As a silver lining emerges as the United States enters summer with some of the lowest COVID case rates in months, the country could pass 600,000 deaths as early as this weekend.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said last week that the number of cases and deaths had fallen to its lowest level in nearly a year. But experts are warning unvaccinated and vaccinated people not to let their guard down just yet.
“The news regarding the delta variant really proves why it is so important for us to get vaccinated as soon as possible,” Dr Vivek Murthy told CNN on Wednesday, adding that the variant, first discovered in India, is more transmissible and potentially more dangerous.
Disease specialist Dr Anthony Fauci also warned of the alpha variant, first identified in the UK, and the delta variant spreading rapidly across the country.
“We don’t want to let happen in the US what is happening now in the UK, where a troublesome variant is essentially taking over as the dominant variant, which has made it very difficult in the UK,” a- he declared. CNN.
The delta variant now accounts for about 6% of infections in the United States, Fauci said. But the data shows that the Pfizer vaccine is partially effective against the variant.
Meanwhile, President Joe Biden on Thursday laid out plans for the United States to help “jump-start the global fight against this pandemic.”
At the heart of this campaign is the United States’ commitment to purchase 500 million doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine and donate them to 92 low- and middle-income countries, which Biden confirmed at the G- summit. 7 in England. Of the total vaccines, 200 million doses will be distributed this year, and the rest in the first half of 2022, the president said.
“This is a monumental commitment by the American people,” Biden said, adding that the G-7 countries would announce their contribution to the global response to the pandemic on Friday. “This is not the end of our efforts to fight COVID-19 and vaccinate the world.”
Also in the news:
►Two passengers who shared a room aboard Celebrity Cruises’ Celebrity Millennium ship, which carried only fully vaccinated passengers and crew, tested positive for COVID-19.
►The Food and Drug Administration has extended the expiration date of hundreds of thousands of doses of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine by six weeks, giving states with large unused allocations more time to administer them. The shelf life of J&J vaccines has been reduced from three months to four and a half months after stability testing. Many doses are said to have reached their expiration date on June 24.
►Only seven African countries are expected to meet the World Health Organization’s goal of vaccinating 10% of its population by September, the organization said on Thursday.
►Most hospitals in Washington, DC will require employees to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, joining a growing number of healthcare systems and other businesses nationwide in opting for the controversial tenure.
►The nearly 15-month state of emergency in New Hampshire will end on Friday evening, Governor Chris Sununu said Thursday.
►The World Health Organization warned on Thursday that although vaccination rates in Europe are far from initial figures, they are still far from what is needed to stop a resurgence.
►Moderna announced Thursday that it has requested emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration for its COVID-19 vaccine for children aged 12 to 17.
The numbers of the day: The United States has more than 33.4 million confirmed cases of the coronavirus and at least 598,700 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Global totals: Over 174.7 million cases and over 3.76 million deaths. More than 141.5 million Americans have been fully immunized, or 42.6% of the population, according to the CDC.
What we read: President Joe Biden has set a new vaccine target for America: 70% of adults receive at least one injection of COVID-19 by July 4. If the firing continues at its current rate, the United States will not meet that benchmark. Read the full story.
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Widespread vaccination protects the unvaccinated, new study finds
Mass vaccination may also reduce the likelihood of transmission of the coronavirus to the unvaccinated, thus having the potential to curb the pandemic. That’s according to a new Israeli study published Thursday in Nature Medicine.
Researchers analyzed vaccination records and viral test results between December 6, 2020 and March 9, 2021 and found that vaccination rates were correlated with lower infections.
“Among vaccinated people infected with SARS-CoV-2, a lower viral load was observed. Reduced infection and viral load suggest that reduced transmission has occurred,” the study said.
But masking and social distancing were still important, the study suggested, because “vaccination could, in principle, also increase transmission due to behavioral effects.”
Vaccines may cause a slight increase in the levels of heart inflammation
Heart inflammation rates appear to be higher in young people who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 than in those who have not, although the side effect is extremely rare, the Centers for Disease Control said Thursday. and Prevention.
In updated data, the CDC has shown that adolescents and young adults who have received a second dose of Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines are at slightly higher risk than others in their age group for myocarditis, swelling. heart muscle or pericarditis, inflammation of the outer wall of the heart. The increased risk, which usually occurs within a week of the second injection, is so small that it’s not entirely clear whether the vaccine is the cause.
But the observed cases exceed the expected cases in people aged 16 to 24, Dr Tom Shimabukuro of the CDC’s vaccine task force told a federal advisory committee on Thursday. As with these conditions in general, men were more at risk than women. Of those whose status was known, the vast majority made a full recovery, Shimabukuro said, with more than 90% of those who had been hospitalized sent straight home after treatment rather than requiring rehabilitation.
Shimabukuro said he plans to provide more information on the possible connection at a meeting of the CDC advisory committee scheduled for June 18.
– Karen Weintraub
Contribute: The Associated Press.