Weekly Pandemic Update
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 268.8 million coronavirus cases and 5.3 million deaths. Russia, the US, and India reported the most coronavirus deaths in the last 24 hours.
Confirmed detections of omicron are now confirmed in more than 50 countries worldwide. Cases of the omicron variant in the UK have doubled every three days.
A new study showed the omicron variant is more infections among people previously infected with the coronavirus than other variants. The variant is spreading extremely fast but so far does not appear to present more severe symptoms than other variants of the coronavirus.
Researchers say the omicron variant appears to be less severe than delta, but more research is necessary.
- Omicron’s Explosive Growth Is A Warning Sign (Atlantic)
Pfizer BioNTech said a booster shot would be necessary to fight the omicron variant. The company said a new vaccine aimed at omicron could be ready by March 2022.
In the US, the omicron variant has now spread to 21 states.
The surge continues in Europe. While the omicron variant holds the headlines, the delta variant is the more significant concern for most Europeans. New coronavirus cases and deaths surged this week. The greatest impact of this surge is hitting the unvaccinated even as vaccine resistance persists.
Russia reported more than 1,200 deaths in the pandemic nearly every day in November, and that number remains above 1,100 through the first week of December. Poland is now reporting more than 500 deaths per day.
France closed nightclubs for the next four weeks but stopped short of implementing further national restrictions.
The US surpassed 50 million total confirmed coronavirus cases since the beginning of the pandemic this week. New cases and deaths per day rose in the US this week while coronavirus hospitalizations climbed 10% compared to last week. The US is averaging more than 100,000 new cases per day for the first time in two months.
More than 200 million Americans have been fully vaccinated, just over 60% of the population. Vaccination rates among children slowed this week, one month after pediatric shots became available.
Pandemic Headlines from Around the World This Week
- South Korea is now experiencing its highest reported new case counts since the pandemic began. This week the country crossed 7,000 new cases per day.
- The politicization of the vaccine is not a uniquely American or western reality. In Armenia, where only 15% of the population is fully vaccinated, even doctors spread false information about the vaccines.
- South Africa reported an increase in confirmed coronavirus cases among children.
- The government of Greece announced parents who refuse to send their children to school due to pandemic restrictions face a two-year prison sentence and a fine.
- Austrians who refuse vaccines will face a $4,000 fine.
- In what he called a preemptive strike on the omicron variant, the mayor of New York called for a vaccine mandate on private employers by the end of the month.
- China has embarked on an ambitious campaign to fully vaccinate all 160 million children, ages 3 to 11, by the end of the year.