COVID-19 tally as compiled by Johns Hopkins University. (Previous numbers in parentheses.)
Total U.S. confirmed cases: 82,731,284 (82,619,858)
Total U.S. deaths: 1,000,207 (999,852)
Total global cases: 524,794,769 (522,165,282)
Total global deaths: 6,281,631 (6,267,509)
FDA approves booster shots for young children
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has amended the emergency use authorization (EUA) for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. The change allows it to be used to administer a booster shot to children between the ages of five and 11.
“While it has largely been the case that COVID-19 tends to be less severe in children than adults, the Omicron wave has seen more kids getting sick with the disease and being hospitalized, and children may also experience long term effects, even following initially mild disease,” said FDA Commissioner Dr. Robert M. Califf.
Before getting a booster, children must have received the initial doses of the vaccine. Califf urged parents to get their eligible children vaccinated and boosted as a protection against what appears to be a building wave of new cases.
Flu shot may protect against COVID-19, study finds
If you got a flu shot in addition to your COVID-19 vaccination, you may have an extra layer of protection against the coronavirus. That’s the conclusion of researchers who published their findings in the journal Nature.
Scientists conducted a study of more than 30,000 health care workers in Qatar and found that those who got a flu shot were nearly 90% less likely to develop severe COVID-19 over the next few months when compared to those who didn’t get a flu shot.
Scientists believe the flu shots’ positive effect on the body’s immune system is what gives it the power to protect against the coronavirus. The findings could lead to a combined annual effort to encourage both vaccinations.
Terminated employee sues Mayo Clinic
A Mayo Clinic employee who was dismissed – along with 700 others – for not getting a COVID-19 vaccination has filed a lawsuit against the medical institution. The suit, filed by Shelley Kiel, claims unlawful termination and demands a jury trial.
Kiel and her unvaccinated colleagues were fired in January for failing to abide by the Mayo Clinic’s mandate that all employees be vaccinated against the virus. About 1% of all employees were dismissed over the issue.
The suit claims that the medical center did not use a case-by-case analysis or individualized interactive process to consider religious exemptions. The suit claims the terminations were unfair because they were predetermined.
Around the nation
New York: Health officials have raised New York City’s COVID-19 threat level to “high” for the first time in weeks. Health officials say the strain is building on the health care system, so they are strongly recommending wearing masks in public indoor settings.
Pennsylvania: Attorney General Josh Shapiro, the Democratic candidate for governor, tested positive for COVID-19 just hours before the primary election polls opened on Tuesday. A spokesperson for the campaign said Shapiro received his positive test result on Monday evening “after taking a precautionary test” ahead of a scheduled trip to Johnstown and Pittsburgh.
South Carolina: Health officials in Charleston are expressing concerns about the rising number of new COVID-19 cases in the state’s largest city. It comes as the state health department reported nearly 5,600 new cases on May 17, an increase of 266% from a month earlier.
Maryland: People in Montgomery County, a Washington, D.C. suburb, are being urged to wear masks again when they visit indoor public spaces. “Our current surge in cases is lasting longer than expected, which leaves more people at-risk of being exposed to COVID-19,” County Executive Marc Elrich said in a statement.
Nevada: An investigative report by ProPublica claims that COVID-19 tests from a Chicago lab that were widely used across Nevada during the pandemic were flawed and often returned the wrong results. The report claims that the company used political connections to fast-track its state approval and sign testing agreements with five government entities in the state.