Spring 2021 COVID 19

Spring 2021 COVID 19

Spring 2021 COVID 19

Spring 2021 COVID 19

2,477,878 COVID Deaths Worldwide

March 21: 114,365,615 cases; 2,536,762 deaths worldwide

511,133 COVID Deaths USA

March 21: 29,202,824 cases; 524,669 deaths in the US

% Vaccinated in the USA

March 21: 14.6% at least once; 7.1% both

Spring 2021 COVID 19

AstraZeneca

Announcement

March 22, 2021: in a late-stage study in the United States found that AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine provided strong protection against sickness and eliminated hospitalizations and deaths from the disease across all age groups.

AstraZeneca said its experts did not identify any safety concerns related to the vaccine, including finding no increased risk of rare blood clots identified in Europe.

Although AstraZeneca’s vaccine has been authorized in more than 50 countries, it has not yet been given the green light in the U.S. — and has struggled to gain public trust amid a troubled rollout. The study comprised more than 30,000 volunteers, of whom two-thirds were given the vaccine while the rest got dummy shots. [AP article]

Take Back

March 23: the following day, American federal health officials said that test results from a U.S. trial of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine may have included “outdated information” and that could mean the company provided an incomplete view of efficacy data, .

A spokesman from the drug company said Tuesday it was “looking into it.” [AP article]

Update

March 24: AstraZeneca insisted that its COVID-19 vaccine was strongly effective even after counting additional illnesses in its disputed U.S. study.

The drugmaker said it had recalculated data from that study and concluded the vaccine is 76% effective in preventing symptomatic COVID-19, instead of the 79% it had reported earlier in the week. [AP article]

Spring 2021 COVID 19

2,758,733 COVID Deaths Worldwide

March 24: 125,540,591 cases; 2,758,733 deaths worldwide

558,422 COVID Deaths USA

March 24: 30,704,292 cases; 558,422 deaths in the US

% Vaccinated in the USA

March 24: 25.3 % at least once; 13.7 % fully

Vaccine Glut

March 26: vaccine manufacturers had been steadily increasing their output, and states had snapped up new doses as quickly as the government could deliver them. but officials expected the supply of vaccines to outstrip U.S. demand by mid-May, if not sooner, and were grappling with what to do with looming surpluses . [NYT article]

Infection Curve Plateau, But…

March 26: States raced to vaccinate as many people as possible as the United States’ coronavirus infection curve continued its plateau for a third week at more than 55,000 new cases per day, a level that health experts warned could rapidly escalate into a new wave.

That prospect added further urgency to vaccination efforts, even as some states appeared confident that their inoculation levels justified loosening restrictions.

At least 31 states had pledged to make vaccines universally available to their adult populations by mid-April, and many more have announced plans to expand eligibility on or before May 1, a goal set by President Biden. Alaska, Mississippi, Utah and West Virginia have already made all adults eligible to receive shots, and some local jurisdictions have also begun vaccinating all adults.

The expansion cames at a critical juncture in the pandemic, with 25 states reporting persistently high infections, according to a New York Times database. Over the previous week, there had been a daily average of 58,579 new cases, about the same as the average two weeks earlier. [NYT article]

Spring 2021 COVID 19

2,758,733 COVID Deaths Worldwide

March 28: 127,863,603 cases; 2,797,663 deaths worldwide

562,526 COVID Deaths USA

March 28: 30,962,803 cases; 562,526 deaths in the US

% Vaccinated in the USA

March 28: 27.6 % at least once; 15.1 % fully

Spring 2021 COVID 19

WHO Report

March 29: according to a draft copy obtained by The Associated Press, a joint WHO-China study on the origins of COVID-19 said that transmission of the virus from bats to humans through another animal is the most likely scenario and that a lab leak is “extremely unlikely,”

The findings offer little new insight into how the virus first emerged and leave many questions unanswered, though that was as expected. But the report does provide more detail on the reasoning behind the researchers’ conclusions. The team proposed further research in every area except the lab leak hypothesis. [AP article]

Spring 2021 COVID 19

Pfizer effective with young

March 31: the companies reported that the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid vaccine is extremely effective in adolescents 12 to 15 years old, perhaps even more so than in adults. No infections were found among children who received the vaccine in a recent clinical trial; they produced strong antibody responses and experienced no serious side effects. [NYT article]

Vaccine production error

March 31: workers at a plant run by Emergent BioSolutions in Baltimore manufacturing two coronavirus vaccines accidentally conflated the ingredients several weeks ago, contaminating up to 15 million doses of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine and forcing regulators to delay authorization of the plant’s production lines.

