COVID-19 update

This item appears on page 5 of the April 2021 issue.

At press time, active COVID-19 infections had been confirmed in 192 countries and territories, with more than 114.3 million cases and, resulting from those, more than 2.5 million deaths. The country with the most confirmed cases was the US, with 28.6 million. It was followed by India (11.1 million), Brazil (10.6 million) and Russia (4.2 million). At least 22 countries had recorded more than 1 million cases, and 13 had reported more than 2 million.

On Feb. 22, the US exceeded 500,000 deaths attributed to COVID-19, more than 250,000 more than the next-highest death toll, that of Brazil.

In Israel, a survey of individuals who had received two doses of the Pfizer vaccine showed that its effectiveness in the real world matches that found in clinical studies: a 95% efficacy rate.

From late December until Feb. 17, the date that the survey was conducted, 20,621 people tested positive for the virus out of 528,000 who were not vaccinated. In contrast, out of 602,000 who did get vaccinated, only 608 then contracted COVID-19 more than a week after receiving both doses. In the vaccinated group, only 21 of the infected were hospitalized, and none died. It also was found that the vaccine reduced transmission of the virus.