Home » RSI COVID-19 Timeline
Officially, the first human cases of COVID-19 were first reported by officials in Wuhan City, China, in December 2019. Retrospective investigations by Chinese authorities have identified human cases with onset of symptoms in early December 2019. Many of the initial patients were either stall owners, market employees, or regular visitors to this market. Environmental samples taken from this market in December 2019 tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, further suggesting that the market in Wuhan City was the source of this outbreak or played a role in the initial amplification of the outbreak. Source: WHO.
On Dec 30, 2019, Li Wenliang sent a message to a group of fellow doctors warning them about a possible outbreak of an illness that resembled severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in Wuhan, Hubei province, China, where he worked. Meant to be a private message, he encouraged them to protect themselves from infection. Days later, he was summoned to the Public Security Bureau in Wuhan and made to sign a statement in which he was accused of making false statements that disturbed the public order.
Source: The Lancet
On 31 December 2019, the WHO China Country Office was informed of cases of pneumonia of unknown etiology (unknown cause) detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province of China. As of 3 January 2020, a total of 44 patients with pneumonia of unknown etiology have been reported to WHO by the national authorities in China. Of the 44 cases reported, 11 are severely ill, while the remaining 33 patients are in stable condition. According to media reports, the concerned market in Wuhan was closed on 1 January 2020 for environmental sanitation and disinfection.
The causal agent has not yet been identified or confirmed. On 1 January 2020, WHO requested further information from national authorities to assess the risk.
National authorities report that all patients are isolated and receiving treatment in Wuhan medical institutions. The clinical signs and symptoms are mainly fever, with a few patients having difficulty in breathing, and chest radiographs showing invasive lesions of both lungs.
According to the authorities, some patients were operating dealers or vendors in the Huanan Seafood market. Based on the preliminary information from the Chinese investigation team, no evidence of significant human-to-human transmission and no health care worker infections have been reported.
“There has been no evidence to date that this illness, whatever it’s caused by, is spread easily from person to person; no health care workers caring for the patients have become ill; a positive sign.” Theresa Tam, Chief Public Health Officer of Canada. Dr. Tam later revised her recommendations.
The first identifier is 2019-nCoV
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is closely monitoring a reported cluster of pneumonia of unknown etiology (PUE) with possible epidemiologic links to a large wholesale fish and live animal market in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China. An outbreak investigation by local officials is ongoing in China; the World Health Organization (WHO) is the lead international public health agency. Currently, there are no known U.S. cases nor have cases been reported in countries other than China. CDC has established an Incident Management Structure to optimize domestic and international coordination if additional public health actions are required.
This HAN Advisory informs state and local health departments and health care providers about this outbreak and requests that health care providers ask patients with severe respiratory disease about travel history to Wuhan City. Wuhan City is a major transportation hub about 700 miles south of Beijing with a population of more than 11 million people.
In record time, China openly shares genetic sequence of the virus.
In coming days, the screening process results in backups that create an even more dangerous environment with thousands crowding into great physical proximity. The image shown here was taken in Chicago.
In a series of tweets praising China, trump uses this one to emphasize his appreciation of China’s transparency, a fact he will go on to deny multiple times in coming weeks. This tweet, and many others, lay the groundwork for a confusing series of flip flops that will ultimately result in considerable message interference.
On January 25, the first identified presumptive case in Canada was a male in his 50s who travelled between Wuhan and Guangzhou before returning to Toronto on January 22. Canada issued a travel advisory against non-essential travel to China due to the outbreak, including a regional travel advisory to avoid all travel to the province of Hubei. Federal health officials stated that the risk in Canada was low. Final testing conducted at the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg, Manitoba confirmed the presumptive case on January 27. On January 29, Dr. Theresa Tam told Canadians that “It’s going to be rare (Covid 19), but we are expecting cases.”
A total of 195 passengers arrive in California from Wuhan.
This is a formal declaration by the World Health Organization (WHO) of “an extraordinary event which is determined to constitute a public health risk to other States through the international spread of disease and to potentially require a coordinated international response”, formulated when a situation arises that is “serious, sudden, unusual or unexpected”, which “carries implications for public health beyond the affected state’s national border” and “may require immediate international action”. Under the 2005 International Health Regulations (IHR), states have a legal duty to respond promptly to a PHEIC. The declaration is publicized by an IHR Emergency Committee (EC) of international experts, which was developed following the SARS outbreak in 2002–03.
Since 2009, there have been six PHEIC declarations: the 2009 H1N1 (or swine flu) pandemic, the 2014 polio declaration, the 2014 outbreak of Ebola in Western Africa, the 2015–16 Zika virus epidemic, the ongoing 2018–20 Kivu Ebola epidemic, and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The recommendations are temporary and require reviews every three months.
Prime Minister Conte gave an excessively optimistic message reassuring Italians that the country was well prepared for a public health emergency.
Chinese stocks suffered their biggest one-day sell-off since 2015 on Monday, as anxiety continued about the economic fallout from the coronavirus epidemic.
The Shenzen Component index (399001.SZ) fell 11.6% and the Shanghai Composite index (000001.SS) dropped 7.7%.
Source: Yahoo Finance
More than 3,600 passengers are quarantined on the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Yokohama, Japan. A large number of passengers test positive and the ship attracts global media attention.
The earliest known U.S. death from COVID-19 occurred on February 6 in Santa Clara County, California, in a 57-year-old woman who died from complications caused by coronavirus which apparently led to a ruptured heart. This case was only confirmed months later, posthumously from tissue samples taken by the county coroner and sent to the CDC for testing, with infection estimated to have occurred several weeks earlier, in what has now been established as already at that early date being untraceable community-based spread, passed between people in the United States.
On February 2, the Canadian Armed Forces announced that it planned to charter a plane to assist in the evacuation of Canadian nationals still in Wuhan once given authorization by China, intending to fly them to CFB Trenton for repatriation and medical screenings. Only those that had entered China with a Canadian passport would be allowed to take this flight. The first plane landed at CFB Trenton on February 7. Later, on February 21, a chartered flight of 131 Canadians who were quarantined aboard Diamond Princess after an outbreak on the cruise ship in Japan, and who all tested negative for the virus, were brought to CFB Trenton for additional screening before being transported by bus to the NAV Centre in Cornwall, Ontario to be quarantined.
Just over one month after announcing the presence of the new virus to the world, Dr. Li Wenliang dies of COVID-19 complications.
On 11 February, following the World Health Organization (WHO) best practices for naming of new human infectious diseases, WHO has named the disease, COVID-19, short for “coronavirus disease 2019.”
Source: World in Data
Download .xls here
February 23 marks the beginning of multiple regional and national lockdowns starting with Italy’s lockdown which made the headlines worldwide.
President Trump taps Vice President Mike Pence to lead the coronavirus task force in a moment of growing pressure. Stocks are dropping and President Trump needs to show he is elevating the federal response to the pandemic.
A former Trump White House aide says Pence was the obvious choice, one of the few people left in the administration that Trump trusts, and someone with the stature to coordinate across agencies.
It is the first truly high-profile ongoing assignment Pence has taken on for Trump and it represents both an opportunity and a risk for the former Indiana governor.
