Coronavirus Morning News Brief – Sept. 26: Canada and Hong Kong End Entry Restrictions, Covid in Older Patients May Lead to Alzheimer’s

German Bundeskanzler Olaf Scholz Tests Positive for Covid

By Jonathan Spira on 26 September 2022
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View of Berlin’s landmark Fernsehturm or Television Tower from Spree River

Good morning. This is Jonathan Spira reporting. Here now the news of the pandemic from across the globe on the 900th day of the pandemic.

In news we cover today, Canada and Hong Kong are ending coronavirus travel restrictions, a study found that older coronavirus patients are more likely to develop Alzheimer’s, and German Bundeskanzler Olaf Scholz tested positive for the virus.

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

UNITED STATES

Los Angeles may create a monument to memorialize the victims of the coronavirus pandemic.  A motion that will be considered by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors noted that “it is important to remember and memorialize those residents we have lost, especially by utilizing the healing medium of the arts.”

A new study published this month in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease said that older adults who had contracted the coronavirus had a 50 to 80% higher chance of later developing Alzheimer’s, in comparison to people who never had Covid.   The study, Association of COVID-19 with New-Onset Alzheimer’s Disease, does not hold that Covid directly causes Alzheimer’s, but rather that it unmasks underlying illness or speeds up disease that’s already present.

GLOBAL

In Germany, Bundeskanzler Olaf Scholz tested positive for Covid, a government spokesman said Monday.  The chancellor has mild cold-like symptoms, it was reported.

China, which started to see an increase in Covid cases in August, albeit one that is modest by international standards, had 999 new cases on Sunday, compared with 936 on Saturday, the National Health Commission said Monday. The country continues with its so-called “zero-Covid” policy, which relies on extensive localized lockdowns to eradicate the virus.

South Korea reported that cross-border freight train operations between North Korea and China, which were discontinued five months ago with the outbreak of Covid cases in the border city of Dadong after which North Korea reported its first “fever” cases, resumed on Monday.  The report by South Korea’s unification ministry said that neither country had officially confirmed the resumption of train service but media reports indicated that a freight train from Dandong had crossed a bridge to the North Korean city of Sinuiju.

TRAVEL

Officials in Canada said on Monday that the country will end its coronavirus entry restrictions.  Effective October 1, visitors will no longer have to show proof of vaccination, take a test before or on arrival, or follow quarantine rules.

Hong Kong welcomed its first travelers from abroad who do not have to undergo a mandatory hotel quarantine. The city lifted the requirement after two years of trying to keep Covid at bay.  One flight delayed its arrival time in Hong Kong so that passengers could take advantage of the new rules.

Under the new “0+3” rules, there is no hotel quarantine but, upon arrival, there are three days of medical surveillance during which, the government said, visitors “are free to go out but are obliged to comply with Amber Code restrictions under the Vaccine Pass.”  The three-day period is followed by a four-day self-monitoring period, which combined equals a seven-day observation period.

AUTOMOTIVE

General Motors told employees who are currently working remotely to “pivot” as part of a return-to-office mandate. The plan calls for such workers to start by spending three days per week in the office.

TODAY’S STATISTICS

Now here are the daily statistics for Monday, September 26.

As of Monday morning, the world has recorded 620.4 million Covid-19 cases, an increase of 0.2 million cases, and over 6.5 million deaths, according to Worldometer, a service that tracks such information. In addition, 600.4 million people worldwide have recovered from the virus, an increase of 0.4 million.

Worldwide, the number of active coronavirus cases as of Monday is 13,246,731, a decrease of 173,000. Out of that figure, 99.7%, or 13,206,876, are considered mild, and 0.3%, or 39,862, are listed as critical.  The percentage of cases considered critical has not changed over the past 24 hours.

The United States reported 5,275 new coronavirus infections on Monday for the previous day, compared to 8,091 on Sunday, 44,458 on Saturday, 92,729 on Friday, and 107,066 on Thursday, according to data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  The 7-day incidence rate is now 53,935.  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 54,239, 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 432, an increase of 15% over the same period, while the average number of hospitalizations for the period was 29,835, a 14% decrease.

In addition, since the start of the pandemic the United States has, as of Monday, recorded just under 98 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 528,530.

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 over 35.1 million, although Brazil has recorded the third highest number of deaths as a result of the virus, 685,860, and has recorded 34.7 million cases, placing it in the number four slot.

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

The other five countries with total case figures over the 20 million mark are South Korea, with over 24.6 million cases, the United Kingdom, with over 23.6 million cases, placing it in the number seven slot, and Italy, with 22.3 million, as number eight, as well as Japan, with 21 million, and Russia, with 20.8 million.

VACCINATION SPOTLIGHT

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that, as of the past Thursday, over 263.8 million people in the United States – or 79.5% – have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine. Of that population, 67.8%, or 224.9 million people, have received two doses of vaccine, and the total number of doses that have been dispensed in the United States is now 616.2 million. Breaking this down further, 90.4% of the population over the age of 18 – or 233.4 million people – has received at least a first inoculation and 77.5% of the same group – or 200.1 million people – is fully vaccinated.  In addition, 51.8% of that population, or 103.7 million people, has already received a first 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 Monday, according to Our World in Data, an online scientific publication that tracks such information.  So far, 12.71 billion doses of the vaccine have been administered on a global basis and 3.75 million doses are now administered each day.

Meanwhile, only 22.3% 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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