Coronavirus Morning News Brief – Aug. 9: Japan in Seventh Covid Wave, Norwegian to Allow Non-Vaccinated Passengers

Thailand Downgrades Covid to Same Category as Influenza

By Jonathan Spira on 9 August 2022
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On board the Celebrity Summit

Good morning. This is Jonathan Spira reporting. Here now the news of the pandemic from across the globe on the 852nd day of the pandemic.

In news we cover today, Japan is now in its seventh wave of coronavirus and will import new vaccines that target omicron, and Norwegian Cruise Line will allow non-vaccinated individuals to travel on its vessels.

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

UNITED STATES

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is expected to announce relaxed school guidelines in advance of the start of the new school year.  The changes could deemphasize the current “test to stay” strategy  in which students exposed to the virus must regularly take coronavirus tests in order to remain in class. It might also allow schools to unwind strict social-distancing measures that have been in place since almost the start of the pandemic.

New York State, home to two of the first major epicenters of the virus in the country, reported an increase in weekly Covid cases of approximately 11% last week. The city saw 48,982 new cases in the week ending Sunday, while that figure was 44,235 the previous week.  The infection rates in New York City and Long Island were among the highest while the upstate region recorded fewer cases.

GLOBAL

Chinese authorities closed Tibet’s Potala Palace, the former winter palace of the Dalai Lama, after a small outbreak of coronavirus cases in the Himalayan autonomous region. The news was first reported by the Associated Press.

Thailand’s health ministry said it will remove Covid-19 from the same disease category as plague and smallpox, and place it in the same category as influenza.

Meanwhile, Japan, which is currently experiencing its seventh wave of coronavirus infections thanks to the BA.5 omicron subvariant, said it would import a new vaccine that targets the omicron variant in an effort to stave off the effects of the subvariant.

TRAVEL

Norwegian Cruise Line will now allow non-vaccinated individuals to travel on its voyages.   Travelers must have proof of a “medically supervised” negative PCR or antigen test taken no more than 72 hours prior to embarkation, the company said. Other cruise lines including Carnival Cruise Lines and Royal Caribbean International still require proof of vaccination.

TODAY’S STATISTICS

Now here are the daily statistics for Tuesday, August 9.

As of Tuesday morning, the world has recorded 590.9 million Covid-19 cases, an increase of 1.2 million cases, and almost 6.44 million deaths, according to Worldometer, a service that tracks such information. In addition, 562.3 million people worldwide have recovered from the virus, an increase of 1.3 million.

Worldwide, the number of active coronavirus cases as of Tuesday is 21,793,184, a decrease of 245,000. Out of that figure, 99.8%, or 21,749,409, are considered mild, and 0.2%, or 43,775, are listed as critical.  The percentage of cases considered critical is unchanged over the pat 24 hours.

The United States reported 135,412 new coronavirus infections on Tuesday for the previous day, compared to 10,081 on Monday, 10,568 on Sunday, 131,914 on Saturday, 164,117 on Friday, and 217,844 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 111,251.  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 108,261, 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 483, an increase of 10% over the same period, while the average number of hospitalizations for the period was 43,070, a 3% increase.

In addition, since the start of the pandemic the United States has, as of Tuesday, recorded almost 94 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 44.2 million, and a reported death toll of 526,772.

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, 34.08 million, although Brazil has recorded the third highest number of deaths as a result of the virus, 680,239, and has recorded almost 34.04 million cases, placing it in the number four slot.

Germany is in the number five slot with 31.3 million cases.

The other three countries with total case figures over the 20,000 mark are the United Kingdom, with almost 23.4 million cases, in sixth position, Italy, with 21.3 million, in the number seven slot, and South Korea, with 20.7 million cases, as number eight.

VACCINATION SPOTLIGHT

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that, as of Tuesday, 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 223.2 million people, have received two doses of vaccine, and the total number of doses that have been dispensed in the United States is now 604.2 million. Breaking this down further, close to 90% of the population over the age of 18 – or 232.2 million people – has received at least a first inoculation and 77.1% of the same group – or 198.9 million people – is fully vaccinated.  In addition, 51.4% of that population, or 102.2 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 Thursdays by 8 p.m. EDT, a statement on the agency’s website said.

Some 67.2% 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, 12.41 billion doses of the vaccine have been administered on a global basis and 6.39 million doses are now administered each day.

Meanwhile, only 20.2% 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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