Was later revised earlier to Feb. 6, 2020.
During a visit to a Quebec electric-vehicle company, Prime Minister Trudeau announces the creation of a Cabinet Committee on the federal response to the coronavirus disease, chaired by Chrystia Freeland, “to limit the spread of the virus” and to protect “the health and safety of all Canadians.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announces a $1 billion response fund, including $500 million to go to provinces and territories, a $50 million contribution to the World Health Organization and an additional $275 million to fund COVID-19 research in Canada. Though small in comparison to later U.S. efforts, this commitment comes early in the pandemic and shows a commitment by Canada to challenge the spread of the disease.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted that he would self quarantine after his wife Sophie Grégoire tested positive for COVID-19.
Canadian Parliament agrees unanimously to shut its doors for five weeks because of COVID-19 signaling that the threat of COVID is being recognized at the highest levels of government.
Informed by its own risk assessment, Risk Sciences International decides to close the Ottawa office and asks all staff to work from home.
By today, March 17, the novel coronavirus outbreak in the United States had grown to at least 6,510 cases in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. There are outbreak clusters in New York , Washington State and California, according to Johns Hopkins University, which is tracking reports and confirming them with local health departments.
Despite downplaying by Federal authorities, the Mayor of Washington D.C. and the governors of Maryland and Virginia agree to a shutdown.
Very quickly, signs begin appearing in stores throughout the Capital District region. At this point, many stores believe that they will be closed for only one or two weeks and say so in their signs. This will soon change.
The closing of the Capital region goes viral and sends a signal to the rest of the world despite the President’s belittling of the crisis.
Three days after the French Government imposes a national quarantine, citizens seem to be ignoring it nationwide. The press begins to cover it and creates a shaming movement that ultimately results, along with mortality figures, to reverse the trend.
Photo taken on a Friday morning during what would normally be rush hour, outside the NIH offices in Bethesda, MD. This main thoroughfare would normally be bumper to bumper. Today it is deserted.
The unemployment figures for the month of March were that the economy had shed 1,000,000 jobs, pushing the official jobless rate to 7.8%.
Countries outside of China are still in denial. They see their numbers rising but are not conscious of the curve the are about to embark on in coming weeks. By now lockdown is being taken seriously, but was it perhaps too late?
Throughout April and May, worldwide, people are thanking front line workers for their efforts
Wuhan, China, lifted travel restrictions on April 8 after an 11-week lockdown that put the city in a virtual quarantine — not allowing people to leave or enter the city — in an effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
The city, where the coronavirus outbreak was first reported, began its lockdown Jan. 23. As restrictions were lifted, thousands made their way to the airport, train station or cars to leave the city. Others began to resume their daily lives again amid the new normal following the coronavirus outbreak in China.
To date, there have been 3,213 deaths in Hubei Province, where Wuhan is located, from over 64,800 reported cases, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
The Canadian government releases modeling that, even with strong public health measures, shows between 11,000 and 22,000 deaths over the course of the pandemic, with that number being closer to 300,000 deaths if no measures had been taken. Trudeau warns that “normality as it was before will not come back full-on until we get a vaccine for this”, and that residents will “have to remain vigilant for at least a year.”
In the capital cities of Michigan, Kentucky, and North Carolina, hundreds of conservatives staged mass protests on Wednesday against social distancing orders—and top right-wing media figures are cheering them on. Despite coronavirus causing over 30,000 deaths in America alone, the pro-Trump and largely mask-less protesters, some of whom flew Confederate flags and open-carried AR-15 and AK-47 variants, gathered to demand an end to outbreak-reduction efforts and a premature return to normalcy.
Numbers are not where they will be in one month, on 15 May, but they are quickly accelerating, to the point of being highly disturbing. By now, the U.S.A. has surpassed 25,000 dead.
Some governors in the South have begun loosening restrictions put in place to contain the spread of coronavirus despite not having met the Federal Government’s recommendations including a two-week decline in new cases.
On April 20, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp granted businesses across the state permission to reopen later this week, an announcement echoed by a handful of other Republican governors who are beginning to lift stay-at-home orders.
Kemp’s decision, which will apply to barbershops, gyms and other businesses that include close contact, comes days after President Donald Trump issued guidelines to reopen state economies. Protesters across the country have been gathering at rallies outside state capitals demanding an end to shutdown orders.
Approximately one week after protests broke out in the U.S.A., people take to the streets in Vancouver, B.C., to demand reopening the economy.
By May 1, deaths and cases have stabilized in China. The U.S. is far and away leading in cases and deaths. For the size of the country, Spain, as well as Italy and France, are now suffering. Canada is affected but able to keep numbers per capita reasonably low.
Social distancing signage has begun replacing the closing signs. This includes restaurant signs offering curbside service and signs preventing people from entering a public space without a face mask.
Several provinces began to slowly loosen lockdown restrictions on Monday as Ottawa pledged CDN $850 million for the international fight against COVID-19.
Quebec, which accounts for more than half of Canada’s coronavirus cases, including deaths from the illness, was reopening retail stores outside Montreal while those in the greater Montreal area are to reopen next Monday.
Ontario, the other virus epicentre, was allowing a few mostly seasonal businesses to reopen, including garden centres with curbside pickups, lawn care and landscaping companies, and automatic car washes.
Some believe that this reopening is premature.
Clearly, the U.S.A. has far outpaced all other countries, regardless of population size. By now, the United States is both first in cases and deaths with, by May 15, 2020, over 85,000 dead. All indications at this time are that the U.S.A. will surpass 100,000 dead by the end of the month.
Following on President Trump’s appeal to reopen places of faith, CDC issues new guidelines. There is fear that his encouragement to gather will rekindle the pandemic in the country. This said, others are wondering why places of faith are any different from other business that are being encouraged to open.
Today, the world’s COVID-19 death toll passed a numerical milestone.
A large-scale study suggests chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine don’t help treat COVID-19, and it may even be harmful. Today, the peer-reviewed journal The Lancet published a paper analyzing data from thousands of patients who took the drugs. Their patients’ outcomes were no better than those of people who didn’t take hydroxychloroquine — in fact, they were more likely to die or develop an irregular heartbeat.
The death of George Floyd, under the knee of an arresting officer in Minneapolis, U.S.A., kicks off weeks of protest across the nation and the world. Epidemiologists fear that the ensuing mass demonstrations will contribute to a re-energizing of the spread of COVID-19.
Today, at 5:50 PM, Johns Hopkins University announced that, based on people tested, the U.S.A. had suffered 100,047 deaths from COVID-19
Mayor Muriel Bowser announced that today marked the progressive reopening of the District of Columbia. Among the first reprieves was the opening of outdoor restaurant terraces, indoor seating is still forbidden.
As part of the U.S.A.’s progressive reopening, D.C. has authorized terrace eating. Silver Diner, among others, have started promoting their partial doorreopening.
As part of their effort to reassure guests, Silver Diner has published a comprehensive background paper here.
W.H.O. today confused the world by announcing that asymptomatic transmission is rare after months of telling everyone that masks are critical to the stop of the spread. The W.H.O. announcement also failed to explain if there was a greater risk for pre-symptomatic transmission.
