Coronavirus Morning News Brief – June 7: Boris Johnson Barely Survives No-Confidence Vote, FDA Advisors Review Novavax Non-MRNA Vaccine

China Continues to Ease Restrictions, Requires 72-Hour PCR Test for Most Business Activities

By Jonathan Spira on 7 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 789th day of the pandemic.

Waste not, want not.

The proverbial saying, which can be traced back to at least 1772, comes from an even more alliterative version, namely “willful waste makes woeful want,” which dates back even further to 1576.

But I digress.

Apparently, over 82 million coronavirus vaccine doses have gone to waste in the United States since the start of the vaccine program in December 2020.

According to various media reports, the CDC reported that some11% of doses distributed by the federal government have gone into rubbish bins.

The CDC report showed that 25% of the wasted doses were lost at two chain stores, CVS and Walmart.

Some waste is inevitable, given the short shelf life of the vaccines once opened.  The short shelf life is also responsible for some people receiving vaccines before they were eligible, because vaccination policies called for using as many doses as possible in order to avoid waste.

Thus far, 558.2 million doses have been injected into people’s arms, according to the Morning News Brief’s Vaccination Spotlight.

In other news we cover today, Boris Johnson remains on shaky ground, China continues to reopen Beijing and Shanghai, and FDA advisors are slated to weigh in on the merits and disadvantages of the non-MRNA Novavax coronavirus vaccine.

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

UNITED STATES

Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg reported that he had tested positive for Covid on Monday.  He said he is experiencing “mild symptoms.”

“I plan to work remotely while isolating according to CDC guidelines, and look forward to when I can safely return to the office and the road,” he wrote in a tweet.

Buttigieg is the fifth cabinet secretary to test positive in the past month and the 15th person who has tested positive for the coronavirus after attending the Mackinac Policy Conference in Michigan last week, according to the Detroit Regional Chamber, which organized the event.

An advisory committee to the Food and Drug Administration will vote Tuesday on whether the agency should authorize a new coronavirus vaccine made by Novavax.  The drugmaker was an early recipient of support by the government’s Operation Warp program.

Unlike the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, which are made with mRNA, the Novavax vaccine has a very different design and contains nanoparticles comprised of proteins from the surface of the coronavirus.

The Department of Health and Human Services issued a statement saying that it remains “committed to ensuring that any American who wants a vaccine can get one, including those who prefer a non-mRNA option.

GLOBAL

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson survived a vote of no confidence among members of the ruling Conservative party on Monday.  The vote of 221 to 148, however, in which he had far fewer MPs voting in his favor than expected, left him reeling and vulnerable.

A majority of Tory lawmakers would have been required to remove him from his position as prime minster.

In the Chinese capital, authorities are easing stringent coronavirus restrictions.  However, a negative Covid test taken within the preceding 72 hours is now required for most business activity.

Chinese government officials are pressing for government action to revive its lockdown- and pandemic-battered economy as major restrictions in Beijing and Shanghai come to an end.

Last week, the country’s cabinet held an emergency meeting with over 100,000 local officials in attendance, state media reported.

At the meeting, top leaders urged new measures to stabilize an economy battered by the country’s stringent Covid-19 restrictions.

Finally, China is holding college entrance exams, requiring face masks, negative PCR tests, and temperature checks.  It is also using disinfected paper.

Many test takers have been told not to leave their homes for the two weeks prior to the examination period and others are traveling from their homes in areas currently in lockdown via specially arranged vehicles.

TRAVEL

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention moved four places, namely Guyana, Mongolia, Namibia, and St. Kitts and Nevis to Level 3, its highest-risk category.

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.”

TODAY’S STATISTICS

Now here are the daily statistics for Tuesday, June 7.

As of Tuesday morning, the world has recorded 536.1 million Covid-19 cases, an increase of 0.6 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, 507.2 million people worldwide have recovered from the virus, an increase of 0.6 million.

Worldwide, the number of active coronavirus cases as of Tuesday is 22,582,873, a decrease of 67,000. Out of that figure, 99.8%, or 22,546,268, are considered mild, and 0.2%, or 36,605, are listed as critical.  The percentage of cases considered critical is unchanged over the past 24 hours.

The United States reported 136,957 new coronavirus infections on Tuesday for the previous day, compared to 16,479 on Monday, 43,611 on Sunday, 146,062 on Saturday, and 111,323 on Friday, 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 121,759.  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 98,867, a 8%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 266, a decrease of 15% over the same period, while the average number of hospitalizations for the period was 29,229, a 15% increase.

In addition, since the start of the pandemic the United States has, as of Wednesday, recorded 86.6 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 524,708.

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, 667,106, and has 31.2 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 26.6 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.

VACCINATION SPOTLIGHT

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that, as of Tuesday, 258.8 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 221.5 million people, have received two doses of vaccine, and the total number of doses that have been dispensed in the United States is now 589.2 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, 50.4% of that population, or 99.7 million people, has already received a third, or booster, dose of vaccine.

Over 65.7% 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, 11.83 billion doses of the vaccine have been administered on a global basis and 5.52 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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