Emergent BioSolutions is a manufacturing partner to both Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca, the British-Swedish company whose vaccine had yet to be authorized for use in the United States. Federal officials attributed the mistake to human error.

The mix-up has delayed future shipments of Johnson & Johnson doses in the United States while the Food and Drug Administration investigated what occurred. Johnson & Johnson moved to strengthen its control over Emergent BioSolutions’ work to avoid additional quality lapses. [NYT article]

2,827,559 COVID Deaths Worldwide

March 31: 129,464,126 cases; 2,827,559 deaths worldwide

565,256 COVID Deaths USA

March 31: 31,166,344 cases; 565,256 deaths in the US

% Vaccinated in the USA

March 31: 29.4% at least once; 16.4 % fully

Spring 2021 COVID 19

US Case Increase

April 5: United States coronavirus cases increased again after hitting a low point late in late March and some of the states driving the upward trend have also been hit hardest by variants, according to an analysis of data from Helix, a lab testing company.

The country’s vaccine rollout had sped up since the first doses were administered in December, recently reaching a rolling average of more than three million doses per day. And new U.S. cases trended steeply downward in the first quarter of the year, falling by almost 80 percent from mid-January through the end of March.

But during that period, states also rolled back virus control measures, and now mobility data shows a rise in people socializing and traveling. Amid all this, more-contagious variants have been gaining a foothold, and new cases are almost 20 percent higher than they were at the lowest point in March.

2,876,102 COVID Deaths Worldwide

April 5: 132,529,221 cases; 2,876,102 deaths worldwide

569,282 COVID Deaths USA

April 5: 31,496,976 cases; 569,282 deaths in the US

% Vaccinated in the USA

April 5: 32% at least once; 18.5 % fully

Spring 2021 COVID 19

April 12: the virus was again surging in parts of the United States, but it was a picture with dividing lines: ominous figures in the Northeast and Upper Midwest, but largely not in the South.

Experts were unsure what explained the split, which did not correspond to vaccination levels. Some pointed to warmer weather in the Sun Belt, while others suspect that decreased testing was muddying the virus’s true footprint. [NYT article]

2,958,324 COVID Deaths Worldwide

April 12: 137,249,434 cases; 2,958,324 deaths worldwide

569,282 COVID Deaths USA

April 12: 31,990,143 cases; 576,298 deaths in the US

% Vaccinated in the USA

April 12: 35.9% at least once; 21.9 % fully

Spring 2021 COVID 19

J & J paused

April 13: federal health agencies called for an immediate pause in use of Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose coronavirus vaccine after six recipients in the United States developed a rare disorder involving blood clots within about two weeks of vaccination, officials briefed on the decision said.

All six recipients were women between the ages of 18 and 48. One woman died and a second woman in Nebraska was hospitalized in critical condition, the officials said. [NYT article]

Three Million Deaths

April 17: according to a New York Times database, the world’s Covid-19 death toll surpassed three million. More than 100,000 people had died of Covid-19 in France. The death rate was inching up in Michigan. Morgues in some Indian cities were overflowing with corpses.

And as the United States and other rich nations raced to vaccinate their populations, new hot spots had emerged in parts of Asia, Eastern Europe, and Latin America.

The global pace of deaths was accelerating, too. After the coronavirus emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan, the pandemic claimed a million lives in nine months. It took another four months to kill its second million, and just three months to kill a million more. [NYT article]

3,023,317 COVID Deaths Worldwide

April 17: 141,286,944 cases; 3,023,317 deaths worldwide

580,756 COVID Deaths USA

April 17: 32,361,280 cases; 580,756 deaths in the US

% Vaccinated in the USA

April 17: 38.5% at least once; 24.3 % fully

Spring 2021 COVID 19

3,071,080 COVID Deaths Worldwide

April 21: 144,432,576 cases; 3,071,080 deaths worldwide

580,756 COVID Deaths USA

April 21: 32,602,051 cases; 583,330 deaths in the US

% Vaccinated in the USA

April 21: 40.5% at least once; 33.8 % fully

India

April 22: the NY Times reported that India’s rapidly worsening coronavirus outbreak had expanded on a scale beyond any previously measured in more than a year of the pandemic: The health ministry reported 312,731 new infections, the most recorded in any country on a single day.

India’s total eclipsed the previous one-day high of 300,669 recorded coronavirus cases, set in the United States on January 8, according to a New York Times database, though differences in testing levels from country to country, and a widespread lack of tests early in the pandemic, make comparisons difficult.