Today, the government of New Zealand officially announced that, as of yesterday, there were no more known cases of COVID-19 anywhere in New Zealand. All efforts would now turn to controlling the entry of new cases from abroad.
Dr. Fauci announced his disagreement with W.H.O.’s June 8 announcement that there was insufficient data to determine that COVID-19 is highly spread by asymptomatic people causing continued confusion.
Both in the United States and Brazil, the two countries with the highest COVID-19 infections and deaths worldwide, premature reopenings have led to a sharp reversal of the national curves. In both countries, high records are being set, notably in the U.S. southern states.
Widespread global calls are growing for citizens, businesses, and governments to be weary of letting their guard down. For example, southern U.S. states are showing alarming signs of substantially increasing numbers following early re-opening. To make the point, today, the W.H.O. announced that for the past two weeks, there have been over 100,000 new cases daily worldwide.
Despite widespread objection, the Trump campaign held a large indoor rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, just as Tulsa County infections are spiking. Authorities fear this will be a super-spreader event.
The Spanish state of emergency began March 14, 2020.
As of today, Brazil and the U.S.A. are the only two countries to pass the one million infected mark.
This number is reached amid continued election rallies by the Trump re-election campaign, and an alarming increase in cases in the southern states.
To date, 9,000,000 have tested positive for COVID-19.
This past weekend, the world passed several major statistical milestones:
Today, the United States set a new single day record with a daily tally of 60,000 new confirmed cases for the day.
European Union leaders have agreed on a landmark stimulus plan to boost Europe’s recovery from the coronavirus crisis. The 750 billion euro (almost $858 billion) deal will create reforms to help businesses rebound from the pandemic, roll out new measures to reshape economies in the long term, and create investments to help protect from “future crises.” It also will allocate hundreds of billions of dollars in grants and loans to member states.
While most of the rest of the world recovers, the United States continues to falter. As of today, the death count has passed 140,000. The President continues to downplay the pandemic.
Despite limited access to testing and very long delays to obtain results, the United States today passed the 4,000,000 confirmed cases mark.
Civil society is increasing pressure for the U.S.A. and Brazil to shutdown entirely as the death toll in the U.S.A. approaches 150,000. Multiple national media in both countries are amplifying this call.
Today, Moderna began conducting the first Phase III clinical trial of a COVID-19 vaccine.
The US reached a grim milestone in the coronavirus pandemic as more than 150,000 people have died.
California becomes the first U.S. state to reach 500,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19.
Today, the United States passed 5,000,000 confirmed cases. Most health officials believe the real number of infected people to be much higher. Of note, it took 99 days for the U.S. to go from zero to 1,000,000 cases. It only took 17 days to go from 4 to 5 million.
Today, Brazil passed the 3,000,000 confirmed cases mark and 100,000 dead from COVID-19.
As of today, Johns Hopkins University reports that there are 20 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 reported worldwide and there are 737,000 deaths so far.
Today, the world passed 750,000 dead from a virus that had claimed zero lives as of February of this year.
The World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control, Health Canada, and multiple health agencies worldwide are warning governments and citizens that Autumn of 2020 could be disastrous. This happens as professional and college sports are relaunching their seasons and as multiple school boards and commissions re-open schools. Health authorities are also concerned of the nexus of Covid-19 and the seasonal flu.
According to the World Health Organization, one reason schools cannot rush to reopen is their lack of basic hand-washing capacity with (in 2019) 2 of 5 schools worldwide lacking
In a move that many are denouncing as unacceptable, the Centers for Disease Control today discreetly changed its testing guidelines suggesting that people without symptoms would not need testing unless they were at high risk or counseled to do so by a medical professional. The news has two troubling implications. From a pandemic standpoint, this demonstrates that the government is seeking to lower the number of people testing just when the scientific community is appealing for an increase. The second troubling aspect is the way it was done. Rather than announcing the guidelines change, it was discreetly entered as an edit on the CDC.gov website. During a public health crisis, this conflicts with every accepted rule of good risk and public health communication.
Today, the CDC has told public health officials to prepare to distribute a potential coronavirus vaccine as soon as late October. There is concern that this date is being artificially set to favor the outcome of the U.S. presidential election. Scientists are calling for all vaccine candidates to complete their Phase III trials before being considered for release.
Today the major global pharmaceutical companies issued a joint statement vowing not to cut corners with any potential COVID-19 vaccine. Going against an apparent move by the U.S. administration to rush the vaccine, perhaps before the U.S. presidential election, the pharmaceutical companies vowed to respect all safety and testing protocols. “We will not cut corners,” Pfizer chief Albert Bourla told reporters. The virtual meeting, which included many other Pharma CEOs was hosted by the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA).
Canada’s top doctor dispensed some important sexual education today for those attempting to date during a pandemic: consider wearing a mask during sex. Dr. Theresa Tam put out a statement Wednesday that covered how best to keep yourself safe from COVID-19 while engaging in sexual intercourse.
“Sexual health is an important part of our overall health,” she said in the statement. “However, sex can be complicated in the time of COVID-19, especially for those without an intimate partner in their household or whose sexual partner is at higher risk for COVID-19.”
Canada has reported that yesterday (Friday 11 September, 2020) the country had zero deaths from COVID-19. To date, Canada has lost 9,163 people to the virus.
More than 30 million people around the world have been diagnosed with the coronavirus and 943,515 have died, according to Johns Hopkins University. Some 20.4 million people have recovered.
Updated CDC guidance acknowledges coronavirus can spread through the air. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated guidance on its website to say coronavirus can commonly spread “through respiratory droplets or small particles, such as those in aerosols,” which are produced even when a person breathes.
Previously, the CDC page said that Covid-19 was thought to spread mainly between people in close contact — about 6 feet — and “through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks.”
The page still says Covid-19 most commonly spreads between people who are in close contact with one another, and now says the virus is known to spread “through respiratory droplets or small particles, such as those in aerosols, produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, sings, talks or breathes.”
CDC has reversed the guidance it issued Sunday. The guidance spoke of a quasi-aerosol property of COVID-19. It now claims that guidance was a simple mistake.
Today marks the start of Autumn in the Northern Hemisphere. Some are predicting what is being called a ‘Twindemic’ – the confluence of a winter-strengthened COVID-19 with seasonal influenza.
Today, the United States passed the grim milestone of 200,000 deaths from COVID-19. By far, the USA now has the highest Coronavirus death toll in the world.
Today, the world passed the grim milestone of 1,000,000 dead from the COVID-19 virus. Of note, over the past 10 months, the virus has taken more lives than H.I.V., malaria, influenza and cholera combined. And as it sows destruction in daily life around the globe, it is still growing quickly.
Overnight, President Donald Trump and the First Lady tested positive for COVID-19. The President announced it himself over Twitter just before 1AM. Yesterday (Thursday) it was announced that Hope Hicks, who works closely with the President, had tested positive. At this time, it is unsure how, where or when the President contracted the virus.
This evening, President Donald Trump was airlifted from the White House to Walter Reed medical center after testing positive for COVID-19 Thursday.
