Coronavirus update: Experts say current surge is bigger than numbers suggest

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Pfizer will provide vaccines and medicines at no profit to dozens of low-income countries

COVID-19 ‌tally‌ ‌as‌ ‌‌compiled‌‌ ‌by‌ ‌Johns‌ ‌Hopkins‌ ‌University.‌ ‌(Previous‌ ‌numbers‌ ‌in‌ ‌parentheses.)‌

Total‌ ‌U.S.‌ ‌confirmed‌ ‌cases:‌ 83,864,802 (83,745,827)

Total‌ ‌U.S.‌ ‌deaths:‌ 1,004,300 (1,003,858)

Total‌ ‌global‌ ‌cases:‌ 528,007,458 (527,529,231)

Total ‌global‌ ‌deaths:‌ 6,285,128 (6,283,923)‌

COVID-19 numbers don’t accurately portray current surge

New cases of the coronavirus are continuing to trend higher across the U.S., surpassing 100,000 per day. However, the statistics that are currently available may not be capturing the true scope of the recent surge.

White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha recently told reporters at a press briefing that officials are “clearly undercounting infections.” He said one of the reasons for this is that consumers have come to rely on at-home tests. While these tests are useful for quickly figuring out whether or not a person has COVID-19, they are not processed in official case counts.

While experts can get a good ballpark estimate of the number of new cases through official reports and wastewater testing, getting a truly accurate number has only gotten harder as the pandemic wears on.

Pfizer to support poorer countries at no profit

Pfizer has announced that it will be sending medicines and vaccines to 45 lower-income countries on a not-for-profit basis as a way to close the world’s health equity gap.

Rwanda, Ghana, Malawi, Senegal, and Uganda will be the first five nations to receive aid from the company. Officials in those countries will work to help Pfizer spot and resolve any initial hurdles so that aid can be provided more easily to the rest of the countries who will join the “Accord for a Healthier World.”

Included in the aid are 23 medicines and vaccines that will be used to treat infectious diseases, certain cancers, and inflammatory diseases that take millions of lives in low-income countries each year. 

Misinformation about COVID-19 and pregnancy persists

COVID-19 misinformation has been a threat to response efforts since the very beginning of the pandemic. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to be going away.

Survey results from the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) show that pregnancy-related misinformation is still especially persistent. The findings suggest that 14% of adults and 24% of women who are pregnant or are planning to become pregnant believe that pregnant women should not get vaccinated for COVID-19. 

The CDC estimates that around 30% of pregnant women in the U.S. are not vaccinated. 

Around the nation

  • Connecticut: Connecticut officials have launched a new data portal that consumers can use to get statistics about the impact of COVID-19 in nursing homes. The portal will be updated weekly on Thursday afternoons.

  • New Mexico: New cases, deaths, and hospitalizations are all increasing across the state, but they are still below levels previously seen during the pandemic. On Wednesday, officials reported 900 new COVID-19 cases, 116 hospitalizations, and 32 deaths.

  • Pennsylvania: Erie County passed a bleak milestone this week when it recorded its 800th COVID-19 death. “We are still battling this virus,” said Department of Health official Charlotte Berringer. “We are tired of dealing with it, but the virus isn't finished with us yet. Vaccinations are good at preventing hospitalizations and deaths, though not as good at preventing infection. Masks remain a good way to reduce transmission.”

  • New York: Officials are urging residents to remain cautious during the Memorial Day weekend so that they can avoid becoming infected with COVID-19. “As we head into the Memorial Day weekend and prepare to travel and gather with loved ones, I encourage everyone to continue taking advantage of the tools we have available to protect against and treat COVID-19," said Gov. Kathy Hochul in a statement.

  • North Carolina: The CDC says high-risk residents in North Carolina may want to mask up now that cases are trending higher in several counties. Officials say many of the new cases can be traced to the BA.2. Omicron subvariant.

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