Coronavirus Morning News Brief – July 18: Temperatures and Covid Cases Rise, Lockdown in Chinese Resort

By Jonathan Spira on 18 July 2022
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Lifeguard tower at Venice Beach

Good morning. This is Jonathan Spira reporting. Here now the news of the pandemic from across the globe on the 830th day of the pandemic.

As temperatures rise to unprecedented levels in parts of Europe and the United States, coronavirus infections are rising in 40 of 50 states in the union. The increase is particularly evident in the West, Great Plains, and Midwest.

The problem scientists and local officials must confront is the dearth of data they face, something that rivals the early days of the pandemic, before Covid testing became widespread.

Scientists at the CDC and elsewhere know this is an issue.

“You don’t need to count the raindrops to know how hard it’s raining.”

Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the agency’s director, related in early July that she had been told this last month by a CDC colleague.

“So we can tell by the half a million to a million PCRs we’re doing every day how we’re doing in areas around the country.”

The good news, however, is that hospitalizations and deaths due to Covid have not risen to the levels seen during the omicron surge earlier in the year, in great part due to the relatively high number of people – especially over the age of 18 – who have been vaccinated in the United States. Almost 90% of that group has received at least one dose and 77% have received two.

In news we cover today, thousands of tourists on holiday at a Chinese resort city found themselves under lockdown and Los Angeles is heading towards a mask mandate.

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

UNITED STATES

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released findings Friday that show that the emergence of a series of highly contagious omicron subvariants this spring appeared to reduce the protection that current vaccines offer against hospitalizations.  Scientists at the CDC said that first and second booster doses did indeed increase the body’s defenses, increasing levels of protection against the subvariants as well as making up for lost protection that had waned since prior doses of vaccine.

“Booster doses should be obtained immediately when persons become eligible,” the researchers wrote in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly.

Meanwhile, as 56 of the 58 counties in California hit “high” transmission levels according to the CDC, Los Angeles County stands alone as it plans to bring back an indoor mask mandate.

One reason: Over 4,400 people have died from Covid just in 2022, far exceeding the number who die from motor vehicle accidents or the flu, the county’s public health director, Barbara Ferrer, regularly points out.

GLOBAL

Over 2,000 visitors are trapped in the city of Beihai in southern China, after officials there imposed a lockdown intended to quell an outbreak of the coronavirus.

Beihai is a popular holiday resort, in the Guangxi region, known for white-sand beaches.

The city reported over 500 new infections over the past week, an astronomical number by Chinese standards given the country’s “zero Covid” policy.

TODAY’S STATISTICS

Now here are the daily statistics for Monday, July 18.

As of Monday morning, the world has recorded 567.9 million Covid-19 cases, an increase of 0.5 million new cases in the preceding 24 hour period, and 6.39 million deaths, according to Worldometer, a service that tracks such information. In addition, 539 million people worldwide have recovered from the virus, an increase of 0.6 million.

Worldwide, the number of active coronavirus cases as of Monday is 22,489,616, a decrease of 56,000. Out of that figure, 99.8%, or 22,450,509, are considered mild, and 0.2%, or 39,107, are listed as critical.  The percentage of cases considered critical is unchanged over the pat 24 hours.

The United States reported 21,971 new coronavirus infections on Monday for the previous day, compared to 21,041 on Sunday, 166,772 on Saturday, 136,289 on Friday, and 191,735 on Thursday, 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 128,515.  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 129,938, a 15% 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 420, an increase of 9% over the same period, while the average number of hospitalizations for the period was 40,942, a 20% increase.

In addition, since the start of the pandemic the United States has, as of Monday, recorded 91.3 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, almost 43.8 million, and a reported death toll of 525,760.

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, 675,408, and has recorded over 33.3 million cases.

France continues to occupy the number four position in total cases with 33 million cases, and Germany is in the number five slot with 29.7 million.  The United Kingdom, with 23.1 million cases, is now number six and was until Monday the only other country in the world with a total number of cases over the 20 million mark, while Italy, on Saturday, crossed that milestone and now has over 20.1 million cases.

VACCINATION SPOTLIGHT

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that, as of Monday, over 260.7 million people in the United States – or 78.5% – have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine. Of that population, 67.1%, or 222.7 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, 89.8% of the population over the age of 18 – or 231.8 million people – has received at least a first inoculation and 77% of the same group – or 198.8 million people – is fully vaccinated.  In addition, 51.3% of that population, or 102 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 Mondays by 8 p.m. EDT, a statement on the agency’s website said.

Over 66.8% of the world population has received at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine by Monday, according to Our World in Data, an online scientific publication that tracks such information.  So far, 12.22 billion doses of the vaccine have been administered on a global basis and 5.18 million doses are now administered each day.

Meanwhile, only 19.4% 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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