On Friday, Oct. 9, jurisdictions around Canada reported 2,558 new cases of COVID-19, which marks the largest single-day spike the nation has recorded throughout the pandemic. It surpasses the 2,437 cases that were announced a day earlier.
If people don’t start to limit their contacts, we could be seeing up to 5,000 cases a day by late October to early November, according to the latest modelling data that was presented Friday by Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam.
“We’re at a tipping point in this pandemic,” said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, while reflecting on the rise in cases nationwide.
In France, 26,896 people tested positive for Covid-19 in the past 24 hours — another record high for a daily increase in cases. The numbers were updated late Saturday on the French Health Authority website.
On Friday, 20,339 new cases were reporting, breaking the 20,000-cases-in-a-day threshold. The positivity rate (number of people testing positive) also keeps climbing. It now stands at 11%, up from 7.6% on October 1 and 4.3% on September 1.
The number of people hospitalized in the ICU is also rising. As of Saturday night, 1,456 people were in intensive care, which is eight more than the day before, according to the French Health Authority website.
After a period of moderate news items, there is a sudden upsurge of COVID-related news items, coinciding with a clear uptick in cases worldwide as the northern hemisphere faces cooling weather. Below is just a sampling of today’s news items.
Shortly after Johnson & Johnson announced their Phase III pause, Eli Lilly has announced that, based on the discovery of an adverse event, they will temporarily pause their own clinical trial.
French President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday ordered a nighttime curfew for Paris and eight other French cities to contain the spread of Covid-19 after daily new infection rates reached record levels. He said new daily coronavirus cases must be brought down to “3,000 or 5,000”, from current levels, which have reached up to almost 27,000. Anyone found to be outdoors during the curfew without special authorisation would face a fine of €135, and more than 10 times that sum for repeat offenders, Macron said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday that a vaccine developed by Vector State Virology and Biotechnology Center, a former Soviet bioweapons research lab, has received regulatory approval. Russian officials said that a third vaccine could be approved in December.
Photo: A Covid-19 vaccine is administered in Russia / Tatyana Makeyeva / Reuters
Worldwide, COVID infections, hospitalizations and deaths are beginning to soar, as scientists predicted. Broadly, European countries are considering lockdowns and the United States is approaching the highest figures of the year.
France announced a daily record for coronavirus infections and Italy imposed the toughest restrictions on its population since ending its spring lockdown, as Europe’s second wave of the coronavirus pandemic threatened to spin out of control.
Italy, struggling with an explosive rise in infections and approaching 20,000 confirmed cases a day, on Sunday announced the closure of all bars and restaurants at 6 p.m., the suspension of many sports and leisure activities, and a return to online lessons for high-school students.
According to seismologists, one consequence of a global pandemic: fewer seismic vibrations due to less travel.
French President Emmanuel Macron has announced a second national lockdown until at least the end of November.
Mr Macron said that under the new measures, starting on Friday, people would only be allowed to leave home for essential work or medical reasons.
Non-essential businesses, such as restaurants and bars, will close, but schools and factories will remain open.
Covid daily deaths in France are at the highest level since April. On Tuesday, 33,000 new cases were confirmed.
The pandemic has affected people’s ability to pay rent. In the United States, there are currently 9.9 million households that are behind on rent totaling 70 billion dollars in unpaid amounts.
England to enter second national lockdown in days, says UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson. “We must act now to contain the autumn surge,” he said. People will only be able to leave their homes for specific reasons: education, work (if they are unable to work from home), to shop for food, for health reasons, or for exercise and recreation outdoors, either with that person’s household or with one person from another household.
Australia has recorded its first day with zero locally acquired coronavirus cases in almost five months. Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt made the announcement on Twitter, thanking people across the country. “Advice just in from the National Incident Centre – Zero community transmission cases today Australia wide- the 1st national zero community transmission day since June 9,” he said.
Today, the United States registered 100,000 new cases of COVID-19 in a single day, a new record.
Today, worldwide, the cumulative confirmed cases of COVID-19 passed the 50,000,000 mark.
Today, Pfizer reporting that early analysis shows that their COVID-19 vaccine is showing 90% effectiveness. This is early and unconfirmed self-reporting.
Imagine if the entire city of Reno, Nevada, was pronounced dead. As of today, the United States has lost 250,000 Americans to COVID-19, the equivalent of all the citizens of Reno. Simultaneously, current hospitalizations in the U.S. stand at just under 70,000.
Even India, with a population of 1.35 billion people, has fewer than 150,000 deaths.
So yes, it’s worth noting that a quarter of a million Americans have lost their lives to Covid, to a disease that was, one year ago, basically unknown.
The U.S. Supreme Court signaled a major shift in its approach to coronavirus-related restrictions late Wednesday, voting 5-4 to bar New York state from reimposing limits on religious gatherings.
In May and July, the Supreme Court narrowly rejected challenges to virus-related restrictions on churches in California and Nevada, with Chief Justice John Roberts joining the court’s Democratic appointees to stress that state and local governments required flexibility to deal with a dangerous and evolving pandemic.
Today the United States reached the highest number of deaths since the pandemic began. Simultaneously, at least 98,691 Covid-19 patients were hospitalized yesterday, according to the Covid Tracking Project. This is the highest number of Covid-19 hospitalizations the nation has ever experienced.
As of today, the first western vaccine has been approved for widespread distribution – by the UK.
The United Kingdom has become the first Western nation to authorize a Covid-19 vaccine, a landmark moment in the coronavirus pandemic that paves the way for the first doses to be rolled out across the country next week.
“Help is on the way,” Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced Wednesday morning, after UK regulators granted emergency authorization for a vaccine made by US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech.
Today, the United States reached the grim milestone of having over 100,000 COVID-19 patients in hospital beds concurrently. If divided equally, that would mean 2,000 patients per state ar in hospital. Also today, 2,885 people died from COVID-19 in the U.S. alone. That’s more than the cumulative deaths from COVID in Japan since the pandemic started. It also means that the equivalent of 58 people died from COVID in each U.S. state, in one day.
A 90-year-old woman has become the first person to be given a Covid vaccination as part of the mass vaccination program being rolled out in the UK. Margaret Keenan, who turns 91 next week, said it was the “best early birthday present”. Hers is the first of 800,000 doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine that will be given in the coming weeks. Up to four million more are expected by the end of the month. Hubs in the UK will vaccinate over-80s and some health and care staff – the program aims to protect the most vulnerable and return life to normal.
Health Canada has announced that the vaccine made by US drugmaker Pfizer and Germany’s BioNTech is authorised. “Canadians can feel confident that the review process was rigorous and that we have strong monitoring systems in place. Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada will closely monitor the safety of the vaccine once it is on the market and will not hesitate to take action if any safety concerns are identified,” Health Canada said in a statement. Canada will receive up to 249,000 doses this month and 4 million doses of the vaccine by March. The department said the vaccine is for use in people 16 years of age or older, but noted Pfizer-BioNTech are running further clinical trials on children of all age groups and that could change.
Today the United States reached a new high in COVID-19 deaths. Of note is the scale. There were more deaths in a single day – 3,124 were lost – than in the 9/11 attacks, Hurricanes Maria or Katrina, and Pearl Harbor.
The US Food and Drug Administration has authorized Pfizer and BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine for emergency use in the United States.
