Coronavirus Morning News Brief – Aug. 13: Vaccines Protect Pregnant Women and Newborns, Says Study; Long Covid Numbers Trend Downward

EG.5 is Here: We Can Breathe Easier Now, Or Can We?

By Jonathan Spira on 13 August 2023
  • Share

A dose of the original Moderna vaccine

Good morning. This is Jonathan Spira reporting. Here now the news of the pandemic from across the globe on the 1,249th day of the pandemic.


EG.5 is Here.:We Can Breathe Easy Now, Or Can We?

Cases of SARS-CoV-2 are trending upward  in many countries across the globe and concerns are rising over the new omicron sublineage that is driving the increase, EG.5.

Last week it became the dominant variant in the United Kingdom and this week it did the same in the United States.

Moreover, the World Health Organization just classified EG.5 as a “variant of interest,,” which means that EG.5  has genetic changes that give it an advantage and its prevalence is growing.

Some experts are telling news organizations that the new variant doesn’t pose a substantial threat, but the truth is that is merely doesn’t appear to be any more threatening than other recent sublineages.

This means it continues to be a concern for individuals with underlying conditions, and Long Covid is always a concern and possibility for anyone who gets infected.

In other news we cover today, pregnant women who are vaccinated against Covid-19 also transfer protection to their newborn infects a new study shows, sales of takeaway pints in England will be allowed to continue, and the percentage of patients contracting Long Covid after a SARS-CoV-2 infection ha declined.


New federal data shows that the percentage of adults in the United States experiencing Long Covid has decreased.  In the period June 2022 to June 2023, the percentage went from 7.5% down to 6%, a study – Long COVID and Significant Activity Limitation Among Adults, by Age – published in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly on Thursday. ,

The report uses data from the Household Pulse Survey, which collects data on how people’s lives have been impacted by COVID-19.


Pregnant women who were vaccinated against SARS-CoV-2 had more protection from the virus that unvaccinated women and their newborns were born with protection, a phenomenon referred to as “transfer protection.” The typical pregnant woman has ‘substantially more antibodies’ in her blood and in the umbilical cord blood after childbirth, researchers found.

Researchers from the Infectious Diseases Clinical Research Consortium analyzed data from the Multisite Observational Maternal and Infant Study for Covid-19 , which began in June 2021 to reach this finding.

California is fighting a “swell” of new cases of SARS-Cov-2. Recent figures from the pharmacy Walgreens show a 48.3% positivity rate in tests it conducted by Walgreens in the state.


Plans in England to end rules that allow Pubs to sell takeaway pints have been axed and pubs will continue to be able to sell takeaway pints to customers to help them maintain sales in the difficult economy.  Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is said to have been personally involved in making sure the rules allowing takeaway pints stayed in place.

Takeaway pints were first allowed to be sold in the early days of the pandemic when pubs were not allowed to serve guests on the premises.

Also in England, government ministers have been adamant about pushing A-level grades back to 2019 levels by this summer.  The move comes after teacher-assessed grades replaced exams in the first two years of the pandemic. This led to a significant ramping-up of grades in 2020 and 2021.


Now here are the daily statistics for Sunday, August 13.

As of Sunday morning, the world has recorded 693.19 million Covid-19 cases, an increase of 0.1 million from the previous day, and 6.9 million deaths, according to Worldometer, a service that tracks such information. In addition, 665.25 million people worldwide have recovered from the virus, an increase of 0.06 million from the prior day.

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 Sunday at press time is 21,027,453, a decrease of 51,000. Out of that figure, 99.8%, or 20,990,118, are considered mild, and 0.2%, or 37,335, are listed as critical. The percentage of cases considered critical has not changed over the past eight months.

The test positivity rate for Covid for the week ending July 29 was 16.66%, up from 13.89% the prior week, according to data from the CDC Respiratory Virus Laboratory Emergency Department Network Surveillance, or RESP-LENS. By comparison, the test positive rate for influenza was 1.26%, down from 1.41%, and, for RSV, that figure was 0.99%, up from 0.66%.

The percentage of deaths due to Covid was 1.1% in the week ending August 5, 2023, a figure that is up 0.1% over the week.

Finally, the number of hospital admissions from Covid for seven days ending July 29 was 9,056 , a figure that is up 12.5% over the preceding week.

As of March 25, 2023, the Morning News Brief began to update case data as well as death tolls on a weekly basis.  In addition, as of May 15, 2023, the Morning News Brief has pressed pause on certain data sets as we assess the update of changes in reporting by U.S. health authorities at the CDC.  Where appropriate, the Morning News Brief has reintroduced data sets are they have become available.

Since the start of the pandemic, the United States has, as of Sunday, recorded 107.72  million cases, a higher figure than any other country, and a death toll of 1.17 million. India has the world’s second highest number of officially recorded cases, 45 million, and a reported death toll of 531,920.

The newest data from Russia’s Rosstat state statistics service showed that, at the end of July 2022, 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 40.14 million, and Germany is in the number four slot, with 38.43 million total cases.

Brazil, which has recorded the third highest number of deaths as a result of the virus, 704,897, has recorded 37.7 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 33.8 million cases, South Korea, with 33.6 million cases, placing it in the number seven slot, and Italy, with 25.92 million, as number eight, as well as the United Kingdom, with 24.66 million, and Russia, with 22.98 million.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that, as of August 5, the total number of updated bivalent doses given in the United States was 152.5 million, an increase of 8 million doses over the past month.

Older – and no longer updated – data from the CDC shows that over 270.2 million people in the United States – or 81.4% – have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine as of May 11, 2023. Of that population, 69.5%, or 230.6 million people, have received two doses of vaccine, and the total number of doses that have been dispensed in the United States is now over 676.7 million. Breaking this down further, 92.23% of the population over the age of 18 – or 238.2 million people – has received at least a first inoculation and 79.1% of the same group – or 204.3 million people – is fully vaccinated.

Some 70.5% of the world population has received at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine by Sunday, according to Our World in Data, an online scientific publication that tracks such information.  So far, 13.5 billion doses of the vaccine have been administered on a global basis and 47,617 doses are now administered each day.

Meanwhile, only 32.53% 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 beginning 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)


Accura News