Coronavirus Morning News Brief – Aug. 4: Hospitalizations Quadruple Since April, More Countries Hit 20 Million Mark in Cases

Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida


Good morning. This is Jonathan Spira reporting. Here now the news of the pandemic from across the globe on the 847th day of the pandemic.


Although I’ve been writing a daily brief about the pandemic since before it was classified a pandemic, I’m not immune to the scope of human tragedy I report on a daily basis.   There were days when I cried, especially in the earlier months, and there were days where I just shook my head.


Today is one of the latter.


It was just two weeks ago when Italy crossed the 20 million recorded case mark, joining five other countries – the United States, India, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom – with that dubious distinction.


Russia holds the distinction of having had the second highest death toll, based on data from the Rosstat state statistics service, but as of now has only recorded 18.6 million cases.


In other news we cover today, the hospitalization rate in the United States has dramatically risen since April and New York State may not recover lost jobs from the pandemic until 2026.


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


UNITED STATES


Both the death toll and hospitalization rates have been creeping up with the advent of the BA.5 omicron subvariant.  More people are getting seriously ill as that variant spreads throughout the country and immunity protection wanes.


In the wake of the BA.1 subvariant, daily hospitalizations fell to 1,420, that figure rose to a rolling average of over 6,300.


Figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that 94% of U.S. counties currently have high transmission rates of the coronavirus.  In addition, 46% of U.S. counties have high community levels of Covid, which means that the CDC’s masking advisories kick in for those areas.


Meanwhile, Governor Kathy Hochul warned that New York State won’t recover all pre-pandemic jobs until 2026. The state was the nation’s hardest hit epicenter of the initial coronavirus outbreak, which turned New York City among other regions into virtual ghost towns.


Finally, in Orlando, Florida, Walt Disney World dismantled visible remnants of its remaining coronavirus mitigation efforts.  Social distancing signs are long gone, but virtually all warning signs with disclaimers were just recently removed as were hand sanitizer stations.  The signs stated that, “By visiting Walt Disney World, you voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to COVID-19.” The signs do however remain at the theme park’s First Aid Centers and masks are mandatory in those areas.


GLOBAL


Germany will reinstate the face mask mandate on all flights and long-distance trains come October.  It will remain in place until at least early April.  Masks will also be mandatory in all healthcare settings.  Individual Bundesländer – Germany has 16 Federal states including Bayern, Baden-Württemburg, and Hesse – will also be able to make determinations concerning whether to mandate masks on public transit, in schools, and at public events.


TODAY’S STATISTICS


Now here are the daily statistics for Thursday, August 4.


As of Thursday morning, the world has recorded 585.7 million Covid-19 cases, an increase of 1.2 million cases, and 6.43 million deaths, according to Worldometer, a service that tracks such information. In addition, 556.2 million people worldwide have recovered from the virus, an increase of 1 million.


Worldwide, the number of active coronavirus cases as of Thursday is 23,039,133, an increase of 99,000. Out of that figure, 99.8%, or 22,995,437, are considered mild, and 0.2%, or 43,696, are listed as critical.  The percentage of cases considered critical is unchanged over the pat 24 hours.


The United States reported 217,844 new coronavirus infections on Thursday for the previous day, compared to 108,210  on Wednesday, 176,728 on Tuesday, 10,865 on Monday, and 11,967 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 116,288.  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 120,446, a 6% 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 475, an increase of 11% over the same period, while the average number of hospitalizations for the period was 43,597, a 3% increase.


In addition, since the start of the pandemic the United States has, as of Thursday, recorded 93.6 million cases, a higher figure than any other country, and a death toll of almost 1.06 million. India has the world’s second highest number of officially recorded cases, almost 44.1 million, and a reported death toll of 526,530.


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, France is the country with the third highest number of cases, 33.96 million, although Brazil has recorded the third highest number of deaths as a result of the virus, 679,336, and has recorded 33.93 million cases, placing it in the number four slot.


Germany is in the number five slot with 31 million cases.


The other three countries with total case figures over the 20,000 mark are the United Kingdom, with almost 23.4 million cases, in sixth position, and Italy, with almost 21.2 million, in the number seven slot.  South Korea hit the 20 million mark on Wednesday, after adding over 107,000 new cases, and has had a total of over 20.1 million cases since the start of the pandemic.


VACCINATION SPOTLIGHT


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that, as of Thursday, over 261.6 million people in the United States – or 78.8% – have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine. Of that population, 67.2%, or 223.2million people, have received two doses of vaccine, and the total number of doses that have been dispensed in the United States is now 603.7 million. Breaking this down further, 90% of the population over the age of 18 – or 232.3million people – has received at least a first inoculation and 77.1% of the same group – or 199.2 million people – is fully vaccinated.  In addition, 51.5% of that population, or 102.7 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 Thursdays by 8 p.m. EDT, a statement on the agency’s website said.


Sixty-seven percent 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, 12.36 billion doses of the vaccine have been administered on a global basis and 6.38 million doses are now administered each day.


Meanwhile, only 19.9% 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)