President Joseph Biden said that he expects the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to “quickly” give final approval to current coronavirus vaccines, as he underscored the need for Americans to get vaccinated amidst a surge in infections fueled by the India, or Delta, variant. The vaccines are currently authorized for emergency use.
As of Thursday morning, the world has recorded 193 million Covid-19 cases and over 4.15 million deaths, according to Worldometer, a service that tracks such information. In addition, 175.5 million people worldwide have recovered from the virus.
In the United States, the death toll is now 625,846, an increase of 445 in the past day. Since the start of the pandemic the country has recorded over 35 million cases, a higher figure than any other country and one that is followed by India, which now has over 31.3 million officially recorded cases and 419,169 officially recorded deaths, although experts believe that both number are in reality significantly higher.
The United States added over 41,310 new cases over the past 24 hours, a 171% 14-day increase and a trend that is fueled by the highly contagious India, or Delta, variant.
Since the start of vaccinations at the end of last year over 3.75 billion doses have been administered across the globe as of Thursday morning, an increase of 0.02 billion and the equivalent of over 49 doses for every 100 people, a one-dose increase per hundred over the previous 24 hours.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that, as of Thursday, 186.9 million people in the United States – or 56.3% – have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine. Of that population, 48.8%, or 161.9 million people, are now fully vaccinated, and the total number of doses that have been dispensed in the United States is now 339 million. Breaking this down further, 68.4% of the population over the age of 18 – or 176.7 million people – has received at least a first inoculation and 59.6% of the same group – or 154 million people – is fully vaccinated.
The surge in Covid cases in London is resulting in theaters in the West End cancelling and postponing shows left and right. Sir Andrew Lloyd Weber cancelled the opening of his new musical, “Cinderella,” which was to have taken place on what the U.K. media dubbed “Freedom Day,” the day on which almost all Covid restrictions were lifted. Once one cast member tested positive for the virus, however, under the current government guidelines on track-and-trace and self-isolation, many theater productions have been hit with sudden closures as one or more cast or crew members tested positive, causing countless others to have to self-isolate.
In the past week, “The Prince of Egypt“ and “Hairspray,“ along with Simon Russell Beale’s new play “Bach & Son,“ have all been forced to cancel up to ten days of performances.
In New York, the Public Theater cancelled two performances of its Shakespeare in the Park series, “The Merry Wives” after a cast member tested positive.
(Photo: Accura Media Group)