Coronavirus Morning News Brief – Jan. 9: Number of ‘Critical’ Covid Cases Jumps Overnight, U.K. Death Toll Hits 150,000

Italian Vaccine Mandate Results in Threefold Increase in Vaccinations

By Jonathan Spira on 9 January 2022
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The American Airlines Theatre, a historic Italian Renaissance style Broadway theatre built in 1918, closed March 12, 2020 due to the pandemic. It reopened on October 29, 2021 with the play “Trouble in Mind.”

The number of coronavirus cases deemed critical jumped overnight from 0.2% of the total to 1% of the total.  The figure had hovered in the 0.2% to 0.3% range in recent weeks.

Virtually all hospitalized coronavirus patients have one thing in common: They are not vaccinated, and the same is the case for those patients in intensive-care units.

UNITED STATES

Forty hospitals in New York State – most in the central and northern regions of the state – will be required to pause non-essential surgeries for two weeks due to low bed capacity, the state’s health department said Saturday.

As cases continue to rise, several states are opening up mass vaccination sites. As of Saturday the list includes Illinois, Massachusetts, and Oregon.

GLOBAL

The death toll from Covid in the United Kingdom reached the 150,000 mark on Friday, according to data from Worldometer.  An additional 157 deaths recorded Friday and 97 Saturday bring the current total to 150,154.

Meanwhile, health officials in India reported a spike in new cases – 141,986 on Saturday, the highest day figure since May 31, 2021, according to data from the Indian Ministry of Health.

Despite its zero Covid policy, locally transmitted cases of the virus continue to rise.  China reported 95 new locally transmitted cases Friday, the National Health Commission reported on Saturday.

The Italian government announced a vaccine mandate for people over the age of 50 last week and on Friday recorded a threefold increase in the number of people being inoculated against the virus in that age group, the vaccination campaign commissioner, General Francesco Figliulo, said Saturday in a press release. 

A total of 15,239 people in that age group were inoculated Friday, compared to the average of 5,500 over the preceding week, Figliulo added.

The Sveriges Kungahus, or Swedish Royal Court, said Saturday that Victoria, Crown Princess of Sweden, Duchess of Västergötland, had tested positive for the coronavirus and was experiencing mild symptoms.  The Royal Court added that the heir to the throne had been fully vaccinated.

SPORTS AND ENTERTAINMENT

For the first time in many weeks, all Broadway shows that are currently open held performances on Friday and Saturday.  The only exception was “Skeleton Crew,” which postponed previews and its opening due to an outbreak of the coronavirus amongst members of the company at the start of the month.

The dust-up between the Australian government and tennis player Novak Djokovic continued as he awaited his appeal hearing after having been denied entry into the country for not having been inoculated against the coronavirus.

Photos posted on social media show an unmasked Djokovic at three events with other people in mid-December 2021. The timing of these events coincides with the date he tested positive for the coronavirus.  It is unclear if Djokovic was aware of his test results before appearing at these events.

TODAY’S STATISTICS

Now here are the daily statistics for Sunday, January 9.

As of Sunday morning, the world has recorded 306.4 million Covid-19 cases, an increase of 2.4 million new cases in the preceding 24 hour period, and 5.5 million deaths, according to Worldometer, a service that tracks such information. In addition, 259.2 million people worldwide have recovered from the virus, an increase of 0.7 million.

Worldwide, the number of active cases as of Sunday is 41,705,240.  Out of that figure, 99.%, or 41,154,200, are considered mild, and 1%, or 550,940, are listed as critical.  The number of cases considered critical was up 0.8 percentage points over the past 24 hours.

The United States had recorded 445,684 as of Sunday morning, compared with 894,490 on Saturday and 759,218 on Friday, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

The average daily number of new coronavirus cases in the United States over the past 14 days is 656,478, a 226% increase, based on data from the Department of Health and Human Services, among other sources.  The average daily death toll over the same period is 1,524, an increase of 12% over the same period.

In addition, since the start of the pandemic the United States has, as of Sunday, recorded 60.9 million cases, a higher figure than any other country, and a death toll of 859,046. India has the world’s second highest number of officially recorded cases, 35.4 million, and a reported death toll of 483,790.  Finally, Brazil has recorded the second highest number of deaths as a result of the virus, 619,981, and has almost 22.5 million cases.

VACCINATION SPOTLIGHT

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that, as of Sunday, 246.4 million people in the United States – or 74.2% – have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine. Of that population, 62.5%, or 207.5 million people, have received two doses of vaccine, and the total number of doses that have been dispensed in the United States is now 518 million. Breaking this down further, 86.3% of the population over the age of 18 – or 222.9 million people – has received at least a first inoculation and 73.2% of the same group – or 189 million people – is fully vaccinated.  In addition, 39.1% of that population, or 73.9 million people, has already received a third, or booster, dose of vaccine.

Over 59.1% of the world population has received at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine by Sunday, a figure that is largely unchanged in the past 24 hours, according to Our World in Data, an online scientific publication that tracks such information.  So far, 9.42 billion doses of the vaccine have been administered on a global basis.

Meanwhile, only 8.9% 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.

Paul Riegler contributed to this story.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

Accura News

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