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 237 million coronavirus cases over 4.8 million deaths. Russia, Ukraine, and Romania are currently leading the world with the most new cases reported in the last 24 hours. Those same countries, along with Mexico, lead the world with the most coronavirus-related deaths in the last 24 hours.
Although the overall numbers are still among the worst globally, the US saw a decline of nearly 35% in new cases over the last month.
States with low vaccination rates are seeing a surge of new infections among children. The medical journal Pediatrics released a study saying 120,000 children have lost a parent or caretaker to COVID from April 2020 to June 2021.
US COVID deaths surpassed 700,000 as the week opened. The US maintains the highest national coronavirus death count across the planet. Nearly a quarter of all Americans over the age of 18 remain unvaccinated. Tens of millions included among that count are first-line responders among police and healthcare workers. COVID19 was the leading cause of police officer deaths in the line of duty last year, nearly doubling the number killed by gun violence.
Alaska is now experiencing the worst of the US COVID crisis. Doctors are prioritizing treatment among patients based upon the likelihood of survival.
California announced once the FDA approves, the state will require coronavirus vaccinations for all students K-12. That requirement could come as early as next fall. The Los Angeles City Council approved the strictest vaccine mandates in the US this week. People entering indoor public spaces will be required to show proof of vaccines.
President Biden appealed to private companies to continue mandating vaccines for their employees. The President has called on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to draft a new rule making vaccines mandatory. Meanwhile, lawmakers in Arkansas passed a bill to limit the power of employers to mandate vaccines.
A federal government report said vaccines among Medicare patients prevented around 39,000 deaths between January and May among people over age 65.
Johnson & Johnson announced plans to seek FDA approval for its booster after studies showed the company’s vaccine was only 71% effective against hospitalizations.
A new study showed the Pfizer vaccine remains 90% effective in preventing coronavirus-related death or hospitalization six months after a person is vaccinated. Pfizer and BioNTech asked the FDA to approve its vaccine for use among children ages 5-11. A new study found that the efficacy of the Pfizer vaccine weakens quicker in men than in women
Moderna announced plans to build a vaccine factory in Africa. Finland, Sweden, and Denmark announced a pause in the use of Moderna’s vaccine among young people in those countries due to rare side effects.
The European Union health regulator recommended a booster for people over age 18.
The head of the United Nations called global vaccine inequity not only “immoral, but stupid.” Warning that vaccine inequity will give rise to more variants and more deaths, Antonio Guterres called for $8 billion in funds to ensure vaccines could be equally distributed across the planet.
Pandemic Headlines from Around the World This Week
- South Korea and Singapore set records for new infections this week despite high vaccination rates in both countries.
- Vietnam lifted its stay-at-home order last week, triggering a wave of tens of thousands of workers leaving Ho Chi Minh City to return to their homes. Authorities are now bracing for a potential surge as these travelers from Ho Chi Minh City to Vietnam’s countryside could carry the coronavirus with them.
- Israel announced the country will now require a booster shot for people to reach fully vaccinated status.
- Northwestern Syria is facing an unprecedented surge of new infections.
- Ellume, a maker of at home rapid tests for coronavirus, recalled nearly 200,000 units on concerns of false positives.
- India reported its lowest new case and death counts since March.
- Canada’s government announced a requirement that all federal workers be vaccinated by the end of October or face unpaid medical leave.
- France will begin charging unvaccinated people for coronavirus testing.
- Britain announced it would substantially ease international travel restrictions. Quarantine restricted for 47 countries traveling to Britain will be removed on Monday.