Coronavirus Morning News Brief – Dec. 27: New N.Y.C. Workplace Vaccine Mandate, Omicron Surge Continues Unabated

U.S. Hits 500 Million Mark in Vaccine Doses

By Jonathan Spira on 27 December 2021
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The alarming surge in Covid cases just as holiday celebrations come to an end continues to accelerate. On Friday, the last day that new case data was reported before holiday interruptions, the seven-day national average of new daily infections was over 197,000, a 65% increase over the past 14 days. Deaths over the same period were up 3% to an average of 1,345.

Meanwhile, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the chief medical advisor to the Biden administration, said that there needs to be a marked improvement in getting coronavirus tests out to the American people.

“We’ve obviously got to do better,” he said on the ABC news program “This Week,” noting the long lines and closed testing stations as the surge of omicron cases overwhelmed the healthcare system.  On the CNN news program “New Day,” Fauci said that “we should have had more tests available.”

New York City’s vaccine mandate for private sector employers went into effect Monday.  The mandate requires workers to have at least one dose as of Monday and does not allow anyone to opt out of vaccination through regular testing.

The Big Apple’s vaccine passport rules also became more stringent on Monday as well.  Children ages 5 through 11 are now required to show proof of at least one dose of vaccine before being permitted access to restaurant dining rooms, cafés, fitness centers, or entertainment venues.  Adults are now required to be fully vaccinated – currently two doses, one if it’s the Johnson & Johnson vaccine – to gain access to these venues.

Fourteen Broadway shows were closed on Sunday due to Covid outbreaks amongst the various theater companies.  “Company” joined the list Sunday and “Flying Over Sunset,” “The Music Man,” and “To Kill a Mockingbird” posted cancellations starting Saturday.   The show “Come From Away” went on, albeit with eight understudies and swings.

Two more college football games went dark after incidences of Covid-19 within Boston College and University of Virginia teams.  The Military Bowl, which would have featured Boston College and East Carolina University, will not take place Monday, nor will the inaugural Fenway Bowl in Boston between the University of Virginia and Southern Methodist University, which had been scheduled for Wednesday.

The Sun Bowl is now in doubt after the University of Miami’s Hurricanes had to withdraw due to Covid outbreaks, leaving the Washington State Cougars to search for a new team to play against.

Now here are the daily statistics for Monday, December 27.

As of Monday morning, the world has recorded 280.4 million Covid-19 cases, an increase of 0.5 million new cases, and 5.42 million deaths, according to Worldometer, a service that tracks such information. In addition, 250.5 million people worldwide have recovered from the virus, an increase of 0.3 million.

The current number of infections as of Monday is 24,483,554.  Out of that figure, 99.6%, or 24,395,143, are considered mild, and 0.4%, or 88,411, are listed as critical.

The average daily number of new coronavirus cases in the United States over the past 14 days is 214,499, an 83% increase.  The average daily death toll over the same period is 1,328, an increase of 3% over the same period.

In addition, since the start of the pandemic the United States has, as of Monday, recorded 53.2 million cases, a higher figure than any other country, and a death toll of 837,854. India has the world’s second highest number of officially recorded cases, just under  34.8 million, and a reported death toll of 479,997.  Finally, Brazil has recorded the second highest number of deaths as a result of the virus, 618,484, and has over 22.2 million cases.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that, as of Saturday (no data were updated Sunday or Monday), 241.5 million people in the United States – or 72.7% – have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine. Of that population, 61.7%, or 204.7 million people, are now fully vaccinated, and the total number of doses that have been dispensed in the United States is now 500.2 million. Breaking this down further, 84.9% of the population over the age of 18 – or 219.2 million people – has received at least a first inoculation and 72.7% of the same group – or 187.7 million people – is fully vaccinated.  In addition, 34.2% of that population, or 64.2 million people, has already received a booster shot.

The CDC also reported that the omicron variant is now the dominant strain in many parts of the United States, comprising at least 73% of recent Covid cases as of Monday.  In many parts of the country, the new variant makes up 90% of all cases, it said.

Over 57.4% of the world population has received at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine, an increase that is largely unchanged from the prior day, according to Our World in Data, an online scientific publication that tracks such information.  So far, 8.99 billion doses of the vaccine have been administered on a global basis.

Meanwhile, only 8.3% 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 65% of the population has received at least one dose of vaccine. In countries such as Ethiopia, Haiti, Syria, Senegal, Tanzania, and Uganda, for example, vaccination rates remain 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.

Anna Breuer contributed to this story.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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