COVID-19: The most important news on the January 5 pandemic

  • This daily news roundup brings you a selection of the latest news and updates on the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, along with tips and tools to help you stay informed and protected.
  • Headlines: US reports nearly one million new COVID-19 infections; WHO sees more evidence that Omicron causes milder symptoms; countries around the world are reporting an increase in COVID-19 cases.

1. How COVID-19 is affecting the world

Confirmed cases of COVID-19 have exceeded 295.3 million worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University. The number of confirmed deaths has now exceeded 5.45 million. More than 9.25 billion doses of vaccination have been administered worldwide, according to Our World in Data.

Germany must offer COVID-19 vaccine boosters to 15 million more people to slow the spread of Omicron, its health minister said in remarks released today.

Confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Mexico since the start of the pandemic have exceeded 4 million. However, authorities said the actual number was likely much higher.

The U.S. government has doubled its order of Pfizer’s COVID-19 oral antiviral therapy, offering a total of 20 million courses.

New cases of COVID-19 have more than doubled in Japan’s Okinawa region, with authorities considering imposing emergency measures to contain it.

Authorities in the Philippines have canceled the annual “Black Nazarene” parade for a second year due to concerns over COVID-19.

New cases of COVID-19 have reached 58,097 in India, doubling the daily tally in the past four days.

A fourth dose of COVID-19 vaccine increases antibodies fivefold a week after the vaccine was administered, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said on Tuesday, citing preliminary results from an Israeli study.

COVID-19 cases are increasing in several Gulf states, with the daily number of cases more than doubling in Saudi Arabia in two days to more than 2,500 and crossing the 1,000 level in Qatar and Kuwait.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said yesterday that England could resist an increase in COVID-19 infections without shutting down the economy, as Britain reported another daily record of cases.

New daily confirmed cases of COVID-19 per million people in some countries.

Image: Our world in data

2. WHO sees more evidence Omicron causes milder symptoms

More and more evidence is emerging that the Omicron COVID-19 variant affects the upper respiratory tract, causing milder symptoms than previous variants, a World Health Organization (WHO) official said yesterday.

“We are seeing more and more studies indicating that Omicron infects the upper part of the body. Unlike others, the lungs … are said to cause severe pneumonia,” said WHO incident manager Abdi Mahamud, to journalists based in Geneva.

“This may be good news, but we really need more studies to prove it.”

While the number of cases has reached all-time highs worldwide, hospitalization and death rates are often lower than in other phases of the pandemic.

“What we are seeing now is (…) the decoupling between cases and deaths,” he said.

3. United States Reports Nearly One Million New COVID-19 Infections

The United States reported nearly a million new COVID-19 infections on Monday, the highest daily tally of any country in the world and nearly double the previous U.S. peak set a week ago as the spread of the Omicron variant showed no signs of slowing down.

The number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients has increased by nearly 50% over the past week and now exceeds 100,000, according to data collected by Reuters, marking the first time this threshold has been reached in a year.

The latest wave, which has forced waves of cancellations – from commercial airline flights to Broadway shows – in recent weeks, has disrupted plans by public schools to accommodate students returning from winter vacation.

The 978,856 new infections documented on Monday included some cases identified on Saturday and Sunday, while many states are not reporting.

The new variant is estimated to account for 95.4% of cases identified in the United States as of January 1, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said yesterday.

The COVID Response Alliance for Social Entrepreneurship is a coalition of 85 world leaders, organized by the World Economic Forum. Its mission: to join hands to support social entrepreneurs around the world as essential first responders to the pandemic and as pioneers of a green and inclusive economic reality.

Its COVID Social Enterprise Action Agenda presents 25 concrete recommendations for key stakeholder groups, including funders and philanthropists, investors, government institutions, support organizations, and businesses. In January 2021, its members launched its 2021 roadmap through which its members will roll out an ambitious set of 21 action projects in 10 work areas. Including business access and policy change in support of a social economy.

For more information, see the Alliance’s website or its ‘Impact Story’ here.

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