Coronavirus Morning News Brief – July 13: ComicCon to Require Masks and Vaccine Pass, Shanghai’s Heat Wave

New York City and Japan Face Wave Number 6

By Jonathan Spira on 13 July 2022
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Masked and fully vaccinated theatergoers at a recent performance of “The Bedwetter”

Good morning. This is Jonathan Spira reporting. Here now the news of the pandemic from across the globe on the 825th day of the pandemic.

Sometimes people do things that make eminent sense, in an age where the headlines are filled with, well, nonsense instead.  The San Diego Comic-Con will open its doors to attendees on Thursday with over 130,000 attendees expected at the indoor event.

This will be the first Comic-Con in three years, with the exception of what organizers termed a mini special edition version that was held over Thanksgiving weekend last year.

While some attendees will don masks as part of the cosplay, all will be required to have a properly fitted mask on to gain entry, and they will also be expected to present proof of full vaccination and a negative coronavirus test in order to gain admittance.

The policy will apply not only to attendees, but to exhibitors, staff, press, and volunteers.

In the same vein, while Broadway theaters have by and large dropped their mask mandate and ended the requirement to present proof of vaccination at the end of April, other New York theaters have not.  I recently attended a performance of the Atlantic Theater Company’s “The Bedwetter” at the Linda Gross Theater where masking and proof of full vaccination were both required for entry.

On Friday, I’ll be attending Shakespeare in the Park at The Delacorte Theater for a performance of “Richard III” and the same protocols will be in place.  Interestingly enough, the Delacorte is an 1,800-seat open-air theater in Central Park.  Still theater goers will be packed in like sardines and this is one of those times where I greatly appreciate the phrase “to err on the side of caution,” a comforting thought given that the World Health Organization today said that the coronavirus pandemic remains a public health emergency.

In other news we cover today, Dr, Fauci cautioned that people must do more to combat Covid and both New York City and Japan are facing their sixth waves of SARS-CoV-2.

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

UNITED STATES

The White House is warning that the pandemic is far from over and that people must do more to protect themselves against the new variants that continue to emerge.

These steps include getting vaccinated if not already (something that would not apply to Morning News Brief readers, of course), getting boosted or a second booster, testing if feeling ill, obtaining antivirals if testing positive, and donning masks in crowded indoor spaces.

“Variants will continue to emerge if the virus circulates globally and in this country,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country’s chief medical advisor for the pandemic, at a White House briefing on Tuesday.

“We should not let it disrupt our lives. But we cannot deny that it is a reality that we need to deal with,” he added.

In New York City, where the test positivity rate is 15%, hospitalizations currently number over 1,700, a figure not seen since the omicron surge in February.

The city is officially logging some 3,700 positive cases per day on average, although, given the prevalence of home testing, the actual number of new positive cases is likely ten times higher.

GLOBAL

Japan is currently facing its seventh coronavirus wave, the government’s pandemic advisory panel said. On Monday, the country reported 37,413 new cases, a 120% week-over-week increase.  The government has yet to introduce any restrictions or curbs, and sources say that the country’s “desperate” tourism industry is hoping things stay that way.

Meanwhile, in Shanghai, where the mercury hit a record 106° F (41° C) on Wednesday, residents continue to line up in the sweltering heat for mandatory coronavirus testing.  Reports of persistent outbreaks in the city continue.

South Korean Prime Minister Han Duck-soo warned of a potential five-fold surge in Covid cases in the coming months as new infections rose above the 40,000 level for the first time in a little over two months.

TODAY’S STATISTICS

Now here are the daily statistics for Wednesday, July 13.

As of Wednesday morning, the world has recorded 563.2 million Covid-19 cases, an increase of 1.3 million new cases in the preceding 24 hour period, and 6.38 million deaths, according to Worldometer, a service that tracks such information. In addition, 535.6 million people worldwide have recovered from the virus, an increase of 0.8 million.

Worldwide, the number of active coronavirus cases as of Wednesday is 21,155,943, an increase of 370,000. Out of that figure, 99.8%, or 21,117,371, are considered mild, and 0.2%, or 38,572, are listed as critical.  The percentage of cases considered critical is unchanged over the pat 24 hours.

The United States reported 183,322 new coronavirus infections on Wednesday for the previous day, compared to 175,329 on Tuesday 22,569 on Monday, and 23,586 on Sunday, 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 134,026.  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 129,838, a 19% 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 396, an increase of 5% over the same period, while the average number of hospitalizations for the period was 38,517, an 18% increase.

In addition, since the start of the pandemic the United States has, as of Wednesday, recorded almost 90.7 million cases, a higher figure than any other country, and a death toll of 1.05 million. India has the world’s second highest number of officially recorded cases, 43.7 million, and a reported death toll of 525,519.

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, 674,166, and has recorded 33 million cases.

France continues to occupy the number four position in total cases with over 32.5 million cases, and Germany is in the number five slot with 29.3 million.  The United Kingdom, with 22.9 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, while Italy is fast approaching that mark, with almost 19.7 million cases.

VACCINATION SPOTLIGHT

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that, as of Wednesday, over 260.3 million people in the United States – or 78.4% – have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine. Of that population, 67%, or 222.5 million people, have received two doses of vaccine, and the total number of doses that have been dispensed in the United States is now 596.2 million. Breaking this down further, 89.7% of the population over the age of 18 – or 231.7 million people – has received at least a first inoculation and 76.7% of the same group – or 198.6 million people – is fully vaccinated.  In addition, 51.2% of that population, or 101.7 million people, has already received a third, or booster, dose of vaccine.

Starting on June 13, 2022, the CDC began to update vaccine data on a weekly basis and publish it on Wednesdays by 8 p.m. EDT, a statement on the agency’s website said.

Over 66.5% of the world population has received at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine by Wednesday, according to Our World in Data, an online scientific publication that tracks such information.  So far, 12.16 billion doses of the vaccine have been administered on a global basis and 4.02 million doses are now administered each day.

Meanwhile, only 19.1% 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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