As US nears 600K deaths, health experts warn of increasing variants; widespread vaccination protects unvaccinated: Latest COVID-19 updates

A glimmer of hope emerges as the United States enters summer with the lowest COVID case rates in months, the country could pass 600,000 deaths by the end of this week.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said last week That the number of cases and deaths have come down to their lowest level in almost a year. But experts are warning non-vaccinated individuals and equally vaccinated individuals not to lower their guard just yet.

“The news about the delta variant is really proof of why it is so important for us to get vaccinated as early as possible,” Dr Vivek Murthy told CNN on Wednesday. Having said that the variant first discovered in India is more permeable and probable. more dangerous.

Top pathologist Dr. Anthony Fauci also warned of the alpha variant, which was first identified in the UK, and the delta variant spreading rapidly across the country.

“We don’t want to let that happen in the United States that’s currently happening in the UK, where you have a troublesome version that’s essentially acting as the major version, which has made it a huge hit in the UK.” It’s a tough situation,” he said. CNN.

Fauci said the Delta version now accounts for about 6% of US infections. But the data shows that the Pfizer vaccine is partially effective against the variant.

Meanwhile, President Joe Biden on Thursday outlined a plan for the US to help “supercharge the global fight against this pandemic”.

Central to that campaign is the US commitment to buy 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-7 summit in England. The president said a total of 200 million doses of the vaccine will be distributed this year, and the rest will be distributed in the first half of 2022.

“This is a monumental commitment by the American people,” Biden said, adding that G-7 nations will announce their contribution to the global pandemic response 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 on Celebrity Cruises’ Celebrity Millennium ship, which was carrying only fully vaccinated passengers and crew, Has tested positive for COVID-19.

Food and Drug Administration on Thursday Extended expiry date Hundreds of thousands of doses of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine for up to six weeks, giving states with large untapped allocations more time to administer them. The shelf life of J&J vaccines was increased from three months to four-and-a-half months, as their stability was tested. Many supplements will have reached their expiration date on June 24.

The organization said on Thursday that only seven African countries are expected to meet the World Health Organization’s target of immunizing 10 percent of their people by September.

Most hospitals in Washington, D.C. will require staff to receive COVID-19 vaccinations, Joining a growing number of health care systems And other businesses nationwide opted for the controversial mandate.

New Hampshire’s nearly 15-month state of emergency will end Friday night, Gov. Chris Sununu said Thursday.

The World Health Organization warned on Thursday that although vaccination rates in Europe were far from the initial numbers, they are still far from What is needed to stop the resurgence.

Moderna announced on Thursday that it has requested emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration for its COVID-19 vaccine for 12-17-year-olds.

Today’s issue: The US has more than 33.4 million confirmed coronavirus cases 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 vaccinated – 42.6% of the population, According to the CDC.

What we are studying: President Joe Biden has set a new vaccine target for America: 70% of adults have received at least one COVID-19 shot by the Fourth of July. If the shots continue at their current pace, the US will fall short of that benchmark. Read the full story.

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According to new study, widespread vaccination protects the unvaccinated

Mass vaccination can also reduce the chances of transmission of the coronavirus to non-vaccinated people, thus having the potential to prevent epidemics. This is according to a new study from Israel published Nature Medicine Thursday.

Researchers analyzed vaccination records and virus test results between December 6, 2020 and March 9, 2021, and found that vaccination rates were correlated with a decline in infections.

“In vaccinated individuals infected with SARS-CoV-2, a lower viral load was observed. The lower infection and viral load suggests that less transmission occurred,” the study said.

But masking and social distancing were still important, the study suggested, because “vaccination could, in theory, also increase transmission due to behavioral effects.”

Vaccines may be behind slight increase in heart inflammation rate

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday that rates of heart inflammation appear to be higher in young people who have been vaccinated against COVID-19, although side effects are extremely rare.

In updated data, the CDC showed that teens and young adults who received a second dose of either Moderna or Pfizer-BioEntech vaccines were slightly more prone to myocarditis, inflammation of the heart muscle, or pericarditis, than others in their age group. is risk. from the outer layer of the heart. The increased risk, which usually occurs within a week after the second shot, is so small that it is not entirely clear whether the vaccine is causing it.

But the cases seen are higher than expected in people aged 16-24, Dr Tom Shimabukuro of the CDC’s Vaccine Task Force told a federal advisory committee on Thursday. As is usually the case with these conditions, men are at higher risk than women. Most of those whose condition was known made a full recovery, Shimabukuro said, with more than 90% of those who were hospitalized sent straight home after treatment rather than needing rehabilitation.

Shimabukuro said he looks forward to providing more information on the possible connection at a CDC advisory committee meeting on June 18.

— Karen Weintraubi

Contribution: Associated Press.

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