Over the past two months, the outbreak in India had exploded, with reports of superspreader gatherings, oxygen shortages and ambulances lined up outside hospitals because there were no ventilators for new patients.

J & J Pause Lifted

April 23: the Food and Drug Administration announced that use of the one-shot Johnson & Johnson Covid vaccine could resume with a warning added to its label about the risk for a rare blood-clotting disorder that has occurred among young women.

The F.D.A. decided against limiting the vaccine’s use by age or gender, although some European countries had imposed such restrictions on a vaccine made by AstraZeneca because of a similar clotting disorder. [NYT article]

A Billion Shots

April 25:  the world’s seven-day average of new cases hit 774,404, according to a New York Times database. That was a jump of 15 percent from two weeks earlier, and higher than the peak average of 740,390 during the global surge of January 2021.

Despite the number of shots given around the world — more than one billion, according to a New York Times tracker — far from enough of the world’s estimated population of nearly eight billion had been vaccinated to slow the virus’s steady spread.

And vaccinations had been highly concentrated in wealthy nations: 82 percent of shots worldwide have been given in high- and upper-middle-income countries, according to data compiled by the Our World in Data project at the University of Oxford. Only 0.2 percent of doses have been administered in low-income countries. [NYT article]

Spring 2021 COVID 19

3,122,449 COVID Deaths Worldwide

April 25: 147,780,802 cases; 3,122,449 deaths worldwide

580,756 COVID Deaths USA

April 25: 32,824,389 cases; 586,152 deaths in the US

% Vaccinated in the USA

April 25: 41.8% at least once; 35.9 % adults fully

Spring 2021 COVID 19

April 30: Worldwide, the number of new coronavirus cases had shot upward since the beginning of March, more than doubling in two months. For the past two weeks, new global cases had exceeded their previous high point in early January. The average daily rate of new cases had been above 800,000 for more than a week.

The increase in cases was largely being driven by the uncontrolled outbreak in India, where new cases had risen sharply for the past month and showed no signs of abating. A seven-day rolling average of new daily cases in the nation exceeded 357,000, a more than fivefold increase since April 1. [NYT article]

3,193,246 COVID Deaths Worldwide

April 25: 151,999,293 cases; 3,193,246 deaths worldwide

590,055 COVID Deaths USA

April 25: 33,103,974 cases; 590,055 deaths in the US

% Vaccinated in the USA

April 25: 43.3% at least once; 38.4 % adults fully

Spring 2021 COVID 19

No Global Herd Immunity

May 9: experts said that the COVID virus was changing too quickly, new more contagious variants were spreading too easily, and vaccinations were happening too slowly for herd immunity to be within reach anytime soon.

That meant if the virus continued to run rampant through much of the world, it was well on its way to becoming endemic, an ever-present threat.

According to Dr. David Heymann, a professor of infectious disease epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, virus variants were tearing through places where people gathered in large numbers with few or no pandemic protocols, like wearing masks and distancing. [NYT article]

3,306,564 COVID Deaths Worldwide

May  9: 158,959,801 cases; 3,306,564 deaths worldwide

595,812 COVID Deaths USA

May 9: 33,476,781 cases; 595,812 deaths in the US

% Vaccinated in the USA

May 9: 45.6% at least once; 43.2 % adults fully

Spring 2021 COVID 19

12- to 15-Year-Olds

May 10:  the Food and Drug Administration authorized use of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine for 12- to 15-year-olds in the United States, a crucial step in the nation’s steady recovery from the pandemic and a boon to millions of American families eager for a return to normalcy. [NYT article

Spring 2021 COVID 19

Masks Off!

May 13: CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky announced that fully vaccinated adults could safely resume activities indoors or outdoors without masks or distancing, in gatherings large or small. The announcement marked a major milestone in the effort to emerge from the coronavirus pandemic in the United States.

“You can do things you stopped doing because of the pandemic,” Walensky said.

The new policy was based on recent real-world studies from Israel and the U.S. on people who’ve been vaccinated, she said. [NPR story]

India

May 12:  authorities announced that India had recorded 4,529 Covid-19 deaths on May 11, the pandemic’s highest single daily death toll in any country so far as the virus spread into the country’s vast hinterlands.

The previous deadliest day for a single country was recorded in the United States in January, when 4,468 people died.

Many experts believed the true number of deaths and infections in India, a country of 1.4 billion people, was even higher, and evidence had emerged across the country of large numbers of people dying from Covid who had not been officially counted.

