Coronavirus News Briefing – Nov. 24: Germany Checks for Vaccine Papers on Public Transit, ER Closes Amidst Nursing Staff Shortage

Coronavirus News Briefing – Nov. 24: Germany Checks for Vaccine Papers on Public Transit, ER Closes Amidst Nursing Staff Shortage


Passengers entering an S-Bahn car at Marienplatz



Germany, which reported a pandemic high of 66,884 new coronavirus infections Tuesday, began to have ticket controllers on public transportation check passengers’ proof of vaccination, recent recovery, or a negative Covid test, as part of the country’s so-called 3G policy.  In that model, “3G” stands for “geimpft” (vaccinated), “genesen” (recovered), or “getestet” (tested).


Face masks have long been mandatory on public transportation including buses, the U-Bahn (subways), the S-Bahn (regional commuter rail), Straßenbahnen, and railways. The decision to check vaccination status came about last week when the Bundestag voted to approve a new law calling for such measures.


The Deutsche Bahn, the country’s national railroad, said in a statement that it would run spot checks for proof of status on 400 routes every day.


An emergency room on Long Island closed its doors Monday amidst a nursing staff shortage as a New York state mandate took effect that barred non-vaccinated medical workers from employment. The free-standing Emergency Department at Long Beach, part of Mount Sinai South Nassau hospital, said its main campus in Oceanside, New York would continue to operate normally and that it had stationed an ambulance at the closed facility to facilitate care for anyone who goes there.


Finally, two actors on the long-running soap opera “General Hospital” – Steve Burton and Ingo Rademacher – have left the show after failing to comply with an on-set vaccine mandate.  Both were outspoken opponents of the mandate for the part of the set where actors worked sans face masks.


As of Wednesday morning, the world has recorded 259.3 million Covid-19 cases, an increase of 1 million new cases, and 5.2 million deaths, according to Worldometer, a service that tracks such information. In addition, 234.6 million people worldwide have recovered from the virus.


The average daily number of new coronavirus cases in the United States over the past 14 days is 93,878, a 27% increase.  The average daily death toll over the same period is 1,092, a change of -9% over the same period.


In addition, since the start of the pandemic the United States has, as of Wednesday, recorded 48.8 million cases, a higher figure than any other country, and a death toll of 796,319. India has the world’s second highest number of officially recorded cases, over 34.5 million, and a death toll of 466,584, although experts believe that both numbers are in reality significantly higher.  Finally, Brazil has recorded the second highest number of deaths as a result of the virus, 613,240, and has seen just over 22 million cases.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that, as of Wednesday, 230.7 million people in the United States – or 69.5% – have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine. Of that population, 59.2%, or 196.4 million people, are now fully vaccinated, and the total number of doses that have been dispensed in the United States is now 452.7 million. Breaking this down further, 82.2% of the population over the age of 18 – or 212.3 million people – has received at least a first inoculation and 71% of the same group – or 183.3 million people – is fully vaccinated.


Some 53.5% of the world population has received at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine, according to Our World in Data, an online scientific publication that tracks such information.  So far, 7.78  billion doses of the vaccine have been administered on a global basis.


Meanwhile, only 5.2% 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 65% of the population has received at least one dose of vaccine. In countries such as Ethiopia, Haiti, Syria, Senegal, Tanzania, and Uganda, for example, vaccination rates remain in the single digits, if not lower.


Figures from the World Health Organization show that well-off countries are vaccinating people at the rate of one person per second, while the majority of poor countries have yet to give a single dose to its citizens.


It is critical that the world do a better job of sharing vaccines with poorer nations.


Sharing vaccines is not merely a form of charity.  Rather, the equitable distribution of vaccines is in every country’s health and economic interest and no country will be able to move past the pandemic until other countries have recovered as well.


Jonathan Spira contributed to this story.


 


(Photo: Accura Media Group)