How many cases of COVID-19 have been reported?
As of Sept. 14, there were more than 225,520,088 confirmed cases of COVID- 19 worldwide and more than 4,643,736 deaths.
What is the status of COVID-19 vaccines?
US vaccine maker Moderna is still awaiting full authorization of their vaccine from the US FDA for those aged 18+, after filing for approval from the regulator on Aug. 25. While the jab is highly likely to receive full FDA authorization, the process may take several months. Moderna has also filed for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) to begin administering doses to those aged 12-17. Currently, Pfizer’s “Comirnaty” jab is the sole vaccine to have been granted an EUA for this demographic and full authorization for individuals aged 16+.
Russian-made vaccine Sputnik V is still seeking regulatory approval from both the EMA & WHO, despite submitting an emergency use request to both bodies back in Feb. 2021. Although the vaccine is being widely administered globally, both regulators have been extremely cautious in the vaccine’s approval process, citing a lack of data or inconsistencies in data already received. Approval by these bodies carries significant weight, as many countries in Europe and globally require foreign travelers to have been inoculated with an EMA- or WHO-approved vaccine. Additionally, approval by the WHO would grant the jab inclusion in COVAX—the global vaccine sharing program—which would help deliver much-needed vaccines to the developing world. Many experts maintain that the only way to truly end the pandemic is to decrease vaccine disparity between wealthier and poorer nations.
How have new virus variants changed the threat landscape?
The Mu variant—labeled as a “variant of interest” by the WHO last month— has now spread to over 40 countries and all 50 US states. Though it is believed to be more transmissible than the original COVID-19 strain and may have the potential to evade vaccines, global samples seem to indicate that the variant is much less transmissible than Delta. More than 2,400 of the approximately 5,700 Mu samples sequenced worldwide were identified in the US. Nonetheless, the variant is estimated to account for only 1% of infections nationwide, with Delta comprising the remaining 99%. Given currently available data, most experts hypothesize that Mu lacks the qualities necessary to overtake Delta as the world’s predominant strain; however, they remain concerned about Mu’s potential ability to evade current vaccinations on the market due to its particular mutations.
Notable Travel Developments
Israel & US Added to French Amber List – As of Sept. 11, France has moved both the US & Israel from its “green” list of country designations to its “amber” list, significantly altering the entry restrictions for unvaccinated travelers from these countries. Following the change, unvaccinated travelers from amber countries must have an urgent need to enter the country. If they meet an exemption, they must comply with both pre-testing and quarantine requirements, which did not previously apply under the “green” list. However, fully vaccinated travelers are still permitted to enter France from these countries without restrictions.
|Country||Daily New Cases (7-day avg.)||Total Cases||Total Deaths|
Countries Averaging >9,000 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)