As a silver lining emerges as the United States enters summer with some of the lowest COVID-19 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.
Leading disease expert Dr Anthony Fauci has warned of the alpha variant, first identified in the UK, and the delta variant is 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. On Friday, the G-7 countries pledge to share at least 1 billion doses in total.
“This is a monumental commitment by the American people,” Biden said. “This is not the end of our efforts to fight COVID-19 and vaccinate the world.”
Also in the news:
►The New York Times reported that the FDA has ruled that 60 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine produced at a Baltimore plant should be discarded due to possible contamination. The Associated Press reported that around 10 million doses would be allowed for distribution, but, according to the Times, they must include a warning that the FDA cannot guarantee that the company operating the plant followed good manufacturing practices. .
►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.
►Chinese regulators announced on Friday that a second COVID-19 vaccine has been approved for children aged 3 to 17. China has an interim goal of vaccinating 80% of its population by the end of the year, which could mean children are next on the list.
►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.
►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.
Keep refreshing this page for the latest updates. Want more? Sign up for our Coronavirus Watch newsletter for updates to your inbox and join our Facebook group.
CDC report: Emergency room visits for suicide attempts among girls increased during COVID
A report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released on Friday found that emergency department visits for suspected suicide attempts among girls had increased during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The CDC’s Weekly Morbidity and Mortality Report said data shows emergency room visits for suspected suicide attempts in March and April, shortly after the COVID-19 pandemic was declared, globally declined. for people aged 12 to 25.
But the report noted an increase from summer 2020 for girls aged 12 to 17. The average weekly number of visits for suspected suicide attempts among girls this age was over 25% higher during the summer months and over 50% higher during the winter of 2021, compared to data from 2019.
“The results of this study suggest more severe distress in young women than what has been identified in previous reports during the pandemic, reinforcing the need for increased attention and prevention for this population,” the report said.
Harris to launch national vaccination tour
In an effort to get 70% of American adults in the arms of bullets by July 4, Vice President Kamala Harris is traveling to Greenville, SC on Monday to launch a nationwide vaccination tour. senior administration officials.
Harris will end the week with a layover in Atlanta on June 18, according to an administration official who first provided details to USA TODAY.
First Lady Jill Biden, Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff and cabinet members are also hitting the road, making stops in North Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama and Louisiana throughout the week.
Officials will visit pop-up clinics, visit churches and college campuses, and engage with historically underserved communities to encourage people to get vaccinated.
– Maureen Groppe
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.