The FDA announced on Friday that an EUA had been granted, following the recommendation of its Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee.
On Thursday, 17 committee members voted yes to recommended that the FDA issue an EUA for the vaccine. Four voted no and one abstained from voting.
This morning, the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine began shipping by truck and air from their 100+ acre facility in Michigan. Vaccinations could, in principle, begin tomorrow in hospitals and other locations across the country. In the U.S. context, this can be considered a milestone moment.
All across the United States, the first vaccinations are being administered. In New York, a televised event with Governor Cuomo was staged to highlight the importance of this moment. Among the first to receive the vaccine will be frontline health workers and those working and living in long-term senior care facilities.
Today, Canada began administering doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, with elderly people and front-line workers among the first to receive shots. Federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu appeared outside the Maimonides Geriatric Centre in Montreal in the afternoon, with newly vaccinated 78-year-old Gloria Lallouz. “I felt emotional because I know how worried and anxious families and health care workers are all across the country,” Hajdu said. “I see this as the first step forward into the light, and moving back into a place of confidence where Canadians can start to see the beginning of the end of this thing.” Canada joins the United Kingdom and the United States as the first Western countries to give citizens the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech, as the coronavirus pandemic rages toward winter.
This is a milestone that requires no words. To date, in less than one year, 300,000 Americans have died of COVID-19.
A second vaccine has begun to roll out in the U.S. less than two days after it earned emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration. The vaccine, developed by Moderna and the National Institutes of Health, began the distribution process Sunday as it was shipped out of a Memphis-area distribution center. First shots of the Moderna vaccine are expected to be given Monday, one week after the first inoculations of Pfizer’s vaccine. The first wave of Pfizer and Moderna shots are nearly all going to health care workers and residents of long-term care homes.
The U.S. CDC released grim statistics suggesting more than 80,000 drug overdoses occurred over the course of a single year, ending in March 2020.
CDC Director Redfield cites the pandemic as exacerbating the problem.
While deaths related to COVID-19 reach record highs in the U.S., new data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that deaths from drug overdoses are accelerating amid the pandemic, signaling the continued emotional strain the pandemic is having on people. The CDC said that more than 81,000 drug overdose fatalities occurred in the U.S. over the last 12 months, ending in May 2020. This is the highest number of overdose deaths ever recorded in a year-long period, officials said in a press release. Although the observed time frame encompasses months outside the COVID-19 pandemic, experts believe the record-high numbers are linked to the onset of the pandemic.
Canada has become the latest country to halt flights from the UK following the discovery of a new variant of Covid-19, which is said by officials to spread faster than others.
The new coronavirus variant, which prompted the UK government to impose a Tier 4 lockdown in London and southeastern England, and tighten restrictions for all of England over the festive period, is “out of control,” Health Secretary Matt Hancock said on Sunday — the same day that the UK broke its daily coronavirus case record, recording 35,928 new cases.
Every New Years Eve, we hope that the end of the year will be a time to celebrate the past twelve months while looking forward to the promise of an even better year to come. Unfortunately, this year seems to be ending on a note of frustration and the next is starting without a clear path to better times. While the vaccines have been developed, they remain to be effectively manufactured, distributed and administered. Our only wish is that 2021 may, indeed, be the year that the world comes together to vanquish, or at least overpower SARS-CoV-2 and any of its future variants. We, at RSI, being scientists, have been trained to look at the numbers, but this year we must look at the faces of those who have left us; there have been too many. This year, 2019, has seen the death of over 1.8 million people, people whose death, would we have responded in a faster and more coordinated way, might have been avoided. They were robbed of years; we at RSI hope that, at the very least, lessons will have been learned for future responses.
Unlike other countries that are facing serious vaccination distribution challenges, Israel has vaccinated over 1,000,000 of its citizens – just over 10%. This number is considered excellent.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson reimposed a lockdown in England on Monday as a more transmissible variant of Covid-19 fuels a surge in infections and hospitalizations in the country.
“It is clear that we need to do more to bring this new variant under control,” Johnson said. “That means the government is once again instructing you to stay at home.”
During his televised address to the nation, Johnson reimposed measures seen during the first lockdown last spring, including closures of secondary and primary schools to all except the children of key workers and vulnerable children. People will be allowed to leave their homes for limited reasons like shopping for essentials, exercise, and medical assistance.
Johnson also said people could still leave home “to escape domestic abuse” — an issue that arose earlier during the pandemic, as isolation and lockdown conditions exacerbated barriers to escape for victims of domestic violence.
The United States set a new grim milestone Thursday 8 January 2021 with more than 4,000 COVID-19 deaths recorded in a single day. The unsettling numbers come after Wednesday saw over 3,900 deaths in the country, according to The Washington Post.
Yesterday, the United States lost 4,327 people to COVID-19. In one day, the U.S. suffered more losses than either South Korea or Japan have suffered throughout the entire pandemic. Authorities believe that the post-holiday bump will take the number higher before, hopefully, going down as a result of increased vaccinations.
To date, 2 million people have died from COVID-19 worldwide. The real number is likely much larger. To better grasp the gravity, it’s as though ten of the world’s largest commercial jets – 10 – fell out of the sky every day for an entire year – 365 days!
While the 2 million figure is horrifying, experts say the real death toll is likely much higher. Only confirmed Covid-19 deaths are included in the tally, which means that people who die without a firm diagnosis may not be included.
With testing still inadequate in many countries across the world, there might be hundreds of thousands of additional deaths.
Christopher Murray, the director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington in Seattle, said that an analysis of excess mortality suggests that as many as one fifth of coronavirus deaths might not be recorded.
Today, one day before the presidential inauguration, the United States registered its 400,000th death to COVID-19.
As confirmation, since March 2020, at least 400,000 more Americans have died than would have in a normal year, a sign of the broad devastation wrought by the coronavirus pandemic.
An analysis of mortality data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows how the pandemic is bringing with it unusual patterns of death, even higher than the official totals of deaths that have been directly linked to the virus.
Deaths nationwide were 18 percent higher than normal from March 15, 2020, to Dec. 26, 2020. These numbers may be an undercount since recent death statistics are still being updated.
This analysis examines deaths from all causes — not just confirmed cases of coronavirus — beginning when the virus took hold in the United States last spring. That allows comparisons that do not depend on the accuracy of cause-of-death reporting, and includes deaths related to disruptions caused by the pandemic as well as the virus itself. Epidemiologists refer to fatalities in the gap between the observed and normal numbers of deaths as “excess deaths.”
Israel’s cabinet has approved the closure of Ben Gurion airport from Tuesday, January 26 until next Sunday January 31, although the closure is likely to continue for at least two weeks. Airlines have been given indications that the closure could extend until the end of February.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, “No other country has done what we are going to do. We are closing the country hermetically and at the same time we will vaccinate one million Israelis each week.”
The extreme measure is being taken because of the new Covid mutations being reported from around the world, with fears that some of them could be resistant to the Pfizer vaccine.
The 100 millionth confirmed coronavirus case has been recorded worldwide – just over a year since the first officially diagnosed case of the deadly virus. The total number of cases reached 100,032,461 yesterday. Experts believe the actual figure is far higher. Meanwhile, at least 2,149,818 people have died after catching the illness, according to Johns Hopkins University in the US.
