COVID-19 STATS FOR November 7, 2021
Debra Schrishuhn for PDA National Staff
**Still 37 countries report more than one million cases of COVID-19, with the remainder being, Colombia, Italy, Germany, Indonesia, , Mexico, Ukraine, Poland, South Africa, Philippines, Malaysia, Peru, Netherlands, Iraq, Thailand, Czechia, Canada (surpassing Japan), Japan, Chile, , Romania, Bangladesh, Belgium, Israel, Pakistan, , Serbia (surpassing Sweden), Sweden, Portugal, and Kazakhstan.
Top Ten states with COVID-19 cases:
- California 4,960,633
- Texas 4,252,114
- Florida 3,659,255
- New York 2,583,875
- Illinois 1,718,384
- Georgia 1,605,752
- Pennsylvania 1,590,139
- Ohio 1,567,834
- N Carolina 1,491,130
- Michigan+ 1,307,187
Top Ten states with COVID-19 deaths:
- California 72,671
- Texas 72,235
- Florida 60,334
- New York 56,225
- Pennsylvania 31,898
- Illinois 28,832
- Georgia 28,430
- New Jersey 28,080
- Ohio 25,067
- Michigan++ 23,951
+ Michigan surpasses Tennessee. Still 14 states post more than 1M cases, the remainder being Tennessee, New Jersey, Arizona, and Indiana.
++Now 24 states with more than 10K COVID-19 deaths, the remainder being Arizona, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Indiana, Tennessee, Alabama, Louisiana, Virginia, South Carolina, Missouri, Maryland, Oklahoma, Mississippi, and newcomer Kentucky.
The Guardian, 11/7: The chief executive of NHS Providers has described how he believes the Covid pandemic will soon be considered endemic and “draconian” lockdowns should be avoided.
Chris Hopson told Times Radio: I think all of us in the NHS recognise that we are now moving from a situation of a pandemic towards an endemic where we need to live with Covid. Everybody in the NHS absolutely recognises that it’s our job to cope as best we can with Covid pressures, without resorting to the very draconian lockdowns that we’ve had to go through before. He added NHS staff recognise the “impact” of jabs as vaccinated people are less likely to be admitted to hospital or die. “The NHS needs to do absolutely everything it can to avoid having to call on measures to restrict social contact because of the impact of those measures,” he said.
Long waiting times in emergency departments in England are becoming normal, with some patients spending days in A&E wards before they can be moved into other hospital beds, emergency physicians have warned, my colleagues James Tapper and Toby Helm write.
Leaders of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine (RCEM) and the Society for Acute Medicine (SAM) said that some hospitals had effectively run out of space, meaning patients could not receive the right care until a bed became free. NHS figures for September show that 5,025 patients waited for more than 12 hours to be admitted to hospital in England. That is only 1% of the 506,916 admitted via A&Es, but it is more than 10 times as many as the 458 waiting more than 12 hours in September 2019 and nearly twice as many as the January peak of 2,847.
Covid infections in Germany have risen sharply again, with 23,543 new cases reported within one day. The nationwide seven-day incidence also increased significantly, with the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) saying on Sunday the number of new infections per 100,000 inhabitants now stands at 191.5. The previous day the incidence was 183.7, and a week ago it was 149.4. Last month it had been 62.6.
On Friday, the number of new infections reached 37,120, a record high since the pandemic began. A week ago, 16,887 new cases were recorded. 37 new deaths were recorded across Germany within 24 hours. A week ago there were 33 deaths.
The number of patients admitted to clinics with Covid-19 per 100,000 inhabitants over the past seven days – the most important parameter for a possible tightening of the country’s coronavirus restrictions – was 3.91 on Friday and has not been updated since. On Thursdy, it had been 3.73. The previous high was around 15.5 during last year’s Christmas period.
Reuters, 11/6: “A U.S. federal appeals court issued a stay Saturday freezing the Biden administration’s efforts to require workers at U.S. companies with at least 100 employees be vaccinated against COVID-19 or be tested weekly, citing ‘grave statutory and constitutional’ issues with the rule.”
