Coronavirus Morning News Brief – June 28: U.K. ‘Living with Covid’ Strategy Is Flawed, 10 Million Cases in California

Shanghai Disneyland to Reopen

By Jonathan Spira on 28 June 2022
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The London Eye, also known as the Millennium Wheel

Good morning. This is Jonathan Spira reporting. Here now the news of the pandemic from across the globe on the 810th day of the pandemic.

Britain is in yet another wave of Covid cases, its third major wave this year.

The country’s Office for National Statistics released an updated Infection Survey that shows that approximately 17 million people were estimated to have become infected in the week ending June 18, a 23% over the prior week, which was in turn a 43% jump over the week before that.

The wave is being driven by the highly contagious and fast moving BA.4. and BA.5 variants.

England was among the first to drop virtually all coronavirus restrictions including masking and social distancing, at a time when infections were still increasing.

Over the past year, it’s become abundantly clear to me that the United Kingdom’s “living with Covid” strategy lacks provisions for long-term care and well-being and the United States is in many respects following a similar policy at the present time.

The level of post-infection complications, which fall under the “Long Covid” banner, is particularly troubling as little is known about the phenomena, and not enough research is being done to prevent a disaster at some point in the future.

In other news we cover, both Beijing and Shanghai were free of new Covid cases on Tuesday, Shanghai Disneyland is reopening at the end of the month, and Alameda County is ending is mask mandate.

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

UNITED STATES

The total number of cases in the state of California since the start of the pandemic is about to cross the 10 million mark.  While likely an undercount, it comes as cases are once again on the rise in the Golden State.

California reported 13,655 new cases on Tuesday and the 7-day incidence was 18,905.  Cases have been on the rise since hitting a low of 972 in late March.

Alameda County, the San Francisco Bay Area’s second largest county by population, ended its indoor mask mandate three weeks after it was instituted.  Masks had been required in restaurants, bars, and offices, among other indoor settings, as hospitalizations and new coronavirus cases increased across the county in numbers that had exceeded last summer’s delta wave-induced surge.

GLOBAL

In China, both Beijing and Shanghai reported for the first time in months that the cities were free of new coronavirus infections.  Both the capital city and the country’s financial hub said Tuesday that there had been no new local Covid infections.  This also marks the first time that both cities had no new cases at the same time since February.

The news comes after months of fighting small outbreaks as part of China’s “zero Covid” policy.

In addition, the country is halving the mandatory quarantine time that overseas visitors must spend in a coronavirus quarantine facility from two weeks to one, the National Health Commission said Tuesday.

After 101 days, Shanghai Disneyland will reopen to the public on June 30.  The news is helping signify the city’s emergence from some of the strictest lockdowns and testing protocols in the world.

Meanwhile, in Hong Kong, the owners of a Taiwanese drinks shop were sentenced to seven months in jail under a colonial-era sedition law.  They were convicted of inciting others to flout public health restrictions and to refuse coronavirus vaccinations.

Finally, North Korea, which lacks coronavirus testing capabilities, reported 6,710 additional “fever” cases on Tuesday.  This brings the total of such cases, believed to be largely Covid, to over 4.7 million in a country with a population of just under 26 million.

TRAVEL

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention moved two destinations, namely the Dominican Republic and Kuwait, to Level 3, its highest-risk category.

Last week, the agency lowered the risk rating for two European nations, Sweden and Romania, to Level 2 from Level 3.

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.”

SPORTS AND ENTERTAINMENT

Italian tennis player Matteo Berrettini, last year’s men’s finalist, withdrew from Wimbledon after testing positive for the coronavirus.

“I have had flu symptoms and been isolating the last few days,” he posted on Instagram. “Despite symptoms not being severe, I decided it was important to take another test this morning to protect the health and safety of my fellow competitors and everyone else involved in the tournament,” he added.

TODAY’S STATISTICS

Now here are the daily statistics for Tuesday, June 28.

As of Tuesday morning, the world has recorded 549.9 million Covid-19 cases, an increase of 0.9 million new cases in the preceding 24 hour period, and 6.35 million deaths, according to Worldometer, a service that tracks such information. In addition, 525.8 million people worldwide have recovered from the virus, an increase of 1.1 million.

Worldwide, the number of active coronavirus cases as of Tuesday is 17,822,017, a decrease of 779,000. Out of that figure, 99.8%, or 17,785,517, are considered mild, and 0.2%, or 36,500, are listed as critical.  The percentage of cases considered critical is unchanged over the past 24 hours.

The United States reported 131,797 new coronavirus infections on Tuesday for the previous day, compared to 18,240 on Monday, 46,781 on Sunday, and 118,491 on Saturday, according to data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  The 7-day incidence rate continues to be over 100,000 and is now 121,498.  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 108,215, a 1% 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 333, an increase of 3% over the same period, while the average number of hospitalizations for the period was 31,720, a 6% increase.

In addition, since the start of the pandemic the United States has, as of Tuesday, recorded 88.9 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, 43.4 million, and a reported death toll of 525,047.

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 812,890, 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, 670,606, and has recorded 32.1 million cases.

France continues to occupy the number four position in total cases with 30.7 million cases, and Germany is in the number five slot with 27.9 million.  The United Kingdom, with 22.6 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 Tuesday, over 259.4 million people in the United States – or 78.1% – have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine. Of that population, 66.9%, or 222.1 million people, have received two doses of vaccine, and the total number of doses that have been dispensed in the United States is now 593.7 million. Breaking this down further, 89.5% of the population over the age of 18 – or 231.2 million people – has received at least a first inoculation and 76.8% of the same group – or 198.4 million people – is fully vaccinated.  In addition, 50.7% of that population, or 100.5 million people, has already received a third, or booster, dose of vaccine.

Starting on June 13, the CDC began to update vaccine data on a weekly basis and publish it on Thursdays by 8 p.m. EDT, a statement on the agency’s website said.

Over 66.4% of the world population has received at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine by Tuesday, according to Our World in Data, an online scientific publication that tracks such information.  So far, 12.04 billion doses of the vaccine have been administered on a global basis and 5.08 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.

Anna Breuer contributed to this story.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

Accura News

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