Coronavirus Morning News Brief – June 3: Musk Tells Workers to Return to Office, or Else, Prince Andrew Tests Positive

Hong Kong Bars and Patrons Are Flouting Covid Rules and Getting Heavily Fined

By Jonathan Spira on 3 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 785th day of the pandemic.

Companies are taking desperate measures in the move to have employees return to the office.

Investor and business magnate Elon Musk, in an e-mail memorandum to SpaceX employees and a separate one to Tesla executives, said that they were required to spend “a minimum of 40 hours” in the office each week.

SpaceX employees who failed to do so would be fired, while Tesla executives who decline to do so should “depart Tesla,” Musk said in the memoranda, which were viewed by the Morning News Brief.

In the SpaceX memorandum, Musk told employees that companies that don’t require a strict return-to-office policy suggested that companies that didn’t require workers to return to the office would not be able to ship “a great new product.”

“SpaceX has and will create and actually manufacture the most exciting and meaningful products of any company in space,” he wrote. “This will not happen by phoning it in.”

It is not known whether Musk will abide by his own rules, however.

In other news we cover today, Prince Andrew tested positive for Covid and will miss portions of Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee celebration, lockdowns in Shanghai were restarted in multiple neighborhoods one day after they ended in the city, and Hong Kong bars and patrons are flouting Covid rules, and getting heavily fined for the privilege.

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


The White House’s new coronavirus pandemic coordinator, Dr. Ashish Jha, said Thursday that children under the age of five could receive coronavirus vaccine shots by June 21.  Pharmacies and community health centers were able to order doses for the nation’s youngest children starting Friday.



Buckingham Palace announced on Thursday that Prince Andrew tested positive for Covid.  As a result, he will miss the thanksgiving service at St. Paul’s Cathedral on Friday that is part of the Platinum Jubilee celebration.

The Duke of York is ninth in the order of succession.

Although Beijing is not officially under lockdown, virtually all public activity has been halted after the report of several dozen cases over the past few days.  The city has a population of over 21 million residents.

Meanwhile, officials in Shanghai have banned the use of the word “lockdown” in Chinese media, even as the lockdown officially came to an end on June 1.  The two-month restriction advises Chinese media use the term “static management-style suppression,” which of course sounds much better.

One day after the (ahem) static management-style suppression ended in Shanghai, multiple neighborhoods in the country’s financial and shipping hub were placed back under lockdown as part of China’s “zero-Covid” strategy.

Officials in Hong Kong reported 499 new Covid cases after an  outbreak stemming from a nightclub there was detected after hundreds of patrons at a basement bar were fined more than HK$1 million ($1.27 million) in total for breaching social-distancing rules in the early hours Wednesday.

Under Hong Kong’s social-distancing rules, bars and nightclubs are permitted to have a maximum of four customers per table and must close at 2 a.m. Offenders face a fixed penalty notice in the amount of HK$5,000.


Now here are the daily statistics for Friday, June 3.

As of Friday morning, the world has recorded 534.4 million Covid-19 cases, an increase of 0.7 million new cases in the preceding 24 hour period, and 6.32 million deaths, according to Worldometer, a service that tracks such information. In addition, 505.2 million people worldwide have recovered from the virus, an increase of 0.5 million.

Worldwide, the number of active coronavirus cases as of Friday is 22,784,868, an increase of 70,000. Out of that figure, 99.8%, or 22,748,201, are considered mild, and 0.2%, or 36,667, are listed as critical.  The percentage of cases considered critical is unchanged over the past 24 hours.

The United States reported 111,323 new coronavirus infections on Friday for the previous day, compared to 219,367 on Thursday, 182,386 on Wednesday, and 32,152 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 100,952.  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.  Monday was a bank holiday in the United States.

The average daily number of new coronavirus cases in the United States over the past 14 days is 101,348, a 3% decrease, based on data from the Department of Health and Human Services, among other sources.  The average daily death toll over the same period is 281, a decrease of 7% over the same period, while the average number of hospitalizations for the period was 27,940, a 17% increase.

In addition, since the start of the pandemic the United States has, as of Wednesday, recorded 86.3 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, over 43.2 million, and a reported death toll of 524,651.

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, 666,978, and has 31.1 million cases.

France continues to occupy the number four position in total cases with 29.6 million cases, and Germany is in the number five slot with 26.5 million.  The United Kingdom, with 22.3 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.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that, as of Friday, 258.7 million people in the United States – or 77.9% – have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine. Of that population, 66.7%, or 221.4 million people, have received two doses of vaccine, and the total number of doses that have been dispensed in the United States is now 588.2 million. Breaking this down further, 89.3% of the population over the age of 18 – or 230.7million people – has received at least a first inoculation and 76.6% of the same group – or 197.9 million people – is fully vaccinated.  In addition, 50.3% of that population, or 99.5 million people, has already received a third, or booster, dose of vaccine.

Over 65.9% of the world population has received at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine by Friday, according to Our World in Data, an online scientific publication that tracks such information.  So far, 11.85 billion doses of the vaccine have been administered on a global basis and 5.98 million doses are now administered each day.

Meanwhile, only 16.2% 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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