Coronavirus News Briefing – Oct. 24: The World Approaches a Pandemic Death Toll of 5 Million

By Paul Riegler on 24 October 2021
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Budapest’s Parliament building across the Danube River

The world’s death toll is inching towards the five million mark as the number of Covid cases across the globe hit pandemic or near-pandemic highs in many countries.

The number of new infections on Saturday in Russia hit 36,728, the highest since the start of the pandemic, while cases in the United Kingdom continued to climb, hitting nine-month highs.

Countries in eastern Europe are seeing an average of 83,700 new cases per day, the highest level in 11 months, and the region, which include not only Russia but Hungary, Romania, and Ukraine, represent 20% of the world’s new daily cases while it has only 4% of the world’s population.

Part of the problem is traceable back to the fact that these countries have the lowest vaccination rates in Europe, with less than half of the population on average having received a single jab.   Hungary leads the region in vaccinations with 62% of the population having received at least one jab, while Ukraine trails with 19%.

Apple said it will require non-vaccinated corporate employees or those who have not shared their vaccination status with the company to undergo a Covid-19 test each time they come into the office.

A four-week lockdown in Riga, Latvia, amidst a surge in new infections has had unintended consequences: Some of the world’s leading chess players have withdrawn from next week’s Grand Swiss tournament, citing health concerns.  A curfew is in place through November 14 between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m., non-essential shops are to remain closed, and stores providing essential goods such as medicine and groceries will be open from 6 a.m. until 7 p.m.

As of Sunday morning, the world has recorded 244.6 million Covid-19 cases and over 4.96 million deaths, according to Worldometer, a service that tracks such information. In addition, 221.3 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 73,365, a -24% change.  The average daily death toll over the same period is 1,513, a change of -14% over the same period.

In addition, since the start of the pandemic the United States has as of Sunday recorded 46.3 million cases, a higher figure than any other country, and a death toll of 756,205. India has the world’s second highest number of officially recorded cases, almost 34.2 million, and a death toll of 454,324, 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, 605,569, and has seen over 21.7 million cases.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that, as of Sunday, 220.1 million people in the United States – or 66.3% – have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine. Of that population, 57.4%, or 190.4 million people, are now fully vaccinated, and the total number of doses that have been dispensed in the United States is now 411 million. Breaking this down further, 79.4% of the population over the age of 18 – or 205 million people – has received at least a first inoculation and 68.9% of the same group – or 177.8 million people – is fully vaccinated.

More than 3.81 billion people across the globe  have received a dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, a figure that roughly equates to 49.7% of the world’s population, a 0.1 percentage point increase in the past 24 hours. There remains, however, a 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 lower.

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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