Coronavirus Morning News Brief – Aug. 23: Fauci Says He Will Retire to Pursue His ‘Next Chapter,’ Apple Employees Resist Return to Office

Japan to Loosen Entry Restrictions for Some Business Travelers

By Jonathan Spira on 23 August 2022
  • Share

Good morning. This is Jonathan Spira reporting. Here now the news of the pandemic from across the globe on the 866th day of the pandemic.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, who has spent over half a century at the National Institutes for Health in the United States and served as advisor to seven presidents, said Monday that he plans to retire from government service by the end of the current year.

In an interview on Sunday, Fauci, who is 81, said he would devote himself to travel, writing, and encouraging people to enter government service.

“So long as I’m healthy, which I am, and I’m energetic, which I am, and I’m passionate, which I am, I want to do some things outside of the realm of the federal government,” he said.

In a statement on Monday, President Joseph Biden thanked Fauci for his service.

“Because of Dr. Fauci’s many contributions to public health, lives here in the United States and around the world have been saved,” the president said.

Few people in his field have had such a long-lasting impact on public health.

After graduating first in his class from Cornell Medical College and doing a residency at New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center, now Weill Cornell Medical Center, he joined the National Institutes of Health in 1968 at a time when Lyndon B. Johnson was president. In 1984, just when the AIDS crisis was exploding, he was appointed director of its infectious disease branch.

The rest as they say is history.

President George Bush called Fauci “a hero” during a 1988 presidential debate and Dr. Fauci was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2008 by President George W. Bush.

While Fauci was already in the spotlight thanks to having developed a global program to combat HIV and AIDS, known as PEPFAR, which has saved an estimated 21 million lives, he took center stage at the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

Fauci has since said that he made mistakes in the early days of the pandemic, including telling people not to mask, which he later said was due to a shortage of masks, but, even amidst death threats to him and his family, he continued to deliver public health messages throughout the pandemic in order to save as many lives as possible.

In other news we cover today, the Japanese prime minister tested positive for Covid and Australia announced an inquiry into some of its early pandemic policies.

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

UNITED STATES

Pfizer and its vaccine partner BioNTech submitted an application to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for emergency use authorization of their bivalent coronavirus vaccine for use in people 12 years of age and older, the two companies said in a statement.  The updated vaccine will combine the original vaccine with one that targets two omicron sublineages, namely  BA.4 and BA.5.  The application calls for it to be administered as a 30 microgram dose.

GLOBAL

Japanese officials said they would allow up to 50,000 tourists – more than double the current figure of 20,000 – as they seek to ease some of the world’s most stringent coronavirus pandemic entry requirements.

The change could go into effect as soon as next month, according to a report by Japanese broadcaster Fuji News Network, which cited unidentified government sources.  Officials are considering exempting fully vaccinated individuals from coronavirus testing requirements as well.

Millions of pupils in the Philippines returned to schools for in-person instruction on Monday.  The move ended one of the world’s longest pandemic-related shutdowns of a school system.

TECH

Apple, which earlier in the month announced that it would have corporate employees return to the office three times per week starting in September, is now facing dissension in the ranks.

An ever-growing number of employees at the Cupertino-based company are apparently unhappy with the plan and circulating a petition for “location flexible work.”  The petition was started by the group “Apple Together.”

Apple CEO Tim Cook has defended its return-to-work plans, the third time the company has attempted to get employees back into offices since the start of the pandemic, because of “in-person collaboration that is so essential to our culture.”

TODAY’S STATISTICS

Now here are the daily statistics for Tuesday, August 23.

As of Tuesday morning, the world has recorded 601.9 million Covid-19 cases, an increase of 0.7 million cases, and over 6.47 million deaths, according to Worldometer, a service that tracks such information. In addition, 576.6 million people worldwide have recovered from the virus, an increase of 1.1 million.

Worldwide, the number of active coronavirus cases as of Tuesday is 18,880,588, a decrease of 398,000. Out of that figure, 99.8%, or 18,836,852, are considered mild, and 0.2%, or 43,736, are listed as critical.  The percentage of cases considered critical is unchanged over the pat 24 hours.

The United States reported 120,643 new coronavirus infections on Tuesday for the previous day, compared to 8,552 on Monday, 7,927 on Sunday, 108,491 on Saturday, and 126,323 on Friday, according to data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  The 7-day incidence rate is now 93,224.  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 92,602, a 16% 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 459, a decrease of 5% over the same period, while the average number of hospitalizations for the period was 39,963, an 8% decrease.

In addition, since the start of the pandemic the United States has, as of Tuesday, recorded over 95.4 million cases, a higher figure than any other country, and a death toll of close to 1.07 million. India has the world’s second highest number of officially recorded cases, almost 44.4 million, and a reported death toll of 527,416.

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, 34.36 million, although Brazil has recorded the third highest number of deaths as a result of the virus, 682,746, and has recorded 34.29 million cases, placing it in the number four slot.

Germany is in the number five slot with over 31.8 million cases.

The other three countries with total case figures over the 20 million mark are the United Kingdom, with 23.5 million cases, in sixth position, South Korea, with 22.45  million cases, placing it in the number seven slot, and Italy, with nearly  21.7 million, as number eight.

VACCINATION SPOTLIGHT

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that, as of Tuesday, over 262.3 million people in the United States – or 79% – have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine. Of that population, 67.4%, or 223.7 million people, have received two doses of vaccine, and the total number of doses that have been dispensed in the United States is now 607.5 million. Breaking this down further, 90% of the population over the age of 18 – or 232.5 million people – has received at least a first inoculation and 77.2% of the same group – or 199.4 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 the updated information on Tuesdays by 8 p.m. EDT, a statement on the agency’s website said.

Some 67.5% of the world population has received at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine by Tuesday, according to Our World in Data, an online scientific publication that tracks such information.  So far, 12.5 billion doses of the vaccine have been administered on a global basis and 4.41 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

Read previous post:
Hilton Launches New ‘Double Your Stay’ Promotion

Hilton Honors, the guest loyalty program of Hilton Worldwide, announced a new promotion for the fall, dubbed Double Your Stay...

Close