Coronavirus Morning News Brief – Jan. 24: Long Covid Keeps Many Out of the Workforce, Pandemic Unemployment Fraud in U.S. Was $60 Billion

The entrance to Los Angeles International Airport

Good morning. This is Jonathan Spira reporting. Here now the news of the pandemic from across the globe on the 1,019th day of the pandemic.

In news we cover today, Long Covid is apparently keeping a high numbers of people out of the workforce, fraudulent unemployment claims during the pandemic may have hit $60 billion, and the Philippines welcomed back its first Chinese tourists after a three-year hiatus.


A new study that used an analysis of workers’ compensation claims in New York State found that one-third of individuals who contracted Covid subsequently suffered from Long Covid.  In addition, 71% of claimants with Long Covid needed to continue medical treatment or remained unable to work for six months or longer.

The analysis was conducted by the state’s largest workers’ compensation insurer.

It found that, during the first two years of the pandemic, approximately 71% of people classified as Long Covid either required continuing medical treatment or were unable to work for six months or more.

In a more troubling finding, after more than a year after contracting the coronavirus, 18% of Long Covid sufferers were still not able to return to work, and more than three-fourths of them were under the age of 60, the New York State Insurance Fund, a state agency, found.

“Long Covid has harmed the work force,” said the report. The findings, it added, “highlight Long Covid as an underappreciated yet important reason for the many unfilled jobs and declining labor participation rate in the economy, and they presage a possible reduction in productivity as employers feel the strains of an increasingly sick work force.”


Researchers at Yale University said that nasal swabs could help identify emerging viruses and diseases before they become a public health threat.  Under the research program, when someone suspects a respiratory infection, he gets a nasal swab, and the lab will test it for about 15 known viruses. The lead researcher, Dr. Ellen Foxman, an immunologist at the Yale School of Medicine, told reporters that her work is trying to get ahead of new outbreaks instead of just responding to them after the fact.

Meanwhile, for those who believe the pandemic is over, health officials in Los Angeles County reported 46 more coronavirus-related deaths over the three-day period ending Monday and an additional 2,200 new infections in the county over the same period.

Finally, more than $60 billion may have been paid out to individuals who filed fraudulent unemployment insurance claims during the first two years of the pandemic, according to a report released Monday by the U.S. Government Accountability Office, and the agency said that the actual total may be “substantially higher.” In Congress, the House Oversight Committee plans to launch, starting next week, an investigation into pandemic-related fraud.


The World Health Organization launched a funding appeal for $2.54 billion. The monies raised will go to assist people facing health emergencies across the globe.


The Philippines welcomed its first Chinese tourists back on Tuesday after a three-year pandemic-induced hiatus. Filipinos in traditional garb played bamboo marimbas and handed out necklaces and gifts to the first arrivals from China since the start of the pandemic.


Now here are the daily statistics for Tuesday, January 24.

As of Tuesday morning, the world has recorded 673.6 million Covid-19 cases, an increase of 0.2 million cases, and 6.75 million deaths, according to Worldometer, a service that tracks such information. In addition, 645.6 million people worldwide have recovered from the virus, an increase of 0.3 million.

The reader should note that infrequent reporting from some sources may appear as spikes in new case figures or death tolls.

Worldwide, the number of active coronavirus cases as of Tuesday at press time is 21,288,038, a decrease of 85,000. Out of that figure, 99.8%, or 21,243,707, are considered mild, and 0.2%, or 44,331, are listed as critical. The percentage of cases considered critical has not changed over the past 24 hours.

The United States reported 32,412 new coronavirus infections on Tuesday for the previous day, compared to 4,953 on Monday, 2,473 on Sunday, 82,833 on Saturday, 67,629 on Friday, and 144,535 on Thursday, according to data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The 7-day incidence rate is now 56,343.  Figures for the weekend (reported the following day) are typically 30% to 60% of those posted on weekdays due to a lower number of tests being conducted.

The average daily number of new coronavirus cases in the United States over the past 14 days is 46,418, a figure down 29% over the past 14 days, based on data from the Department of Health and Human Services, among other sources.  The average daily death toll over the same period is 487, an increase of 4% over the same period, while the average number of hospitalizations for the period was 36,650, a decrease of 23%. In addition, the number of patients in ICUs was 4,672, a decrease of 18% and the test positivity rate is now 12%, a 23% decrease.

In addition, since the start of the pandemic the United States has, as of Tuesday, recorded 103.9 million cases, a higher figure than any other country, and a death toll of 1.14 million. India has the world’s second highest number of officially recorded cases, just under 44.7 million, and a reported death toll of 530,737.

The newest data from Russia’s Rosstat state statistics service showed that, at the end of July, the number of Covid or Covid-related deaths since the start of the pandemic there in April 2020 is now 823,623, giving the country the world’s second highest pandemic-related death toll, behind the United States.  Rosstat reported that 3,284 people died from the coronavirus or related causes in July, down from 5,023 in June, 7,008 in May and 11,583 in April.

Meanwhile, France is the country with the third highest number of cases, with 39.5 million, and Germany is in the number four slot, with over 37.6 million total cases.

Brazil, which has recorded the third highest number of deaths as a result of the virus, 696,376, has recorded over 36.7 million cases, placing it in the number five slot.

The other five countries with total case figures over the 20 million mark are Japan, with 32.2 million cases, South Korea, with 30 million cases, placing it in the number seven slot, and Italy, with 25.4 million, as number eight, as well as the United Kingdom, with 24.3 million, and Russia, with 21.9 million.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that, as of the past Thursday, 268.8 million people in the United States – or 81% – have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine. Of that population, 69.1%, or 229.5 million people, have received two doses of vaccine, and the total number of doses that have been dispensed in the United States is now 667.8 million. Breaking this down further, 91.9% of the population over the age of 18 – or 237.3 million people – has received at least a first inoculation and 78.9% of the same group – or 203.6 million people – is fully vaccinated.  In addition, 18.5% of the same population, or over 47.9 million people, has already received an updated or bivalent booster dose of vaccine.

Starting on June 13, 2022, the CDC began to update vaccine data on a weekly basis and publish the updated information on Thursdays by 8 p.m. EDT, a statement on the agency’s website said.

Some 69.3% of the world population has received at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine by Tuesday, according to Our World in Data, an online scientific publication that tracks such information.  So far, 13.23 billion doses of the vaccine have been administered on a global basis and 1.38 million doses are now administered each day.

Meanwhile, only 26% of people in low-income countries have received one dose, while in countries such as Canada, China, Denmark, France, Italy, the United Kingdom, and the United States, at least 75% of the population has received at least one dose of vaccine.

Only a handful of the world’s poorest countries – Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia and Nepal – have reached the 70% mark in vaccinations. Many countries, however, are under 20% and, in countries such as Haiti, Senegal, and Tanzania, for example, vaccination rates remain at or below 10%.

In addition, with the start of vaccinations in North Korea in late September, Eritrea remains the only country in the world that has not administered vaccines.

Anna Breuer contributed reporting to this story.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

* This article was originally published here