Pfizer has announced its intention to cut in half the time it takes to produce COVID-19 vaccine from 110 days to an average of 60 as it makes the process more efficient and production is built out. This increase comes amid a growing cry that the time it will take all countries to achieve herd immunity is too long with some estimates pushing the date well into 2022.
According the the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, double masking can block 92% of infectious particles. Researchers have concluded that layering a cloth mask over a medical procedural mask, such as a disposable blue surgical mask, can block 92.5% of potentially infectious particles from escaping by creating a tighter fit and eliminating leakage. This has led others to assert that layering a medical procedural mask, also referred to as a surgical mask, over an N95 mask, will provide even greater protection. Newly elected President Biden was an early adopter of the double mask, using it throughout at least half of his campaign and now into the White House.
Today, President and Dr. Biden, accompanied by Vice-President Harris and Mr. Emhoff, solemnly commemorated the passing of 500,000 Americans to COVID-19. In a very solemn speech, the President tried to give the country both comfort and warning. The road ahead, according to the President, will still be difficult and require the support of all Americans, regardless of station in life or politics.
Amid controversy and push back from the Federal Government, Governor Greg Abbott today issued an Executive Order (GA-34) lifting the mask mandate in Texas and increasing capacity of all businesses and facilities in the state to 100 percent. The Governor made the announcement at Montelongo’s Mexican Restaurant in Lubbock in an address to the Lubbock Chamber of Commerce.
Canada’s chief public health officer said today there is no evidence to suggest the AstraZeneca-Oxford COVID-19 vaccine is causing adverse events — and the vaccine’s benefits outweigh any risks. Dr. Theresa Tam told reporters at a media briefing that federal, provincial and territorial authorities are “continuously monitoring” vaccine safety after nearly a dozen European countries suspended the vaccine’s use in response to concerns about blood clots.
“Health Canada is aware of reports of serious adverse events in Europe following immunization with the AstraZeneca vaccine, but wants to reassure Canadians that the benefits of the vaccine continue to outweigh its risks,” she said. “There is currently no indication that the vaccine caused the observed event.” To date, she added, “no unexpected vaccine safety issues have been identified in Canada.”
This week has seen turmoil in Europe’s pausing, or not, of the AstraZeneca Covid vaccine. With coronavirus cases rising in many places, governments faced the grimmest of dilemmas Tuesday: push on with a vaccine that is known to save lives or suspend use of AstraZeneca over reports of dangerous blood clots in a few recipients, even as the European regulator said there was “no indication” the shot was responsible.
It has created a jagged divide across the globe, forcing politicians to assess the health risks of halting the shots at a time when many countries, especially in Europe, are already struggling to overcome logistical hurdles and vaccine hesitancy among their populations.
Sweden was the latest to join a swelling group of European Union nations choosing caution over speed, even as the head of the European Medicines Agency said the agency is “firmly convinced” that the benefits of the AstraZeneca shot outweigh the risks.
The IATA Travel Pass App will contain all the passenger details necessary for safe, efficient travel. It will inform passengers on what tests, vaccines, and other measures they require prior to travel, details on where they can get tested, and, most importantly, the ability to share their tests and vaccination results in a verifiable manner that also protects privacy.
The aim is to give airlines and governments accurate information on passengers’ COVID-19 health status and therefore the confidence that they can restart operations and re-open borders.
The IATA Travel Pass does not add any unnecessary data elements to promote this aim. It merely facilitates the exchange of information. Indeed, Hayden points out that government buy-in is not essential to the App’s success. “Checking a passenger has the correct documentation has always been an airline responsibility so IATA Travel Pass is good to go immediately,” he says. “Vaccination certificates or test results are just another check.
“Longer term, of course government involvement will make life easier, especially approving health details presented in a digital format rather than on paper. Border controls are saying they need certain information but are less forthcoming about how that information must be presented.”
The ICAO aviation recovery task force (CART) has updated its guidance for globally accepted COVID-19 test and vaccination certificates, including the technology framework for securely creating digital versions. These recommendations are now included in the ICAO Manual on Testing and Cross-Border Risk Management Measures. A recent IATA poll reported that 89% of respondents believe that governments must standardize vaccination and testing certificates. It will be a critical element for maximizing the benefit of the IATA Travel Pass.
CART, however, has recommended that travelers should not necessarily be vaccinated for international travel.
There are no words to mask the disastrous response to Covid in Brazil. As other countries accelerate vaccinations and show signs of improvement, Brazil stands out for its increasing number of both cases and deaths. The country is second only to the U.S. in deaths but, unlike the U.S., their national hospital system is truly on the brink of collapse in many states. Now Brazil is facing even harder times ahead as it battles a highly contagious variant.
As Ontario enters its ‘third wave’ of infections, Doctors are sounding the alarm at the increasing number of youth coming in for treatment. According to doctors, more youth are showing up in hospital emergency rooms and they are seemingly sicker than in previous waves. Some believe that this number can be attributed to older Canadians having been vaccinated first. Others believe that the new strains are to blame. Regardless, doctors are sounding the alarm.
Canada has suspended the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine for people under 55 citing concerns that the vaccine could cause blood clots.
Beyond Canada, AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine has been intermittently put on hold in parts of Europe and has not yet received its emergency use authorization in the U.S. This matters because Canada is currently facing a relatively slow vaccine rollout, with just 1.8% of its population being fully vaccinated as Bloomberg News notes.
New York state has announced the launch of a digital passport for Covid vaccine recipients. Excelsior Pass will allow New York residents to prove that they have been vaccinated or recently tested negative for infection. New Yorkers will be able to use their phone’s virtual wallet (on Android or iOS) or a printout to flash a QR code and otherwise show that they are safe when going out, for instance to a concert or restaurant or other public place.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Pfizer and BioNTech announced Wednesday that their COVID-19 vaccine is 100% effective in preventing symptomatic disease in children aged 12 to 15. The report is based on a study of over 2,000 children. The companies will ask U.S. health regulators for authorization to vaccinate children, hoping to vaccinate most before September.
Throughout the duration of the Pandemic, global media attention has been focussed primarily on the risks posed by Covid in the United States, China and Brazil. The first for the number of cases, the second because of the origin of the virus and the third for ongoing failed policies at all levels of government. India, however, is now garnering more attention as it hits a record daily increase and surpasses 13 million confirmed cases. Last week, on Friday April 2, 2021, the country reported 131,968 new cases, the highest single day rise since the beginning of the pandemic. India has recorded one million new cases in just 11 days. Also on Friday, the country recorded 780 deaths from Covid.
Simultaneously, India is suffering from a vaccine shortfall. States such as Maharashtra, Odisha and Punjab have complained of vaccine shortages and several districts in Maharashtra have had to suspend vaccination drives, the state’s health minister said Thursday.
According to a senior administrative official in Mumbai, more than 70 centers in the city have said they do not have vaccines available. The central government has said it is doing everything it can to help the states, the health minister said in a statement earlier this week.
