Coronavirus Morning News Brief – Nov. 17: Twice as Many Republicans as Democrats Died from Covid, U.S. Records 100th Million Covid Case

World’s Largest iPhone Factory Faces Worker Shortage

By Jonathan Spira on 17 November 2022
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A Cathay Pacific 747 in Tokyo

Good morning. This is Jonathan Spira reporting. Here now the news of the pandemic from across the globe on the 952nd day of the pandemic.

Just as the United States hit the 100 million mark in total coronavirus infections, a study was released that showed that almost twice as many Republicans died from the virus before the mid-term elections than Democrats.

The findings, published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, clearly address a question that has arisen multiple times during the course of the pandemic, namely is there a link between political affiliation and rates of coronavirus-related death in the country.

While the authors of the study, Jacob Wallace, Paul Goldsmith-Pinkham, and Jason Schwarz, can’t say whether this impacted the midterms, but say that it’s “plausible given just how stark the differences in vaccination rates have been, among Democrats and Republicans.”

The vaccine uptake disparity is made quite clear by the study.

“In 2018 and the early parts of 2020, excess death rates for Republicans and Democrats are similar, and centered around zero,” the study said. “Both groups experienced a similar large spike in excess deaths in the winter of 2020-2021. However, in the summer of 2021 – after vaccines were widely available – the Republican excess death rate rose to nearly double that of Democrats, and this gap widened further in the winter of 2021.”

Even if it isn’t the case that the vaccine disparity had a direct impact on the midterms, it remains a question that nonetheless is worth delving into further.

In other news we cover today, two flight attendants were found guilty of violating Covid quarantine restrictions in Hong Kong, Covid rebounds were found to happen twice as often in patients who took the antiviral Paxlovid, and the world’s largest iPhone factory’s worker shortage is impacting production.


A new study from Pfizer researchers suggests that cases of Covid rebound following treatment for the virus with the antiviral Paxlovid appear to be at least twice as common than physicians had previously believed although it can happen in either patient group. The study, which has not yet undergone peer review, was published on the preprint site Research Square.

Tyson Foods, the world’s second largest processor and seller of chicken, beef, and other meats, said it had eliminated its vaccine mandate for workers.  The mandate was put into place after the food processing industry became a kind of epicenter for SARS-CoV-2 in the early days of the pandemic in 2020.


The revolt against coronavirus pandemic controls continued in southern China.  Unverified videos on social media show people breaking down barriers and marching through the streets of Guangzhou.

Two former Cathay Pacific flight attendants were convicted in Hong Kong of breaching the city’s coronavirus quarantine rules while infected.  The two, Wong Yoon-loong and Nilsson Lau Kok-wang were found guilty on Thursday of not following quarantine rules at the start of the city’s fifth wave.


The world’s largest iPhone factory has run into difficulties in replenishing its workforce after a mass exodus of workers took place at the start of the recent lockdown in Guangzhou.  Foxconn, which owns the factory, said it will need a full complement of 100,000 workers to resume full production, according to Chinese state media.


Yosemite National Park, an American national park in California, said it was ending its reservation system for visitors starting in the summer of 2023.  The reservation system was put into place in 2020 to limit the number of visitors at any given point in time.


RSV is not only impacting children severely. Adan Serda, a 29-year-old comedian from Texas, died on November 11 after contracting the respiratory syncytial virus.  Serda was popular in San Antonio and other Texas cities. Serda, who had successfully fought cancer, was survived by his wife, daughter, mother, and two sisters.


Now here are the daily statistics for Thursday, November 17.

As of Thursday morning, the world has recorded 641.7 million Covid-19 cases, an increase of 0.5 million cases, and 6.62 million deaths, according to Worldometer, a service that tracks such information. In addition, 621.2 million people worldwide have recovered from the virus, an increase of 0.3 million.

Worldwide, the number of active coronavirus cases as of Thursday at press time is 13,910,518, an increase of 151,000. Out of that figure, 99.7%, or 13,874,572, are considered mild, and 0.3%, or 35,946, are listed as critical.  The percentage of cases considered critical has not changed over the past 24 hours.

The United States reported 85,283 new coronavirus infections on Thursday for the previous day, compared to55,368 on Wednesday, 50,025 on Tuesday, 1,954 on Monday, and 2,575 on Sunday, according to data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  The 7-day incidence rate is now 38,940.  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 39,193, a figure that is statistically unchanged, based on data from the Department of Health and Human Services, among other sources.  The average daily death toll over the same period is 299, a decrease of 13% over the same period, while the average number of hospitalizations for the period was 27,704, an increase of 2%.

In addition, since the start of the pandemic the United States has, as of Thursday, recorded 100 million cases, a higher figure than any other country, and a death toll of 1.1 million. India has the world’s second highest number of officially recorded cases, almost 44.7 million, and a reported death toll of 530,546.

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 37.2 million, and Germany is in the number four slot, with over 36.1 million total cases.

Brazil, which has recorded the third highest number of deaths as a result of the virus, 688,811, has recorded over 34.9 million cases, placing it in the number five slot.

The other five countries with total case figures over the 20 million mark are South Korea, with over 26.4 million cases, the United Kingdom, with 23.9 million cases, placing it in the number seven slot, and Italy, with 23.8 million, as number eight, as well as Japan, with 23.5 million, and Russia, with 21.5 million.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that, as of the past Thursday, 267 million people in the United States – or 80.4% – have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine. Of that population, 68.6%, or 227.8 million people, have received two doses of vaccine, and the total number of doses that have been dispensed in the United States is now 646.5 million. Breaking this down further, 91.4% of the population over the age of 18 – or 236.1 million people – has received at least a first inoculation and 78.4% of the same group – or 202.4 million people – is fully vaccinated.  In addition, 11.7% of the U.S. population of the same population, or 30.3 million people, has already received an updated or bivalent 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 Thursday by 8 p.m. EDT, a statement on the agency’s website said.

Some 68.2% 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, 12.94 billion doses of the vaccine have been administered on a global basis and 1.03 million doses are now administered each day.

Meanwhile, only 23.6% 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 at or below 10%.

In addition, with the start of vaccinations in North Korea in late September, Eritrea remains the only country in the world that has not administered vaccines.

Anna Breuer contributed reporting to this story.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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