India reported 267,000 new cases on May 11, pushing the official case tally past 25 million, with more than 280,000 deaths. [NYT story]

Spring 2021 COVID 19

3,513,719 COVID Deaths Worldwide

May  25: 169,074,090 cases; 3,306,564 deaths worldwide

595,812 COVID Deaths USA

May 25: 33,971,207 cases; 606,179 deaths in the US

% Vaccinated in the USA

May 25: 49.5% at least once; 50 % adults fully

Biden Orders Inquiry

May 26: President Biden ordered U.S. intelligence agencies to investigate the origins of the coronavirus, indicating that his administration took seriously the possibility that the deadly virus was accidentally leaked from a lab, in addition to the prevailing theory that it was transmitted by an animal to humans outside a lab.

In a statement, Mr. Biden made it clear that the C.I.A. and other intelligence agencies had not yet reached a consensus on how the virus, which prompted a pandemic and had killed almost 600,000 Americans, originated in China. He directed them to report back to him in 90 days.

“I have now asked the intelligence community to redouble their efforts to collect and analyze information that could bring us closer to a definitive conclusion,” the president said. [NYT article]

EU/Digital Covid Certificate System

June 1: a digital Covid certificate system that would facilitate travel within the European Union became operational in seven countries previewing what could become a standard for post-pandemic global mobility.

The document, known as a digital green certificate, records whether people have been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, recovered from the virus or tested negative within 72 hours. Travelers could move freely if at least one of those three criteria was met.

Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Croatia and Poland made the certificates available to their citizens on June 1 and accepted them for visitors. The European Commission, the bloc’s administrative branch, said the system would be used in all 27 E.U. countries as of July 1. [NYT article]

Spring 2021 COVID 19

World Surge

Malaysia

June 1: authorities in Malaysia barred people from venturing more than about six miles from home. Covid-19 patients were spilling into the hallways of overcrowded hospitals in Argentina. In Nepal, 40 percent of coronavirus tests were positive, suggesting that the virus was racing through the population.

All three nations were experiencing their worst coronavirus outbreaks since the start of the pandemic, joining countries across Asia and South America where infections had surged to record levels — a stark counterpoint to the optimism felt in the United States as summer dawned.

Deep into the second year of the pandemic, the emergence of coronavirus variants and the global gaps in access to vaccines had plunged parts of the world back into the anxious stages of Covid-19. Argentina, Malaysia South Africa and others reimposed lockdowns. Thailand and Taiwan, which kept the virus in check for much of 2020,  closed schools and nightspots in the face of new waves. [NYT article]

3,762,368 COVID Deaths Worldwide

June 8: 174,735,684 cases; 3,762,368 deaths worldwide

613,052 COVID Deaths USA

June 8: 34,242,866 cases; 613,052 deaths in the US

% Vaccinated in the USA

June 8: 51.6% at least once; 53 % adults fully

Africa Vaccinations Poor

June 9: in the global race to vaccinate people against COVID-19, Africa was far behind.

In South Africa, which had the continent’s most robust economy and its biggest coronavirus caseload, just 0.8% of the population was fully vaccinated, according to a worldwide tracker kept by Johns Hopkins University. And hundreds of thousands of the country’s health workers, many of whom come face-to-face with the virus every day, were still waiting for their shots. [AP story]

G7 Vaccine Committment

June 10: world leaders from the Group of Seven industrialized nations committed  at least 1 billion coronavirus shots with struggling countries around the world — half the doses coming from the U.S. and 100 million from the U.K. [AP article]

Vaccine Requirement Upheld

June 12: U.S. District Judge Lynn N. Hughes, in the Southern District of Texas,  dismissed a lawsuit brought by employees of Houston Methodist Hospital who had challenged the hospital’s coronavirus vaccination requirement.  The Hughes said that the hospital’s decision to mandate inoculations for its employees was consistent with public policy.

And he rejected a claim by Jennifer Bridges, a nurse and the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit, that the vaccines available for use in the United States were experimental and dangerous.

The hospital’s employees are not participants in a human trial,” Judge Hughes wrote. “Methodist is trying to do their business of saving lives without giving them the Covid-19 virus. It is a choice made to keep staff, patients and their families safer.” [NYT article]

3,819,429 COVID Deaths Worldwide

June 13: 176,707,690 cases; 3,819,429 deaths worldwide

615,053 COVID Deaths USA

June 13: 34,321,158 cases; 615,053 deaths in the US

% Vaccinated in the USA

June 13: 51.9% at least once; 53.4 % adults fully

 

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