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 243 million coronavirus cases and over 4.9 million deaths. Russia, Ukraine, and Romania led the world with the most new cases in the last 24 hours for the second week in a row. All three countries also led the world in the highest number of new deaths in the last 24 hours.
Several regions of the world reported new surges in the spread of the virus this week, including in areas that boasted high vaccination rates.
Russia opened the week, breaking a new record for coronavirus deaths in a 24 hour period, along with records for new cases reported in that same time. New cases reported in Russia on Sunday were 70% higher than a month ago. As the country faces a fourth wave of the pandemic, independent demographers say the official new case and death counts from the pandemic are, in fact, too low. Top researchers in Russia, dismissed by the government, say Russia’s real coronavirus numbers are much worse than what the government of Vladimir Putin is reporting. Daily new case totals and deaths broke records nearly every day this week in Russia. On Thursday, the government announced new restrictions, including canceling work schedules from October 30-November 7.
The World Health Organization warned the pandemic would drag on deep into 2022.
New cases in the northern US appear to be rising as temperatures fall with the onset of the autumn months. Minnesota’s governor called up the National Guard to help ease crowding in hospitals. Researchers once again warn of a twin pandemic this winter as coronavirus cases merge with flu outbreaks.
Following the death of fully vaccinated former Secretary of State Colin Powell, national attention turned to the rising numbers of breakthrough deaths. Breakthrough deaths are covid deaths among fully vaccinated individuals. A study in the New York Times among 40 states found that fully vaccinated people accounted for .2 to 6 percent of coronavirus deaths. There have been 7,178 coronavirus deaths among the 187 million Americans vaccinated.
The US Food and Drug Administration approved Modern and Johnson & Johnson boosters. The Gates Foundation pledged $120 million to get the Merck antiviral molnupiravir to lower-income countries. The government of Egypt announced, effective November 15, civil servants will be required to show proof of vaccination or face weekly coronavirus testing. The EU said the bloc has now exported more than 1 billion vaccine doses to over 150 nations, making the EU the largest exporter of vaccines in the world. India celebrated administering its one billionth dose of the vaccine.
The UK recorded its largest single-day new case count since mid-July this week. The Office of National Statistics said one in 60 people in England had now contracted the virus. The UK has one of the highest infection rates in the world now. The Czech Republic recorded new case levels unseen since April. Daily new case counts in that country doubled this week compared to two weeks ago. Poland recorded more than 5,000 cases per day for the first time since May. Ukraine, the country with the lowest vaccination rate in Europe, experienced a surge in coronavirus deaths. Along with vaccine hesitancy, Ukraine is struggling with the widespread circulation of fake vaccine certificates. Despite high vaccination rates, Belgium warned citizens that the country could be on the verge of another surge in the pandemic. Slovenia’s Prime Minister blamed the recent rise in new cases within that country on the protesters who clashed with police in October. Latvia implemented a lockdown to last until at least November 15 to battle low vaccination rates and a surge of the Delta variant.
Pandemic Headlines from Around the World This Week
- Several Caribbean countries reported significant surges in new coronavirus cases. The Dominican Republic and Barbados reported a 40% rise in new case counts in the last week. Trinidad and Tobago, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Martin, Anguilla, and the Cayman Islands, all reported rising case counts.
- Singapore reported a record-high new case count, straining the hospital system.
- Burundi began administering vaccines this week. Eritrea and North Korea now remain the only countries to so far not implement a coronavirus vaccine rollout.
- In England, referrals for mental health services for first suspected cases of psychosis climbed 75% during the pandemic.
- Iran’s health minister said the country is bracing for a sixth wave of the pandemic to hit next month. The virus has killed more than 125,000 people in Iran to date. In the face of another surge, the government of Iran began abandoning homegrown vaccines. Iranian welfare authorities said more than 51,000 Iranian children have lost a parent to the pandemic.