Coronavirus Morning Recap – Nov 18: Certain levels of humidity in the home could protect you from Covid, Pfizer’s vaccine produces a strong response against BQ.1

Good morning. This is Jonathan Spira’s report. Here now the pandemic news from around the world on the 953 day of the pandemic.

Just one day after cleaning and turning on my home humidifiers, I read a study by MIT researchers suggesting that indoor relative humidity may have an effect on SARS-CoV-2 transmission.

The research, led by CA Verheyen at the Institute of Medical Engineering and Sciences and published earlier this week in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface, showed that when the indoor relative humidity of countries in the northern and southern hemispheres falls by below 40% in its coldest months, Covid cases and deaths are also up in these regions. It also found that, in more tropical regions, when indoor relative humidity exceeded 60%, there was also an increase in infections and deaths.

A “sweet spot” of 40% to 60% relative humidity, as the two researchers called it, is a bit outside of what most people find comfortable, which is a range of 30% to 50% relative humidity. .

Still, I was pleased to note that when I woke up, the relative humidity levels at home were at 40%.

In other news we cover today, Los Angeles is telling people to wear a mask, Pfizer-BioNTech’s new Covid booster produces a strong immune response against the emerging variant BQ.1, and Australians are seeing a dramatic increase in infections. new covid infections.

UNITED STATES

Pfizer-BioNTech said its new bivalent vaccine targeting the omicron BA.4 and BA.5 sublineages produced higher virus-neutralizing antibodies in older adults against the emerging BQ.1.1 subvariant than the partners’ original vaccine.

As Covid cases and hospitalizations across the country continue to rise, the Los Angeles County Health Department said the use of masks in indoor public spaces is once again “strongly recommended.”

In Texas, Governor Greg Abbott has banned immunization mandates in state public schools.

GLOBAL

In Australia, health officials say “here we go again” after seeing an 80% increase in covid cases in some states over the previous week. They have urged the public to wear face masks indoors and on public transportation.

Health authorities in Manitoba, Canada’s fifth most populous province, said the threat level from Covid was “serious” for the third week in a row. The rating is based on the combined estimates and analysis of hospitalization and wastewater that form the Hazard Index in Canada.

Meanwhile, the Toronto Transit Commission said it would rehire some of the 367 workers it laid off for failing to comply with vaccine mandates earlier in the pandemic as it prepares to lift that policy on November 27. However, the agency said it will also change its employment contracts in an attempt to prevent conflicts from arising again, should the need for a vaccination mandate or other public health requirement for workers arise.

Chaoyang, Beijing’s largest district, urged residents to stay home over the weekend as Covid outbreaks in many Chinese people grew.

OTHER HEALTH NEWS

The European Center for Disease Prevention and Control said infections by some antibiotic-resistant pathogens known as superbugs have more than doubled in healthcare settings in Europe since the start of the pandemic. The news shows the broader impact of the pandemic on healthcare beyond SARS-CoV-2 cases.

TODAY’S STATS

Here are the daily stats for Friday, November 18.

As of Friday morning, the world has recorded 642.1 million cases of covid-19, an increase of 0.4 million cases and 6.62 million deaths, according to Worldometer, a service that tracks such data. Additionally, 621.5 million people worldwide have recovered from the virus, an increase of 0.3 million.

Worldwide, the number of active coronavirus cases as of Friday press time is 14,016,482, an increase of 106,000. Of that number, 99.7%, or 13,980,526, are considered mild and 0.3%, or 35,956, are classified as critical. The percentage of cases considered critical has not changed in the last 24 hours.

The United States reported 71,311 new coronavirus infections on Friday from the previous day, compared with 85,283 on Thursday, 55,368 on Wednesday, 50,025 on Tuesday and 1,954 on Monday, according to data from the US Department of Health and Human Services. The US 7-day incidence rate is now 36,505. Weekend numbers (reported the next day) are typically 30-60% of those released on weekdays due to fewer tests taking place.

The daily average number of new coronavirus cases in the United States over the past 14 days is 39,538, a 1% decrease on average over the past 14 days, according to data from the Department of Health and Human Services, among other sources. The average number of daily deaths for the same period is 325, a 4% decrease over the same period, while the average number of hospitalizations for the period was 27,993, an increase of 3%.

In addition, since the start of the pandemic, the United States has registered, as of Friday, 100.1 million cases, a higher figure than any other country, and a death toll of 1.1 million. India has the world’s second-highest number of officially recorded cases, nearly 44.7 million, and a reported death toll of 530,553.

The most recent data from Russia’s state statistics service Rosstat showed that, as of the end of July, the number of Covid or Covid-related deaths since the start of the pandemic there in April 2020 is now 823,623, giving the country the second highest pandemic in the world. number of related deaths, behind the United States. Rosstat reported that 3,284 people died from the coronavirus or related causes in July, up from 5,023 in June, 7,008 in May and 11,583 in April.

Meanwhile, France is the third country with the highest number of cases, with more than 37.2 million, and Germany is at number four, with 36.2 million total cases.

Brazil, which has registered the third highest number of deaths as a result of the virus, 688,886, has registered 35 million cases, ranking number five.

The other five countries with total case figures above 20 million are South Korea, with more than 26.5 million cases, the United Kingdom, with 23.9 million cases, which places it at number seven. , and Italy, with 23.8 million, ranked number eight. , as well as Japan, with 23.6 million, and Russia, with 21.5 million.

FOCUS ON VACCINATION

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that, as of Thursday, 267.5 million people in the United States, or 80.6%, have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine. Of that population, 68.7%, or 228.1 million people, have received two doses of vaccine, and the total number of doses dispensed in the United States is now 650.8 million. Breaking this down further, 91.6% of the population over the age of 18, or 236.4 million people, have received at least one first inoculation and 78.5% of the same group, or 202.7 million people , is fully vaccinated. Additionally, 13.1% of the US population of the same population, or 33.8 million people, have already received an updated or bivalent booster dose of the vaccine.

Beginning June 13, 2022, the CDC began updating vaccine data weekly and posted the updated information Thursday at 8 p.m. EDT, according to a statement on the agency’s website.

Some 68.2% of the world’s population has received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine as of Friday, according to Our World in Data, an online scientific publication that tracks such information. So far, 12.94 billion doses of the vaccine have been administered globally and 1.02 million doses are now administered per day.

Meanwhile, only 23.6% of people in low-income countries have received a dose, while in countries like Canada, China, Denmark, France, Italy, the United Kingdom and the United States, at least 75% of the population has received at least one dose of vaccine.

Only a handful of the world’s poorest countries – Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia and Nepal – have reached the 70% vaccination mark. However, many countries are below 20%, and in countries like Haiti, Senegal and Tanzania, for example, vaccination rates remain at or below 10%.

Also, with the start of vaccinations in North Korea at the end of September, Eritrea remains the only country in the world that has not administered vaccines.

Anna Breuer contributed reporting to this story.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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