Coronavirus Morning News Brief – Oct. 3: Canada Ends Covid Entry Requirements, Norwegian Drops Testing for the Non-Vaccinated

Germany Institutes New Mask Mandates on Public Transit

By Jonathan Spira on 3 October 2022
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The Fountain Restaurant in the original Four Seasons Philadelphia, which closed in 2015

Good morning. This is Jonathan Spira reporting. Here now the news of the pandemic from across the globe on the 907th day of the pandemic.

In news we cover today, Germany instituted strict new mask mandates over the weekend, Norwegian Cruise Line ended testing requirements for the non-vaccinated, and Canada ended Covid-related entry requirements for travelers.

UNITED STATES

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

Meanwhile, only one luxury hotel in New York City that closed at the start of the pandemic has yet to reopen: The Four Seasons Hotel, located on “Billionaire’s Row” on East 57 Street in a building designed by I.M. Pei,  remains shuttered one year after its rivals, which include the St. Regis, the Carlyle Hotel, and the Mandarin Oriental, opened their doors to guests.  The hotel is the subject of a dispute over franchise fees between its owner, Ty Warner, the failed actor who became a billionaire thanks to creating the Beanie Babies line of stuffed toys, and Four Seasons over management fees, which Warner doesn’t want to pay because the hotel has been unprofitable.

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.

TRAVEL

Norwegian Cruise Line said Monday that it would end all coronavirus testing, masking, and vaccination requirements effective Tuesday. However, passengers will continue to be subject to local Covid-19 travel requirements,. Norwegian is the first major cruise line to end testing requirements for non-vaccinated passengers. Neither Carnival Cruise Line nor Royal Caribbean Cruises have adopted a similar policy and it remains to be seen whether either will.

Meanwhile, Canada’s coronavirus travel restrictions, including the requirement to show proof of vaccination and the mask mandate at airports and on aircraft, ended over the weekend.

TODAY’S STATISTICS

Now here are the daily statistics for Monday, October 3.

As of Monday morning, the world has recorded 623.7 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, 603.6 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 13,421,500, a decrease of 178,000. Out of that figure, 99.7%, or 13,382,066, are considered mild, and 0.3%, or 39,434, are listed as critical.  The percentage of cases considered critical has not changed over the past 24 hours.

The United States reported 4,755 new coronavirus infections on Monday for the previous day, compared to 6,403  on Sunday, 40,184 on Saturday, 84,801  on Friday, and 100,524 on Thursday, according to data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  The 7-day incidence rate is now 48,157.  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 46,686, a 24% 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 9% over the same period, while the average number of hospitalizations for the period was 27,990, a 12% decrease.

In addition, since the start of the pandemic the United States has, as of Monday, 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 528,701.

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 21.1 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 Monday, 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 3.63 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.

Anna Breuer contributed reporting to this story.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

Accura News

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