A succinct summation of the good, the bad, and the ugly in the global pandemic news this week. This brief pandemic update is featured every week at the End of History. Click on the links for deeper dives into the stories that tell what happened this week in the historic global pandemic of our generation.
At the time of this post, the world has reported more than 231 million coronavirus cases over 4.7 million deaths.
The CEO of Modern said the pandemic could be over in a year. Stephane Bancel said there should be enough vaccines for everyone on the planet by that time, while the unvaccinated would acquire natural immunity due to the rapid spread of the Delta Variant.
Increasing Global Polarization
Violent protests unfolded in Melbourne, Australia, over vaccine mandates. In Canada, a man entered a pharmacy and beat two pharmacists for administering a vaccine to his wife without his consent. In Michigan, a county health director said a woman tried to run him off the road after he supported a facemask mandate. In Japan, a man threatened a “bloodbath” at a vaccination site. In Germany, a gas station attendant was killed after he told a customer to mask up.
Newly reported daily deaths rose by 22% in the US last week, passing 2,000 for the first time since February. US health insurance companies announced that the days of full coverage for COVID-related issues are over. Copays and deductibles for covid treatment have returned. New York City will begin weekly coronavirus testing on all students next week.
New York is concerned about a shortage of healthcare workers beginning Monday when vaccine mandates start. Thousands of healthcare workers could be unable to work due to the vaccine mandates that begin next week. The US had its lowest week of first-dose vaccines since July.
Alaska’s surge in new coronavirus cases continued this week. The state experienced a 42% increase in new cases compared to two weeks ago.
The World Health Organization said it supported the antibody cocktail treatment made by Regeneron. Pfizer announced that a lower dosage of their vaccine is safe for children ages 5 to 11. The Centers of Disease Control & Prevention recommended booster shots for Americans age 65 and over, nursing home residents, and people age 50-64 with underlying conditions that place them in high-risk categories. The director of the CDC overruled an advisory board and recommended Pfizer BioNTech boosters for frontline healthcare workers, teachers, and at-risk workers.
A group of researchers advising the CDC said the Delta surge in the US has peaked. The WHO said the Delta variant is by far the world’s dominant coronavirus strain
The Southern Baptist Convention announced it would require missionaries and their eligible children to be vaccinated. The US Olympics Committee said athletes planning to participate in next year’s winter Olympics will be required to vaccinate. The Mormon church has instructed its members to wear facemasks at all times within the organization’s temples.
Leaders from African nations expressed anger this week at the UN General Assembly gathering as less than 4% of the continent has been fully vaccinated, but wealthy countries like the US are pushing for boosters.
Pandemic Headlines from Around the World This Week
- Cases continued to climb in South Korea. The country set a new daily case record today with 2,434. The surge in South Korea is particularly alarming because 70% of the country is vaccinated with at least one dose.
- Nearly 1 in 4 hospitals treating COVID in Afghanistan have shut down since the US withdrawal, raising concerns of a new surge in the pandemic adding to the troubles in Central Asia.
- A new coronavirus surge is emerging in Syria, where less than 2% of the population has been vaccinated.
- Cases in North Africa, surging during the summer, have reduced drastically.
- India’s health minister announced the country would restart its massive vaccine export initiative in October.
- Cuba’s health minister announced the country would reach full coronavirus immunization by the end of the year.
- Burundi announced all social events were suspended to combat a surge in new cases in that country. Social events will continue on Saturdays and Sundays in that country.
- Costco is reinstating purchasing limits on items such as toilet paper and bottled water to prevent supply disruptions caused by panic buying.
- Health care workers camped outside the Prime Minister’s office in Poland for the last two weeks demanding more resources to fight against the pandemic.
- Germany announced an end to subsidies for unvaccinated workers who are quarantined.