The World Health Organization is warning that the world needs to return to a stance of caution. According to The WHO, too many countries, pushed by tired citizens and struggling businesses, are giving up on restrictions despite four weeks of rising deaths and seven weeks of rising cases worldwide.
Maria van Kerkhove, WHO’s Technical Lead for Coronavirus Response, said 4.4 million new COVID-19 infections had been confirmed last week alone. “This is not the situation we want to be in 16 months into a pandemic, where we have proven control measures. It is time right now where everyone has to have a reality check about what we need to be doing,” van Kerkhove said in a news conference Monday. Several countries in Asia and the Middle East have seen large increases in cases, WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, noting that “confusion, complacency and inconsistency in public health measures” were primary drivers.
From CNN: The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the US Food and Drug Administration are recommending that the United States pause the use of Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccine over six reported US cases of a “rare and severe” type of blood clot.
The six reported cases were among more than 6.8 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine administered in the United States. All six cases occurred among women ages of 18 and 48, and symptoms occurred 6 to 13 days after vaccination, according to a joint statement on Tuesday from Dr. Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director of the CDC and Dr. Peter Marks, director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research.
“CDC will convene a meeting of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) on Wednesday to further review these cases and assess their potential significance,” the statement said. “FDA will review that analysis as it also investigates these cases. Until that process is complete, we are recommending a pause in the use of this vaccine out of an abundance of caution. This is important, in part, to ensure that the health care provider community is aware of the potential for these adverse events and can plan for proper recognition and management due to the unique treatment required with this type of blood clot.”
This past Friday, for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic, Canada has had a day with more new Covid cases per capita than the U.S. The average over the past seven days has been approximately 22 new recorded cases per 100,000 people in the country.
A graph from Our World in Data, which collects global COVID-19 statistics from Johns Hopkins University, shows that on Friday, April 9, Canada overtook the U.S. The trend continued through April 12, which was the last time the data was updated.
Ontario is being hit particularly hard with hospital ICU units increasingly overwhelmed, especially in Toronto. Yesterday, on Monday 12 April, the province announced its hospitals would start ramping down elective surgeries and non-urgent procedures to ensure they have the capacity to treat more COVID-19 patients.
Today, a senior Japanese ruling party official suggested that cancelling this year’s Olympics and Paralympics in Tokyo remains an option if the COVID-19 virus is not sufficiently controlled in coming weeks. In response, the Tokyo Olympics Organising Committee responded by insisting that all those involved in the Games were fully focussed on hosting them this summer.
The official, Toshihiro Nikai, Secretary General of the Liberal Democratic Party, said “If it seems impossible (to host the Olympics) any more, then we have to stop it, decisively.” He added, “Cancellation is of course an option,” adding, “if the Olympics were to spread infection, then what are the Olympics for?”
3,000,000 have died of Covid
There are very few ways of elegantly or politely saying what has happened over the past year. Just over a year after the pandemic started, the official worldwide death count has now passed the 3 million mark. Three million people have died of a preventable death which, were the proper responses enacted, could have been far fewer. It is our hope, at Risk Sciences International, that going forward, all will better prepare for and respect the horrors of a deadly virus intent on spreading.
The other numbers are just as horrific. Worldwide, to date, there have been over 141 million confirmed cases. Many many more are believed to have been infected but not confirmed.
The bright light in this darkness is the number of vaccinated to date. The current estimate is almost 500,000,000 – 500 million – vaccinated. May these numbers continue to grow and may people continue to adhere to clearly common sense hygiene including the wearing of masks and social distancing.
Today, President Biden announced that the United States had, to date, administered 200 million shots of Covid-19 vaccines. With more than 50% of adults at least partially vaccinated, and approximately 28 million vaccine doses that are being delivered each week. Currently, demand is surpassing supply as the constraining factor to vaccinations in much of the country. It is believed that in the short term, this situation will be reversed and that supply will outstrip demand.
Meanwhile, on the global scene, this number is met by an equally unfortunate reality, that of an alarming increase of cases, hospitalizations, and deaths in India.
Today, for the fifth day in a row, India has beaten its own records for new cases of Covid-19. Hospitals are said to be overrun, as are funeral arrangements. Anger is growing towards President Modi as he tries to silence critics online. This situation is particularly dire as the rest of the world hopes that the sustained growth of cases will not lead to an uncontrollable surge in variants.
Currently, as regards the Covid-19 pandemic, India is the leading story. Network after network is covering the despair, the lack of oxygen, insufficient medical personnel, and vaccines that are nowhere to be found. Intensive care units (ICU) are treating people on the floor and in long lineups outside. If one compares this peak, India’s second, to all other second peaks, it becomes evident that India is headed for disaster. At this time it is uncertain if India will catch up to the United States as regards both cases and deaths, but with a population of 1.3 billion, many say that this is very likely.
Daily deaths in India as of May 4 2021
Daily cases in India as of May 4 2021
Daily cases in the US as of May 4 2021
Daily deaths in the US as of May 4 2021
Daily deaths in Brazil as of May 4 2021
Daily cases in Brazil as of May 4 2021
In a scientific brief published today, the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention has said what many have suspected for months, that SARS-CoV-2, that it is transmissible via exhalation and inhalation to a greater distance than previously announced. Their announcement is framed with caution: “Once infectious droplets and particles are exhaled, they move outward from the source. The risk for infection decreases with increasing distance from the source and increasing time after exhalation.” They have also repeated that “Risk of transmission is greatest within three to six feet of an infectious source where the concentration of these very fine droplets and particles is greatest.”
What this brief explains is that while inhalation at up to six feet is the greatest danger, inhalation and contamination at greater distances remains possible. The agency previously said that most infections took place through “close contact, not airborne transmission.”
The brief further now categorizes contamination into three vectors: “transmission are now categorized as inhalation of virus, deposition of virus on exposed mucous membranes, and touching mucous membranes with soiled hands contaminated with virus.”
President Biden has announced a comprehensive 90-day review into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic. Previously, both officials and the public have wavered between a conviction that the virus was spread from a laboratory in Wuhan, either voluntarily or by accident, and the more accepted theory, until now, that the virus had zoonotic origins.
Biden has asked the U.S. intelligence community to redouble its efforts to get to the bottom of the issue despite the Chinese government’s refusal to participate in an investigation now being conducted by the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva.
It is now believed that Biden’s decision, though only recently made public, was arrived at several weeks ago, as far back as March 2021, based on new information he received.
Biden has further committed, unless the findings warrant differently, to release a full public report in 90 days.
As of today, 180,764 have died from coronavirus complications in Peru. This number makes Peru the country with the highest number of Covid-caused deaths worldwide.
Peru on Monday almost tripled its official COVID-19 death toll to 180,764, following a government review, making it the country with the worst death rate per capita, according to Johns Hopkins University data.
Peru has been among the hardest hit Latin America countries during the COVID-19 pandemic, with its hospitals overcrowded with patients and demand for oxygen outstripping availability. Experts had long warned that the true death toll was being undercounted in official statistics.
The government said it will now update its death count, which stood at 69,342 as of Sunday, in part because of a lack of testing that made it difficult to confirm whether a person had died due to the virus or some other cause.
