COVID-19 tally as compiled by Johns Hopkins University. (Previous numbers in parentheses.)
Total U.S. confirmed cases: 83,089,370 ( 82,955,985)
Total U.S. deaths: 1,001,692 (1,001,274)
Total global cases: 526,121,673 (525,505,350)
Total global deaths: 6,286,298 (6,284,006)
CDC backs FDA’s approval of boosters for kids
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has endorsed the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) decision to approve a booster shot of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for children between the ages of five and 11.
CDC Director Rochelle Walensky moved quickly to grant final approval after the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) voted 11-1 to back the FDA’s move.
"Today, I endorsed ACIP’s vote to expand eligibility for Covid-19 vaccine booster doses," Walensky said in a statement. "Children five through 11 should receive a booster dose at least five months after their primary series."
Vaccinations after infection may lower ‘long COVID’ risk
Scientists in the U.K. have published a study that suggests people who were infected with COVID-19, then were vaccinated, were less likely to experience “long COVID” symptoms. Long COVID is a condition in which a recovered patient continues to experience some symptoms of the virus.
The study, which was published in the BMJ, is the first large examination of anecdotal evidence suggesting the shot mitigates the risk of prolonged symptoms. More than 28,000 people took part in a study that indicated a post-infection vaccination improves outcomes.
While vaccination after infection was associated with a lower likelihood of long COVID, the researchers say more data will be needed to prove any cause-and-effect connection.
Scientists working on COVID-19 vaccine 2.0
COVID-19 researchers around the world tend to agree on two things: The virus isn’t going away, and vaccines lose some of their protection power over time. That's why work is underway to develop the next generation of vaccines that will have more staying power.
Scientists have found that the biggest drops in immunity occur about four or five months after vaccination. However, vaccinated people who get infected tend to have a better chance of avoiding the most severe symptoms. For that reason, the new generation of vaccines may build on the existing mRNA type.
"We got a really great platform with mRNA," Dr. Anthoney Fauci, head of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID), told CNN. "But let's try to be better. Because our experience, maybe it's peculiar to coronavirus, but I doubt it, is that the durability of the response you can be better on."
Around the nation
New Jersey: The CDC is recommending that people wear masks indoors in public locations in nine counties. The counties, now listed as “high risk” of transmission of COVID-19, are Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Gloucester, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, and Sussex.
Indiana: The Office of the U.S. Surgeon General has asked state attorneys general to report instances of misinformation about COVID-19. It got an unexpected response from Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita, who submitted what he said were erroneous messages from federal health agencies.
Colorado: Cases are definitely on the rise in Colorado. State health officials report that 40% of the state is testing positive with the BA.2.12.1 Omicron subvariant variant and that it is approximately 25% more transmissible. They also say the first case of the BA 5 Omicron subvariant was detected in Colorado.
Maine: Maine has one of the highest COVID-19 infection rates in the nation, but when it comes to hospitalizations, officials at MaineHealth report that nearly a third are being treated for other issues. So-called “coincidental” hospitalizations occur when a patient is admitted for another reason but a test shows they also have a COVID-19 infection.
Oregon: Even though cases of the coronavirus are spreading quickly across the U.S., health officials in states like Oregon are not exactly sounding the alarm. Dr. Dean Sidelinger, Oregon’s chief disease specialist, is urging people to take precautions, but he notes that the current subvariants of the virus are relatively mild.