COVID-19 tally as compiled by Johns Hopkins University. (Previous numbers in parentheses.)
Total U.S. confirmed cases: 75,355,265 (74,943,050)
Total U.S. deaths: 890,939 (886,691)
Total global cases: 382,621,812 (378,888,710)
Total global deaths: 5,691,323 (5,675,902)
Vaccine makers seek approval for vaccinating kids under five
Pfizer and BioNTech, makers of the first approved COVID-19 vaccine, are asking the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for approval to administer their vaccine to children under the age of five. If approved, tiny doses of the vaccine could be administered to children as young as six months by next month.
"Since the start of the pandemic, more than 10.6 million children have tested positive for COVID-19 in the U.S., with children under four accounting for more than 1.6 million of those cases,” the companies said. COVID-19 cases and related hospitalization among children have spiked dramatically across the United States during the Omicron variant surge.
The companies said their request to amend the emergency use authorization (EUA) is based on the totality of data on the safety, tolerability, immunogenicity, and available efficacy of two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine.
Lockdowns failed to halt COVID-19 deaths, study finds
In a new study, researchers at Johns Hopkins University analyzed the early pandemic lockdowns in the U.S. and Europe and concluded that they had little or no effect on the virus’ mortality rate.
The researchers defined lockdowns as “ any government mandate that directly restrict peoples’ possibilities, such as policies that limit internal movement, close schools and businesses, and ban international travel.” The study used a systematic search and screening procedure in which 18,590 studies were identified that could potentially address the belief posed.
“We find no evidence that lockdowns, school closures, border closures, and limiting gatherings have had a noticeable effect on COVID-19 mortality,” the researchers concluded.
About those free masks…
President Biden announced early last month that the U.S. government would purchase 500 million N95 masks and give them away at pharmacies and retail locations across the country. But according to various media reports, the masks are hard to find.
WPTV-TV in West Palm Beach, Fla., reports that many area stores have posted signs telling consumers the masks are not yet available. Walmart has told shoppers that its stores may not have masks until the middle of this month.
Stores around the country that have received limited quantities of the masks report that there are long lines of consumers waiting to get one. Medical experts say people should continue using any kind of mask while they wait to receive an N95 mask.
Around the nation
California: State officials are seeking an agreement to reactivate California’s COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave law that would cover January 1, 2022, to September 30, 2022. Legal analysts say California employers should assume this agreement will become law in some form.
Minnesota: Minnesota is the latest state to report a drop in COVID-19 hospitalizations. Tuesday's report from state health officials showed 1,370 patients in the hospital for COVID-19, down from 1,455 in the previous daily report.
Connecticut: Connecticut reached a grim COVID-19 milestone this week after recording 10,000 total deaths from the virus. According to federal data, the state currently has a positive test rate of 8.6% and 995 hospitalized COVID-19 patients.
Pennsylvania: The surge in cases of COVID-19 that strained hospitals across the state last month appears to be easing. Health officials say cases of the virus dropped by more than 26% last week. However, that’s slightly behind the national average of 30% fewer cases.
Nevada: Some states are loosening COVID-19 restrictions, but Nevada isn’t one of them. Nevada Health Response reports that all counties in the state have a high transmission rate and, therefore, will maintain a statewide mandate to wear a mask in indoor settings.