Coronavirus Morning News Brief – June 18: Is Autocracy or Democracy Better in Fighting Pandemic, New York Readies Vaccines for Toddlers

Florida Bows to Parental Pressure and Orders Vaccines for Young Children

By Jonathan Spira on 18 June 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 800th day of the pandemic.

The 2022 Democracy Perception Index is out and, despite the harshness of the response to the pandemic in Asia, it found that, when it came to how citizens perceive their governments’ response, the average satisfaction rate in Asia was significantly higher than in Europe and Latin America.

The results show that people living in free democracies were much less satisfied with their country’s coronavirus response, with only 51% saying their country was responding well.  The satisfaction rates also mirror death rates in a particular country to a great extent.

“Even though many Asian countries continue to grapple under mask mandates and lockdowns, their citizen’s satisfaction levels are still higher because they associate it to the low death rates and think their governments have done a better job compared to Europe and the US, where Covid death rates are still higher,” the lead researcher, Frederick DeVeaux, said in a statement.

“But it’s hard to know if this is because of autocratic or democratic responses,” DeVeaux added.

The index is based on surveys conducted by Latana, a Berlin-based market research firm.  It has the stated and rather lofty aim of trying to “understand the global crisis that democracy is facing from the perspective of ordinary people from around the world.”

The survey, conducted between March 30 and May 10, was comprised of 52,785 responses from 53 countries around the world.

In other news we cover today, New York City is ready to inoculate children under 5, Florida officials bowed to parental pressure and are ordering vaccine for that age group, and Anthony Fauci sparred with Rand Paul at a Senate hearing.

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

UNITED STATES

New York City announced plans to distribute coronavirus vaccine to children younger than 5 via pediatricians and ten city-operated vaccination hubs. Parents will be able to schedule appointments on the city’s “Vaccine Finder” website.

In addition, after facing withering pressure, the state of Florida caved in and said it would allow pediatricians, other doctors, and children’s hospitals to order coronavirus vaccine for this age group.  Florida was the only of 50 states not to place orders for the vaccine by a federal deadline that passed earlier in the week.

Meanwhile, having Covid didn’t stop Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease specialist, from testifying at a Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee hearing on Thursday and sparring with Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky.

Fauci, who said on Wednesday that he tested positive and was taking the antiviral Paxlovid, was in fine form to spar with the senator.

“Are you going to let me answer a question?” Fauci said, partially in jest, as Paul, who is also a medical doctor, continually interrupted his responses to questions.

Paul asked Fauci if there was direct scientific evidence that booster doses prevent hospitalization and death in all people five years of age and older.  In his reply, Fauci noted that the booster recommendations were based on assumptions and antibody data, causing Paul to retort: “If I give a patient 10 mRNA vaccines and they … make antibodies each time, is that proof we should give 10 boosters, Dr. Fauci?”

Without missing a beat, Fauci termed that “an absurd exaggeration.”

GLOBAL

Officials in Hong Kong believe that a sixth wave of coronavirus is likely in September, but they say it will have less impact.  Secretary for Health and Labor Law Chi-kwong commented on this possibility after the special administration region reported 1,160 new local cases.  An additional 116 imported cases were also reported.

The minister also said that law enforcement inspections Friday night had fined at least 36 bar operators and staff, as well as 33 patrons across 12 pubs, who had violated Covid regulations, including a new requirement to present proof of a negative coronavirus test result in order to enter such an establishment..

TODAY’S STATISTICS

Now here are the daily statistics for Saturday, June 18.

As of Saturday morning, the world has recorded 543.9 million Covid-19 cases, an increase of 0.7 million new cases in the preceding 24 hour period, and 6.34 million deaths, according to Worldometer, a service that tracks such information. In addition, 518.9 million people worldwide have recovered from the virus, an increase of 0.5 million.

Worldwide, the number of active coronavirus cases as of Saturday is 18,569,940, an increase of 111,000. Out of that figure, 99.8%, or 18,533,833, are considered mild, and 0.2%, or 36,107, are listed as critical.  The percentage of cases considered critical is unchanged over the past 24 hours.

The United States reported 116,485 new coronavirus infections on Saturday for the previous day, compared to 104,135 on Friday, 134,095 on Wednesday, and 126,403 on Tuesday, according to data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  The 7-day incidence rate continues to remain over 100,000 and is now 101,038.  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 101,631, a figure that is statistically unchanged, based on data from the Department of Health and Human Services, among other sources.  The average daily death toll over the same period is 316, an increase of 20% over the same period, while the average number of hospitalizations for the period was 30,189, an 6% increase.

In addition, since the start of the pandemic the United States has, as of Saturday, recorded 87.9 million cases, a higher figure than any other country, and a death toll of 1.04 million. India has the world’s second highest number of officially recorded cases, 43.3 million, and a reported death toll of 524,840.

New data from Russia’s Rosstat state statistics service showed at the end of May that the number of Covid or Covid-related deaths since the start of the pandemic there in April 2020 is now 812,827, giving the country the world’s second highest pandemic-related death toll, after the United States.  Rosstat reported that 11,583 people died from the coronavirus or related causes in April, down from 35,584 in March and from 43,543 in February.

Meanwhile, Brazil now has recorded the third highest number of deaths as a result of the virus, 668,968, and has recorded 31.7 million cases.

France continues to occupy the number four position in total cases with 30.1 million cases, and Germany is in the number five slot with 27.2 million.  The United Kingdom, with 22.5 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, over 259.2 million people in the United States – or 78.1% – have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine. Of that population, 66.8%, or 221.9 million people, have received two doses of vaccine, and the total number of doses that have been dispensed in the United States is now 592.3 million. Breaking this down further, 89.5% of the population over the age of 18 – or 231 million people – has received at least a first inoculation and 76.8% of the same group – or 198.2 million people – is fully vaccinated.  In addition, 50.6% of that population, or 100.2 million people, has already received a third, or booster, dose of vaccine.

Because of the bank holiday on Monday, the CDC is not publishing updates of vaccination or other data until Tuesday, June 21.

Over 66.3% 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, 11.98 billion doses of the vaccine have been administered on a global basis and 8.49 million doses are now administered each day.

Meanwhile, only 17.8% 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.

Paul Riegler contributed to this story.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

Accura News

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