FS-ISAC Coronavirus Update, May 24, 2021


  • In the past week, the US averaged less than 30,000 new cases – the lowest since June of last year - and more than 540 new Covid-19 deaths daily, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, numbers that are still high but way down from just weeks ago, with the country's average of daily infections over the past seven days declining by 57% from what it was just a month ago and the seven-day average of daily deaths down by 23%.
  • So far, more than 61% of US adults have gotten at least one Covid-19 shot and more than 49% are fully vaccinated, according to updated Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released Sunday, with about 49% of the total population, including children over the age of 12, having received at least one shot and 39.2 % - about 130 million people - fully vaccinated.
  • The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is looking into reports that a very small number of teenagers and young adults vaccinated may have experienced an inflammation of the heart muscle called myocarditis, that can occur following certain infections, with the agency saying only that there were “relatively few” cases and that they may be entirely unrelated to vaccination, occurred predominantly in adolescents and young adults about four days after their second dose of one of the Moderna and Pfizer mRNA vaccines, and were more common in males than in females.
  • A new study conducted between April and May led by Public Health England has found that two doses of either the Pfizer-BioNTech or AstraZeneca-University of Oxford vaccine gives effective protection against the Covid variant first discovered in India and was similarly as effective at protecting against the mutation that first emerged in the United Kingdom and has since become a dominant strain in the West, however the findings underscored the need for two doses, as both vaccines were significantly less effective after only one shot.
  • The World Health Organization on Monday called on member states to support a “massive push” to vaccinate at least 10 percent of the population of every country against the coronavirus by September.
  • The first participants in Pfizer’s new study looking at coadministration of a third dose of the company’s Covid-19 vaccine and a pneumococcal vaccine candidate received their shots Monday, the company said in a press release, with the trial’s primary objective to look at safety of the vaccines when they are co-administered, as well as follow up six months after vaccination.
  • India reported 4,454 new Covid-19 fatalities on Monday – its highest since May 19 and making it the third country to report more than 300,000 deaths from the virus, after Brazil and the US, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, with the health ministry adding 222,315 new coronavirus infections, marking the fourth consecutive day that the number of cases reported in the country have declined.
  • France on Sunday reported its lowest daily covid-19 death toll in more than seven months, registering 70 virus-related fatalities as restrictions eased and vaccinations picked up speed, and the European nation’s seven-day moving average of daily new coronavirus cases fell below 13,000 for the first time since the end of 2020.
  • Just two months before the Olympic Games are set to begin, Japan’s second-largest city, Osaka, has been hit particularly hard by the virus, accounting for more than a third of all coronavirus deaths in the country so far in May, and the health-care system, running out of beds and ventilators, has been overwhelmed, with only 10 percent of those in need able to be hospitalized and at least 19 recorded deaths at home of those waiting for hospital beds.
  • The US will continue to enforce coronavirus-related restrictions on nonessential travel across the country’s land borders through June 21, the Biden administration announced late last week, with the Department of Homeland Security saying “We’re working closely with Canada & Mexico to safely ease restrictions as conditions improve,” adding that essential trade and travel will still be permitted.
  • Elementary schools that improved their ventilation systems and required teachers and staff to wear face masks reported significantly fewer cases of COVID-19, according to a study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Georgia Department of Public Health, with a 37% lower incidence rate when masks were worn and up to a 48% reduction when ventilation measures were put in place.
  • Retailers, including Target, Walmart and Macy’s said last week that consumers’ purchases reflect that people are becoming more mobile and social again, with a growing number of customers returning to stores to browse or bought merchandise they previously skipped over, from new outfits to from teeth whitener.
  • The US is estimated to have spent over $30 billion on coronavirus hospitalizations since the pandemic began, according to Chris Sloan, a principal at the health research firm Avalere, with the average cost of each hospital stay $23,489, but little research has been published on how much of that cost is billed to patients.
  • Uber on Monday launched its COVID-19 vaccine rides program in partnership with the White House, offering all Americans an up to $25 discount for each of their trips to and from a vaccination site.
  • A new study published Sunday indicates dogs might be able to lend a helping paw in the fight against Covid-19, and in a collaboration between the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, Durham University and the group Medical Detection Dogs, scientists completed Phase 1 of a trial examining whether, under controlled conditions, dogs might be able to smell and identify Covid-19 infection, with findings that showed a detection sensitivity rate of around 82% to 94% even if a person was asymptomatic.
  • John Coates, an International Olympic Committee vice president, says the Tokyo Olympics would go ahead this summer, even if a state of emergency is in force, with polls showing about 80% of Japanese want the Olympics postponed or canceled.