In the historical past of the pandemic in the U.S., 2020 shall be remembered as essentially the most disruptive yr, a time when the coronavirus shut down companies, faculties, sports activities, journey and lots of extra staples of on a regular basis life.
But 2021 has surpassed its predecessor because the deadliest yr.
That threshold, particularly lamentable contemplating the widespread availability of COVID-19 vaccines in the nation because the spring, was crossed Tuesday when the U.S.’s world-leading complete of coronavirus deaths went over the 704,000 mark. The 2020 tally was 352,000, or half that quantity.
On Tuesday afternoon, the Washington National Cathedral plans to toll its funeral bell 700 occasions in reminiscence of the lives misplaced.
The solemn ceremony comes as COVID-19 circumstances, deaths and hospitalizations in the U.S. are trending downward, in response to Johns Hopkins University information. Compared to 4 weeks in the past, hospitalizations for the most recent week are down 26.9%, and the variety of ICU beds occupied by possible COVID-19 sufferers has diminished by 25.3%. The tempo of fatalities has decreased as properly, about 12% from the Sept. 22 peak.
But the mix of the hyper-infectious delta variant with the misinformation-driven refusal by so many Americans to get vaccinated — some 70 million who’re eligible haven’t acquired the free shots — has left the nation weak to a virus that continues to adapt and discover new victims.
More of them, in truth, than in what is going to possible be thought to be the worst yr of the pandemic.
Also in the information:
►Award-winning hair and make-up designer Marc Pilcher, who in response to his company was absolutely vaccinated and had no underlying well being situations, has died of COVID-19 at 53.
►The FDA on Monday authorized a new coronavirus home test that the company says will quickly double the nation’s restricted provide of non-prescription checks.
►Northwell Health, New York’s largest well being care supplier, mentioned 1,400 staff, lower than 2% of its complete workforce, have been fired for refusing to be vaccinated in opposition to COVID-19. A statewide vaccination mandate for all hospital and nursing house staff took impact Sept. 27.
►A New York man was charged with a felony and will face seven years in prison for faking a COVID-19 vaccine card.
►The European Union’s drug regulator gave its backing Monday to administering booster shots of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for folks 18 and older.
📈 Today’s numbers: The U.S. has recorded greater than 43.8 million confirmed COVID-19 circumstances and greater than 704,000 deaths, in response to Johns Hopkins University data. Global totals: More than 235.6 million circumstances and 4.8 million deaths. More than 185.8 million Americans – 56.3% of the inhabitants – are absolutely vaccinated, according to the CDC.
📘 What we’re studying: COVID-19 vaccines might be out there for youthful youngsters in a matter of weeks – however consultants fear whether or not communities of coloration can have an equal shot at defending their youngsters. Read more here.
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- Chicago CBP workplace confiscates pretend vaccine playing cards, unauthorized medicines
- CDC urges unvaccinated Americans to delay journeys
- J&J seeks FDA clearance for booster shot
- Iowa professor punished for requiring masks plans to do it again next semester
- AstraZeneca seeks FDA authorization for its antibody treatment
- Poor health choices are killing rural Americans, and COVID is making it worse
- National Institutes of Health director to step down by end of year
- Alabama demise toll doubles from 2020
- Pandemic’s drain on education could become economic problem for Texas
U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers working on the International Mail Facility at Chicago O’Hare discovered 41 counterfeit COVID-19 vaccination playing cards Monday, together with ivermectin tablets and hydroxychloroquine drugs, in response to Chicago Field Office spokesperson Steve Bansbach. Neither of these medicines is permitted for treating COVID, though some folks have used them for that goal.
The playing cards have been discovered in two shipments from China that have been destined for Houston and Seagraves, Texas. One bundle was labeled “greeting cards,” in response to Bansbach. The playing cards resembled the genuine CDC certificates supplied by healthcare practitioners when administering the COVID vaccine however “appeared to be fraudulent due to their low-quality appearance and other discrepancies,” CBP mentioned in an announcement.
“Our CBP officers continue the fight against these crooks who are using this pandemic to make a profit by selling these fraudulent documents,” mentioned LaFonda Sutton-Burke, Director of Field Operations on the Chicago Field Office.
— Grace Hauck
The CDC says unvaccinated Americans should delay planned trips throughout the nation till they’ve had their COVID-19 shots.
“People who are fully vaccinated with an FDA-authorized vaccine or a vaccine authorized for emergency use by the World Health Organization can travel safely within the United States,” the CDC mentioned in a Monday replace of its home journey steerage, which additionally outlines suggestions for unvaccinated individuals who should journey.
Also Monday, the CDC’s record of nations the place Americans should avoid travel because of “very high” COVID-19 cases grew once more, with Barbados and Croatia essentially the most notable additions.
More than 80 international locations are actually on the ever-changing record of nations vacationers ought to keep away from, together with Jamaica, Aruba, Belize, the United Kingdom, Greece and different common vacationer locations. Read more here.
– Dawn Gilbertson
J&J seeks FDA clearance for booster shot
Johnson & Johnson said Tuesday that it submitted data to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration showing a booster shot of its COVID-19 vaccine is safe and significantly increases protection against disease.
