Coronavirus Morning News Brief – Aug. 3: Death Toll in U.S. Remains High, Euro 2022 Women’s Championship Was Likely a Superspreader

Dallas Considers Waste-Water Testing

By Jonathan Spira on 3 August 2022
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London from the air

Good morning. This is Jonathan Spira reporting. Here now the news of the pandemic from across the globe on the 846th day of the pandemic.

Remember the first Covid superspreader?

It was the annual management meeting held by Biogen, a multinational biotechnology company headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Despite headlines and expert warnings of the “novel coronavirus,” many meetings went on.  This one was held in February 2020.

A few days later, in early March, the company’s CEO, Michael Vounatsos, spoke at an industry conference in Boston, touting the “remarkable journey” of the company’s new Alzheimer’s drug.

When asked whether the coronavirus that was ravaging China would disrupt supply chains and upend his company’s big plans, Vounatsos said no.

One viral variant that apparently traveled over from Europe with one of the attendees at the Biogen February event eventually made its way to 245,000 people in the United States. Another that emerged during or right after the Biogen conference reached 88,000.

In total, the researchers concluded the strains traveled across dozens of states and to several other countries.

The past weekend’s Lionesses’ Euro 2022 win over Germany’s national team might also have been a superspreader, scientists fear.  Over 87,000 people were packed into Wembley stadium Saturday night and some 15 million cheered the country’s women’s national football team on from pubs and private homes.

“We should expect to see a rise in reinfections and first-time infections. The ending of free tests means people are far less likely to be diagnosed… so they could mix with others while unknowingly carrying Covid,” said Scottish immunologist Dennis Kinane.

“Dare I say it but 87,000 people crammed into Wembley stadium all shouting and singing is likely to be a super-spreader event for Covid,” a researcher at the Liverpool School of Medicine, Helen Allott, said in a tweet.

Past experience, however, may prove for this to have been a non-event, at least insofar as Covid was concerned.

Only 3,400 Covid cases were linked back to the men’s Euro final against Italy at Wembley last year, which had 67,000 fans in attendance.

In other news we cover today, the daily death toll in the United States remains high and reports reveal that 20% of night clubs in Britain didn’t survive the pandemic.

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

UNITED STATES

The pace of the death toll in the United States has remained steady at an average of 400 per day since May, according to data from the Department of Health and Human Services,  The most recent two-week average, reported on Wednesday, is 450.

In July of this year, the death toll in the United States was over 12,000.

Meanwhile, public health experts in Dallas say that a reworking of virus tracking practices is necessary in order to better understand community health needs.

To accomplish this, they are calling for increased waste-water surveillance, a system that doesn’t require individuals to report Covid test results in order to gather widespread data.

GLOBAL

In Britain, the Night Time Industries Association reported that one in five night clubs closed its doors over the past three years, most as a result of the pandemic.

The group is urging the government to take steps to support the industry’s recovery.

“Late-night economy businesses were one of the quickest sectors to rebound during the financial crash many years ago, harboring an abundance of resilience and entrepreneurial spirit,” said the group’s CEO, Michael Kill, in a statement.

TODAY’S STATISTICS

Now here are the daily statistics for Wednesday, August 3.

As of Wednesday morning, the world has recorded 584.5 million Covid-19 cases, an increase of 1.2 million cases, and 6.42 million deaths, according to Worldometer, a service that tracks such information. In addition, 555.2 million people worldwide have recovered from the virus, an increase of 1.2 million.

Worldwide, the number of active coronavirus cases as of Wednesday is 22,928,035, a decrease of 99,000. Out of that figure, 99.8%, or 22,884,429, are considered mild, and 0.2%, or 43,606, are listed as critical.  The percentage of cases considered critical is unchanged over the pat 24 hours.

The United States reported 108,210 new coronavirus infections on Wednesday for the previous day, compared to 176,728 on Tuesday, 10,865 on Monday, 11,967 on Sunday, and 139,296 on Saturday, 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 117,508.  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 122,625, a 2% 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 450, an increase of 3% over the same period, while the average number of hospitalizations for the period was 43,592, a 4% increase.

In addition, since the start of the pandemic the United States has, as of Wednesday, recorded 93.3 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, almost 44.1 million, and a reported death toll of 526,477.

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, 33.92 million, although Brazil has recorded the third highest number of deaths as a result of the virus, 679,073, and has recorded 33.89 million cases, placing it in the number four slot.

Germany is in the number five slot with 31 million cases.

The other two countries with total case figures over the 20,000 mark are the United Kingdom, with over 23.3 million cases, in sixth position, and Italy, with 21.1 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 Wednesdays by 8 p.m. EDT, a statement on the agency’s website said.

Sixty-seven percen6 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, 12.36 billion doses of the vaccine have been administered on a global basis and 6.33 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)

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