Coronavirus Morning News Brief – Nov. 23: China Passes ‘Point of No Return,’ Bivalent Boosters Increase Protection

A panda at the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding

Good morning. This is Jonathan Spira reporting. Here now the news of the pandemic from across the globe on the 958th day of the pandemic.

In his last White House briefing, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease specialist, said that he wants to be remembered for never leaving “anything on the field.”

Fauci’s last years in government service, most recently as the president’s chief medical advisor, endeared him to many and earned him criticism from others.

The doctor left the world stage, or at least the White House briefing platform, with one final plea:

“Please, for your own safety, for that of your family, get your updated Covid-19 shot as soon as you’re eligible to protect yourself, your family and your community.”

Fauci, who turns 82 next month, has conducted over 100 briefings at the White House since the start of the pandemic.

“As a physician, it pains me because I don’t want to see anybody get infected,” Fauci said. “I don’t want to see anybody hospitalized, and I don’t want to see anybody die from Covid. Whether you’re a far right Republican or a far left Democrat doesn’t make any difference to me.”

In other news we cover today, as cases surge, China may have passed the point of no return, real-world data indicates that updated bivalent booster shots increase people’s protection against symptomatic infection, and a fake health care worker in Brooklyn peddled even more fake Covid test results,.


Real-world data shows that the updated bivalent vaccine booster shots from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna increase people’s protection against symptomatic infection from the coronavirus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  The data also shows that protection is even stronger when people waited a longer period of time since their last dose of the original shot, i.e., eight months versus two-to-three.  The data does not, however, suggest whether the bivalent boosters work better than the original booster doses would have worked.

Meanwhile, new data from the Internal Revenue Service shows that more than 19,000 people who made at least $1 million in the calendar year 2020 also collected unemployment benefits that year.

If you got a coronavirus test from Tatiana Daniel, you might want to have it double checked.   Daniel is, or rather was, a fake healthcare worker in Brooklyn who wasn’t even capable of correctly spelling the word “positive” (she wrote “postive”).  The Brooklyn woman sold fake test results as well as hotel stays intended for those with the virus during the first two years of the pandemic.

Daniel first posed as a respiratory therapist, allowing her to obtain a free hotel room through the city’s isolation program, which had at the time partnered with hotels to provide free lodging for sick patients and health care workers.  She sold 144 nights of hotel stays to people who were not qualified to receive them.  She peddled her fake test results in the summer of 2021 and now faces five years in prison as well as having to pay $500,000 in restitution and other penalties.

In San Antonio, Texas, a federal judge has denied a motion by two San Antonio companies, real estate firm Lynd Co., of Shavano Park, and Bio Supplies, described in the complaint as Lynd’s cleaning supply business, to dismiss a $90 million lawsuit that alleges they committed fraud in the sale of a disinfectant held out to kill the coronavirus.  The suit was filed by New York-based AHBP, which purchased the disinfectants based on the claims.


Covid cases are surging in China and the country may be unable to contain them and achieve its “zero-Covid” policies without a harsh lockdown.  The country may have “passed the point of no return,” Macquarie’s Chief China Economist Larry Hu said in a report on Tuesday.  Macquarie is a diversified financial services company based in Australia.

In China, the city of Chengdu will conduct mass coronavirus testing for its residents from November 23 to November 27, a government notice said late on Tuesday, as cases in the country soar to their highest levels since the start of the pandemic.


The Diamond Princess cruise ship, operated by Princess Cruises, returned to the seas on Sunday for the first time since the vessel saw a widespread coronavirus outbreak in early 2020. The event precipitated the global shutdown of the cruise industry.


Now here are the daily statistics for Wednesday, November 23.

As of Wednesday morning, the world has recorded 644.1 million Covid-19 cases, an increase of 0.5 million cases, and 6.63 million deaths, according to Worldometer, a service that tracks such information. In addition, 623 million people worldwide have recovered from the virus, an increase of 0.3 million.

Worldwide, the number of active coronavirus cases as of Wednesday at press time is 14,460,876, an increase of 237,000. Out of that figure, 99.7%, or 14,424,677, are considered mild, and 0.3%, or 36,199, are listed as critical.  The percentage of cases considered critical has not changed over the past 24 hours.

The United States reported 37,077 new coronavirus infections on Wednesday for the previous day, compared to 42,983 on Tuesday, 3,329 on Monday, 3,497 on Sunday, and 52,365 on Saturday, according to data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  The 7-day incidence rate is now 43,875.  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 42,220, an increase of 7% averaged over the past 14 days, based on data from the Department of Health and Human Services, among other sources.  The average daily death toll over the same period is 319, a decrease of 3% over the same period, while the average number of hospitalizations for the period was 27,923, a figure that is unchanged over the period. In addition, the number of patients in ICUs was 3,415, an increase of 7%.

In addition, since the start of the pandemic the United States has, as of Wednesday, recorded 100.3 million cases, a higher figure than any other country, and a death toll of 1.1 million. India has the world’s second highest number of officially recorded cases, almost 44.7 million, and a reported death toll of 530,596.

The newest data from Russia’s Rosstat state statistics service showed that, at the end of July, 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 reported that 3,284 people died from the coronavirus or related causes in July, 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 just over 37.4 million, and Germany is in the number four slot, with 36.3 million total cases.

Brazil, which has recorded the third highest number of deaths as a result of the virus, 689,223, has recorded 35.1 million cases, placing it in the number five slot.

The other five countries with total case figures over the 20 million mark are South Korea, with over 26.7 million cases, Japan, with just under 24.1 million, placing it in the number seven slot, and Italy, with over 24 million, as number eight, as well as the United Kingdom, with 23.9 million, and Russia, with over 21.5 million.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that, as of last Thursday, 267.5 million people in the United States – or 80.6% – have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine. Of that population, 68.7%, or 228.1 million people, have received two doses of vaccine, and the total number of doses that have been dispensed in the United States is now 650.8 million. Breaking this down further, 91.6% of the population over the age of 18 – or 236.4 million people – has received at least a first inoculation and 78.5% of the same group – or 202.7 million people – is fully vaccinated.  In addition, 13.1% of the same population, or 33.8 million people, has already received an updated or bivalent 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 Thursday by 8 p.m. EDT, a statement on the agency’s website said.

Some 68.4% of the world population has received at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine by Wednesday, according to Our World in Data, an online scientific publication that tracks such information.  So far, 12.97 billion doses of the vaccine have been administered on a global basis and 2.07 million doses are now administered each day.

Meanwhile, only 24.5% 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 start 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)