Coronavirus Morning News Brief – May 1: 7-Day Incidence in U.S. Climbs to 58,000, Beijing Bans Restaurant Dining

Vaccine Policies Change at Some Broadway Theaters

By Jonathan Spira on 1 May 2022
  • Share

A panda at the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding

Good morning. This is Jonathan Spira reporting. Here now the news of the pandemic from across the globe on the 752nd day of the pandemic.

While the federal mask mandate in the United States ended rather abruptly last month – some travelers were told mid-flight that they could unmask if desired, an announcement accompanied by much cheering in some cases – it has left responsible individuals wondering when they should don a face mask.

The court ruling that ended the federal mandate came just as Covid cases in the country started to trend upwards.

The 7-day average of new cases was just 29,196 on the last day of March and hit a 2022 low of 28,549 on April 3. There were almost 82,000 new cases in the country on Friday and the 7-day incidence was at its highest point at 57,169 since March 2, when it was at 57,604.

The answer to the question, however, is fairly straightforward.  It’s important to note that masks serve two purposes with respect to the pandemic: they block particles from entering your mouth and from leaving others’ mouths.  The ideal situation is when everyone is masked, but we don’t live in a perfect world.

Wearing an N95 or KN95 mask – the gold standard of face masks – is still an effective shield against the coronavirus even when you are wearing them and others in the room are not.

While N95 masks do in fact provide the best protection against the coronavirus because they fit tighter than cloth masks and are made using special material that was designed to block harmful particles such as droplets and aerosols, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has pointed out that donning any mask is better than no mask at all.

In other news we cover today, Beijing tightens Covid restrictions as holiday travel period begins, some NYU Shanghai students reportedly have committed suicide as a result of the severe lockdown in that city, and, while some Broadway theaters won’t be checking vaccine passports anymore, a mask mandate is still in effect.

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

GLOBAL

In a major escalation of coronavirus restrictions, officials in Beijing announced a ban on in-restaurant dining and closed the Universal Studios theme park there as one of the country’s busiest travel periods, the five-day May Day holiday, began.  The Chinese capital also announced that proof of a negative coronavirus test is now required to use public transit and enter some public spaces such as sports arenas.

A professor of Chinese studies at New York University told fellow faculty members that several students on the NYU Shanghai campus have committed suicide due to the current coronavirus lockdowns, now in place for over four weeks, according to a report in the New York Post.

“I have heard that there have been several suicides among the students already, all of it swept under the rug for the sake of NYU’s reputational convenience. Students are suffering. Many faculty are as well,” Rebecca Karl said in her e-mail to other members of the NYU faculty.

ENTERTAINMENT

Sunday marks the first day since the reopening of Broadway that many theaters will not require theatergoers to present proof of vaccination to attend a show.

Performers, theater staff, and backstage crewmembers will still be required to be fully vaccinated, however.

While the vaccine policy is changing, the mask mandate is not: Theatergoers will still required to wear face masks when in the building, except when eating or drinking.

TODAY’S STATISTICS

Now here are the daily statistics for Sunday, May 1.

As of Sunday morning, the world has recorded 513.4 million Covid-19 cases, an increase of 0.5 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, 467.4 million people worldwide have recovered from the virus, an increase of 0.6 million.

Worldwide, the number of active coronavirus cases as of Sunday is 39,722,417, a decrease of 139,000 from the prior day. Out of that figure, 99.9%, or 39,681,020, are considered mild, and 0.1%, or 41,397, are listed as critical.  The percentage of cases considered critical is largely unchanged over the past 24 hours.

The United States reported 22,767 new coronavirus infections on Sunday for the previous day, compared to 81,673 on Saturday, 71,390 on Friday, and 84,570 reported on Thursday, according to data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  The 7-day incidence rate is 57,719.  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 56,303, a 49% 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 321, a decrease of 28% over the same period.

In addition, since the start of the pandemic the United States has, as of Sunday, recorded 83.1 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, 43.1 million, and a reported death toll of 523,843.

New data from Russia’s Rosstat state statistics service showed at the end of April that the number of Covid or Covid-related deaths since the start of the pandemic there in April 2020 is now over 803,000, giving the country the world’s second highest pandemic-related death toll, after the United States.  Rosstat reported that 35,584 people died from the coronavirus or related causes in the month of March, compared to 43,543 in February.

Meanwhile, Brazil now has recorded the third highest number of deaths as a result of the virus, 663,561, and has over 30.4 million cases.

France continues to occupy the number four position in total cases with over 28.6 million cases, and Germany is in the number five slot with 24.8 million.  The United Kingdom, with over 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 Sunday, 257.6 million people in the United States – or 77.6% – have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine. Of that population, 66.1%, or 219.7 million people, have received two doses of vaccine, and the total number of doses that have been dispensed in the United States is now 575.8 million. Breaking this down further, 89% of the population over the age of 18 – or 229.9 million people – has received at least a first inoculation and 76.1% of the same group – or 196.5 million people – is fully vaccinated.  In addition, 49.3% of that population, or 96.9 million people, has already received a third, or booster, dose of vaccine.

Over 65.4% of the world population has received at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine by Sunday, according to Our World in Data, an online scientific publication that tracks such information.  So far, 11.59 billion doses of the vaccine have been administered on a global basis and 10.02 million doses are now administered each day.

Meanwhile, only 15.7% 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.

Paul Riegler contributed to this story.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

Accura News

Read previous post:
Coronavirus Morning News Brief – April 30: New Cases Rise in 47 of 50 States, Airbnb Changes Covid Cancellation Policy

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

Close