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 256.5 million coronavirus cases and 5.15 million deaths.
The latest surge of the pandemic continued in Europe this week. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), pandemic deaths in Europe jumped 5% in the last week. Europe remains the only region of the world where coronavirus deaths are increasing. Russia continued to lead in pandemic deaths breaking its own records for the highest recorded coronavirus deaths in a 24 period three days in a row on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. The Czech Republic set a new daily record for new coronavirus cases and marked a 54% increase in new cases over the last week. The head of Germany’s disease control agency said the country has entered a state of emergency and “all of Germany is one big outbreak.”
The nations of Europe are employing a variety of strategies to combat the surge. Austria’s government ordered a nationwide lockdown – only for the unvaccinated on Monday. Unvaccinated individuals could not leave their homes except for basic activities such as grocery shopping, work, or getting vaccinated. As new cases continued to surge throughout the week, Austria ordered a national lockdown and said the government would require the entire population vaccinated by February.
Following many other European nations, Sweden introduced a digital COVID19 vaccination passport for all gatherings and events with more than 100 people. Germany’s government is debating a series of new measures, including requiring proof of vaccination, negative test, or recovery from COVID among the country’s workers.
Meanwhile, in the Netherlands, demand for covid testing is converging with a shortage of healthcare workers pushing the country’s healthcare system to the limit.
New case counts in the US are climbing again, leading to the growing concern of a winter surge in the US pandemic. The Mountain West and Upper Midwest experienced dramatic upticks in new cases, with some states approaching levels in line with the surges of last spring and winter. New cases in the US increased 18% this week. Indiana, Michigan, and Minnesota led the way in the Upper Midwest. New Mexico and New Hampshire also reported dramatic surges in new cases during the last week. In the last 24 hours the US stood second to Russia for most coronavirus deaths during that period.
Chicago ordered unvaccinated residents traveling to one of 38 states to self-isolate for a week.
The Biden administration announced plans to pay more than $5 billion for a stockpile of Pfizer’s new COVID19 pill. The stockpile will supply 10 million course treatments and be available in the next ten months. Additionally, the US plans to invest billions of dollars in expanding US manufacturing capacity for supplying coronavirus vaccines to developing nations. The goal is to begin this effort during the second half of 2022.
A new study says almost one-third of US healthcare workers remained unvaccinated as of mid-September.
A new Washington Post-ABC News poll found America’s approval of President Bident’s handling of the pandemic consistently trended downward in recent months.
The US Food and Drug Administration is expected to approve boosters for all adults. That pending decision is expected even as many states have already approved boosters for adults.
Egypt announced clinical trials of its own vaccine. Pfizer agreed to a license-sharing deal that expands its experimental COVID19 drug for manufacturing around the globe.
Pandemic Headlines from Around the World This Week
- Amazon agreed to pay $500,000 to help enforce California’s consumer protection laws after the company was accused of concealing Covid-19 case numbers from its workers.
- India opened its borders to vaccinated travelers.
- A new study discussed in the Washington Post found that at least 50% of people who had COVID19 experienced health issues within six months after surviving the virus.
- Twenty percent of the US Border Patrol workforce remains unvaccinated.
- Cambodia opened its borders for fully vaccinated travelers.