Coronavirus News Update – April 8: U.S. Cases Have Plateaued at ‘Disturbingly High Level,’ Says Fauci

Ontario, Canada to Go Into Lockdown for One Month

By Jesse Sokolow on 8 April 2021
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On board the Celebrity Summit

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease specialist, said Wednesday that the United States has plateaued at a “disturbingly high level” and is primed for a new surge as cases continue to spike in the country. Over 61,000 new cases were reported on Wednesday, many of them of the British variant B.1.1.7. “It’s almost a race between getting people vaccinated and this surge that seems to want to increase,”  Fauci told Anderson Cooper in an interview on CNN.

As of Thursday morning, the world has recorded over 133.8 million Covid-19 cases and has seen 2.9 million deaths, according to Worldometer, a service that tracks such information.  In addition, 107.9 million people worldwide have recovered from the virus.

Since the start of vaccinations at the end of last year, the world has administered over 710 million doses, the equivalent of 9.2 doses for every 100 people as of Thursday morning, a 0.2 percentage point increase over Wednesday.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that as of Thursday, nearly 110 million people in the United States have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine.  Approximately 42.4% of the population over the age of 18 – some 109.4 million people – has received at least a first inoculation, including 64.2 million people, or 24.9% of the same population, nearly a quarter of all adults in the country, who have received both doses. Overall, 19.4% of the population has been fully vaccinated against the virus, a 0.4 percentage point increase over Wednesday.

Despite these promising numbers, the administration has continued to warn people to remain vigilant, especially because the U.K. variant, B.1.1.7, is now the most prevalent form circulating throughout the country, said Dr. Rachel Wolensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Research has indicated that this strain is more deadly and 50% more contagious than other variants.

Health officials in Canada announced a stay-at-home order for Ontario, the country’s most populous province. The order will be in force for up to four weeks, as the U.K. variant continues to spread through the region and new cases continue to increase. The province reported 3,215 new cases and 17 deaths on Wednesday. Under the stay-at-home orders, all non-essential shops and businesses will close, and restaurants will remain open only for carryout orders. Speaking about the current situation, Ontario Premier Doug Ford said that “[T]he risks are greater and the stakes are higher.”

Health officials in Japan reported that cases are rising there as well. In Tokyo, 545 new cases were reported on Thursday, the second day in a row that the city saw over 500 new cases, the first time since mid-March. Meanwhile, the country’s Osaka Prefecture reported 905 cases on Thursday, a record high for the third day in a row. The spike caused the city of Osaka to declare a state of emergency and take its Olympic torch relay off of public roads.

Amidst worries of blood clots linked to the AstraZeneca vaccine, the United Kingdom recommended that people under 30 should not be inoculated with that vaccine and to instead get the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. Although the incidents are rare, several European countries had already temporarily halted distribution of the vaccine last month.

Norwegian Cruise Line said it wants to begin sailing again by July 4 and offered in a proposal to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to require all passengers and crew to be vaccinated against the coronavirus. The cruise line said that it will also require passengers to have a negative coronavirus test, wear masks at all times while indoors, and limit a ship’s capacity to 60%. Norwegian submitted its proposal to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and are awaiting approval.

Anna Breuer contributed to this story.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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