Coronavirus Morning News Brief – May 7: Fall Wave in U.S. Could Infect 100 Million, China’s Lockdowns Bring the Return of Shipping Delays,

Hollywood to Loosen Covid Restrictions Despite Rising Cases

By Jonathan Spira on 7 May 2022
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A China Eastern plane at JFK in New York City

Good morning. This is Jonathan Spira reporting. Here now the news of the pandemic from across the globe on the 758th day of the pandemic.

For a while, it seemed as if the global shipping and supply chain crisis was easing somewhat.  Just as with everything else relating to the pandemic, things weren’t quite as they appeared.

Global shipping was starting to recover from almost two years of chaos just as the lockdowns in Shanghai hit.  To put this in perspective, it’s important to keep in mind that Shanghai is the world’s biggest container port and what happens in Shanghai doesn’t stay in Shanghai.

The latest infliction of damage is likely to continue to disrupt global shipping through the summer.

Shipment delays between China and major U.S. and European port cities have quadrupled according to data from Project44, which tracks such information.

This comes as global supply chains are starting to reel from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and factories in China are struggling to restart production.

Lockdowns in Shanghai and other major cities including Zhongzheng are also impacting everything from iPhone production to Tesla production.

To put this in perspective, over 20% of container vessels are current waiting outside congested ports, according to Wayward, which tracks such data, and almost 25% of those unberthed ships are stuck outside Chinese ports, some 412 ships, a 58% increase since February.

In other news we cover today, the White House is warning that there could be a major surge of cases in the fall and winter without taking appropriate action to mitigate the new wave, the surge of cases in Shanghai is causing flights to be rerouted, and Hollywood is loosening Covid restrictions when filming movies.

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

UNITED STATES

The White House is warning that  the country could possibly see some 100 million new coronavirus infections this fall and winter fueled in great part by new subvariants of the omicron variant that strike without regard to an individual’s immunity.

The projection, first reported by the Washington Post, is part of a broad effort by the Biden Administration to fund continued mitigation efforts and measures to avoid severe fall and winter surges.

Meanwhile, the fallout from the White House Correspondents Dinner continues.  The latest high-profile attendee to become infected is George Cheeks, the head of CBS, who was seated next to President Joseph Biden at the affair.

“He is feeling fine and working from home,” CBS said in a statement.

GLOBAL

The Chinese government is erecting thousands of permanent coronavirus testing stations across the country.  There are already 9,000 in Shanghai alone and they will be part of an effort for the government to “normalize” stringent pandemic controls even after the severe lockdowns in the country come to an end.

ENTERTAINMENT

As cases quadruple in the United States, Hollywood’s major studios and guilds announced modifications to their Covid-19 Safety Agreement that is applicable during the filming of motion pictures. The move will loosen testing and masking requirements in parts of the United States with “low” hospitalization rates.  The new plan will remain in effect until July 15 of this year. Pre-employment testing will still be required and weekly testing will continue, albeit with modifications to the types of tests used.

TRAVEL

China Eastern Airlines will reroute its New York-Shanghai flight “to certain alternate airports in China.”  According to a filing with the U.S. Department of Transportation, the move was made “due to evolving coronavirus pandemic control measures in the Shanghai region.”  The DOT approved the action on Friday.

TODAY’S STATISTICS

Now here are the daily statistics for Saturday, May 7.

As of Saturday morning, the world has recorded 516.8 million Covid-19 cases, an increase of 0.9 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, 471.4 million people worldwide have recovered from the virus, an increase of 0.6 million.

Worldwide, the number of active coronavirus cases as of Saturday is 39,081,541, an increase of 180,000 from the prior day. Out of that figure, 99.9%, or 39,041,494, are considered mild, and 0.1%, or 40,047, are listed as critical.  The percentage of cases considered critical is largely unchanged over the past 24 hours.

The United States reported 94,704 new coronavirus infections on Saturday for the previous day, compared to  94,947  on Friday, 105,215  on Thursday, and 69,334  on Wednesday, according to data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  The 7-day incidence rate continues to climb and is now 71,105.  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 70,783, a 52% 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 371, an increase of 1% over the same period, while the average number of hospitalizations for the period was 18,410, a 21% increase.

In addition, since the start of the pandemic the United States has, as of Saturday, recorded 83.5 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 524,024.

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, 664,134, and hasseen 30.5 million cases.

France continues to occupy the number four position in total cases with 28.9 million cases, and Germany is in the number five slot with 25.3 million.  The United Kingdom, with 22.1 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 Saturday, 257.9 million people in the United States – or 77.7% – have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine. Of that population, 66.3%, or 220 million people, have received two doses of vaccine, and the total number of doses that have been dispensed in the United States is now 578.2 million. Breaking this down further, 89.2% of the population over the age of 18 – or 230.2 million people – has received at least a first inoculation and 76.2% of the same group – or 196.8 million people – is fully vaccinated.  In addition, 49.5% of that population, or 97.4 million people, has already received a third, or booster, dose of vaccine.

Over 65.5% of the world population has received at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine by Saturday, according to Our World in Data, an online scientific publication that tracks such information.  So far, 11.64 billion doses of the vaccine have been administered on a global basis and 8.77 million doses are now administered each day.

Meanwhile, only 15.8% 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.

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

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