The hospitalization rate among the youngest children is reaching its highest levels yet as the omicron variant spreads and babies and toddlers remain unable to be vaccinated, said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director, Friday.
Although hospitalization rates among the youngest children remain lower compared to many older Americans, data from the CDC specify 4.3 pr. 100,000 children aged 4 and under were admitted in the week ending January 1st. Children aged 5 to 17 had an admission rate of 1.1, while adults aged 18 to 49 had a frequency of 4.2. The rate among persons 65 and older was 14.7 per. 100,000, according to CDC data.
Walensky said the agency was still investigating how many of these pediatric hospitalizations were solely due to COVID-related admissions, and how many were for young children who were admitted for other reasons and then tested positive for COVID-19. Winter is a busy time for pediatric admissions due to other respiratory viruses, Walensky added.
At Friday’s news conference – the first held by the CDC without other agencies in months – Walensky addressed questions about. CDC’s revised guidelines which shortened the recommended time for isolation or quarantine, which had withdrawn. Some public health experts said people could still be contagious after five days of an infection and were concerned about the high transmissibility of the omicron variant.
Walensky said much of the decision to change the guidelines came from data analyzes of the infectivity of previous variants, as similar analyzes for omicron would not be ready for several weeks.
She said that too while people may leave isolation after their fifth day if they are asymptomatic, the recommendation is that they wear a mask for five more days because they may have some “residual infection”.
Also in the news:
► Den The Food and Drug Administration said Friday the time required between the completion of the first doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine and a third booster dose may be shortened to five months. ONE similar change was announced for Pfizer’s vaccine earlier this week.
► The United States has an average of more than 600,000 recently reported COVID-19 cases a day, a U.S. TODAY analysis by Johns Hopkins shows. The average day now has more than twice as many cases as the highest week of previous waves of coronavirus.
► On Friday, Chicago Public Schools was closed again for a third day as the city’s teachers’ association and district remain locked over COVID-19 safety rules. A small number of schools may have some personal learning and activities, depending on how many staff report for work, the school district said in a message to parents Thursday.
► More Canadian airlines refuse to fly a group of passengers home after filming themselves partying masklessly last week aboard a chartered Sunwing plane. The video prompted the airline to cancel the group’s flight home due to public backlash, and the group is stranded in Cancun.
► COVID-19 indicators for New Hampshire have risen sharply in the last week after a three-week steady decline. That the number of new cases per day is now almost double what it was at the peak of the first wave in late 2020.
► Alaska Airlines is cutting 10% of its remaining flight schedule for January as it continues to struggle with COVID-19-related staff shortages and the recent severe weather.
📈Today’s figures: The United States has recorded more than 58 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and more than 833,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. Global totals: More than 300 million cases and 5.4 million deaths. More than 207 million Americans – 62.4% – are fully vaccinated, according to CDC.
📘What we read: A new study says the technology is used in the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines can also be used to treat heart diseasethat gives hope to millions.
A majority of The Supreme Court signaled on Friday that it is skeptical of the authority of the Biden administration to demand that millions of Americans working for large companies be vaccinated against COVID-19 or undergo weekly tests as the district court is ready to weigh the issue of vaccine mandates for the first time during the coronavirus pandemic.
With the number of infections increasing due to the omicron variant, several of the court’s conservative judges indicated that while they believe states may have the power to set vaccine requirements, it’s a different story for federal agencies.
“This has been referred to – the approach – as a solution,” Chief Justice John Roberts said of the claims, adding that the decision is likely one for Congress. “This is something that the federal government has not done before.”
Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch said states usually make health demands. Meanwhile, the court’s three liberal judges pressed hard on both the need for Americans to get COVID-19 vaccinations, but also the federal government’s authority to regulate the danger COVID-19 poses in the workplace and for the national economy.
“It’s an extraordinary use of emergency power that occurs under an extraordinary circumstance, a circumstance that this country has never faced before,” said Assistant Judge Elena Kagan.
