589 on Friday, 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 100,206.  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 100,747, an 18% 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 467, an increase of 4% over the same period, while the average number of hospitalizations for the period was 41,668, a 5% decrease.

In addition, since the start of the pandemic the United States has, as of Wednesday, recorded 94.9 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, close to 44.3 million, and a reported death toll of 527,134.

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 820,307, giving the country the world’s second highest pandemic-related death toll, behind the United States.  Rosstat reported that 4,991 people died from the coronavirus or related causes in June, down from 7,008 in May and from 11,583 in April.

Meanwhile, France is the country with the third highest number of cases, 34.24 million, although Brazil has recorded the third highest number of deaths as a result of the virus, 681,828, and has recorded 34.2 million cases, placing it in the number four slot.

Germany is in the number five slot with close to 31.7 million cases.

The other three countries with total case figures over the 20 million mark are the United Kingdom, with over 23.4 million cases, in sixth position, South Korea, with 21.7 million cases, placing it in the number seven slot, and Italy, with 21.5 million, as number eight.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that, as of Wednesday, 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 Wednesdays 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 Wednesday, according to Our World in Data, an online scientific publication that tracks such information.  So far, 12.46 billion doses of the vaccine have been administered on a global basis and 5.18 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.

Anna Breuer contributed reporting to this story.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

Accura News

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