How many cases of COVID-19 have been reported?
As of Jan. 18, there were more than 331,634,566 confirmed cases of COVID-19 worldwide and more than 5,548,410 deaths.
What is the status of COVID-19 vaccines?
As booster programs continue to be implemented throughout the world, a preliminary Israeli study has found that while fourth doses of vaccine initiate high levels of immune response, the immunity is still not enough to prevent Omicron infections. The study focused on 274 medical workers at Sheba Hospital in Tel Aviv – all participants had received three doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine and were given either a fourth dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or participated in the control group receiving no additional booster. The study found that immune response increased beyond the levels seen from the third booster dose, though researchers believed it was still not enough to prevent infection caused by Omicron. However, researchers noted that breakthrough infections among those who received the fourth dose were still less than that of the control group, suggesting that the additional booster provided more protection once coverage from the third dose begins to wane.
How have new virus variants changed the threat landscape?
A number of recently released studies – some of which have yet to undergo a peer-review – explored the severity of Omicron infections among adults and children. Scientists at the University of California analyzed 52,297 individuals infected with Omicron and 16,982 Delta cases between Nov. 30 and Jan 1. No Omicron patients required mechanical ventilation, and the average hospital stay for Omicron patients was 3.4 days shorter, representing a 70% reduction compared to Delta-infected individuals. The results of the study corroborate earlier research conducted in South Africa, the UK, and Denmark. Omicron also appears to be less severe among the unvaccinated population – South African scientists concluded that Omicron’s characteristics attribute to a 25% reduced risk of death or hospitalization, compared to Delta. Another study conducted in the US analyzed health records of 80,000 children under 5 and indicated that the Omicron variant leads to milder infections. The results also showed a 70% reduction in hospitalization and intensive care unit admissions among children infected with Omicron, compared to Delta cases.
Notable Travel Developments
- India Mandates Quarantine for All Travelers – As of Jan. 11, India has mandated that all travelers—regardless of vaccination status—must self-quarantine for 7 days upon arrival and submit to testing on Day 8 to conclude their isolation period. All travelers must present a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of departure and complete an Air Suvidha Self Declaration within the same time frame. Travelers arriving from “at-risk” countries must also pre-book an on-arrival PCR test to be taken at the airport; travelers from non “at-risk” countries may be subject to an additional arrival test (approximately 2% of arrivals).
|Country||Daily New Cases (7-day avg.)||Total Cases||Total Deaths|
Countries Averaging >35,000 New COVID-19 Cases Daily (Source: JHU & European CDC/Our World in Data)
Week-by-Week Change in Confirmed COVID-19 Cases (Source: European CDC/Our World in Data)