Coronavirus News Briefing – Oct. 16: United Air Vaccine Mandate On Hold for Workers Claiming Religious or Medical Exemption

By Paul Riegler on 16 October 2021
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Russia reported its largest daily number of new coronavirus infections since the start of the pandemic, health officials there said on Sunday.  The figure – 34,303 – was over 70% higher than the number of new cases just one month ago as the country faces what may be its greatest coronavirus challenge yet.  Just 20,174 new cases were reported on September 19, 2021.

The country’s national coronavirus task force said on Sunday that the death toll on Saturday had set a record with 1,002 deaths reported.  On Sunday the figure was 999 deaths.

One problem there is low vaccination rates: At least 51 million people in Russia –equivalent to 35.6% of the population – have received at least one dose of vaccine while only 32.8%, or 47.2 million people, are fully vaccinated.

In Brazil, a senate panel probing the handling of the pandemic in the country found that President Jair Bolsonaro could face 11 criminal charges in his handling of the pandemic.  The charges, Reuters reported, include genocide against the country’s indigenous population, malfeasance, irregular use of public funds, violation of sanitary measures, incitement to crime, and forgery of private documents.  Bolsonaro is unlikely to be brought to trial, however, as the lower house of parliament, the Chamber of Deputies, would have to ultimately authorize such proceedings, something experts say is unlikely to occur.

In Minnesota, Governor Tim Walz is calling up the National Guard to assist in long-term care facilities that have been impacted by staffing shortages.  Hospitals have been unable to transfer recovering patients to such facilities given the shortages, creating a bottleneck in hospital admissions.

Finally, “Super Saturday,” a single-day vaccination effort organized by New Zealand’s Ministry of Health, took place this weekend.  The goal was to break the previous record of 93,000 jabs in one day and by 4:30 p.m. local time, over 120,000 doses had been administered.  The pop-up vaccination sites included an Air New Zealand 787 Dreamliner, parked at the airport, where some 300 residents of Auckland received their initial doses in the business-class cabin.

As of Sunday morning, the world has recorded 241.3 million Covid-19 cases and over 4.91million deaths, according to Worldometer, a service that tracks such information. In addition, 218.5 million people worldwide have recovered from the virus.

The average daily number of new coronavirus cases in the United States over the past 14 days is 83,703, a -23% change.  The average daily death toll over the same period is 1,570, a change of -17% over the same period.

In addition, since the start of the pandemic the United States has as of Sunday recorded over 45.8 million cases, a higher figure than any other country, and a death toll of 744,385. India has the world’s second highest number of officially recorded cases, almost 34.1 million, and a death toll of 452,172, although experts believe that both numbers are in reality significantly higher.  Finally, Brazil has recorded the second highest number of deaths as a result of the virus, 603,199, and has seen over 21.6 million cases.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that, as of Sunday, 218.3 million people in the United States – or 65.8% – have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine. Of that population, 56.8%, or 188.7 million people, are now fully vaccinated, and the total number of doses that have been dispensed in the United States is now 406.6 million. Breaking this down further, 78.7% of the population over the age of 18 – or 203.3 million people – has received at least a first inoculation and 68.3% of the same group – or 176.3 million people – is fully vaccinated.

More than 3.74 billion people across the globe  have received a dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, a figure that roughly equates to 48.7% of the world’s population, a 0.1 percentage point increase in the past 24 hours. There remains, however, a stark gap between the percentage of individuals vaccinated in more advanced countries such as Canada, China, Denmark, France, Italy, the United Kingdom, and the United States, where at least 65% of the population has received at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine, and countries such as Ethiopia, Haiti, Syria, Senegal, Tanzania, and Uganda, for example, where vaccination rates are in the single digits, if not zero.

Figures from the World Health Organization show that well-off countries are vaccinating people at the rate of one person per second, while the majority of poor countries have yet to give a single dose to its citizens.

It is critical that the world do a better job of sharing vaccines with poorer nations.

Sharing vaccines is not merely a form of charity.  Rather, the equitable distribution of vaccines is in every country’s health and economic interest and no country will be able to move past the pandemic until other countries have recovered as well.

Jonathan Spira contributed to this story.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

Accura News

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