Coronavirus Morning News Brief – April 28: Pandemic-Induced Supply-Chain Crisis Far From Over, China’s Stimulus Package

Fauci Clarifies That the Pandemic Isn’t Over, After Saying U.S. Is Out of ‘Pandemic Phase’

By Jonathan Spira on 28 April 2022
  • Share

A dose of Moderna vaccine

Good morning. This is Jonathan Spira reporting. Here now the news of the pandemic from across the globe on the 749th day of the pandemic.

New data suggests that the supply-chain crisis won’t be easing any time soon.  After a short period during which it appeared that the backlogs of containerships that had stacked up outside ports across the globe had eased, it appears that this trend was short-lived.

New data from Windward, the maritime AI company that tracks such information, shows that 20% of all of the world’s containerships are stuck in port congestion at the present time and, moreover, that 25% of those are stuck at ports in China amidst lockdowns in multiple cities in that country including Shanghai, whose Yangtze Port is the world’s busiest container port and now the most congested.

As a result, almost two-thirds of all containerships are now behind schedule, something last seen in mid-2021.

The lockdowns in China have essentially doubled the congestion.  In February, there were 260 vessels, on average, stuck outside Chinese ports, while in March and April that figure grew to 470 and 506 respectively.

In other news we cover today, Dr. Anthony Fauci walked back his statement that the U.S. was “out of the pandemic phase,” Moderna asked the FDA to authorize its vaccine for children under 6, and China is introducing economic stimulus measures to compensate for the recent lockdowns there.

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

UNITED STATES

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the White House medical advisor, walked back his comment, made Tuesday, that the United State was “out of the pandemic phase,” responding to a question by Judy Woodruff on the “PBS Newshour” program as to how close the country was to the end of the pandemic.

On Wednesday, after his comments made headlines worldwide, Fauci was more reticent on the topic. “We are in a different moment of the pandemic,” Fauci told the Associated Press. The country has “decelerated and transitioned into more of a controlled phase” following a winter surge, he added.

“By no means does that mean the pandemic is over,” he said, to underscore the point.

Meanwhile, Moderna said Thursday that it had asked the Food and Drug Administration to authorize its coronavirus vaccine for children under six years of age.  The company is the first drugmaker to do so and said it would submit data to the agency by May 9.

The pharmaceutical house said it had also asked for authorization for its vaccine for two additional age groups, children in the 6-to-11 bracket and those between 12 and 17.

GLOBAL

A British court ruled Wednesday that the government’s decision in the spring of 2020 to discharge hospital patients into care homes without testing them for Covid was illegal.  The widespread discharges devastated nursing homes there, in a pattern similar to what took place in the rest of Europe as well as the United States.  The decision has become a major scandal for Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

As the patients were being transferred, other residents and staff were denied Covid tests, while the pleas by workers in care homes for appropriate protective gear were ignored.

The Chinese government ordered a wide range of measures to prevent the economy from slowing further as a result of the numerous lockdowns in the country over the past month.

The measures will include cutting electricity and internet charges for businesses, allowing companies to stop paying unemployment insurance premiums provided they agree to avoid mass layoffs, paying allowances to migrant workers who cannot find jobs, and giving more truck drivers permits to bypass Covid-19 roadblocks.

The government will also offer college graduates subsidies to start their own businesses because of the scarcity of jobs at the present time.

TRAVEL

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention moved the Caribbean island of Saba, a special municipality of the Netherlands, to Level 3, its highest-risk category.

The Travel Health Notice system provides coronavirus risk ratings for non-U.S. destinations.

Levels 3, 2, and 1 are primarily determined by 28-day incidence of Covid, and, as of mid-April, Level 4, previously the highest category, is reserved  for “special circumstances, such as rapidly escalating case trajectory or extremely high case counts, emergence of a new variant of concern, or healthcare infrastructure collapse.”

TODAY’S STATISTICS

Now here are the daily statistics for Thursday, April 28.

As of Thursday morning, the world has recorded 511.7 million Covid-19 cases, an increase of 0.8 million new cases in the preceding 24 hour period, and almost 6.3 million deaths, according to Worldometer, a service that tracks such information. In addition, 465.5 million people worldwide have recovered from the virus, an increase of 1.3million.

Worldwide, the number of active coronavirus cases as of Thursday is 39,940,831, a decrease of 545,000 from the prior day. Out of that figure, 99.9%, or 39,898,719, are considered mild, and 0.1%, or 42,112, are listed as critical.  The percentage of cases considered critical is largely unchanged over the past 24 hours.

The United States reported 84,570 new coronavirus infections on Thursday for the previous day, compared to 54,447  on Wednesday, 74,612 on Tuesday, 12,816 on Monday, and 18,917  on Sunday, according to data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  The 7-day incidence rate is 53,395.  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 53,432, a 59% 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 355, a decrease of 25% over the same period.

In addition, since the start of the pandemic the United States has, as of Thursday, recorded 82.9 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, almost 43.1 million, and a reported death toll of 523,693. Meanwhile, Brazil has recorded the second highest number of deaths as a result of the virus, 663,165, and has 30.4 million cases.  France continues to occupy the number four position with 28.5 million cases, and Germany is in the number five slot with 24.5 million.  The United Kingdom, with 22 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 Thursday, over 257.4 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 219.5million people, have received two doses of vaccine, and the total number of doses that have been dispensed in the United States is now 574.2 million. Breaking this down further, 89% of the population over the age of 18 – or 229.7 million people – has received at least a first inoculation and 76% of the same group – or 196.3 million people – is fully vaccinated.  In addition, 49.2% of that population, or 96.6 million people, has already received a third, or booster, dose of vaccine.

Over 65.2% of the world population has received at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine by Thursday, according to Our World in Data, an online scientific publication that tracks such information.  So far, 11.56 billion doses of the vaccine have been administered on a global basis and 11.7 million doses are now administered each day.

Meanwhile, only 15.3% 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.

In addition, North Korea and Eritrea are now the only two countries in the world that have not administered vaccines.

Anna Breuer contributed to this story.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

Accura News

Read previous post:
Apple AirTag Batteries Start to Fail, Without Alerting Users

For Apple users who are used to an audible notification, such as a chime, when their MacBook Pro battery is...

Close