Covid infections worldwide fall to lowest point since mid-October
Reported daily coronavirus infections have been falling across the world for a month and on Tuesday hit their lowest since mid-October, figures that suggest the seasonality of the virus show.
Reuters: But optimism over a way out of the crisis has been tempered by new variants of the virus, raising fears about the efficacy of vaccines, Reuters reports.
“Now is not the time to let your guard down,” Maria Van Kerkhove, the World Health Organization’s technical lead on Covid-19, told a briefing in Geneva. “We cannot let ourselves get into a situation where we have cases rise again.”
There were 351,335 new infections reported worldwide on Tuesday on a seven-day average, the figure falling from 863,737 on 7 January. There were 17,649 deaths on 26 January, falling to 10,957 on 16 February.
Covid infections are decreasing in the US, with 77,883 new infections reported on average each day. That’s 31% of the highest daily average reported on 8 January.
So far, 85 countries have begun vaccinating people for the coronavirus and have administered at least 187,892,000 doses, according to the Reuters figures.
Hello and welcome to today’s blow-by-blow of the coronavirus pandemic with me, Helen Sullivan.
There’s a fair bit of good news around today (but the WHO has warned us not to let down our guard): The weekly average coronavirus infections have fallen to the lowest level since October, according to Johns Hopkins University figures, and Joe Biden has pledged US$4bn to the Covax scheme, which is meant to ensure access to coronavirus vaccines for people in poor countries.
As always, it would be great to hear from you – scream back from the void on Twitter @helenrsullivan.
Here are the other key developments from the last few hours:
- Doctors and public health officials have pleaded with Germans to take up AstraZeneca Covid vaccines. AFP reports that officials in Italy, Austria and Bulgaria were also starting to signal some public resistance to the British vaccine, and France’s health minister, Olivier Véran, got the jab live on television to drum up support, amid similar reports in Sweden.
- A night-time curfew to limit coronavirus transmissions looks set to remain in place in the Netherlands as most parties in parliament voiced support for an emergency government bill which would circumvent a court order that the measure be dropped.
- A laboratory study suggests that the South African variant of the coronavirus may reduce antibody protection from the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine by two-thirds, and it is not clear if the shot will be effective against the mutation, the companies have said.
- The Vatican moved to clarify a decree that implied employees could lose their jobs if they refuse to get a Covid vaccination without legitimate health reasons, following criticism.
- The World Health Organization urged nations producing Covid vaccines not to distribute them unilaterally but to donate them to the global Covax scheme to ensure fairness.
- Protesters in Spain flouted coronavirus restrictions for a second consecutive night to demonstrate against the imprisonment of a rapper who had posted tweets insulting police and the Spanish monarchy, with more than 50 people arrested and dozens injured following clashes with officers.
- Reported daily coronavirus infections have been falling across the world for a month and on Tuesday hit their lowest since mid-October, figures that suggest the seasonality of the virus show.