Good morning. This is Jonathan Spira reporting. Here now the news of the pandemic from across the globe on the 757th day of the pandemic.
As the week comes to a close, Covid cases are rising in all but four states and the District of Columbia in the United States, and practically jumping in the two corners of the country, the Northeast and Pacific Northwest.
The rate of new novel coronavirus cases in the Northeast is the highest in three months, even as much of the country’s public testing infrastructure winds down, resulting in less reliable data on new cases.
Over the past four days, we’ve seen the number of new cases hovering around the 100,000 mark for three out of four days, figures last seen at the end of February.
Meanwhile, hospitalizations in New York City have trebled over the past month, crossing the 2,000 mark. Governor Kathy Hochul reported that 2,119 New Yorkers were currently hospitalized with Covid, a 153% increase since April 3. The number of hospitalizations is, however, still below the nearly 13,000 reported during the omicron variant’s January surge peak.
Fasten your seatbelt. It’s going to be a bumpy ride into the summer.
In other news we cover today, the FDA plans to further limit the use of Johnson & Johnson’s one-dose vaccine, China’s president says that its Covid policies will “stand the test of time,” and hundreds of travel-related companies are uring the U.S. to end the coronavirus testing requirement for arriving passengers.
Here’s a look at what has taken place over the past 24 hours.
Multiple passengers on board a Carnival cruise sailing from Miami to Seattle are in quarantine after a Covid-19 outbreak aboard the ship. CBS News reported that passengers claimed that the ship was ill-prepared for the outbreak. One passenger said he had to stay in his cabin with his roommate – who tested negative – and that he was unable to call anyone on board the ship for assistance.
“I literally stayed in this room for six days, with no telephone service, they wouldn’t answer the phone,” the passenger told CBS News.
That passenger also said that officials on board posted a list of names and cabin numbers of passengers who had the virus near elevator banks.
Meanwhile, the Food and Drug Administration said it would limit the of Johnson & Johnson’s Jannsen one-dose vaccine to adults who cannot or refuse to get the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna mRNA vaccines, citing safety concerns.
The agency reported that 60 cases of a rare but serious blood-clotting disorder have been identified, including nine deaths, out of about 18 million doses administered.
Chinese President Xi Jingping said at a Politburo Standing Committee meeting that the country’s zero Covid policies will “stand the test of time” and promised to fight any attempt to “distort, question and challenge” the country’s policies.
A letter signed by over 260 travel associations, airports, airlines, hotel chains, and convention and visitors bureaus called on the Biden administration to end its coronavirus testing requirement for vaccinated international passengers entering the United States.
“Given the slow economic recovery of the business and international travel sectors, and in light of medical advancements and the improved public health metrics in the U.S., we encourage you to immediately remove the inbound testing requirement for vaccinated air travelers,” the consortium wrote in the letter, which was addressed to incoming White House COVID-19 response coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha.
The signatories include American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Hilton, Hyatt Hotels, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, Airlines for America, NYC & Company, Orlando Magic, and the U.S. Travel Association.
Now here are the daily statistics for Friday, May 6.
As of Friday morning, the world has recorded 515.9 million Covid-19 cases, an increase of 0.4 million new cases in the preceding 24 hour period, and almost 6.3 million deaths, according to Worldometer, a service that tracks such information. In addition, 470.8 million people worldwide have recovered from the virus, an increase of 0.6 million.
Worldwide, the number of active coronavirus cases as of Friday is 38,901,961, an increase of 72,000 from the prior day. Out of that figure, 99.9%, or 38,861,675, are considered mild, and 0.1%, or 40,286, are listed as critical. The percentage of cases considered critical is largely unchanged over the past 24 hours.
The United States reported 94,947 new coronavirus infections on Friday for the previous day, compared to 105,215 on Thursday, 69,334 on Wednesday, 95,854 on Tuesday, and 15,369 on Monday, according to data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The 7-day incidence rate continues to climb and is now 69,942. 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 67,953, a 59% increase, based on data from the Department of Health and Human Services, among other sources. The average daily death toll over the same period is 366, a decrease of 3% over the same period, while the average number of hospitalizations for the period was 18,181, a 23% increase.
In addition, since the start of the pandemic the United States has, as of Friday, recorded 83.4 million cases, a higher figure than any other country, and a death toll of over 1 million. India has the world’s second highest number of officially recorded cases, 43.1 million, and a reported death toll of 523,975.
New data from Russia’s Rosstat state statistics service showed at the end of April that the number of Covid or Covid-related deaths since the start of the pandemic there in April 2020 is now over 803,000, giving the country the world’s second highest pandemic-related death toll, after the United States. Rosstat reported that 35,584 people died from the coronavirus or related causes in the month of March, compared to 43,543 in February.
Meanwhile, Brazil now has recorded the third highest number of deaths as a result of the virus, 663,967, and has 30.5 million cases.
France continues to occupy the number four position in total cases with 28.8 million cases, and Germany is in the number five slot with 25.2 million. The United Kingdom, with 22.1 million cases, is now number six and is the only other country in the world with a total number of cases over the 20 million mark.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that, as of Friday, 257.9 million people in the United States – or 77.7% – have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine. Of that population, 66.3%, or 219.9 million people, have received two doses of vaccine, and the total number of doses that have been dispensed in the United States is now 577.8 million. Breaking this down further, 89.2% of the population over the age of 18 – or 230.2 million people – has received at least a first inoculation and 76.2% of the same group – or 196.7 million people – is fully vaccinated. In addition, 49.5% of that population, or 97.3 million people, has already received a third, or booster, dose of vaccine.
Over 65.4% 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, 11.64 billion doses of the vaccine have been administered on a global basis and 9.25 million doses are now administered each day.
Meanwhile, only 15.8% 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)