Reuters, 11/6: The United States has administered 429,442,508 doses of COVID-19 vaccines in the country as of Saturday morning and distributed 533,019,545 doses, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. Those figures are up from the 428,006,540 vaccine doses administered by Nov. 4, out of 531,287,645 doses delivered, the CDC said. The agency said 223,245,121 people had received at least one dose, while 193,627,929 people were fully vaccinated as of 6:00 a.m. ET on Saturday. The CDC tally includes two-dose vaccines from Moderna (MRNA.O) and Pfizer/BioNTech (PFE.N), , as well as Johnson & Johnson’s (JNJ.N) one-shot vaccine.
New York Times, 11/6: “Despite many signals that things are improving — the stock market is hitting record highs, hiring is accelerating sharply with 531,000 jobs added in October, workers are earning more, and Covid hospitalizations and deaths are dropping from their autumn peaks — many Americans seem stuck in a pandemic hangover of pessimism. More than 60 percent of voters in opinion surveys say that the country is heading in the wrong direction — a national funk that has pummeled Mr. Biden’s approval ratings and fueled a backlash against Democrats that could cost them control of Congress in next year’s midterm elections.”
Wall Street Journal, 11/6: Attorneys general in 11 states are suing the Biden administration to try to stop new rules that require employers with more than 100 workers to ensure their employees are vaccinated against Covid-19 or get a weekly test.
BBC, 11/6: Europe is once again “at the epicentre” of the Covid pandemic, the World Health Organization (WHO) has warned, as cases soar across the continent.
At a press conference WHO Europe head Hans Kluge said the continent could see half a million more deaths by February. He blamed insufficient vaccine take-up for the rise. “We must change our tactics, from reacting to surges of Covid-19 to preventing them from happening in the first place,” he said.
The rate of vaccination has slowed across the continent in recent months. While some 80% of people in Spain are double jabbed, in Germany it is as low as 66% – and far lower in some Eastern European countries. Only 32% of Russians were fully vaccinated by October 2021.
Mr Kluge also blamed a relaxation of public health measures for rising infections in the WHO’s European region, which covers 53 countries including parts of Central Asia. So far the WHO has recorded 1.4 million deaths across the region. The WHO’s technical lead on Covid-19, Maria Van Kerkhove, said over the past four weeks cases across Europe had soared over 55%, despite an “ample supply of vaccines and tools”, and colleague Dr Mike Ryan said Europe’s experience was a “warning shot for the world”.
It came as Germany recorded more than 37,000 daily Covid cases on Friday, a record high for the second day running. The incidence rate per 100,000 people is now higher than it was in April, at 169,9, but well below the level in the UK.
German public health officials are worried that a fourth wave of infection could lead to a large number of deaths and pressure on the health system. In the past 24 hours 154 deaths have been recorded, up from 121 a week ago. Lothar Wieler of Germany’s RKI institute spoke on Thursday of terrifying numbers. “If we don’t take counter-measures now, this fourth wave will bring yet more suffering,” he said. Among the many Germans who have not been vaccinated are more than three million over-60s, seen at particular risk. But as Hans Kluge pointed out, the surge in cases is not confined to Germany.
The most dramatic rises in fatalities have been in the past week in Russia, where more than 8,100 deaths were recorded, and Ukraine, with 3,800 deaths. Both countries have very low rates of vaccination and Ukraine announced a record 27,377 new cases in the past 24 hours.
Romania recorded its highest number of deaths in 24 hours this week at 591 while in Hungary, daily Covid infections have more than doubled in the past week to 6,268. Mask-wearing is only required on public transport and in hospitals. “At the moment we seem to be hell-bent on a course that says the pandemic is over, we just need to vaccinate a few more people. That is not the case,” said Dr Ryan, who called for every country to plug the holes in their response.
This week the Dutch government said it would reimpose mask-wearing and social distancing in many public settings as it emerged that hospital admissions had gone up 31% in a week.
Croatia recorded 6,310 new cases on Thursday, its highest number so far. Slovakia has reported its second highest number of cases and Czech infections have returned to levels last seen in spring.
