Coronavirus News Briefing – Dec. 6: New York City Announces Sweeping Vaccine Mandate for All Private Employers

By Anna Breuer on 6 December 2021
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The costumes of “Wicked”

New York City announced sweeping vaccine mandates for all private employers.  The measure goes into effect on December 27. Mayor Bill De Blasio said it was a “preemptive strike” to ward off another wave of coronavirus infections.

The mayor also announced that he was strengthening coronavirus passport requirements to gain access to restaurants, theaters, and fitness centers.  Starting December 14, children ages 5 to 11 will be required to show proof of at least one dose of vaccine, and starting December 27, individuals 12 years of age and older will be required to be fully vaccinated.

Officials estimate that at least 50% of private employers already have vaccine mandates in place.

Meanwhile, the musical “Wicked” cancelled several days of performances following positive Covid tests among cast and crew.  The show hopes to resume performances on December 7. “Wicked” joins other Broadway shows including “Aladdin” and “Chicago” that had to cancel performances for this reason after resuming performances this fall.

A Norwegian Cruise Line ship, the Norwegian Breakaway, returned to port in New Orleans after a cruise with at least 17 coronavirus cases having been detected on board. The Louisiana Department of Health said that at least one case had been the omicron variant.  All passengers are being required to take a coronavirus test prior to disembarkation.  The individuals who tested positive are either self-isolating or returning home in their private vehicles, officials said.

Finally, the Washington Post reported that then President Donald Trump came into contact with over 500 people “in proximity to him or at crowded events” from the day of his first positive Covid test until his hospitalization, a period of seven days.   These figures don’t include attendees at Trump rallies.

As of Monday morning, the world has recorded 266.3 million Covid-19 cases, an increase of 0.6 million new cases, and almost 5.3 million deaths, according to Worldometer, a service that tracks such information. In addition, 239.9million people worldwide have recovered from the virus, an increase of 0.3 million.

The average daily number of new coronavirus cases in the United States over the past 14 days is 109,822, a 19% increase.  The average daily death toll over the same period is 1,178, an increase of 5% over the same period.

In addition, since the start of the pandemic the United States has, as of Monday, recorded close to 50 million cases, a higher figure than any other country, and a death toll of 808,763. India has the world’s second highest number of officially recorded cases, 34.6 million, and a reported death toll of 473,537.  Finally, Brazil has recorded the second highest number of deaths as a result of the virus, 615,674, and has over 22.1 million cases.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that, as of Monday, 235.7 million people in the United States – or 71% – have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine. Of that population, 59.9%, or 198.9 million people, are now fully vaccinated, and the total number of doses that have been dispensed in the United States is now 470.3 million. Breaking this down further, 83.4% of the population over the age of 18 – or 215.3 million people – has received at least a first inoculation and 71.5% of the same group – or 184.6 million people – is fully vaccinated.

Some 55% of the world population has received at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine, a figure that is unchanged since the prior day, according to Our World in Data, an online scientific publication that tracks such information.  So far, 8.21 billion doses of the vaccine have been administered on a global basis.

Meanwhile, only 6.2% 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.

Jonathan Spira contributed to this story.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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