Coronavirus Morning News Brief – Feb. 28: 3 Jabs Cut Risk of Death and Severe Illness, Says Study, California Ends Covid State of Emergency

Better Air Quality ‘Led to Fewer Premature Babies,” Researchers Found

By Jonathan Spira on 28 February 2023
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A baby portrait of an staff member who wishes to remain anonymous

Good morning. This is Jonathan Spira reporting. Here now the news of the pandemic from across the globe on the 1,054th day of the pandemic.

In news we cover today, Governor Newsome ended California’s pandemic state of emergency, Hong Kong ended its mask mandate, and better air quality “led to fewer premature babies,” according to a new study.


Governor Gavin Newsome rescinded California’s coronavirus state of emergency, bringing a symbolic end to a difficult period of the state’s history, although it does not mark the end of the pandemic itself by any means.

Newsome proclaimed the state of emergency three years ago, on March 4, 2020. The move gave him broad executive powers to protect state residents from what turned out to be a rather unpredictable and extremely deadly virus.  The governor said that the state is finally ready to move forward.

“California is better prepared and that’s because we have a serious legislature and the health ecosystem in California is second to none in the country,” he said in a statement.


A new report from Edinburgh University found that better air quality during lockdowns “led to fewer premature babies” being born.  Some 50,000 fewer preemies were born worldwide after the start of worldwide Covid lockdowns, possibly, the researchers surmise, because women experienced better air quality. The rate of premature births fell by 3% to 4% in the first four months of lockdowns.

Some 945 days after it started, Hong Kong ended what was one of the world’s longest mask mandates.   Masks will still be required in hospitals and several other settings, however.

Hong Kong’s mask manufacturing industry is seeing businesses closing left and right and others are looking into entering the global market for face masks.

Researchers at the faculty of medicine at the University of Hong Kong found that three coronavirus shorts cut the risk of death and severe illness for the elderly and those with chronic diseases by 80%.  The scientists looked at health and inoculation records of millions of Hong Kong residents to come up with this finding.


Now here are the daily statistics for Tueasday, February 28.

As of Tueasday morning, the world has recorded 679.9 million Covid-19 cases, an increase of 0.1 million cases, and 6.8 million deaths, according to Worldometer, a service that tracks such information. In addition, 652.8 million people worldwide have recovered from the virus, an increase of 0.2 million.

The reader should note that infrequent reporting from some sources may appear as spikes in new case figures or death tolls.

Worldwide, the number of active coronavirus cases as of Tueasday at press time is 20,352,569, a decrease of 23,000. Out of that figure, 99.8%, or 20,312,044, are considered mild, and 0.2%, or 40,525, are listed as critical. The percentage of cases considered critical has not changed over the past three months.

The United States reported 17,547 new coronavirus infections on Tueasday for the previous day, compared to 2,318  on Monday, 1,527 on Sunday, 11,171 on Saturday, 64,478 on Friday, and 127,499 on Thursday, according to data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The 7-day incidence rate is now 36,237.  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 34,036, a figure down 14% over the past 14 days, based on data from the Department of Health and Human Services, among other sources.  The average daily death toll over the same period is 327, a decrease of 26% over the same period, while the average number of hospitalizations for the period was 27,597, a decrease of 9%. In addition, the number of patients in ICUs was 3,595, a decrease of 5% and the test positivity rate is now 9.3%, a figure that is down by 3% over the same period.

In addition, since the start of the pandemic the United States has, as of Tueasday, recorded 105.3 million cases, a higher figure than any other country, and a death toll of 1.15 million. India has the world’s second highest number of officially recorded cases, 44.7 million, and a reported death toll of 530,771.

The newest data from Russia’s Rosstat state statistics service showed that, at the end of July, the number of Covid or Covid-related deaths since the start of the pandemic there in April 2020 is now 823,623, giving the country the world’s second highest pandemic-related death toll, behind the United States.  Rosstat last reported that 3,284 people died from the coronavirus or related causes in July 2022, down from 5,023 in June, 7,008 in May and 11,583 in April.

Meanwhile, France is the country with the third highest number of cases, with 39.6 million, and Germany is in the number four slot, with 38.1 million total cases.

Brazil, which has recorded the third highest number of deaths as a result of the virus, 699,006, has recorded just over 37 million cases, placing it in the number five slot.

The other five countries with total case figures over the 20 million mark are Japan, with 33.2 million cases, South Korea, with 30.5 million cases, placing it in the number seven slot, and Italy, with 25.6 million, as number eight, as well as the United Kingdom, with over 24.3 million, and Russia, with 22.3 million.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that, as of the past Thursday, 269.5 million people in the United States – or 81.2% – have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine. Of that population, 69.3%, or just under 230 million people, have received two doses of vaccine, and the total number of doses that have been dispensed in the United States is now 671.6 million. Breaking this down further, 92.1% of the population over the age of 18 – or 237.8 million people – has received at least a first inoculation and 79% of the same group – or 203.9 million people – is fully vaccinated.  In addition, 19.5% of the same population, or 50.3 million people, has already received an updated or bivalent 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 69.7% of the world population has received at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine by Tueasday, according to Our World in Data, an online scientific publication that tracks such information.  So far, 13.31 billion doses of the vaccine have been administered on a global basis and 607,953 doses are now administered each day.

Meanwhile, only 27.7% 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 at or below 10%.

In addition, with the start of vaccinations in North Korea in late September, Eritrea remains the only country in the world that has not administered vaccines.

Anna Breuer contributed reporting to this story.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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