Coronavirus Morning News Brief – Aug. 5: Man Sentenced to Prison in Attack on Asian Family He Blamed for Covid, Mysteries of N.Y.C. Wastewater, and Today’s Statistics

The carousel at Bear Mountain State Park, which is situated partially in Rockland County, N.Y. The carousel’s carved animals represent native to the region.


Good morning. This is Jonathan Spira reporting. Here now the news of the pandemic from across the globe on the 848th day of the pandemic.


If you are weary of pandemic-related headlines, it may be refreshing to see that polio is back in the news again.


Last month, a non-vaccinated man in Rockland County, New York, tested positive for the virus, suffered partial paralysis, and had to be hospitalized.  Subsequent tests of the county’s wastewater revealed likely community spread.


Now polio has been detected in neighboring Orange County, offering further evidence of community spread.


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


Columbia University researchers said in a study that they have been able to identify coronavirus mutations in New York City wastewater that seem to appear when severe disease rates begin to rise. The findings may help scientists to pinpoint subtle, understated variants in the pandemic that are affecting day-to-day outcomes, including hospitalization and death, without attracting the notice of doctors and other researchers.


Researchers linked the wastewater data with data on cases, hospitalizations, and deaths from health departments in New York City and New Jersey. By connecting Covid-19 patterns in ZIP codes served by the north Manhattan wastewater plant and in Bergen County, New Jersey to the mutations present in these sewersheds, she found some mutations that may allow the coronavirus move faster and evade people’s immune systems.


A Texas man was sentenced to 25 years in prison for attacking an Asian family he later said he belived was responsible for the coronavirus pandemic.


Jose Gomez III pled guilty this past February to attacking a customer, a child of the customer, and a Sam’s Club employee on March 14, 2020.


The Department of Justice said in a news release that Gomez had entered the Sam’s Club store behind an Asian family with young children. He followed them in the store for several minutes claiming he perceived them to be a “threat” as they were “from the country who started spreading that disease around.”


GLOBAL


A professor in Vienna has compiled a global database of Covid occurrences in animals. Frau Prof. Dr. Amélie Desvars-Larrive of the University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna, along with her team of researchers, published in the journal Scientific Data the first Covid data tracking dashboard for cases in the animal kingdom.


The data show that a variety of animals, including dogs, cats, hamsters, and minks, contract Covid.


Having such data is important because the virus could mutate into a more transmissible or virulent strain in animals and then jump to humans.


In the United Kingdom, the number of Covid infections fell for the second week in a row.


The Office of National Statistics reported that 2,585,400 people in the country were infected in the week ending July 26, down 588,400 from the week before.


The figure is based on swabs collected from households around the country.


TODAY’S STATISTICS


Now here are the daily statistics for Friday, August 5.


As of Friday morning, the world has recorded 587.1 million Covid-19 cases, an increase of 1.4 million cases, and 6.43 million deaths, according to Worldometer, a service that tracks such information. In addition, 557.1 million people worldwide have recovered from the virus, an increase of 0.9 million.


Worldwide, the number of active coronavirus cases as of Friday is 23,486,831, an increase of 448,000. Out of that figure, 99.8%, or 23,442,971, are considered mild, and 0.2%, or 43,860, are listed as critical.  The percentage of cases considered critical is unchanged over the pat 24 hours.


The United States reported 164,117 new coronavirus infections on Friday for the previous day, compared to 217,844  on Thursday, 108,210  on Wednesday, 176,728 on Tuesday,  and 10,865 on Monday, 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 118,432.  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 118,380, an 8% 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 12% over the same period, while the average number of hospitalizations for the period was 43,703, a 3% increase.


In addition, since the start of the pandemic the United States has, as of Friday, recorded over 93.7 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 526,600.


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, 33.99 million, although Brazil has recorded the third highest number of deaths as a result of the virus, 679,594, and has recorded 33.96 million cases, placing it in the number four slot.


Germany is in the number five slot with 31.2 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 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 20.3 million cases since the start of the pandemic.


VACCINATION SPOTLIGHT


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that, as of Friday, 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 223.2 million people, have received two doses of vaccine, and the total number of doses that have been dispensed in the United States is now 604.2 million. Breaking this down further, close to 90% of the population over the age of 18 – or 232.2 million people – has received at least a first inoculation and 77.1% of the same group – or 198.9 million people – is fully vaccinated.  In addition, 51.4% of that population, or 102.2 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.


Sixty-seven percent of the world population has received at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine by Friday, according to Our World in Data, an online scientific publication that tracks such information.  So far, 12.39 billion doses of the vaccine have been administered on a global basis and 7.01 million doses are now administered each day.


Meanwhile, only 20% 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)