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Coronavirus update: Confusion surrounding boosters, WHO endorses antibody treatment

Moderna CEO sees pandemic ending next year

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Photo (c) Peter Zelei - Getty Images
Coronavirus‌ ‌(COVID-19)‌ ‌tally‌ ‌as‌ ‌‌compiled‌‌ ‌by‌ ‌Johns‌ ‌Hopkins‌ ‌University.‌ ‌(previous‌ ‌numbers‌ ‌in‌ ‌parentheses)‌.

Total‌ ‌U.S.‌ ‌confirmed‌ ‌cases:‌ 42,680,809 (42,553,299)‌

Total‌ ‌U.S.‌ ‌deaths:‌ 684,428 (681,259)

Total‌ ‌global‌ ‌cases:‌ 230,754,396 (230,242,861)

Total‌ ‌global‌ ‌deaths:‌ 4,731,348 (4,721,803)‌

CDC panel overruled FDA advisers on booster shots

A panel of experts advising the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has overruled a similar group advising the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on COVID-19 booster shots. But the FDA group’s view has prevailed.

The FDA panel recommended the booster for people 65 and older, people with underlying health conditions, and people in frontline occupations like health care and food distribution. The CDC panel recommendation limited boosters to the elderly and those with underlying conditions.

But CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky is siding with the FDA group, saying boosters should be offered to people of all ages who are engaged in high-risk occupations. 

WHO backs Regeneron's antibody treatment

Regeneron’s COVID-19 antibody treatment has received a vote of confidence from the World Health Organization (WHO). A panel of experts advising the agency has recommended that high-risk COVID-19 patients receive Regeneron's monoclonal antibody treatment.

The treatment is made up of two synthetic antibodies called casirivimab and imdevimab. They have been shown to boost a patients' immune system, and the FDA approved the treatment for use in the U.S. last November.

The WHO said there are two primary groups of patients who should receive the drug: people who don't have severe symptoms but are at high risk of hospitalization and patients with severe symptoms.

Light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel?

How long will this pandemic go on? It was supposed to end with the rollout of vaccines. But then the Delta variant came along.

Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel thinks we’re in the late innings of the crisis. He told a Swiss newspaper the pandemic could die out next year as more people around the world get vaccinated.

“We will end up in a situation similar to that of the flu,” Bancel told the outlet, saying he predicted that future within the next 12 months. “You can either get vaccinated and have a good winter. Or you don’t do it and risk getting sick and possibly even ending up in hospital.”

Around the nation

  • Florida: Gov. Ron DeSantis has docked the pay of school board members who are requiring masks at school. But it turns out the board members will be paid after all. The U.S. Department of Education said it will reimburse the board members for the money the state has withheld.

  • Delaware: A state court judge has denied a request for an order to force ChristianaCare to use ivermectin to treat a patient with severe COVID-19. The patient obtained a prescription for the drug but the health care facility refused to give it, saying ivermectin is not a part of the system’s standardized COVID-19 response plan.

  • California: Health officials in Santa Clara County have reported five deaths so far this month and say all five victims were not vaccinated. Meanwhile, the state has made recent strides in vaccinating its population. Officials report 72% of the state’s eligible population has gotten at least one dose of the vaccine.

  • Iowa: The Iowa Department of Public Health reports the number of people hospitalized for treatment of the virus has risen for 12 consecutive weeks. During the last seven days, the agency reports a nearly 10% increase in the number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals across the state.

  • Louisiana: Health officials are concerned about mounting COVID-19 cases among children but are encouraged by what appears to be a decline in severe cases of the virus. The number fell below 1,200 this week and is at the lowest level since July 24.

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