Coronavirus Morning News Brief – July 28: U.S. Cases Hit 6-Month High, Millions Left Without Sense of Taste or Smell After Covid

Late-Night Host Seth Meyers Tests Positive For Second Time This Year

By Jonathan Spira on 28 July 2022
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A food shop worker in Chengdu before the pandemic

Good morning. This is Jonathan Spira reporting. Here now the news of the pandemic from across the globe on the 840th day of the pandemic.

The United States hit a near six month high in new cases when it recorded 227,253 on Wednesday.  Not since February 9, in the midst of the omicron surge, have we seen a higher figure and current figures are believed to be significant undercounts by at least fivefold due to the prevalence of at-home testing, whose results are not compiled into the daily reports.

The increase comes as President Joseph Biden ends his isolation period after recovering from Covid.

Biden, in contrast to his predecessor, Donald Trump, had access to vaccines and antivirals while Trump contracted Covid in the very early days of the pandemic, before Covid vaccines came into existence.

“When my predecessor got Covid, he had to get helicoptered to Walter Reed Medical Center. He was severely ill. Thankfully, he recovered,” said the president, who rarely discusses the former president directly. “When I got Covid, I worked from upstairs [after starting a course of the antiviral Paxlovid].”

In other news we cover today, Pfizer sales are soaring thanks to pandemic-related medications and millions of people who had Covid have been left without a sense of taste or smell months after their recovery.

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

UNITED STATES

Pfizer’s sales in the second quarter soared amidst strong demand for its coronavirus vaccine and the antiviral Paxlovid, but said that fluctuations in foreign exchange rates will wipe out the increases.

An appeals court said that the San Antonio Independent School district could continue its vaccine mandate for employees, despite the attempt of the state of Texas to squelch it.

GLOBAL

Millions of people who have had the novel coronavirus remain without a sense of smell or taste after having recovered from the virus.  New research published in the BMJ, the peer-reviewed journal of the British Medical Association, reported that approximately 5% of patients with confirmed cases of Covid-19 — some 27 million people worldwide — have suffered a long-lasting loss of smell or taste.

Meanwhile, the International Money Fund said that China needs to rethink its “zero Covid” policy in order to avoid causing more harm to the country’s economy.

China could avoid further lockdowns if it started to use “effective vaccines, such as mRNA vaccines,” and boost vaccination rates, especially among older people, Krishna Srinivasan, director of the Asia and Pacific Department at the IMF, said in an interview with Reuters.

The country’s travel sector is seeing a strong increase in summer travel as some travel restrictions ease, but the possibility of lockdowns thanks to the country’s “zero Covid” policy continues to loom large over the industry.   Just one day ago, over 1 million residents in Wuhan found themselves in lockdown after a handful of cases were reported there.

ENTERTAINMENT

For the second time this year, late-night relevision host Seth Meyers had to cancel his eponymously named show after testing positive for the coronavirus.

“After negative tests Monday and Tuesday, I tested positive for Covid this morning,” Meyers said in a Tweet on Wednesday. “Canceling shows the rest of this week. Apologies to our scheduled guests and loyal viewers.”

TODAY’S STATISTICS

Now here are the daily statistics for Thursday, July 28.

As of Thursday morning, the world has recorded 578.9 million Covid-19 cases, an increase of 1.4 million cases, and 6.41 million deaths, according to Worldometer, a service that tracks such information. In addition, 548.8 million people worldwide have recovered from the virus, an increase of 1.3 million.

Worldwide, the number of active coronavirus cases as of Thursday is 23,631,130, a decrease of 178,000. Out of that figure, 99.8%, or 23,589,143, are considered mild, and 0.2%, or 41,987, are listed as critical.  The percentage of cases considered critical is unchanged over the pat 24 hours.

The United States reported 227,253 new coronavirus infections on Thursday for the previous day, compared to 163,367 on Wednesday, 167,463 on Tuesday, 21,500 on Monday, and 24,251 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 132,067.  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 131,377, a 3% 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 439, an increase of 2% over the same period, while the average number of hospitalizations for the period was 43,725, an 11% increase.

In addition, since the start of the pandemic the United States has, as of Thursday, recorded almost 92.7 million cases, a higher figure than any other country, and a death toll of over 1.05 million. India has the world’s second highest number of officially recorded cases, over 43.9 million, and a reported death toll of 526,211.

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, 677,871, and has recorded 33.7 million cases.

France continues to occupy the number four position in total cases with over 33.7 million cases, and Germany is in the number five slot with 30.7 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 20.8 million, in the number seven slot.

VACCINATION SPOTLIGHT

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that, as of Thursday, 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 Mondays 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 Thursday, according to Our World in Data, an online scientific publication that tracks such information.  So far, 12.31 billion doses of the vaccine have been administered on a global basis and 6.17 million doses are now administered each day.

Meanwhile, only 19.7% 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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