Coronavirus Morning News Brief – Oct. 2: New Wave Puts U.K. Hospitals Under Strain, Germany Returns to Masking

Where England Goes, the U.S. Will Surely Follow

By Jonathan Spira on 2 October 2022
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A Straßenbahn in Munich on the Maximilianstraße

If you’re on the fence as to whether much of the world will get hit by a severe wave of the coronavirus, you only have to look at Britain, which has been a harbinger of the direction of the pandemic.

Today’s report shows that hospitals there are under severe stress from a dramatic increase in cases (see Statistics, below).  Leading doctors are saying that the surge is a “heavy straw on the camel’s back,” and health leaders there are recommending a return to mandatory masking and a campaign to increase vaccinations.

Meanwhile, Germany partially did just that.  October 1 marked a return to the mandatory use of FFP2 masks, similar to N95 masks, on public transit.

Even if you are not in an area where masking is mandatory, it’s time to start donning a good-quality face mask regardless, for your own sake.

In other news we cover today, the CDC told residents in 9 New York State counties to return to face masks and Germans are now required to do so in healthcare settings and on public transit.

UNITED STATES

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is telling New York State residents in nine counties that are now at “high risk” of Covid transmission to don masks in public.  The nine are Albany, Columbia, Fulton, Jefferson, Montgomery, Onondaga, Orange, Oswego, and Rensselaer.

Meanwhile, Moderna turned down China’s request for it to supply a report documenting the intellectual property behind its innovative mRNA vaccine in negotiations in 2020 and 2021, Fox News reported.  China is insisting on the IP before making a deal to purchase vaccines from the Cambridge-based drugmaker.

The mRNA vaccine technology lasts longer and provides higher levels of protection than the inactivated vaccine technology used by Chinese makers.

GLOBAL

In Germany, new coronavirus-related restrictions went into effect over the weekend.  Passengers on long-distance trains will be required to don FFP2 face masks.  Surgical masks, which have been compulsory until now, will now longer suffice.

On public transit, passengers in all 16 Bundesländer, or federal states, will be required to wear surgical masks at the very minimum.  Masks are, however, no longer required on most flights, unless required by the destination country.

FFP2 masks must also be worn in hospitals, nursing homes, and doctors’ practices. Visitors must present a negative Covid test in order to visit a nursing home or hospital and employees at such facilities will be tested several times per week.

Meanwhile, the current surge in the United Kingdom is placing every hospital under a significant strain, doctors’ groups are saying.  The new Covid surge is “a very heavy straw on the camel’s back,” Dr. Adrian Boyle, the incoming president of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, told The Observer. “Our system is under-resourced,” he said. “We don’t have enough beds, and we don’t have the workforce for the demand that we’re being asked to deal with.”

The number of new cases there has doubled to 200,000 in one month and all indications point to a dramatic additional increase in November.

TODAY’S STATISTICS

Now here are the daily statistics for Sunday, October 2.

As of Sunday morning, the world has recorded 623.4 million Covid-19 cases, an increase of 0.3 million cases, and almost 6.6 million deaths, according to Worldometer, a service that tracks such information. In addition, 603.2 million people worldwide have recovered from the virus, an increase of 0.4 million.

Worldwide, the number of active coronavirus cases as of Sunday is 13,599,640, a decrease of 93,000. Out of that figure, 99.7%, or 13,560,155, are considered mild, and 0.3%, or 39,485, are listed as critical.  The percentage of cases considered critical has not changed over the past 24 hours.

The United States reported 6,403 new coronavirus infections on Sunday for the previous day, compared to 40,184 on Saturday, 84,801  on Friday, 100,524 on Thursday, and 41,906 on Wednesday, according to data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  The 7-day incidence rate is now 48,380.  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 46,783, a 25% 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 405, a decrease of 10% over the same period, while the average number of hospitalizations for the period was 28,194, a 12% decrease.

In addition, since the start of the pandemic the United States has, as of Sunday, recorded just under 98.3 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 528,683.

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 35.4 million, although Brazil has recorded the third highest number of deaths as a result of the virus, 686,304, and has recorded 34.7 million cases, placing it in the number four slot.

Germany is in the number five slot with 33.4 million cases.

The other five countries with total case figures over the 20 million mark are South Korea, with over 24.8 million cases, the United Kingdom, with 23.7 million cases, placing it in the number seven slot, and Italy, with 22.5 million, as number eight, as well as Japan, with over 21.3 million, and Russia, with 21 million.

VACCINATION SPOTLIGHT

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that, as of the past Thursday, over 264.1 million people in the United States – or 79.5% – have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine. Of that population, 67.9%, or 225.3 million people, have received two doses of vaccine, and the total number of doses that have been dispensed in the United States is now 619.8 million. Breaking this down further, 90.5% of the population over the age of 18 – or 233.6 million people – has received at least a first inoculation and 77.6% of the same group – or 200.8 million people – is fully vaccinated.  In addition, 51.9% of that population, or 104 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 68% of the world population has received at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine by Saturday, according to Our World in Data, an online scientific publication that tracks such information.  So far, 12.75 billion doses of the vaccine have been administered on a global basis and 3.57 million doses are now administered each day.

Meanwhile, only 22.7% 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, with the start of vaccinations in North Korea, Eritrea remains the only country in the world that has not administered vaccines.

Paul Riegler contributed reporting to this story.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

Accura News

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