A succinct summation of the good, the bad, and the ugly in the global pandemic 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 historical global pandemic of our generation.
The world will pass 200 million confirmed coronavirus cases in the next few days. Global confirmed deaths from the pandemic are already at 4.2 million.
The surge in Indonesia continues. On Tuesday, the nation reported more than 2,000 deaths in a single day, even as more than 45,000 more people tested positive for the virus that same day. Amidst the surge in new cases and deaths in Indonesia, thousands of foreign travelers departed Indonesia in recent weeks. Some nations are beginning to ban travelers from Indonesia. Indonesia is experiencing an extraordinary number of child deaths in its pandemic surge. More than 100 children under the age of five have died every week in July. The children under the age of 5 coronavirus mortality rate in Indonesia is higher than any other country has experienced in the pandemic to date. Indonesian children now make up 12.5% of the country’s confirmed cases.
Southeast Asia is experiencing a terrible wave of the pandemic. To relieve pressure on Bangkok’s overwhelmed medical system, Thailand began transporting sick coronavirus patients to their hometowns by train this week. Authorities explained that the medical system in Bangkok could no longer care for additional patients. Authorities in Thailand set up field hospitals at the airport and in other parts of the country. The nation’s borders were closed as Thailand confronts a record surge of new cases. The per capita coronavirus death rate in Myanmar surpassed Indonesia and Malaysia this week to become the worst in Southeast Asia.
In the US, vaccine mandates now confront ongoing vaccine hesitancy. Unprecedented steps by cities and federal agencies took shape this week to ensure more Americans are taking the vaccines. Sixty major medical organizations called for mandatory vaccines for healthcare workers. The Department of Veteran Affairs announced it would require all frontline healthcare workers to receive the vaccine. New York City said it would require 340,000 city workers to receive the vaccine by September 13. California said 246,000 state workers must receive their vaccinations by August 23. President Biden announced that federal workers, minus the military, must either receive vaccinations or undergo weekly coronavirus tests. Large businesses are also stepping up to the challenge. Corporations from Facebook to the Washington Post announced a requirement that employees receive vaccinations. Puerto Rico announced all public employees must receive be vaccinated.
France passed a law on Sunday that required health passes for many indoor venues. The health pass requires digital proof of vaccination or a recent negative coronavirus test. More than 160,000 people took to the streets over the weekend in protest of the health pass law.
Meanwhile, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released new and somewhat controversial guidance this week. According to the new guidance, fully vaccinated people exposed to the virus should seek testing, even if they are not showing symptoms. The cause for the latest guidance was found in an internal memo at the CDC, which stated:
“The Delta variant is more transmissible than the viruses that cause MERS, SARS, Ebola, the common cold, the seasonal flu and smallpox, and it is as contagious as chickenpox.”
The US reported more than 90,000 new cases yesterday.
- Read this Delta and Lambda Variant Explainer
- Bangladesh set a new single-day record for COVID19 deaths and new cases on Monday.
- Iran set new and broke new confirmed case records within a single day several times this week as the delta variant drove national figures of more than 30,000 cases per day.
- Mexico has the third highest confirmed coronavirus death count globally and is now experiencing a third wave primarily driven by infections among young people. New infections have risen 40% since June, but deaths and hospitalizations remain low.
- Daily pandemic cases in Japan topped 10,000 on Thursday for the first time. One-third of these are in the capital city of Tokyo.
- The island nation of Fiji has stopped nationwide testing because the medical system can no longer keep up with those testing positive and needing treatment.
- India reported its highest number of single-day new cases today than any other day in the past three months.
- Due to outbreaks caused by the delta variant, the US issued a travel warning for Americans looking to visit Israel, Cyprus, Portugal, Spain, and Kyrgyzstan.
- China is confronting a 6-month high new case count as the delta variant spreads.
- The nation of Bhutan vaccinated 90% of its adult population within two weeks.
- The European Union has now administered more vaccine doses per 100 people than the United States.
- Britain experienced a decline in new cases over the last week, surprising experts who predicted a surge when the country relaxed restrictions two weeks ago.
- Pfizer and BioNTech announced plans to expand testing of their vaccines in children ages 5 to 11.
- The European Union’s drug regulator authorized the Modern vaccine for children ages 12 and older.
- The US will ship 10 million vaccine doses to Nigeria and South Africa, the largest countries on the African continent.
- The US House of Representatives reimposed a facemask mandate in the house chamber.
- Los Angeles Schools plans weekly tests for everyone, vaccinated or not.
- Australia deployed hundreds of troops to Sydney to enforce the pandemic lockdown.