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.
The week closes with more than 211 million confirmed cases totaled to date, along with 4.4 million coronavirus deaths.
Rising Child Infections
Indonesia has experienced a surge in coronavirus deaths among children. Since the pandemic began, more than 1,200 children have died of the virus in Indonesia. Most of those child deaths were under age five. Indonesia’s Pediatric Society says more than 100 children have died from the virus every week since July. Seventy percent of the child deaths in the country occurred in the last two months as the delta variant ravaged Indonesia.
The US is also experiencing a rise in infections among children as the delta variant surges. Pediatric hospitalizations hit 1,902 on Saturday, 2.4% of the US coronavirus hospitalizations. Child hospitalizations for the coronavirus are averaging 276 a day. These child infection-related numbers are the highest since the beginning of the pandemic. A health professional in Dallas said 19 counties surrounded Dallas had no more ICU beds for children available, and new child patients were being airlifted to Oklahoma City this week. In Mississippi, 20,000 students have been quarantined for exposure to the virus in the second week of school.
A new study in Canada suggests infants spread the virus within homes faster than teenagers.
A lawsuit from an advocacy group for children with disabilities has been brought against the state’s governor in Texas. The lawsuit says the governor’s ban on mask mandates denies at-risk children equal access to a safe education.
The US is now averaging 130,000 new cases per day, nearly double last summer’s peak. Hospitalizations are rising, and in some areas of the southern US, hospitals are being overwhelmed. Earlier this week, the US had 90,000 coronavirus hospitalizations. Florida has the country’s worst hospitalization rate and third-worst new case rate per capita.
Oregon’s governor announced a decision to deploy 500 National Guard troops to assist hospitals in a surge of pandemic patients in the state. One in five intensive care units in American hospitals have reached full capacity. Alabama announced on Thursday that the state has no more ICU beds available to the coronavirus surge there. Arkansas announced its ICU beds throughout the state are close to capacity. The US Virgin Islands recorded their highest number of confirmed cases and hospitalizations since the start of the pandemic.
Texas averaged 15,000 new cases per day this week, along with 99 deaths per day. These numbers represent a 127% increase over the past 14 days. Health officials in Texas requested five mortuary trailers from FEMA as the state braces for more coronavirus deaths and an overwhelmed hospital system.
The Department of Homeland Security issued a warning of heightened domestic threats from violent extremists motivated by COVID19 and anti-government ideologies.
- Read this Delta and Lambda Variant Explainer [Updated this week with information on Breakthrough Infections]
The drive toward mandates continued over the week. To combat the delta variant in nursing homes, the Biden administration that employee vaccinations would be required for those facilities to receive Medicaid and Medicare funding. Washington State said all teachers and staff at the public schools would be required to vaccinate.
In the US, vaccinations remain a polarizing issue. Today 62% of American adults are vaccinated, 33% of 12-15 year-olds, and 43% of 16-17 year-olds. While much of the world is begging for vaccines, the surge in the US today is centered in regions where vaccine hesitancy is strongest, but vaccine supplies are ample.
A new study out of Oxford University states the efficacy of the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines weakens 90 days after the second dose. Still, they remain the most effective combatant to the delta variant. In the US, three more fully vaccinated Senators tested positive for the coronavirus this week. Another study in The Lancet said China’s Sinovac vaccine might lead to a higher risk of Bell’s palsy.
The US plans to recommend vaccine boosters for Americans eight months after they are fully vaccinated.
The World Health Organization (WHO) said it had uncovered fake vaccines in India and Africa between July and August.
India’s drug regulator is moving toward emergency use approval for Zydus Cadila’s three-dose COVID19 vaccine. Once approved, this will be the second homegrown vaccine from India.
Pandemic Headlines from Around the World This Week
- As the wealthier nations of the globe move toward vaccine boosters, only 2% of the population on the continent of Africa is fully vaccinated.
- Mexico’s Interior Department said 5.2 million people dropped out of school this year due to the pandemic, while domestic violence increased by 24% in the first quarter of 2021. The department also noted an increase in teen pregnancies and child homicides.
- Australia’s most populous state New South Wales went into lockdown after a jump in locally transmitted cases. Sydney extended its lockdown until the end of September. Infections in Sydney more than doubled in the last two weeks.
- Iran announced a six-day country-wide shutdown to confront a rise in coronavirus deaths and infections. The country is experiencing its fifth wave of the pandemic and averaging 655. Anger is growing within the country as Iranian see mismanagement by the government as the cause for Iran’s ongoing pandemic crisis.
- Israel is experiencing a new surge in the virus within its borders. The daily rate of new infections has more than doubled in the last two weeks.
- India administered nearly 9 million doses of the vaccine in 24 hours on Monday. Meanwhile, the country recorded its smallest number of single-day new cases since March 16.
- New Zealand recorded its first locally transmitted case in the last six months.
- Sri Lanka replaced its health minister as the country experienced a new surge in the pandemic. The country returns to a ten-day lockdown tonight to battle the latest surge of infections on the island nation.
- On Monday, Cuba reported 9,700 new cases, six times the number reported two months ago. The country says mortuaries and crematoriums have been overwhelmed.
- Myanmar is experiencing a significant coronavirus outbreak within its prison system even as the government increases that population by pursuing anti-coup protesters.
- Japan extended its state of emergency in Tokyo, Osaka, and four other areas until September 12.