– John Fritze, USA TODAY
Peru reported a death of “flurona”, a concomitant infection with coronavirus and influenza, the Peruvian newspaper Trade reported Thursday. The death occurred in an 87-year-old man with comorbidities who had not been vaccinated against either influenza or COVID-19, the newspaper reported.
While co-infections involving influenza are rarer than other viruses, health experts still expect to see increasing cases of “flurona” as the United States approaches the highest level of influenza activity.
It is unclear whether “flurona” causes more serious illness, but vaccination against both viruses may help provide protection, health experts say. In general, immunocompromised people and younger children, whose immune system is not familiar with many common viruses, are more prone to concomitant infections. Read more about flurona here.
– Adrianna Rodriguez, USA TODAY
Pfizer-BioNTechs COVID-19 vaccine will not be available soon for children under 5 years.
In early tests, the lower dose given to 2- to 5-year-olds did not provide as much immune protection as shots given to other age groups, a Pfizer researcher said at a meeting of the Federal Advisory Committee on Wednesday, where he expanded the information. last last year.
The company hopes that a third-dose vaccine eight weeks after the first two shots will provide the desired effectiveness, said Dr. Alejandra Gurtman, Vice President of Vaccine Clinical Research and Development for Pfizer at a meeting of the Advisory Committee on Vaccination Practices.
But that means waiting until late March or early April for results, she said, giving kids in the trial time to get a third shot and then get their immune response tested.
“This may be a three-dose vaccine,” Gurtman said, adding that Pfizer-BioNTech is also testing a third dose in children ages 5 to 12.
The vaccine has been shown to be safe in younger children, she said, just as it was for older children and adults.
New evidence underscores the importance of boosters against omicron, with an mRNA vaccine booster that provides the best protection against the fast-spreading variant.
People who received either Pfizer-BioNTech or the Moderna two-dose COVID-19 vaccine series and then a booster achieved “potent” neutralization against omicron, found a paper published Thursday in the journal Cell.
The initial two-dose vaccine regimen does not produce antibodies capable of fully recognizing and neutralizing the omicron variant, the researchers found. However, they noted that while omicron is better at getting past vaccine-created immunity, people who have breakthrough cases have milder disease, potentially due to the long-term immunity created by their initial vaccination.
“Even if antibodies can not prevent us from becoming infected with omicron, other aspects of the immune response can prevent us from becoming very ill,” said Alejandro Balazs, who is researching how to develop immunity to infectious diseases at the Ragon Institute and is the paper’s senior author. . Read more here.
– Elizabeth Weise, USA TODAY
The World Health Organization said Thursday that the world reported a record 9.5 million COVID-19 cases over the past week, a 71% increase from the previous week.
However, in contrast to the rapidly increasing number of cases that the WHO compared to a “tsunami”, the number of weekly reported deaths decreased.
“Last week, the highest number of COVID-19 cases so far was reported in the pandemic,” said WHO Director – General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. He added that the WHO was sure it was an underestimation due to a backlog in testing around year-end.
The UN health agency said the weekly number of COVID-19 cases reached 9,520,488 new cases. 41,178 deaths were recorded last week, compared to 44,680 the week before.
The Mayo Clinic, one of the best health systems in the United States, this week fired 700 employees who did not follow the organization’s mandate to be vaccinated by Monday, January 3rd.
Mayo said workers would lose their jobs for failing to meet the company’s deadline, which prescribed getting one dose of a vaccine or not being delayed for another dose. Mayo said it had granted a majority of medical and religious waiver requests according to New York Times.
Last summer, the state of New York introduced the vaccine mandate for health care professionals, which allows for medical exceptions, but not those based on religious objections.
In October 2021, New York healthcare provider Northwell Health announced that 1,400 employees would leave their jobs after refusing to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
Health workers in New York sued, saying in a lawsuit that the lack of a religious exception violated their first right to change religion. But in December, the U.S. Supreme Court allowed the state’s mandate to remain in place without a religious exemption.
Contributor: Mike Stucka, USA TODAY; Associated Press