Coronavirus Morning News Brief – Aug. 18: CDC Reshuffles, Study Finds Link Between Covid and Dementia

By Jonathan Spira on 18 August 2022
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Times Square on a rainy day

Good morning. This is Jonathan Spira reporting. Here now the news of the pandemic from across the globe on the 861st day of the pandemic.

A study published in the journal Lancet Psychiatry links Covid with a longer-term elevated risk of brain fog and dementia.

The University of Oxford researchers who led the study found that, unlike anxiety and depression, conditions including brain fog, dementia, and psychosis are still more likely two years on.

In other news we cover today, New York State extended its pandemic emergency order into the fall and the CDC announced it will undergo a substantial reorganization.

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

UNITED STATES

The head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced what she termed a “reset” of the organization.  The move amounts to a substantial shake-up and the CDC’s director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, said that the CDC fell short in its response to the coronavirus pandemic and needs to become more nimble.  She told staff on Wednesday that the action is a CDC initiative and was not directed by the White House or other administration officials.

Citing pandemic-related financial woes, the 9/11 Tribute Museum in New York City announced it would close its doors to visitors this week and transfer its holdings to the National September 11 Memorial Museum, which is also located in the Big Apple.   The museum first opened 15 years ago.   “Financial hardship including lost revenue caused by the pandemic prevents us from generating sufficient funding to continue to operate the physical museum,” the museum’s CEO, Jennifer Adams-Webb, said in a statement.  Until its closing, the museum offered tours that were led by survivors of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.

Meanwhile, in New York State, Governor Kathy Hochul said she needed to once again  extend her office’s pandemic emergency order into the fall season.  Hochul last extended it for the summer as the BA.5 subvariant began to cause another surge in cases.  The order suspends competitive bidding for some state contracts among other things.

TODAY’S STATISTICS

Now here are the daily statistics for Thursday, August 18..

As of Thursday morning, the world has recorded 598.3 million Covid-19 cases, an increase of 1 million cases, and over 6.46 million deaths, according to Worldometer, a service that tracks such information. In addition, 572.4 million people worldwide have recovered from the virus, an increase of 1 million.

Worldwide, the number of active coronavirus cases as of Thursday is 19,529,801, an increase of 72,000. Out of that figure, 99.8%, or 19,485,544, are considered mild, and 0.2%, or 44,257, are listed as critical.  The percentage of cases considered critical is unchanged over the pat 24 hours.

The United States reported 160,103 new coronavirus infections on Thursday for the previous day, compared to 119,903 on Wednesday, 129,460 on Tuesday, 10,704 on Monday, 6,854 on Sunday, and 121,768 on Saturday, according to data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  The 7-day incidence rate is now 98,142.  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 98,337, an 18% 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 491, an increase of 3% over the same period, while the average number of hospitalizations for the period was 41,294, a 6% decrease.

In addition, since the start of the pandemic the United States has, as of Thursday, recorded 95 million cases, a higher figure than any other country, and a death toll of over 1.06 million. India has the world’s second highest number of officially recorded cases, close to 44.3 million, and a reported death toll of 527,206.

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 820,307, giving the country the world’s second highest pandemic-related death toll, behind the United States.  Rosstat reported that 4,991 people died from the coronavirus or related causes in June, down from 7,008 in May and from 11,583 in April.

Meanwhile, France is the country with the third highest number of cases, 34.28 million, although Brazil has recorded the third highest number of deaths as a result of the virus, 682,074, and has recorded 34.22 million cases, placing it in the number four slot.

Germany is in the number five slot with 31.7 million cases.

The other three countries with total case figures over the 20 million mark are the United Kingdom, with 23.5 million cases, in sixth position, South Korea, with 21.9  million cases, placing it in the number seven slot, and Italy, with over 21.5 million, as number eight.

VACCINATION SPOTLIGHT

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that, as of Thursday, over 261.9 million people in the United States – or 78.9% – have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine. Of that population, 67.3%, or 223.5 million people, have received two doses of vaccine, and the total number of doses that have been dispensed in the United States is now 606.2 million. Breaking this down further, 90% of the population over the age of 18 – or 232.2 million people – has received at least a first inoculation and 77.2% of the same group – or 199.3 million people – is fully vaccinated.  In addition, 51.4% of that population, or 102.5 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 the updated information on Thursdays by 8 p.m. EDT, a statement on the agency’s website said.

Some 67.4% 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, 12.47 billion doses of the vaccine have been administered on a global basis and 5.05 million doses are now administered each day.

Meanwhile, only 20.7% 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 reporting to this story.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

Accura News

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