Coronavirus Morning News Brief – April 25: L.A. Company Fined $26 Million for Faking Test Results, No Lockdown Planned Here Says Taiwan

U.S. Can Manage BA.2 Variant Without Disruption, Says White House Covid Coordinator

By Jonathan Spira on 25 April 2022
  • Share

A pop-up coronavirus testing site in New York City’s Theater District

Good morning. This is Jonathan Spira reporting. Here now the news of the pandemic from across the globe on the 746th day of the pandemic.

The new White House Covid response coordinator, Dr. Ashish Jha, said on Sunday that he does not believe that the highly contagious omicron subvariant BA.2 and its subvariants will have much of an effect on the U.S. economic recovery.

Speaking on the CNN news program “State of the Union,” Jha said that, while he was “concerned” about the spread of Omicron variants, he did not see it having any significant impact, a message that belied the Biden administration’s efforts to overturn a Florida judge’s ruling that threw out the federal mask mandate for plane and train travel as well as on public transit.

Jha put himself at odds with comments made by Dr. Anthony Fauci, the White House chief medical advisor.  Fauci told CNN that the issue of the mask mandate should not have been decided by a court, but by public health experts.

“This is a CDC issue, it should not have been a court issue,” he said.

Meanwhile, wearing a face mask is just common sense when traveling on any form of public transportation.

“When people wear a well-fitting mask or respirator over their nose and mouth in indoor travel or public transportation settings, they protect themselves, and those around them, including those who are immunocompromised or not yet vaccine-eligible,” the CDC said in a statement issued after the court ruling.

In other news we cover today, a Covid testing chain paid a $26 million fine for faking test results, cases in Shanghai continue to rise, and Taiwan said it has no plans to attempt Shanghai-like lockdowns despite rising cases.

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

UNITED STATES

The Los Angeles City Attorney announced a $26 million settlement with a Covid test company and physician over faked and forged coronavirus test results.  The settlement with the Venice-based national chain Sameday Technologies and its CEO, Felix Huettenbach, came after the company was accused of faking and forging test results and engaging in false advertising and insurance fraud.  The deal included at $3.9 million settlement with Dr. Jeff Toll, a Los Angeles-based physician, who was in partnership with the company.

GLOBAL

Apple’s iPhone supplier, Foxconn Technology Group, said it had halted operations at two of its factories in the Chinese city of Kunshan, which borders Shanghai, after new coronavirus  cases were reported on site, the South China Morning Post reported on Monday.  The factory makes data transmission gear and connectors.

Taiwan’s Premier, Su Tseng-chang, said that the country will not go into a Shanghai-like lockdown to control a new spike in coronavirus cases, citing evidence that the vast majority of those who test positive have either no symptoms or only very minor ones.

“We will gradually deal with it and won’t be like Shanghai and go into lockdown, but we also won’t immediately stop wearing face masks and not take anti-pandemic measures,” he told reporters.

Meanwhile, in Shanghai, the death toll for Saturday was 12, up from 11 on the previous day.  The city recorded local 20,634 new asymptomatic cases , versus 15,698 on Friday.  The total number of symptomatic cases hit 2,736, up from 1,931 on Thursday, according to local health officials.

Finally, residents in one part of Beijing are resorting to panic buying.  Residents living in the Chaoyang district of Beijing will undergo three rounds of mass coronavirus screening this week following a spike in cases in the capital city over the past week. The South China Morning Post reported that supermarkets were packed with customers over the weekend and that the virtual shelves of community group-buying apps were nearly empty.

TODAY’S STATISTICS

Now here are the daily statistics for Monday, April 25.

As of Monday morning, the world has recorded 509.7 million Covid-19 cases, an increase of 0.4 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, 462.6 million people worldwide have recovered from the virus, an increase of 0.8 million.

Worldwide, the number of active coronavirus cases as of Monday is 40,865,198, a decrease of 356,000 from the prior day. Out of that figure, 99.9%, or 40,822,791, are considered mild, and 0.1%, or 42,407, are listed as critical.  The percentage of cases considered critical is largely unchanged over the past 24 hours.

The United States reported 12,816 new coronavirus infections on Monday for the previous day, compared to 18,917  on Sunday, 69,827 on Saturday, and 59,094 on Friday, according to data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  The 7-day incidence rate is 47,675.  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 49,925, a 51% 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 362, a decrease of 36% over the same period.

In addition, since the start of the pandemic the United States has, as of Monday, recorded over 82.7 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 522,223. Meanwhile, Brazil has recorded the second highest number of deaths as a result of the virus, 662,701, and has over 30.3 million cases.  France continues to occupy the number four position with over 28.3 million cases, and Germany is in the number five slot with 24.2 million.  The United Kingdom, with over 21.9 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 Monday, over 257.3 million people in the United States – or 77.5% – have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine. Of that population, 66.1%, or 219.3million people, have received two doses of vaccine, and the total number of doses that have been dispensed in the United States is now 572.6 million. Breaking this down further, 88.9% of the population over the age of 18 – or 229.6 million people – has received at least a first inoculation and 76% of the same group – or 196.2 million people – is fully vaccinated.  In addition, 49.1% of that population, or 96.4 million people, has already received a third, or booster, dose of vaccine.

Over 65.1% of the world population has received at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine by Monday, according to Our World in Data, an online scientific publication that tracks such information.  So far, 11.53 billion doses of the vaccine have been administered on a global basis and 11.27 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.

Only a handful of the world’s poorest countries –  Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia and Nepal –  have reached the 70% mark in vaccinations. Many countries, however, are under 20% and, in countries such as Haiti, Senegal, and Tanzania, for example, vaccination rates remain in the single digits, if not lower.

Paul Riegler contributed to this story.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

Accura News

Read previous post:
JetBlue Appoints New Vice President of JetBlue University

JetBlue Airways announced the appointment of Jeff Winter as the vice president of JetBlue University. In his new position, Mr....

Close