Coronavirus Morning News Brief – April 19: Aftermath of Air Mask Mandate Ruling, New York Considers Indoor Mask Order

Redesigned Moderna Vaccine Provides More Protection from Variants

By Jonathan Spira on 19 April 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 770th day of the pandemic.

Timing is an art, or perhaps it isn’t.

Just days after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention renewed its mask mandate for plane and train travel as well as on public transit, a federal judge struck down the mandate, saying it “exceeds the CDC’s statutory authority and violates the procedures required for agency rule making.”

The move comes just in time for what will most certainly be a dramatic increase in new cases following the gathering of friends and family over the weekend for the Passover and Easter holidays.

All major airlines quickly ended their mask requirements although some airports and numerous mass transit systems including New York City’s, the nation’s largest, did not.

The move came just as the country hit for the first time the 60,000 mark in new coronavirus infections on Monday, the highest since March 7 of this year, when that figure was 63,000.

The figures speak for themselves.

In other news we cover today, New York may reinstate a mask mandate, another Chinese city is in lockdown, and Moderna says that its redesigned vaccines can provide better protection against variants.

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

UNITED STATES

New York City Mayor Eric Adams told reporters Monday that he was not bringing back indoor mask mandates “right now,” but also said he was meeting with city health officials to determine whether such a move will be required in the immediate future.

The Big Apple recorded 7,558 new infections on Monday, a two-month high.

Ride-hailing service Uber ended its mask mandate for drivers and passengers late Monday.  The company made the announcement after the federal judge in Florida struck down the government’s mask mandate.

Drugmaker Moderna announced preliminary results on Tuesday from a study of a new coronavirus vaccine designed to protect against variants.  The company said that the findings from this study show that it is able to design a vaccine that offers better and longer-lasting protection than the original vaccine. It also said that it was testing yet another version of the vaccine that it believed would have even greater efficacy, and said it would be able to provide preliminary results in late May or early June.

GLOBAL

Yet another city in China is under coronavirus lockdown. Officials in the prefecture city of Wuhu in Anhui Province told residents there on Sunday to remain at home after one person had tested positive.  Residents would have to get tested on a daily basis until the government believes it has brought the outbreak down to zero cases.

TODAY’S STATISTICS

Now here are the daily statistics for Tuesday, April 19.

As of Tuesday morning, the world has recorded 505.4 million Covid-19 cases, an increase of 0.9 million new cases in the preceding 24 hour period, and over 6.2 million deaths, according to Worldometer, a service that tracks such information. In addition, 457.3 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 41,894,993, a decrease of 664,000 from the prior day. Out of that figure, 99.9%, or 41,853,054, are considered mild, and 0.1%, or 41,939, are listed as critical.  The percentage of cases considered critical is largely unchanged over the past 24 hours.

The United States reported 60,075 new coronavirus infections on Tuesday for the previous day, compared to 10,662 on Monday, 11,251 on Sunday, 46,708 on Saturday, and 57,563 on Friday, 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 39,192, a 43% 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 425, a decrease of 33% over the same period.

In addition, since the start of the pandemic the United States has, as of Tuesday, recorded 82.4 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 521,996. Meanwhile, Brazil has recorded the second highest number of deaths as a result of the virus, 662,075, and has almost 30.3 million cases.  France continues to occupy the number four position with 27.8 million cases, and Germany is in the number five slot with 23.5 million.  The United Kingdom, with over 21.7 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 256.8 million people in the United States – or 77.4% – have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine. Of that population, 65.9%, or 218.9 million people, have received two doses of vaccine, and the total number of doses that have been dispensed in the United States is now 569.6 million. Breaking this down further, 88.8% of the population over the age of 18 – or 229.2 million people – has received at least a first inoculation and 75.9% of the same group – or 195.9 million people – is fully vaccinated.  In addition, 48.9% of that population, or 95.9 million people, has already received a third, or booster, dose of vaccine.

Over 65 % 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, 11.48 billion doses of the vaccine have been administered on a global basis and 10.74 million doses are now administered each day.

Meanwhile, only 15.2% 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 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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