Coronavirus Morning News Brief – Sept. 22: Better Indoor Air Quality Will Fight Covid, U.K. Expects Record Cases in the Fall

Denmark’s Queen Tests Positive After Attending Queen Elizabeth II’s Funeral

By Jonathan Spira on 22 September 2022
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A member of the Danish Royal Guard, or Den Kongelige Livgarde, at Amalienborg Palace

Good morning. This is Jonathan Spira reporting. Here now the news of the pandemic from across the globe on the 896th day of the pandemic.

There’s something that can be done to reduce the spread of Covid that is unlikely to elicit wacky conspiracy theories and will come with myriad other benefits as well.

Improving air quality and ventilation in public indoor places such as schools will dramatically reduce the spread of the virus, and the Biden administration is calling on schools to use funding from the American Rescue Plan to do so.

Filters within HVAC systems are usually designed to trap particulates, fumes, mists, and vapors.  Hospitals have long used filters to trap contaminants in critical areas. For example, filters used in pathology workstations are usually designed to maximize the elimination of formaldehyde vapors.  Broadway theaters installed filters with MERV-13 ratings or higher (MERV stands for Minimum efficiency reporting values) in order to reopen after their pandemic closure in March 2020 and there’s no reason schools, along with other public buildings as well as large venues open to the public such as malls and museums couldn’t do so as well.

In other news we cover today, the queen of Denmark tested positive for Covid after attending Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral, officials in the United Kingdom anticipate record numbers of new cases come fall, and Taiwan will end pandemic entry restrictions in October.

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

UNITED STATES

The Food and Drug Administration authorized the release of “numerous batches” of Moderna’s updated bivalent coronavirus booster following reports of supply problems in some areas.

GLOBAL

Cases in the United Kingdom increased by 42% in just three weeks, government officials there reported.  Experts predict that the pandemic could reach new highs in the coming months.

Dronning Margrethe II of Denmark tested positive for the coronavirus following her attendance at the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II.  The Danish queen, who tested positive for the virus earlier this year as well, said she is experiencing mild symptoms.

Officials in Taiwan gave the green light to a plan for a cautious reopening in stages. Taiwan will end entry restrictions by October 13 at the earliest. As part of the reopening plan, the island will end quarantine and testing requirements and return to its pre-pandemic visa-waiver program.

Meanwhile, the news portal H01 said Thursday that Hong Kong will end its coronavirus hotel quarantine policy for all arrivals starting in early October, some 2 1/2 years after it was first adopted.

TODAY’S STATISTICS

Now here are the daily statistics for Thursday, September 22.

As of Thursday morning, the world has recorded 618.8 million Covid-19 cases, an increase of 0.6 million cases, and over 6.5 million deaths, according to Worldometer, a service that tracks such information. In addition, 598.7 million people worldwide have recovered from the virus, an increase of 0.5 million.

Worldwide, the number of active coronavirus cases as of Thursday is 13,559,220, an increase of 30,000. Out of that figure, 99.7%, or 13,518,965, are considered mild, and 0.3%, or 40,255, are listed as critical.  The percentage of cases considered critical has not changed over the past 24 hours.

The United States reported 107,066 new coronavirus infections on Thursday for the previous day, compared to 51,523 on Wednesday, 67,366 on Tuesday, 5,259 on Monday, and 6,723 on Sunday, according to data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  The 7-day incidence rate is now 55,874.  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 55,954, a 22% 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 419, an increase of 5% over the same period, while the average number of hospitalizations for the period was 30,686, a 14% decrease.

In addition, since the start of the pandemic the United States has, as of Thursday, recorded 97.7 million cases, a higher figure than any other country, and a death toll of 1.08 million. India has the world’s second highest number of officially recorded cases, 44.6 million, and a reported death toll of 528,429.

The newest data from Russia’s Rosstat state statistics service showed that, at the end of July, the number of Covid or Covid-related deaths since the start of the pandemic there in April 2020 is now 823,623, giving the country the world’s second highest pandemic-related death toll, behind the United States.  Rosstat reported that 3,284 people died from the coronavirus or related causes in July, down from 5,023 in June, 7,008 in May and 11,583 in April.

Meanwhile, France is the country with the third highest number of cases, with 35 million, although Brazil has recorded the third highest number of deaths as a result of the virus, 685,686, and has recorded just under 34.7 million cases, placing it in the number four slot.

Germany is in the number five slot with just under 32.9 million cases.

The other five countries with total case figures over the 20 million mark are South Korea, with 24.5 million cases, the United Kingdom, with 23.6 million cases, placing it in the number seven slot, and Italy, with 22.2 million, as number eight, as well as Japan, with 20.8 million, and Russia, with just under 20.6 million.

VACCINATION SPOTLIGHT

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that, as of the past Thursday, over 263.4 million people in the United States – or 79.3% – have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine. Of that population, 67.6%, or 224.6 million people, have received two doses of vaccine, and the total number of doses that have been dispensed in the United States is now just under 613 million. Breaking this down further, 90.3% of the population over the age of 18 – or 233.1 million people – has received at least a first inoculation and 77.4% of the same group – or 199.9 million people – is fully vaccinated.  In addition, 51.7% of that population, or 103.4 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 67.9% of the world population has received at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine by Thursday, according to Our World in Data, an online scientific publication that tracks such information.  So far, 12.69 billion doses of the vaccine have been administered on a global basis and 3.86 million doses are now administered each day.

Meanwhile, only 22.5% 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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