England’s deputy chief medical officer Prof Jonathan Van-Tam said on Wednesday that too many people believed the pandemic was over.
However, in countries with the highest vaccination rates, infection rates are still relatively low.
Italy has one of the highest vaccination rates for over-12s but even here new cases are up 16.6% in the past week.
Portuguese infections have risen above 1,000 for the first time since September. Spain is one of the few countries not to see a rise in transmission with 2,287 cases reported on Wednesday.
Oregon Public Broadcasting, 11/6: Early in 2017, a team of medical personnel, including doctors, nurses and volunteers, returned home to Florida after volunteering at a clinic in Haiti. Soon after their return, 20 members of the team began to feel a bit under the weather. “They had a slight fever and didn’t feel 100% right,” said virologist John Lednicky at the University of Florida. “But they weren’t very sick.”
At the time, Zika virus was circulating in Haiti, and health officials were worried the travelers might have been infected, potentially importing the mosquito-borne illness to Florida. So officials took urine samples from each traveler and asked Lednicky to test for Zika. Lednicky ran the standard PCR tests for the virus, and they all came back negative. But he wasn’t satisfied. He had a hunch that the urine samples did contain a virus — not Zika but something else.
So he took a little bit of the urine from six of the travelers and added it to a special solution of monkey cells. The goal was deceptively simple: to see if any viruses in the urine would infect the monkey cells, start replicating and grow to detectable levels. Then Lednicky could collect the virus’s genes and identify it. “This is what we do in our lab,” Lednicky said. “We cast a wide net. We try to isolate viruses. And oftentimes, when we do that, the unexpected happens.”
Indeed, the unexpected occurred. “We found a coronavirus,” he said. And not just any coronavirus, but one that many scientists believe may be a new human pathogen — likely the 8th coronavirus known to cause disease in people. Turns out, this coronavirus in the Haiti travelers has cropped up previously, on the other side of the globe.
Back in May, scientists at Duke University, reported they had detected a nearly identical virus coronavirus in children at a Malaysian hospital. The researchers found the virus in the upper respiratory tract of 3% of the 301 patients they tested in 2017 and 2018. The genetic sequence of the Malaysian virus suggested it likely originated in dogs and then jumped into people. “The majority of the genome was canine coronavirus,” virologist Anastasia Vlasova told NPR in May.
Although the findings sounded alarming, the researchers had no evidence that the virus could spread between people or that it was widespread around the world. “These human infections with … canine coronaviruses appear to be isolated incidents which did not lead to extensive human transmission,” virologist Vincent Racaniello wrote on the Virology Blog.
Now Lednicky and his colleagues have found an almost identical virus infecting people 11,000 miles away– at the same time. The genetic sequence of the virus in Haiti is 99.4% identical to the one in Malaysia. Lednicky and his colleagues reported this past Sunday in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases.
And the big question is: How does a dog virus in Malaysia wind up in doctors and nurses in Haiti? “The virus probably circulates widely, but no one has paid attention to it,” Lednicky said. He suspects it’s all over the world. And if you’ve been around dogs frequently you might have been infected with this virus — or developed an immunity to it by exposure to similar virus. “We’ll know when scientists start looking for antibodies inside older blood samples taken from patients with respiratory disease. How many of them were misdiagnosed all along?”
Some scientists also think doctors and researchers should start actively looking for this virus in patients. “I think that’s important for several reasons,” said virologist Linda Saif at Ohio State University, who has studied coronaviruses for about 40 years. “No. 1, this virus has been associated with a number of pneumonia cases in children, and no. 2, we really don’t know if it can transmit from human to human,” she added. The fact that scientists detected the almost-identical viruses in both Haiti and Malaysia, at the same time, suggests the virus does spread between people, Saif said. “There’s a temporal sequence here. These two viruses — which are very, very similar — have been detected in a similar time frame but in widely separated regions of the world,” she explained. That could happen if a nearly-identical virus was circulating in dogs in both Haiti and Malaysia and then jumped over to people in both countries during the same year. “I would be very surprised if that happened,” Saif said.
