Good morning. This is Jonathan Spira reporting. Here now the news of the pandemic from across the globe on the 793rd day of the pandemic.
The requirement for travelers to the United States to produce a negative test for the coronavirus goes away at the stroke of midnight early Sunday morning, but does not mean that it’s safe to travel if you test positive and are planning to fly, literally anywhere.
The end of the requirement was lobbied for by airlines and the travel industry, all of whom cited traveler fears of being stranded abroad after a positive test.
If you have Covid-like symptoms and are planning to travel, you still should test and, especially if you test positive, you should not get on an airplane, or a train for that atter, where you can infect dozens of other nearby passengers.
The lifting of the requirement eases the burden to find acceptable Covid tests (difficult in some regions of the world) as well as the high cost of testing abroad.
Individuals who test positive should be considered infectious and remain isolated until they meet the criteria for the discontinuation of isolation or transmission-based requirements, according to the CDC. Under no circumstances does this mean you should go out in public.
If you are out of the country and test positive, you should continue to follow these guidelines. Hopefully you’ll have taken with you several of the nifty and rather useful at-home Covid test kits the U.S. government has been handing out for free and you can use those to make further determinations.
Regardless of the change in policy, please don’t travel if you have Covid-like symptoms. You could be infecting someone who has a weakened immune system and end up in hospital or someone who simply might be more susceptible to Long Covid, given that one in three coronavirus patients has reported at least one Long Covid marker three to six months after having the initial infection.
In other news we cover today, Canada is temporarily suspending in-airport random testing for Covid due to long wait times at the country’s aerodromes, and residents of Shanghai left many stores with bare shelves after a wave of panic buying hit the city.
Here’s a look at what has taken place over the past 24 hours.
Moderna’s mRNA coronavirus vaccine is effective for children under 6 years of age in preventing symptomatic infection without causing worrisome side effects, the Food and Drug Administration said on late Friday.
Advisors to the FDA will meet in the coming week to determine whether to recommend that the agency grant Moderna’s request for emergency authorization for the vaccine for this age group.
Plans to test approximately half of Shanghai’s population for Covid brought about fears of new lockdowns and started a new wave of panic buying, social media reports showed.
Residents lined up at supermarkets to stock up on necessities , in many cases leaving shelves empty, some social media posts showed. Asian countries first experienced Covid-related panic buying in early 2020, followed by the United States and some Central European countries including Austria and Germany in March 2020.
Similar panic buying – the German word for such hoarding is the Hamsterkauf, or hamster buying, as it is akin to the manner in which the rodents stuff their cheeks with food – generally precedes blizzards and hurricanes but it typically has a finite end point.
Beijing was forced to restore numerous coronavirus restrictions and delay the reopening of the Universal Studios theme park after 26 new cases were traced back to the Heaven Supermarket Bar. The 26 patients had over 4,000 close contacts since visiting the establishment.
The Universal Beijing Resort had been forced to close on May 1 amid rising case figures and recently reopened.
Officials in Canada announced they would suspend random coronavirus testing at airports for the remainder of June in an effort to ease the long wait times that travelers have encountered in recent weeks.
The government in a statement said that it “recognizes the impact that significant wait times at some Canadian airports are having on travelers,” adding that it would continue to “implement solutions to reduce delays as we approach the summer peak season.”
The random testing will end Saturday and resume off airport grounds on July 1.
Now here are the daily statistics for Saturday, June 11.
As of Saturday morning, the world has recorded 539.9 million Covid-19 cases, an increase of 0.6 million new cases in the preceding 24 hour period, and 6.33 million deaths, according to Worldometer, a service that tracks such information. In addition, 512.6 million people worldwide have recovered from the virus, an increase of 0.5 million.
Worldwide, the number of active coronavirus cases as of Saturday is 21,033,513 an increase of 133,000. Out of that figure, 99.8%, or 20,997,164, are considered mild, and 0.2%, or 36,349, are listed as critical. The percentage of cases considered critical is unchanged over the past 24 hours.
The United States reported 135,999 new coronavirus infections on Saturday for the previous day, compared to 117,665 on Friday, 175,140 on Thursday, 142,800 on Wednesday, according to data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The 7-day incidence rate continues to remain over 100,000 and is now 110,426. Figures for the weekend (reported the following day) are typically 30% to 60% of those posted on weekdays due to a lower number of tests being conducted.
The average daily number of new coronavirus cases in the United States over the past 14 days is 109,378, a decrease of 1%, based on data from the Department of Health and Human Services, among other sources. The average daily death toll over the same period is 338, a decrease of 10% over the same period, while the average number of hospitalizations for the period was 29,429, an 11% increase.
In addition, since the start of the pandemic the United States has, as of Saturday, recorded 87.2 million cases, a higher figure than any other country, and a death toll of over 1 million. India has the world’s second highest number of officially recorded cases, over 43.2 million, and a reported death toll of 524,757.
New data from Russia’s Rosstat state statistics service showed at the end of April that the number of Covid or Covid-related deaths since the start of the pandemic there in April 2020 is now over 803,000, giving the country the world’s second highest pandemic-related death toll, after the United States. Rosstat reported that 35,584 people died from the coronavirus or related causes in the month of March, compared to 43,543 in February.
Meanwhile, Brazil now has recorded the third highest number of deaths as a result of the virus, 668,007, and has 31.4 million cases.
France continues to occupy the number four position in total cases with 29.8 million cases, and Germany is in the number five slot with 26.8 million. The United Kingdom, with 22.4 million cases, is now number six and is the only other country in the world with a total number of cases over the 20 million mark.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that, as of Saturday, 258.9 million people in the United States – or 78% – have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine. Of that population, 66.8%, or 221.6 million people, have received two doses of vaccine, and the total number of doses that have been dispensed in the United States is now 590.4 million. Breaking this down further, 89.4% of the population over the age of 18 – or 230.8 million people – has received at least a first inoculation and 76.7% of the same group – or 198 million people – is fully vaccinated. In addition, 50.4% of that population, or 99.9 million people, has already received a third, or booster, dose of vaccine.
Over 66.3% of the world population has received at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine by Saturday, according to Our World in Data, an online scientific publication that tracks such information. So far, 11.93 billion doses of the vaccine have been administered on a global basis and 5.24 million doses are now administered each day.
Meanwhile, only 17.8% of people in low-income countries have received one dose, while in countries such as 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% mark in vaccinations. Many countries, however, are under 20% and, in countries such as Haiti, Senegal, and Tanzania, for example, vaccination rates remain in the single digits, if not lower.
In addition, North Korea and Eritrea are now the only two countries in the world that have not administered vaccines.
Paul Riegler contributed to this story.
(Photo: Accura Media Group)