Coronavirus Morning News Brief – Feb. 10: U.S. Exiting ‘Full-Blown Pandemic Phase Says Fauci, 500,000 Deaths Since Omicron

By Jonathan Spira on 10 February 2022
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Buckingham Palace in London

Good morning. This is Jonathan Spira reporting. Here now the news of the pandemic from across the globe on the 41st day of 2022.

The number of deaths across the globe from the coronavirus since the omicron variant was first detected in November hit the 500,000 milestone, just as Dr. Anthony Fauci, the chief medical advisor to President Joseph Biden, said that the United States is exiting “the full-blown pandemic phase.”  Many, including myself, hope he is right but the virus has tricked us before.

In other news we cover today, Prince Charles tested positive for Covid, the Canadian trucker blockade is hurting the automobile industry, and hospitalizations in the United States fell below 100,000.

UNITED STATES

The trucker blockade at the busiest border crossing between the United States and Canada is causing additional and significant delays to global supply chains.  U.S. automakers are particularly impacted by the partial shutdown of the Ambassador Bridge, which links Detroit with Windsor, Ontario.

Automakers that have adopted just-in-time supply chain practices are particularly hit by the blockade as, on a typical day, thousands of trucks move parts across the border to meet the needs of various plants.  Ford Motor Company said it had been forced to shut down two Canadian plants and reduce production at a third, while both Honda and Toyota said they would have to shut down some production lines.

In Washington State, Governor Jay Inslee lifted the state’s outdoor mask mandate but said it is not time to end all coronavirus restrictions.  He promised a “safe transition” when it’s time to do so.

Wells Fargo & Company, which operates the nation’s fourth largest bank, will tell most of its employees to return to the office starting March 14.  The company will offer a hybrid flexible model, which will allow employees to also work from home.

Nine non-vaccinated Connecticut school employees filed a lawsuit against Governor Ned Lamont and Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Manisha Juthan over “burdensome” travel and other expenses resulting from mandatory weekly coronavirus tests, according to the complaint.  In September, the governor had issued an executive order that mandates that state employees and school staff either get vaccinated or submit to weekly coronavirus testing.

Hospitalizations in the country fell below the 100,000 mark, a 38% decline from several weeks ago when nationwide hospitalizations hit 160,000.

Meanwhile, Rhode Island Governor Dan McKee lifted indoor mask and proof of vaccine requirements, putting the Ocean State “in line with other New England states,” he said.

Much of the Bay Area will lift mask mandates as well. The city of Berkeley and counties of Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Monterey, Napa, Santa Cruz, San Francisco, San Mateo, Solano, and Sonoma said they will only require masks for individuals who are  unvaccinated and over age 2, according to a jointly-issued news release. 

GLOBAL

Prince Charles said Thursday that he had tested positive for the coronavirus.  Charles, the 73-year-old heir apparent to the British throne, has gone into isolation, Clarence House said.  It is the second time that Charles contracted Covid.  The first was in March 2020, as the first wave of the virus was surging in Britain.

The prince “is deeply disappointed not to be able to attend today’s events in Winchester and will look to reschedule his visit as soon as possible,” Clarence House said in a tweet.

Meanwhile, the Philippines reopened its borders to tourists for the first time in almost two years.  Visitors from the 157 countries from which visa-free travel is permissible must be fully vaccinated and present a recent negative coronavirus test for entry. The country will also allow non-vaccinated travelers, but they will have to quarantine for a period of seven to 14 days depending on coronavirus test results starting on the fifth day.

TODAY’S STATISTICS

Now here are the daily statistics for Thursday, February 10.

As of Thursday morning, the world has recorded 404.5 million Covid-19 cases, an increase of 2.6 million new cases in the preceding 24 hour period, and 5.79 million deaths, according to Worldometer, a service that tracks such information. In addition, 324.4 million people worldwide have recovered from the virus, an increase of 4.5 million.

Worldwide, the number of active coronavirus cases as of Thursday is 74,277,955.  Out of that figure, 99.9%, or 74,198,939, are considered mild, and 0.1%, or 90,016, are listed as critical.  The percentage of cases considered critical fell is largely unchanged over the past 24 hours.

The United States reported 228,782 new coronavirus infections on Thursday for the previous day, compared to 194,021  on Wednesday, 346,108  on Tuesday, 60,524  on Monday, and 123,593 new cases on Sunday, according to data from 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 227,903, a 63% decrease, based on data from the Department of Health and Human Services, among other sources.  The average daily death toll over the same period is 2,576, an increase of 4% over the same period.

In addition, since the start of the pandemic the United States has, as of Thursday, recorded 78.8 million cases, a higher figure than any other country, and a death toll of 935,922. India has the world’s second highest number of officially recorded cases, 42.5 million, and a reported death toll of 505,549. Finally, Brazil has recorded the second highest number of deaths as a result of the virus, 635,189, and has seen over 26.9 million cases.  France now occupies the number four position, with 21 million cases, and the United Kingdom is in the number five slot with 18 million.

VACCINATION SPOTLIGHT

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that, as of Thursday, 251.5 million people in the United States – or 75.7% – have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine. Of that population, 64.2%, or 213.2 million people, have received two doses of vaccine, and the total number of doses that have been dispensed in the United States is now 544.8 million. Breaking this down further, 87.3% of the population over the age of 18 – or 225.5million people – has received at least a first inoculation and 74.4% of the same group – or 192.2 million people – is fully vaccinated.  In addition, 45.7% of that population, or 87.9 million people, has already received a third, or booster, dose of vaccine.

Over 61.6% of the world population has received at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine by Thursday, 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, 10.3 billion doses of the vaccine have been administered on a global basis.

Meanwhile, only 10.6% 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 75% 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.

Anna Breuer contributed to this story.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

Accura News

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