According to Johns Hopkins data, Hungary had the worst number of per capita COVID-19 deaths at about 300 per 100,000 people. With its updated death toll, Peru now stands at more than 500 COVID-19 deaths per 100,000 people.
The COVID-19 pandemic is well into its second year. It has been 16 or so months since the virus began its wildfire spread around the world. ICUs have been overrun, PPE was nowhere to be found, entire countries shut down and locked down, conspiracy theories were spread, and yes, a vaccine, actually several, were conceived, produced, distributed and, to some measure, administered. It has indeed been a period of angst and anger. It has also been a tiring period, one that almost incites us to become numb to the numbers. We are all tired and want to move on, to get back to our normal lives. And yet, in many parts of the world, the virus rages on. In other parts, it threatens to come back mutated and ready for another round of destruction.
With this in mind, we thought it would be good, as we approach the Solar Equinox, to take a very brief looks at some of the numbers. Before you get to them, however, it would be good of you to take a pause and think of what those numbers represent. These are people whose lives should have been different. Their deaths, while not 100% preventable, were surely worth a greater effort. It is the author’s personal belief that we have failed them by not properly assessing the risk that a global pandemic poses. Our wish, and commitment, is to do all that is in our power to ensure that the world be better prepared for the next global emergency and that, if nothing else, we take it with the gravitas it will doubtless warrant.
Covid numbers 2021-06-16
As of today, based on multiple sources, these are some of the astounding numbers we have reached, but as you read through them, remember that in all likelihood, the numbers are actually far worse than reported.
As for the confirmed cases, the numbers are hard to validate inasmuch as they include both repetitive testing by the same person, but also omit the untested positive cases. Regardless, the current number stands at a staggering 175,648,586. This number may seem small in a global population nearing 8 billion, but think of it another way, 16 months ago, this number was zero. In just under a year and a half, a little virus, one little virus, has managed to replicate and travel, quite literally, around the world.
Fortunately, there is one good number, the number of vaccines administered to date. That number is staggering also.
Vaccine shots administered to date worldwide: 2,406,085,642 – two and a half billion shots in arms is a figure worth celebrating.
Deaths related to Covid-19 have passed 500,000 in Brazil, now the second-highest in the world. Experts further believe that the outbreak could worsen amid slow vaccination, the start of winter and President Jair Bolsonaro’s refusal to back measures like social distancing. As for vaccine protection, according to the health institute Fiocruz, the situation is “critical”. Only 11% of adults are fully vaccinated.
The 500,000 threshold was met by tens of thousands of Brazilians rallying in anti-government protests on Saturday. President Bolsonaro has been heavily criticised for not implementing a co-ordinated national response and for his scepticism toward vaccines, lockdowns and mask-wearing requirements, which he has sought to loosen.
Last week, Brazil reported a daily average of 70,000 new cases and 2,000 deaths. Most of the new infections and deaths were among people aged 20-59.
Despite this, motivated by the President’s demeanor and guidance, governors and mayors have prematurely relaxed the restrictions imposed to curb the spread of the virus. In many cities, restaurants, bars and shops have reopened while many people in the streets do not wear face masks or follow social distancing.
This week CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said adult deaths from Covid-19 are “at this point entirely preventable” due to the effectiveness of vaccines. And a new analysis from the AP confirms what Walensky said.
According to the analysis of government data from May, released on Thursday, out of the 18,000 Covid-19 deaths during the month, approximately 150 were fully vaccinated people. That comes out to 0.8 percent, or an average of five deaths per day out of more than 200 average daily deaths. At the height of the pandemic in January of this year, average daily deaths were above 3,400 per day. Additionally, fully vaccinated people accounted for fewer than 1,200 of more than 853,000 hospitalized with the virus (0.1 percent).
Open, don’t open? Variants: how much worse? Vaccinated vs. unvaccinated. Adopters vs. non-vaxers. It’s a confusing time in the fight against COVID-19.
The World Health Organization, WHO, advises that even the fully vaccinated continue to wear masks in light of the transmissibility of the new Delta Variant. According to Dr. Mariangela Simao, WHO Assistant Director-General for Access to Medicines and Health Products said: “People need to continue to use masks consistently, be in ventilated spaces, hand hygiene,” Simao continues, “the physical distance, avoid crowding. This still continues to be extremely important, even if you’re vaccinated when you have a community transmission ongoing.”
Of note, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last month issued statements encouraging the vaccinated to stop wearing masks, possibly to emphasize a sense of normalcy in the country.
According to WHO officials, the variant—which President Joe Biden has called a “serious concern”—has now been found in 92 countries as of Friday. Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of the WHO’s health emergencies program, said the variant could be “more lethal because it’s more efficient in the way it transmits between humans and it will eventually find those vulnerable individuals who will become severely ill, have to be hospitalized and potentially die.”
For several weeks, the Covid-19 headline has been the Delta Variant. Much discussion is focussed on the lasting vs. waning protection of the various vaccines. Today, 12 July 2021, Pfizer is set to speak with U.S. officials to try to convince them of the need for a booster shot. According to Pfizer and BioNTech, clinical studies could begin as early as August, subject to regulatory approvals.
The companies say that although they believe a third shot of the two-dose vaccine has the potential to retain the “highest levels” of protection against all currently known variants, including delta, they are “remaining vigilant” and developing an updated version of the vaccine.
“As seen in real world evidence released from the Israel Ministry of Health, vaccine efficacy has declined six months post-vaccination, at the same time that the Delta variant is becoming the dominate variant in the country,” the companies said in a written statement.
“These findings are consistent with an ongoing analysis from the companies’ Phase 3 study,” they said. “That is why we have said, and we continue to believe that it is likely, based on the totality of the data we have to date, that a third dose may be needed within 6 to 12 months after full vaccination.”
Meanwhile, fueled by the Delta Variant, many countries are entering what is being called the Third Wave. These countries and regions are particularly concerned due to their low vaccination rates.
As the Tokyo Olympics are about to begin, Covid remains the headline. To date, three days before the opening ceremony, there have been 61 reported Covid cases casting a doubt over the testing protocols and the lack of vaccine enforcement for athletes and national delegations. Some fear that the virus, despite isolation efforts, may spread throughout the Olympic Village, containing 21 residential buildings housing about 11,000 athletes plus the national teams’ staff.
Olympic organizers believe and state that their approach is working. The fact that they are identifying positive cases indicates, according to them, that they are doing the right thing. Their claim is that the current infection rate is 0.1%, well below their own targets.
One thing is certain, with no spectators in the stands, not even for the opening ceremony this Friday, these Olympics will be like no other.
According to The Washington Post, and now confirmed by Director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Dr. Rochelle Walensky, an internal CDC document reveals that the Delta Coronavirus variant appears to cause more severe illness than the initial strain of Covid-19 and spreads as easily and efficiently as chickenpox, a highly contagious disease.
Dr. Walensky told CNN: “I think people need to understand that we’re not crying wolf here. This is serious,” going on to add, “It’s one of the most transmissible viruses we know about. Measles, chickenpox, this — they’re all up there.”
To emphasize the urgency of a muscular response, Dr. Walensky insists, “The measures we need to get this under control — they’re extreme. The measures you need are extreme.”