Coronavirus Morning News Brief – April 12: World Hits 500 Million Mark, Masking Returns, Boris Johnson Broke the Lockdown Law

Queen Elizabeth Says Covid Left Her ‘Very Tired and Exhausted’

By Jonathan Spira on 12 April 2022
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Time to “dig up those old mask required signs”

 

Good morning. This is Jonathan Spira reporting. Here now the news of the pandemic from across the globe on the 763rd day of the pandemic.

It’s back.  And don’t say we didn’t warn you.

Just as the world crossed the 500 million mark in total Covid cases on Monday, Philadelphia became the first city in the United State to announce a return to indoor masking as cases began to rise quickly, increasing by over 50% in ten days, the city’s health commissioner, Dr. Cheryl Bettigole, said Monday.

Her announcement was tinged with the sound of resignation and she also tried to inject a bit of humor into the situation.

“Starting today, I’m asking all businesses and institutions in Philadelphia to dig up those old masks-required signs and start hanging them in your windows,“ Bettigole said in a news conference.

The move gives the city a chance to partially stop the wave, rather than wait until it’s too late to put precautions into place.

The City of Brotherly Love is hardly alone.  Multiple states in the Northeast are reporting significant increases on a per capita basis.

Rhode Island currently has the highest seven-day incidence rate, with 172.4 cases per 100,000 people, a figure that is three times the national average.

In addition, New York and New Jersey have seen their average daily new case figures increase by 64%, data from the CDC shows.

The BA.2 subvariant that is making up the overwhelming majority of the new cases is extraordinarily transmissible and this factor, combined with more people going to indoor events with poor ventilation and sans face masks, are what is largely behind the increase.

In addition, those who were infected with the original BA.1 omicron variant may have greater immunity than those who were spared infection and this may make states that did a good job controlling omicron more susceptible to the next wave.

In other news we cover today, U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson was fined for breaking the lockdown law, Queen Elizabeth said that having Covid made her “very tired,” and a new drug was found to be effective in lowering the death rate among patients with severe Covid cases.

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

UNITED STATES

The United States Supreme Court said Monday it will stop public access to courtroom sessions during the month of April as the number of  coronavirus cases rises in the District of Columbia.

A new experimental drug, sabizabulin, was found to have halved the death rate among critically ill Covid patients who were on supplemental oxygen and were at high risk for serious lung disease and death, according to the drug’s maker, Veru.   At a news conference Monday Veru said that it had ended its clinical trial early after sabizabulin was found to have had a dramatic impact in reducing deaths in such cases.

GLOBAL

The world hit the 500 million mark in total coronavirus cases, just two months after it had hit the 400 million mark and three months after the 300 million mark was reached.

In the United Kingdom, Queen Elizabeth II said Wednesday that she was left “very tired and exhausted” after her recent bout of Covid-19.

The 95-year-old monarch, who tested positive for the coronavirus in February and who will turn 96 shortly, discussed her experience in a video call with staff at an east London hospital and shared her views with a Covid patient there.

Meanwhile, London’s Metropolitan Police said that Prime Minister Boris Johnson would be fined for what it had identified as at least 50 violations of the country’s lockdown laws in the course of its enquiry into the so-called “partygate” incidents at No. 10 Downing Street, the prime minister’s official residence, and in Whitehall, .the complex of offices that is the seat of the British government.

Johnson will become the first holder of his office in living memory to be cited by police in this manner.

In addition to Johnson, Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak will also receive fixed penalty notices for breaking the law

TODAY’S STATISTICS

Now here are the daily statistics for Tuesday, April 12.

As of Tuesday morning, the world has recorded 500.3 million Covid-19 cases, an increase of 1 million new cases in the preceding 24 hour period, and 6.2 million deaths, according to Worldometer, a service that tracks such information. In addition, 450.3 million people worldwide have recovered from the virus, an increase of 1.4 million.

Worldwide, the number of active coronavirus cases as of Tuesday is 43,802,060, a decrease of 38,000 from the prior day. Out of that figure, 99.9%, or 43,758,075  are considered mild, and 0.1%, or 43,985 are listed as critical.  The percentage of cases considered critical is largely unchanged over the past 24 hours.

The United States reported 49,391 new coronavirus infections on Tuesday for the previous day, compared to 8,145 on Monday, 13,521 on Sunday, and 44,128 on Saturday, according to data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  Figures for the weekend (reported the following day) are typically 30% to 60% of those posted on weekdays due to a lower number of tests being conducted.

The average daily number of new coronavirus cases in the United States over the past 14 days is 32,139, a 10% 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 522, a decrease of 31% over the same period.

In addition, since the start of the pandemic the United States has, as of Tuesday, recorded 82.1 million cases, a higher figure than any other country, and a death toll of over 1 million. India has the world’s second highest number of officially recorded cases, just over 43 million, and a reported death toll of 521,723. Meanwhile, Brazil has recorded the second highest number of deaths as a result of the virus, 661,389, and has 30.2 million cases.  France continues to occupy the number four position with 26.9 million cases, and Germany is in the number five slot with 22.9 million.  The United Kingdom, with over 21.6 million cases, is now number six and is the only other country in the world with a total number of cases over the 20 million mark.

VACCINATION SPOTLIGHT

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that, as of Tuesday, over 256.3 million people in the United States – or 77.2% – have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine. Of that population, 65.8%, or 218.4 million people, have received two doses of vaccine, and the total number of doses that have been dispensed in the United States is now 565.6 million. Breaking this down further, 88.6% of the population over the age of 18 – or 228.9 million people – has received at least a first inoculation and 75.7% of the same group – or 195.5  million people – is fully vaccinated.  In addition, 48.7% of that population, or 95.2 million people, has already received a third, or booster, dose of vaccine.

Over 64.8 % of the world population has received at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine by Tuesday, according to Our World in Data, an online scientific publication that tracks such information.  So far, 11.41 billion doses of the vaccine have been administered on a global basis and 12.26 million doses are now administered each day.

Meanwhile, only 14.8% 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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