The second hypothesis is that the virus is circulating in people, at low levels, in many parts of the world, under the radar. “That hypothesis is more likely,” Saif said. If that hypothesis turns out to be true, this canine coronavirus will be the eighth coronavirus known to spread among humans.
On the surface, these new findings sound like horrible news. The last thing the world needs right now is another coronavirus that may trigger pneumonia in children. But Jonna Mazet says it’s actually good news because it means scientists have caught this virus before it has caused a big problem. “The very exciting part is that people are starting to do virus discovery and characterization, even when large groups of people aren’t dying and or getting severely ill, which is how most virus discovery has happened in the past,” said Mazet, who’s an epidemiologist at the University of California, Davis and the founding executive director of the One Health Institute there.
By finding this virus early, scientists now have time to study it, create tools to diagnose it and understand what it might take to stop it. Although it’s not a cause for deep concern at this time, there’s always the risk the virus could evolve over time and become a bigger problem, Mazet says, as was likely the case with SARS-CoV-2. “Almost certainly, SARS-CoV-2 was circulating for quite some time and making people either a tiny bit sick or not sick enough to be noticed,” she said. If scientists had detected it at this stage, perhaps the world would have had time to develop a test for it, some promising treatments and even a preliminary vaccine. Perhaps the pandemic would have taken a much different — perhaps less deadly course.
“We need to find these novel viruses well before they fully adapt to humans and become a pandemic problem,” wrote epidemiologist Gregory Gray, from the University of Texas Medical Branch, in an email to NPR. “Fortunately, today we have the tools to both detect and evaluate the risk of such novel viruses. We just need the political will and financial support to do so.”
USA Today, 11/5: A new drug being developed by Pfizer offers the possibility of nearly putting an end to deaths from COVID-19. When given within five days of the onset of symptoms, the antiviral therapy, called Paxlovid, prevented almost 90% of deaths from COVID-19 compared with a placebo, a Pfizer study found. By the end of the year, the company plans to complete two other studies of the pill, which is given twice a day for five days. Pfizer plans to submit the study data as part of its rolling submission to the Food and Drug Administration as soon as possible.
It’s not yet clear how much the treatment would cost or how many doses could rapidly be made available, assuming it receives clearance from regulatory agencies. Pfizer’s pill compares favorably with a similar one being developed by Merck and Ridgeback Biotherapeutics that cut in half the hospitalization and death rate for COVID-19.
Electoral-vote.com, 11/5: The Friday suits, which come from the state of Florida and the website The Daily Wire are a preemptive effort to stop the White House from imposing a vaccination mandate on businesses with 100 or more employees, currently set to take effect after the holiday season.
This question, it should be noted, is already a settled question of law. In a 7-2 decision in Jacobson v. Massachusetts (1905), the Supreme Court declared that individual liberty is not absolute, and that vaccine mandates are acceptable as part of the police power of the state.
It could be that Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) and Daily Wire publisher emeritus Ben Shapiro think that conservative judges, and the passage of 116 years, will lead to a reversal. It is doubtful that they think that, however, and if they do, it is doubtful they are correct. This issue has come up over and over again, including several times in the last year, and the courts have consistently stuck with Jacobson. It is considerably more likely that this is just a cheap ploy for attention, to drive donors and voters in DeSantis’ direction and new subscribers in Shapiro’s direction. Since both men are skilled in executing cheap ploys for attention, this would be consistent with their usual modus operandi. (Z)
The Economist, 11/5: “Most office workers remain steadfastly ‘remote-first,’ spending most of their paid time out of the office. Even though a large share of people have little choice but to physically go to work, 40% of all American working hours are still now spent at home.”
Wall Street Journal, 11/4: “Many employers will have to ensure by Jan. 4 that their workers are vaccinated or tested weekly for Covid-19 under a set of new vaccine requirements by the Biden administration that will cover more than 80 million employees,”
Electoral-vote.com, 11/3: New York City mandated that all city employees, excepting those who applied for and received exemptions, were required to be vaccinated by last Friday. The leaders of the city’s five police unions engaged in much gnashing of teeth and rending of garments, warning that up to 10,000 officers might refuse and be suspended, thus turning the city into a playground for criminals (imagine the worst scenes from the “Batman” movies). As it turns out, that estimate was a wee bit high. As it turns out, the number of officers who have thus far been suspended for vaccine refusal is…34.
