Health officials in the northeastern United States are reporting daily cases that exceed last winter’s pandemic peak. Hospitalizations are starting to increase slowly but not at the same rate as cases, and there is evidence in South Africa and Europe that the omicron variant, although more transmissible than its predecessors, does not cause as many severe disease cases requiring hospitalization. .
The first case of coronavirus was reported in the United States 703 days ago. The world’s first were reported in December 2019 in Wuhan, although cases circulated for months before the first report.
Cases continue to climb there, as is the case in France, Italy and Canada, although they are declining markedly in Germany, Russia and South Africa.
A senior health official in South Africa said on Wednesday the country had passed the peak of its omicron outbreak. France, by contrast, reported a record 104,611 new cases on Christmas Day, a pandemic record.
Spain, Greece and Italy have all reimposed outer mask requirements for all residents and visitors, regardless of vaccination status, while Switzerland announced that only those with proof of full vaccination or recent recovery could enter restaurants, cafes and indoor event spaces in the future.
Austria imposes a closing time for restaurants at 10 p.m. from December 27. Curfew includes Silvester or New Years Eve.
Meanwhile, several countries in Africa are tightening coronavirus restrictions amid the omicron-fueled outbreak. Twenty-one countries are experiencing a fourth wave of Covid, the African Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said, and three – Algeria, Kenya and Mauritius – are in the midst of a fifth wave.
Air travel in the United States on Christmas Day was significantly lower than pre-pandemic levels in 2019, in part due to the high number of flight cancellations by airlines due to fueled coronavirus outbreaks. by omicron among the crew members.
The U.S. Transportation Security Administration said just over 1.53 million people passed through security checkpoints at airports across the country on Saturday. The figure is higher than 1.12 million on Christmas Day in 2020, but significantly lower than the 2.47 million in 2019.
Finally, the Carnival Freedom, a Carnival cruise ship that had left Miami earlier in the week, was denied entry at two ports of call after reporting a small number of coronavirus cases on board. The ship was eventually cleared to the port of Amber in the Dominican Republic, a spokeswoman for the line, AnneMarie Mathews, said in a statement.
“We are sailing on a Petri dish,” passenger Ashley Peterson told the Washington Post.
“Carnival Freedom follows all protocols and has a small number on board who are isolated due to a positive Covid test,” the Mathews statement read.
Now here are the daily stats for Sunday, December 26.
As of Sunday morning, the world had recorded 279.9 million cases of Covid-19, an increase of 0.4 million new cases and 5.42 million deaths, according to Worldometer, a service that tracks this information. In addition, 250.2 million people worldwide have recovered from the virus, an increase of 0.3 million.
The current number of infections as of Sunday is 24,316,792. Of that number, 99.6%, or 24,228,458, are considered mild, and 0.4%, or 88,334, are listed as critical.
The average daily number of new coronavirus cases in the United States over the past 14 days is 201,330, an increase of 69%. The average number of deaths per day over the same period is 1,345, an increase of 4% over the same period.
In addition, since the start of the pandemic, the United States has recorded 53 million cases on Sunday, a figure higher than any other country, and a death toll of 837,779. India has the second highest number of officially recorded cases globally, just under 34.8 million, and a reported death toll of 479,682. Finally, Brazil has recorded the second highest death toll from the virus, 618,457, and has more than 22 , 2 million cases.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said as of Saturday (no data was updated on Sunday), 241.5 million people in the United States – or 72.7% – had received at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine. Of this population, 61.7%, or 204.7 million people, are now fully vaccinated, and the total number of doses that have been delivered in the United States is now 500.2 million. Breaking down further, 84.9% of the population over the age of 18 – or 219.2 million people – received at least one first vaccination and 72.7% of the same group – or 187.7 million people – are fully vaccinated. In addition, 34.2% of this population, or 64.2 million people, have already received a recall.
The CDC also reported that the omicron variant is now the dominant strain in many parts of the United States, comprising at least 73% of recent cases of Covid on Sunday. In many parts of the country, the new variant accounts for 90% of all cases, he said.
More than 57.4% of the world’s population has received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine, an increase that is largely unchanged from the previous day, according to Our World in Data, an online scientific publication that tracks these. information. So far, 8.96 billion doses of vaccine have been administered worldwide.
Meanwhile, only 8.3% of people in low-income countries received a dose, while in countries like Canada, China, Denmark, France, Italy, the UK and the states – United, at least 65% of the population has received at least one dose of vaccine. In countries like Ethiopia, Haiti, Syria, Senegal, Tanzania and Uganda, for example, vaccination rates remain single-digit or even lower.
Figures from the World Health Organization show that wealthy countries immunize people at the rate of one person per second, while the majority of poor countries have yet to administer a single dose to their citizens.
It is essential that the world does a better job of sharing vaccines with the poorest countries.
Sharing vaccines is not just a form of charity. On the contrary, equitable distribution of vaccines is in the health and economic interests of each country and no country will be able to overcome the pandemic until other countries have recovered as well.
Paul Riegler contributed to this story.
(Photo: Accura Media Group)