Coronavirus Morning News Brief – Nov. 25: Ukrainian Hospital Stymies Russian Soldiers With Fake Covid Outbreak, China Sees Record Number of Cases

Macy’s, the night before the Thanksgiving Day Parade


Good morning. This is Jonathan Spira reporting. Here now the news of the pandemic from across the globe on the 960th day of the pandemic.


New York’s annual Thanksgiving Day Parade became a symbol of the limitations imposed in the first year of the pandemic when the 2020 parade was downsized and closed to the public.  It was presented as a broadcast-only event in the Herald Square area and had 88% fewer participants.


Social distancing was of course enforced and the few participants had to be 18 years of age or older.  College and high-school marching bands were uninvited (the impacted groups were then invited to participate in the 2021 parade) and balloons were tethered to a “specially rigged anchor vehicle framework of five specialty vehicles” instead of being operated by specially-trained handlers.


Then Mayor Bill De Blasio tried to sugarcoat the greatly diminished experience, saying the parade was not going to be “a live parade, but something that will really give us that warmth and that great feeling we have on Thanksgiving day.”


Fast forward to two years later and the parade was back in full fig after two years of pandemic-induced restrictions.


This year’s parade followed a 2.5-mile route from the Upper West Side to Herald Square and Macy’s, which sponsors the event.


Some three million people were on the sidelines along the route, and 8,000 people marched and performed in the parade itself.


There were 16 massive character balloons, 28 floats, 12 marching bands, 700 clowns, and, of course, Santa Claus.


In other news we cover today, a Ukraine hospital fooled Russian soldiers by creating a fake Covid outbreak and China is losing the battle against the virus as cases rise to record numbers.


UNITED STATES


The California 4th District Court of Appeal ruled against a San Diego school district that had put into place its own vaccine mandate for students.  The court concurred with a lower court’s ruling from 2021 that only the state had the authority to establish such a mandate.


GLOBAL


In the United Kingdom, a growing controversy over a PPE, or personal protective equipment, company that is linked to Tory peer Michelle Mone has sparked an angry reaction in the House of Commons. Members of Parliament demanded an investigation into concerns over what one called “absolutely sickening, shameful and unforgivable” instances of politically connected firms that profited from unusable PPE during the early days of the pandemic.


In Ukraine, a hospital in occupied Kherson stymied Russian soldiers with a fake Covid outbreak at the Tropinka Hospital. After the Russians detained two doctors, banned Ukrainian symbols, and put hand-picked people in charge, the staff faked a coronavirus outbreak and spied on behalf of Ukrainian forces.


China’s national health commission reported a record number of new coronavirus infections on Thursday, 32,695. The figure broke the previous record of 31,144, which was set Wednesday and was the highest since the first handful of cases were reported in the city of Wuhan in 2019.


The government responded by ordering new lockdowns in Shanghai and Guangzhou and ordering mass testing throughout the country.


The Chinese Central Bank took action to combat the impact of a record number of new coronavirus cases by making available billions of yuan for new loans.  The country’s economists are skeptical that this will provide a lift to the economy, however.


Meanwhile, Beijing is experiencing panic buying as cases surge there.  The streets of the capital are deserted and grocery delivery services are running out of products as lockdown-like restrictions hit swaths of the city.


TECH


Foxconn, which produces the majority of Apple’s iPhone line, said it would pay new hires $1,400 to quit their jobs at the world’s largest iPhone factory immediately as China’s “iPhone City” in Zhengzhou goes into lockdown amidst worker unrest.


TODAY’S STATISTICS


Now here are the daily statistics for Friday, November 25.


As of Friday morning, the world has recorded 645.1 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, 623.9 million people worldwide have recovered from the virus, an increase of 0.5 million.


Worldwide, the number of active coronavirus cases as of Friday at press time is 14,535,917, a decrease of 15,000. Out of that figure, 99.7%, or 14,499,631, are considered mild, and 0.3%, or 36,286, are listed as critical.  The percentage of cases considered critical has not changed over the past 24 hours.


The United States reported 36,030 new coronavirus infections on Friday for the previous day, compared to 103,540 on Thursday, 37,077 on Wednesday, and 42,983 on Tuesday, according to data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  The 7-day incidence rate is now 40,784.  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 42,900, an increase of 5% 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 338, an increase of 4% over the same period, while the average number of hospitalizations for the period was 28,531, an increase of 2%. In addition, the number of patients in ICUs was 3,457, an increase of 8%.


In addition, since the start of the pandemic the United States has, as of Friday, recorded 100.4 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 530,604.


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 37.5 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, 689,396, 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 26.8 million cases, Japan, with 24.2 million, placing it in the number seven slot, and Italy, with over 24 million, as number eight, as well as the United Kingdom, with over 23.9 million, and Russia, with over 21.5 million.


VACCINATION SPOTLIGHT


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that, as of 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 228.2 million people, have received two doses of vaccine, and the total number of doses that have been dispensed in the United States is now 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 Friday, according to Our World in Data, an online scientific publication that tracks such information.  So far, 12.98 billion doses of the vaccine have been administered on a global basis and 1.74 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.


Paul Riegler contributed reporting to this story.


(Photo: Accura Media Group)