Slowly but surely, vaccine resistance is becoming impractical for most people, particularly as the Biden administration prepares to issue new, more expansive vaccination requirements that decree that any workplace with more than 100 employees must require the shot and/or frequent testing. Being unvaccinated is going to become similar to something like having leprosy. Maybe it works out OK if you live in a leper colony like Florida, but it’s going to limit your job options, not to mention your ability to travel on planes and boats, and your ability to visit certain kinds of venues, and possibly your ability to get health insurance. It’s one thing to accept the loss of one’s job, but another thing to permanently damage one’s ability to be a functional member of society. It would appear that approximately 9,966 NYC cops thought it over and reached a very similar conclusion. (Z)
Washington Post, 11/3: “The nation Wednesday reached another haunting milestone: 750,000 Americans killed by Covid.”
Political Wire, 11/3: A new Gallup Poll finds 51% of Americans say the coronavirus situation is getting better, up from 20% in September. However, 51% think pandemic disruption will continue throughout 2022.
New York Times, 11/3: “A new study of hundreds of white-tailed deer infected with the coronavirus in Iowa has found that the animals probably are contracting the virus from humans, and then rapidly spreading it among one another, according to researchers. Scientists said the findings pose worrisome implications for the spread of the coronavirus, although they were not able to identify how the deer might have contracted the virus from humans. There is no evidence that deer have passed the virus back to humans.”
New York Times, 11/2: Democrats reached a deal on Tuesday to add a measure to control prescription drug costs to President Biden’s social safety net plan, agreeing to allow the government to negotiate prices for medications covered by Medicare, as the House moved closer to a vote on the sprawling bill. The prescription drug deal is limited. Starting in 2023, negotiations could begin on what Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon called the most expensive drugs — treatments for cancer and rheumatoid arthritis, as well as anticoagulants. Most drugs would still be granted patent exclusivity for five years before negotiations could start, and more advanced drugs, called biologics, would be protected for 12 years. Importantly, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) also announced that she supported the deal.
NBC, 11/2: Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA). who apologized earlier this year for comparing mask mandates to the Holocaust, ripped “vaccine Nazis” while saying she’s not vaccinated. Said Greene: “They’re ruining our country, these vaccine Nazis.” She added: “I’m sorry. I know I’m using the word Nazi and everybody gets mad when I say it, but that’s exactly what they are.”
Bloomberg, 11/2: Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) warned that surging coronavirus infections among the unvaccinated are bringing the state closer to rationing hospital care “in the next few days,” Bloomberg reports. Said Polis: “It’s the 20% who haven’t been vaccinated that are filling up our hospital wards. We would have none of these hospital capacity issues, or orders would be operative, if everybody was vaccinated.”
Bloomberg, 11/2: “Last year the global economy came juddering to a halt. This year it got moving again, only to become stuck in one of history’s biggest traffic jams. New indicators developed by Bloomberg Economics underscore the extremity of the problem, the world’s failure to find a quick fix, and how in some regions the Big Crunch of 2021 is still getting worse. The research quantifies what’s apparent to the naked eye across much of the planet — in supermarkets with empty shelves, ports where ships are backed up far offshore, or car plants where output is held back by a lack of microchips. Looming over all of these: rising price tags on almost everything.”
The Hill, 11/1: Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) has been reprimanded by the House sergeant-at-arms at least 20 times this year for refusing to wear a mask in the chamber, which has added up to $48,000 worth of associated fines.
Wall Street Journal, 11/1: “Shanghai Disneyland was required to test almost 34,000 people Sunday before visitors could leave the resort, after a woman who had attended the park a day earlier was found to be infected with Covid-19. Sunday’s visitors all tested negative but were ordered to self-isolate for another 24 hours before a second test.”