Covid-19 Diary : Thursday 23 December, 2021

There have been some morsels of good news, albeit in a week filled with new record numbers of daily Covid cases being reported in assorted countries around the world, including the UK, and we here in the US are getting very close to our all-time highs, too, with case numbers having grown 52% in the last week.

Earlier in this week, I was frustrated at what seemed to be a leisurely response by the FDA to the filing for an Emergency Use Approval by Pfizer for their new Paxlovid drug.  This article, on Sunday, said it could take months for approval to be secured.

And then, three days later, on Wednesday, approval was granted.  Yay for that.

However, there’s an ocean of gap between approval and the drug appearing in bulk packs at your local Walmart or Costco.  First of all, it will only be available by prescription, which is potentially a challenge for a drug that needs to urgently be taken as soon as you expect you’ve an infection.  Secondly, the drug is being sold to the government, by Pfizer, for $530 per course; one can only guess what that will translate at the local drug store.  But it surely isn’t something you’ll want to reach for on a “just in case” basis every time you get a sore throat.

And, thirdly, most of all, even if it were free and over-the-counter, you’ll not be reaching for it any time soon.  The projection is we’ll not get more than 10 million doses, perhaps for the entirety of 2022, perhaps for the first half of 2022.  With almost 300,000 new Covid cases reported in the US today, and assuming the growth rate in cases suddenly stops, 10 million represents a one month supply (when we finally get it).

It is great that Paxlovid is now available, for sure.  But what we really need is something costing $5, rather than $500, and readily available.  Something like, oh, ivermectin, perhaps….

Talking about which, here is a must read (please) article headed “A Myth is Born: How CDC, FDA, and Media Wove a Web of Ivermectin Lies That Outlives The Truth“.  What it reveals is astonishing – the most trusted sources of medical advice in the country have been (apparently deliberately and eagerly) lying to us.

The remaining major question is “Why?”.

A similar timing frustration got either worse or better this week.  This article talks about more positive results with the Novavax vaccine.  But, look at the timings – they don’t even yet have a date for when they’ll start the latest round of clinical studies.

However, a few days later, news emerges of Novavax having secured both EU and WHO approvals for more or less general use.  Why hasn’t it been approved in the US too?  It seems to be at least as good as the mRNA vaccines, and hopefully both better and safer.

There’s also excellent news about a new vaccine being developed by the US Army.  It promises to be effective against a broad range of variations of Covid and SARS in general, due to how it has been developed.  But when can we get a shot of that vaccine?

I’ve no idea how effective either the Novavax or US Army vaccine may be, but they could hardly be any worse than the Pfizer and Moderna mRNA therapies that we’re being told to keep getting more of.

Current Numbers

No changes in the last week to the minor country rankings.  The major country list saw Spain and Argentina swap places, and Poland displace Brazil at the bottom of the list.

There were no changes in the death rate list, but some are likely next week.

Making up for few changes in the first three tables is the last table, of most active cases last week.  Denmark is terribly high, and the UK is now in second place.

In Europe, Spain saw a 99% rise in cases, followed by the UK with a 54% increase and Italy with 46%.  At the happier end, Belgium had a 47% drop in cases, Austria enjoyed yet another drop, down 36%, the same as Hungary, and Slovakia went down 31%.  Germany had a nice 19% drop, but France saw a 21% rise.  Europe as a whole had a strong 13% rise.

In North America, Canada saw its cases soar a stunning 151%.  Mexico seems to have almost stopped enjoying drops, with a mere 2% drop in cases.  The US came somewhere in the middle, with a 52% rise.

Many countries had massive rises in case numbers in Africa, but South Africa continues to perplex, with a 27% drop in cases.

No-one is able to explain how the Omicron variant suddenly lost steam and South Africa’s cases turned around and started falling.  South Africa reported a mere 1,961 new cases per million people over the last week – to put that in context, Canada had 2,295 new cases per million, and the US had 3,960 – and don’t forget the UK with 9,811 and Denmark with 13,031.

The world in total climbed 19%.

Top Case Rates Minor Countries (cases per million)

RankOne Week AgoToday
1Andorra (265,337)Andorra (278,526)
4Gibraltar (228,145)Gibraltar (237,974)
7San MarinoSan Marino
10Maldives (168,886)Maldives (170,300)


Top Case Rates Major Countries (cases per million)

RankOne Week AgoToday
1Czech Republic (221,526)Czech Republic (226,778)
2Netherlands (170,840)Netherlands (176,149)
3Belgium (169,777)Belgium (173,464)
4UK (162,237)UK (172,006)
5USA (154,078)USA (158,113)
6France (129,203)France (135,747)
7Sweden (122,339)Sweden (124,931)
12Brazil (103,395)Poland (106,322)


Top Death Rate Major Countries (deaths per million)

RankOne Week AgoToday
1Peru  (6,004)Peru  (6,014)
2Czech Rep  (3,252)Czech Rep  (3,314)
3Romania (3,046)Romania (3,069)
4Brazil (2,875)Brazil (2,878)
6Colombia (2,502)Colombia (2,508)
7USA (2,470)USA (2,499)
8PolandPoland (2,473)
10Mexico (2,272)Mexico (2,280)


Top Rates in New Cases Reported in the Last Week (new cases per million) for Countries over one million population

RankOne Week AgoToday
1Denmark  9,117Denmark  13,031
2Czech Rep  7,454UK  9,811
3Belgium  6,998Ireland  7,935
6UK  6,408Spain
9NorwayCzech Rep
12France  5,420Slovakia  4,636


The rest of this newsletter is for the very kind Travel Insider Supporters – it is their support that makes all of this possible, and it seems fair they get additional material in return.  If you’re not yet a Supporter, please consider becoming one, and get instant access to the rest of the Diary Entry, all the additional material on previous diary entries, and much extra content on other parts of the website too.

If you’re a contributor, you should make sure you’re logged in to the website, and when you are, you’ll see the purple text and balance of the newsletter below on the website.  If you’re not logged in, or reading this via email, you need to log in on the website first.

Items below include Omicron spreading in a quarantine hotel, Dr Fauci’s alarming prediction, how dangerous is air travel with Omicron (and cruising too), possibly some good news about Omicron, the latest Omicron symptoms and why you need to know them, more on Paxlovid, the subjective nature of science, Germany now calling for fourth shots, a look at US case numbers, yet another promise for better access to free Covid testing, and are there really shortages or not.




Please stay happy and healthy; all going well, I’ll be back again on Sunday.

Please click here for a listing of all our Covid-19 articles.


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