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Coronavirus Morning News Brief – January 21: Effective booster shots to fight CDC Omicron findings and mandatory vaccinations in Austria

In breaking news, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the third dose, or booster dose, of vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech is 90% effective in preventing people infected with the omicron variant of the coronavirus to be hospitalized.

In other news, we cover the rising Covid death toll, a law making Covid vaccinations compulsory in Austria and a call for vaccinations for the Czech singer’s son who died after deliberately exposing himself to the virus.

UNITED STATES

As the Covid death toll rises in New York, hospitals and even the medical examiner’s office are scrambling to store the bodies. Hospitals, the New York Post reported, are moving the dead between different facilities and there is once again a wait time for cremations and funerals.

Clothing maker Carhartt is facing boycott calls after it kept in place a vaccination mandate for all employees following a Supreme Court ruling blocking the Biden administration’s requirement for such action. The brand is popular with outdoor enthusiasts and in conservative circles, and the boycott comes from the latter group. “We place workplace safety at the top of our list of priorities and the recent Supreme Court ruling does not impact this core value,” the company said in a statement.

GLOBAL

In Austria, the Nationalrat, the country’s lower house of parliament, voted to approve a new measure making vaccinations compulsory for virtually everyone over the age of 18. The bill still needs to be passed in the Bundesrat, the upper house, and signed into law by Bundespräsident Alexander van der Bellen. It is expected to come into force on February 1, 2022.

French Prime Minister Jean Castex has announced that some Covid-related restrictions will be eased from next month amid a ‘sharp ebb’ of cases due to the delta variant and a slowdown in the surge in cases fueled by the variant. omicron. The outdoor mask mandate, capacity restrictions in public places and a telecommuting mandate for some will be the first to be eliminated, and Castex said it expects that, by mid-February, when cases linked to Omicron are expected to have peaked, at night clubs will be able to reopen and customers can once again eat and drink in cinemas and stadiums.

TO TRAVEL

Starting Saturday, the United States will require essential travelers entering the United States by land or sea to be fully vaccinated and provide proof of that vaccination, the Department of Homeland Security said.

A study by researchers from Shanghai Jiao Tong University claims that wearing face masks throughout an airplane flight reduces the risk of contracting Covid-19. The study used the simulation to predict how far virus-laden droplets and aerosols could travel on an airplane, then compared it to real flights where passengers had caught the coronavirus. Their model predicted who would and who would not contract the virus in 80% of cases.

During a flight, the research team found that wearing masks would reduce the number of Covid infections from 12 to one.

SPORTS AND ENTERTAINMENT

The National Broadcasting Company, which owns the U.S. broadcast rights to the 2022 Winter Olympics, will call the action from the network’s studios in Stamford, Conn., instead of placing reporters on location in Beijing. The move came amid concerns over the continued spread of the omicron variant of the coronavirus as well as restrictions in place in China for those covering the event.

Jak Rek, the son of Hana Horká, the folk singer who died recently after deliberately contracting the virus, said her death should be a warning to those who are resistant to the vaccine. Horká had exposed herself to members of her family, including her son, in order to obtain proof of a recent infection in order to then regain access to places, such as the theater and saunas, closed to non- vaccinated.

Finally, Covid-19 claimed the life of another celebrity. Marvin Lee Aday, the pop singer better known as Meat Loaf, has succumbed to the virus at the age of 74, according to multiple reports. “If I die, I die, but I will not be controlled.” Meat Loaf said in an interview with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette last August. The rocker said he was “scared to death” of Covid but railed against masks and vaccination mandates nonetheless in the interview.

TODAY’S STATISTICS

Now here are the daily stats for Friday, January 21.

As of Friday morning, the world had recorded 343.9 million cases of Covid-19, an increase of 3.8 million new cases over the previous 24 hours and just under 5.6 million deaths, according to Worldometer, a service that tracks this information. Additionally, 275.2 million people worldwide have recovered from the virus, an increase of 1.8 million.

Worldwide, the number of active cases as of Friday is 61,166,519. Of this figure, 99.8%, or 62,982,523, are considered mild and 0.2%, or 96,004, are listed as reviews. The percentage of cases considered critical has remained largely unchanged over the past 24 hours.

The United States reported 748,484 new cases on Friday for the previous day, compared to 851,781 on Thursday, 1,178,403 on Wednesday and 712,051 on Tuesday, according to the US Department of Health and Human Services.

The average daily number of new coronavirus cases in the United States over the past 14 days is 735,652, an increase of 21%, based on data from the Department of Health and Human Services, among other sources. The average number of daily deaths over the same period is 2,029, an increase of 45% over the same period.

In addition, since the start of the pandemic, the United States on Friday recorded 70.5 million cases, a figure higher than any other country, and a death toll of 883,903. India has the second highest number of officially recorded cases in the world, nearly 38.6 million, and a reported death toll of 488,422. Finally, Brazil recorded the second highest number of deaths from the virus, 622,251, and recorded nearly 23.6 million cases.

SPOTLIGHT ON IMMUNIZATION

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that as of Friday, 250 million people in the United States – or 75.3% – had received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine. Of that population, 63.2%, or 209.8 million people, have received two doses of the vaccine, and the total number of doses that have been distributed in the United States is now 531.9 million. Breaking it down further, 87.2% of the population over 18 – or 225.2 million people – have received at least one first vaccination and 73.7% of the same group – or 190.4 million people – are fully vaccinated. In addition, 42.4% of this population, or 80.7 million people, have already received a third dose, or booster dose, of vaccine.

More than 60.3% of the world’s population received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine on Friday, a figure up 0.1 percentage points in the past 24 hours, according to Our World in Data, a scientific publication. online that follows this information. So far, 9.82 billion doses of the vaccine have been administered worldwide.

Meanwhile, only 9.4% of people in low-income countries have received a dose, while in countries like Canada, China, Denmark, France, Italy, the UK and the United States, at least 75% of the population has received at least one dose of the vaccine. In countries like Ethiopia, Haiti, Syria, Senegal, Tanzania and Uganda, for example, vaccination rates remain in the single digits or even lower.

Figures from the World Health Organization show that rich countries are vaccinating people at the rate of one person per second, while the majority of poor countries have yet to give their citizens a single dose.

It is essential that the world does a better job of sharing vaccines with the poorest countries.

Sharing vaccines is not just a form of charity. On the contrary, the equitable distribution of vaccines is in the health and economic interests of each country and no country can overcome the pandemic until other countries have also recovered.

Anna Breuer contributed to this story.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)