Coronavirus Morning News Brief – March 1: Death Toll Continues Close to Pandemic Highs, Queen Elizabeth Returns to Work

By Jonathan Spira on 1 March 2022
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Good morning. This is Jonathan Spira reporting. Here now the news of the pandemic from across the globe on the 60th day of 2022 and the first day of meteorological spring in the Northern Hemisphere.

Astute readers may have noticed that the coronavirus is killing more people now than it had during most of the pandemic up until the past month.  Across the globe, local and national officials are lifting mask mandates and loosening vaccine passport requirements but more people are dying now than has generally been the case throughout much of the pandemic.

The data as we have reported it tells the story: The 14-day average coronavirus-related death toll has been over 1,800 coronavirus-related deaths for over the past month and was over 2,500 on multiple days in February.

In other words, more people are dying now than during most of the pandemic with the exception of the first winter surge of the virus in 2020 before vaccines were available.

The death rate is dropping, albeit from a very high point and deaths are a lagging indicator.  However, regardless of falling case rates, we know that Covid has great staying power and, even with a relaxation in mandates, it’s important not to let one’s guard down.

In other news we cover today, Queen Elizabeth has recovered from Covid and returned to her duties, 75% of people over age of 18 in the United States are now fully vaccinated, and Wales and Scotland are relaxing some coronavirus restrictions.

Here’s a look at what has taken place over the past 24 hours.

UNITED STATES

In Washington, D.C., one day after the physician of the U.S. Capitol lifted the mask mandate for vaccinated people there, the White House followed suit.

“Effective tomorrow, Tuesday, March 1, we are lifting the requirement that fully vaccinated individuals wear masks on the White House campus,” a memorandum sent to White House staffers read. “Some individuals will choose to continue to wear masks to protect themselves. We must respect these choices,” it added.

The policy for non-vaccinated individuals visiting the White House did not change, and includes testing, masks, and social distancing.

New clinical data showed that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccination is less effective in children ages 5 through 11 than in older children.  The vaccination offered almost no protection against infection even one month after full vaccination.  The large data set collected by New York State officials during the omicron surge did find that the vaccine prevented severe illness, however.

Health officials who reviewed the data said that the lack of efficacy may stem from the fact that the dosage for children in this age group is one-third the dose given to older children and adults.

Meanwhile, New York City’s $100 incentive program to get vaccinated or receive a booster shot ended Monday. The program went into effect on July 30, 2021.

GLOBAL

Queen Elizabeth returned to her duties after nine days of isolation after testing positive for the coronavirus on February 20.  The 95-year-old monarch, who recently celebrated her 70th anniversary on the throne, was feeling well enough to resume virtual engagements and other duties, including audiences with representatives of foreign nations, Buckingham Palace said Tuesday.

Wales and Scotland separately announced the loosening of some coronavirus restrictions, although neither followed the lead of England in eliminating virtually all restrictions.

Wales ended its mask mandate for some indoor venues including cinemas, theaters, and fitness centers, as well as the mask mandate for students in secondary schools, substituting a recommendation to mask instead.  Masks will continue to be required on public transportation and in healthcare settings such as hospitals, nursing homes, and physician offices.

Scotland, meanwhile, ended the requirement to present proof of vaccination to enter nightclubs and some other indoor venues.  The government there said that remaining restrictions could be lifted by March 21 if cases do not increase before then.

TODAY’S STATISTICS

Now here are the daily statistics for Tuesday, March 1.

As of Tuesday morning, the world has recorded 437.8 million Covid-19 cases, an increase of 1.7 million new cases in the preceding 24 hour period, and 5.98 million deaths, according to Worldometer, a service that tracks such information. In addition, 369.5 million people worldwide have recovered from the virus, an increase of 2.4 million.

Worldwide, the number of active coronavirus cases as of Tuesday is 62,331,036.  Out of that figure, 99.9%, or 62,236,424, are considered mild, and 0.1%, or 74,612, are listed as critical.  The p4ercentage of cases considered critical is largely unchanged over the past 24 hours.

The United States reported 107,607 new coronavirus infections on Tuesday for the previous day, compared to 9,086  on Monday, 25,210 on Sunday, and 85,853 on Saturday, 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 64,276, a 59% 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 1,855, a decrease of 23% over the same period.

In addition, since the start of the pandemic the United States has, as of Tuesday, recorded over 80.6 million cases, a higher figure than any other country, and a death toll of 975,150. India has the world’s second highest number of officially recorded cases, over 42.9 million, and a reported death toll of 514,058. Finally, Brazil has recorded the second highest number of deaths as a result of the virus, 649,443, and has seen over 28.8 million cases.  France continues to occupy the number four position, with 22.7 million cases, and the United Kingdom is in the number five slot with over 18.9 million.

VACCINATION SPOTLIGHT

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that, as of Tuesday, 253.5 million people in the United States – or 76.4% – have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine. Of that population, 64.9%, or 215.6 million people, have received two doses of vaccine, and the total number of doses that have been dispensed in the United States is now 553.1 million. Breaking this down further, 87.8% of the population over the age of 18 – or 226.9million people – has received at least a first inoculation and 75% of the same group – or 193.6 million people – is fully vaccinated.  In addition, 47.1% of that population, or 91.1 million people, has already received a third, or booster, dose of vaccine.

Over 63.1% of the world population has received at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine by Tuesday, 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, 10.77 billion doses of the vaccine have been administered on a global basis.

Meanwhile, only 12.9% 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 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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