Johnson & Johnson says its data, published last month, reveals a booster given 56 days after a primary dose of its vaccine gives 94% safety in opposition to symptomatic COVID-19 and 100% safety in opposition to extreme illness.
“We stay up for our discussions with the FDA and different well being authorities to help their choices concerning boosters,” Mathai Mammen, a J&J analysis govt, said in a statement.
Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine is considered one of three approved in the U.S., and by far the least used, with less than 15 million Americans receiving its single-dose shot. Use of the J&J vaccine was paused for 10 days in April after experiences of uncommon however harmful blood clots in six girls who received the shot, however the FDA and CDC determined the vaccine’s benefits outweigh its risks.
On Tuesday, officers in Washington state confirmed a feminine resident of King County became the fourth known person in the nation to die of a blood clot after getting the J&J vaccine. Unlike the two-dose mRNA vaccines made by Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech, the J&J inoculation is an adenovirus vector vaccine.
When University of Northern Iowa professor Steve O’Kane decided to require masks in his plant systematics class this fall, he was fully aware that he was breaking state Board of Regents policy. Last week, O’Kane was stripped of his ability to teach the class this semester as a result.
Still, he plans to require masks again next semester, even when it means termination.
“To not disobey is to confess defeat. And what the administration is compelled to do – please word my phrases – what the administration is compelled to do is immoral and unethical. And all of it boils right down to Iowa politics,” O’Kane said in an interview.
O’Kane’s defiance of the regents’ policy prohibiting mask requirements is the largest escalation in what has been weeks of back-and-forth between faculty at UNI, Iowa State and the University of Iowa, their administrations and the Board of Regents over how to best protect the community from the spread of COVID-19.
– Cleo Krejci, Iowa City Press-Citizen
AstraZeneca on Tuesday said that it was seeking FDA emergency use authorization for its “long-acting” antibody mixture to deal with COVID-19.
AstraZeneca says its AZD7442 therapy, a mix of the antibodies tixagevimab and cilgavimab, is designed to have extra sturdiness than conventional antibodies. Most treatments are prescribed early in the course of disease, and whereas extremely efficient at stopping hospitalization and demise, the safety is momentary. AstraZeneca says its antibody therapy might present as much as a yr of safety.
In its clinical trial, AstraZeneca said the treatment reduced the risk of symptomatic COVID by 77%, and more than 75% of the study population had an increased risk of severe complications from COVID.
Rural Americans are up to 20% more possible than their city counterparts to die from diseases comparable to most cancers, coronary heart illness and decrease respiratory infections, a new federal study confirmed.
Lack of access to health care, poverty, smoking and heavy drinking all play a role in driving up the disparity between rural and urban residents – a gap likely now further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and closure of rural hospitals.
The federal study examined the 10 leading causes of death nationally from 2009 through 2019. It also found people in cities are living longer than their rural counterparts, and that the health disparities are increasing. Rural Americans are also dying from COVID-19 infections at about twice the rate of urban Americans, based on data analyzed by the Center for Rural Health Policy Analysis at the University of Iowa.
Dr. Varinder Singh, chair of the cardiology department at New York City’s Lenox Hill Hospital, said it’s important to remember that health care disparities exist in urban areas too, especially within communities of color. But he said the federal study raises important questions about the growing urban-rural divide, and should prompt discussions about how to effectively reach rural populations with public-health messages.
– Trevor Hughes
The director of the National Institutes of Health, Dr. Francis S. Collins, says he is stepping down by the end of the year, having led the research center for 12 years and become a prominent source of public information during the coronavirus pandemic.
“There comes a time where an institution like NIH really benefits from new vision, new leadership,” Collins, 71, said in an interview with The Washington Post. “This was the right timing.”
A formal announcement was expected Tuesday from NIH. The Post and Politico reported Collins’ plans Monday night.
Based in Bethesda, Maryland, and a part of the Department of Health and Human Services, NIH is the nation’s medical research agency and operates more than two dozen institutes and centers. It lays claim to being the largest supporter of biomedical research in the world.
– The Associated Press
COVID-19 has already killed twice as many people in Alabama this year as it did in all of 2020, Johns Hopkins University data shows.
The state was doubly punished by last year’s fall-winter wave of coronavirus, then the more recent delta variant-driven wave. The disease killed 4,827 people in Alabama in 2020, and a similar number from Jan. 1 to Feb. 23 this year.
Since July 1, when the delta variant really began taking off in the United States, COVID-19 has killed more than 3,100 people in Alabama.
— Mike Stucka
More than 1 million Texans lost jobs seemingly overnight and the state’s unemployment rate nearly quadrupled when the coronavirus pandemic first slammed the economy early last year.
But a less visible impact of the pandemic – a steep decline in educational attainment by Texas students amid the crisis – might end up having even bigger negative economic consequences long term, according to the state’s top public school official.
“This is the largest problem facing the state of Texas – the problem of making sure that our citizenry is educated to take advantage of the opportunities” generated by the financial system in the long run, Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath mentioned.
Morath mentioned the proportion of third graders in the state who meet grade-level proficiency in studying and math has dropped precipitously because the begin of the pandemic. Read more here.
– Bob Sechler, Austin American-Statesman
Contributing: Mike Stucka; The Associated Press