Coronavirus Morning News Brief – July 23: The Virus That Came to Dinner, Biden’s Recovery, Chinese Says Its Vaccines Are Safe

By Jonathan Spira on 23 July 2022
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A nurse at the coronavirus testing site at LaGuardia Airport in New York

Good morning. This is Jonathan Spira reporting. Here now the news of the pandemic from across the globe on the 835th day of the pandemic.

“The Man Who Came to Dinner” is a play (and subsequent film) about an acerbic radio personality, Sheridan Whiteside, who, shortly before the Christmas holidays, falls and breaks his hip on ice upon arriving for a dinner engagement at the Stanleys, a prominent Ohio family.  Whiteside insists on staying on to recuperate at their home and proves to be an imperious guest.

The same could be said about SARS-CoV-2.

Talk of eradicating the virus have long since been banished; instead, health experts speak of “living with the virus.”

“This virus is going to be with us forever,” said the White House pandemic response coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha said Friday, in the course of a press briefing otherwise devoted to President Biden’s health.

Meanwhile, while many still try to remove the unwanted guest, the coronavirus continues to evolve into new and more contagious forms, continuing to cause social and economic disruptions

In news we cover today, President Biden continues to improve from his case of Covid and Chinese officials took pains to underscore the safety of their country’s coronavirus vaccines.

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

UNITED STATES

President Joseph Biden is improving after testing positive for the coronavirus on Thursday and starting a course of the antiviral Paxlovid, the White House physician, Dr. Kevin O’Connor, said in a letter released on  Friday.  The president had a temperature of 99.4° F (37.4° C), continued to have a runny nose, and had a “occasional loose, now ‘unproductive’ cough.

“His pulse, blood pressure, respiratory rate, and oxygen saturation remain entirely normal, on room air,” the physician wrote.

Meanwhile, in New York State, Governor Kathy Hochul said she needed to extend her office’s pandemic emergency powers into the fall in case the new and highly contagious omicron variant known as BA.5 causes serious disease and hospitalizations to spike higher.

GLOBAL

Chinese officials said that the country’s vaccines are safe and doses have been given to the country’s leaders as well as those of its ruling Communist Party.  The statement comes as government officials try to allay public concerns about the safety of the vaccines, which in turn are slowing down vaccination drives.

“China’s state and Party leaders have all been vaccinated against COVID-19 with domestically-made shots,” said the deputy head of the National Health Commission, Zeng Yixin.

TODAY’S STATISTICS

Now here are the daily statistics for Saturday, July 23.

As of Saturday morning, the world has recorded 574.2 million Covid-19 cases, an an increase of 1.2 million cases, and 6.4 million deaths, according to Worldometer, a service that tracks such information. In addition, 543.8 million people worldwide have recovered from the virus, an increase of 900,000.

Worldwide, the number of active coronavirus cases as of Saturday is 23,956,672, an increase of 330,000. Out of that figure, 99.8%, or 23,915,696, are considered mild, and 0.2%, or 40,976, are listed as critical.  The percentage of cases considered critical is unchanged over the pat 24 hours.

The United States reported 165,180 new coronavirus infections on Saturday for the previous day, compared to 153,030  on Friday, 203,255  on Thursday, and 160,871 on Wednesday, 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 128,246.  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 127,549, an 18% 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 444, an increase of 38% over the same period, while the average number of hospitalizations for the period was 42,710, a 17% increase.

In addition, since the start of the pandemic the United States has, as of Saturday, recorded almost 92.1 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, 43.9 million, and a reported death toll of 525,997.

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, 676,826, and has recorded over 33.5 million cases.

France continues to occupy the number four position in total cases with over 33.4 million cases, and Germany is in the number five slot with over 30.3 million.

The other two countries with total case figures over the 20,000 mark are currently United Kingdom, with 23.2 million cases, in sixth position, and Italy, with over 20.5 million, in the number seven slot.

VACCINATION SPOTLIGHT

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that, as of Saturday, over 261.2 million people in the United States – or 78.7% – have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine. Of that population, 67.2%, or 222.9 million people, have received two doses of vaccine, and the total number of doses that have been dispensed in the United States is now 601.5 million. Breaking this down further, 89.9% of the population over the age of 18 – or 232.1 million people – has received at least a first inoculation and 77% of the same group – or 198.9 million people – is fully vaccinated.  In addition, 51.4% of that population, or 102.3 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 Saturdays by 8 p.m. EDT, a statement on the agency’s website said.

Over 66.9% of the world population has received at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine by Saturday, according to Our World in Data, an online scientific publication that tracks such information.  So far, 12.28 billion doses of the vaccine have been administered on a global basis and 5.11 million doses are now administered each day.

Meanwhile, only 19.6% 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.

Paul Riegler contributed to this story.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

Accura News

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