Hello. This is the report by Jonathan Spira. Now here is the pandemic news from around the world on the 778th day of the pandemic.
Despite a dramatic rise in new coronavirus cases and major storms predicted for parts of the country, millions of Americans are taking to the roads and skies to celebrate what is considered the unofficial start of summer on weekends. Memorial Day holiday.
Never mind that Memorial Day, originally known as Decoration Day, was meant to honor the war dead, after two years pent-up demand for travel combined with pandemic fatigue is driving the number of people traveling – up to 40 million based on various estimates – in large numbers.
Most do not attend the solemn Memorial Day parades or go to cemeteries to decorate the graves of fallen soldiers, hence the name “Decoration Day”.
Instead, a la Boris Johnson, they shy away from caution and hope for the best.
Johnson, of course, faces what could be the battle of his career after a government report blamed him for hosting various parties at 10 Downing Street, the prime minister’s official residence, when the country was in lock-out.
Still, stormy weather is ahead, both for the pandemic and for a forecast of heavy rains and thunderstorms in the northeast, southeast, Gulf Coast and Pacific Northwest.
In other news we’re covering today, North Korea reportedly stockpiled face masks and possibly coronavirus vaccine doses in the months before reporting its first virus outbreak, the White House is expanding the access to antivirals for those who test positive, and Japan is moving towards fully reopening its borders to tourists.
Here’s a look at what’s happened over the past 24 hours.
The White House is taking steps to make the antiviral Paxlovid more available across the country and will financially support testing sites to treat that have someone present who is authorized to prescribe such a drug to anyone who tests positive.
The goal is “to help facilitate people’s rapid access to oral antiviral treatments in one convenient location,” the White House said in a press release.
The move comes as the country sees a 30% increase in new daily infections over the past two weeks.
The first site will be a clinic in Rhode Island, and more such sites will open in Illinois and New York, areas that have seen a marked increase in new cases. The program will also see the deployment of clinical staff to state-run sites in Minnesota and the government is working with officials in Massachusetts and New York to increase patient access to antivirals.
North Korea reportedly began stockpiling masks and vaccine doses from China in the months before reporting its Covid outbreak several weeks ago. The country has brought millions of face masks and 1,000 ventilators and possibly doses of the coronavirus vaccine, all from China.
Reuters news agency said North Korea acquired $311,126 worth of unspecified vaccines and other items, based on publicly available data released by the Chinese government.
An elaborate wooden pagoda-shaped memorial to those who died of Covid has opened in a public park in Bedworth, England. Named Sanctuary and designed by California-based artist David Best, it is meant to provide a space for people to mourn, leave notes, reflect and, when it is set ablaze on Saturday, to release their grief. Thousands of people have already made the pilgrimage to the site.
Dozens of tourists began flocking to Japan as the country opened its borders to non-residents for the first time in more than two years. The Land of the Rising Sun is one of the last major economies to reopen to tourism. The small number of people was allowed under a trial program and participants are subject to strict hygiene and mask requirements.
From June, Japan will allow tourists from 95 countries to visit, although they will only be allowed to come as part of tour groups.
Now here are the daily stats for Friday, May 27.
As of Friday morning, the world recorded 530.5 million cases of Covid-19, an increase of 0.6 million new cases over the previous 24 hours and 6.3 million deaths, according to Worldometer, a service that tracks these information. Additionally, 501.7 million people worldwide have recovered from the virus, an increase of 1.3 million.
Worldwide, the number of active coronavirus cases as of Friday is 23,103,534, a decrease of 103,000. Of this figure, 99.8%, or 23,065,864, are considered mild and 0.2 %, or 37,670, are listed as critical. The percentage of cases considered critical is unchanged in the past 24 hours.
The United States reported 124,584 new coronavirus infections on Friday for the previous day, compared with 187,530 on Thursday, 132,365 on Wednesday, 133,346 on Tuesday and 21,982 on Monday, according to data from the US Department of Health and Human Services. The 7-day incidence rate continues to remain above 100,000 and is now 110,935. fewer tests performed.
The average daily number of new coronavirus cases in the United States over the past 14 days is 110,084, an increase of 26%, based on data from the Department of Health and Human Services, among other sources. The average number of daily deaths over the same period is 358, an increase of 12% over the same period, while the average number of hospitalizations for the period was 26,110, an increase of 29%.
In addition, since the start of the pandemic, the United States on Friday recorded 85.5 million cases, a figure higher than any other country, and a death toll of more than one million. India has the second highest number of officially recorded cases in the world, more than 43.1 million, and a reported death toll of 524,539.
New data from Russia’s state statistical service Rosstat showed in late April that the number of Covid- or Covid-related deaths since the pandemic began there in April 2020 is now over 803,000, giving the country the second highest pandemic-related death in the world. toll-free, after the United States. Rosstat reported that 35,584 people died from coronavirus or related causes in March, compared to 43,543 in February.
Meanwhile, Brazil has now recorded the third highest death toll from the virus, 666,248, and has recorded 30.9 million cases.
France continues to occupy the fourth position in the total number of cases with 29.4 million cases, and Germany is in the fifth position with 26.2 million. The UK, with 22.3 million cases, is now number six and is the only other country in the world with a total number of cases above 20 million.
SPOTLIGHT ON IMMUNIZATION
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that as of Friday, 258.4 million people in the United States – or 77.8% – had received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine. Of that population, 66.6%, or 221.1 million people, have received two doses of the vaccine, and the total number of doses that have been distributed in the United States is now 586 million. Breaking it down further, 89.2% of the population over 18 – or 230.4 million people – have received at least one first vaccination and 76.5% of the same group – or 197.7 million people – are completely vaccinated. In addition, 50.2% of this population, or 99.1 million people, have already received a third dose, or booster dose, of vaccine.
More than 65.8% of the world’s population received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine on Friday, according to Our World in Data, an online science publication that tracks such information. So far, 11.81 billion doses of the vaccine have been administered worldwide and 6.97 million doses are now being administered every day.
Meanwhile, only 16.2% of people in low-income countries have received a dose, while in countries like Canada, China, Denmark, France, Italy, the UK and the United States, at least 75% of the population has received at least one dose of the vaccine.
Only a few of the world’s poorest countries – Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia and Nepal – have reached the 70% vaccination mark. Many countries, however, are below 20%, and in countries like Haiti, Senegal and Tanzania, for example, vaccination rates remain in the single digits or even lower.
Additionally, 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)