COVID-19 tally as compiled by Johns Hopkins University. (Previous numbers in parentheses.)
Total U.S. confirmed cases: 85,515,980 (85,500,976)
Total U.S. deaths: 1,011,277 (1,011,259)
Total global cases: 535,319,747 (535,153,489)
Total global deaths: 6,309,616 (6,309,255 )
FDA poised to approve vaccinations for kids under five
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has released its analysis of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine and said it appears to be safe and effective for children under age five, according to a report by the Associated Press. An FDA advisory committee meets this week to discuss the data.
If the committee votes to recommend the shots for young children, officials say vaccinations could begin as early as next week. First, the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) would have to formally approve the vaccinations.
Children between the ages of six months and four are the last group of Americans not yet eligible for vaccinations.
Inhaled vaccine more effective than nasal sprays, scientists say
Scientists, who are already working on the next generation of COVID-19 vaccines, are debating which delivery method is the most effective. Some researchers advocate for a nasal spray, saying it should be deployed at the location of infection.
But scientists at McMaster University in Canada argue that inhaled aerosol vaccines provide far better protection and a stronger immune response than nasal sprays. They point out that inhaled aerosols bypass the nasal passage and deliver vaccine droplets deep in the airway, where they can “induce a broad protective immune response.”
“Infections in the upper respiratory tract tend to be non-severe,” said Matthew Miller, a co-author of the study. “In the context of infections caused by viruses like influenza or SARS-CoV-2, it tends to be when the virus gets deep into the lung that it makes you really sick.”
Vaccine may provide strong protection for heart patients
For people being treated for cardiac issues, doctors have some urgent advice: Get vaccinated and boosted against COVID-19.
Scientists writing in the Journal of Cardiac Failure say heart failure patients who are unvaccinated are three times more likely to die if infected with the virus than fully boosted heart failure patients. The study is the first to look at COVID-19 vaccination status and outcomes in patients with this cardiovascular condition.
Researchers said they launched the study because many cardiac patients expressed fear of getting vaccinated due to the risk of vaccine-related myocarditis, which is rare.
Around the nation
Michigan: New cases of COVID-19 declined again last week. The previous week, there were 10 counties classified as having a “high risk” of transmission. Last week, the number of counties where officials urge residents to mask up fell to only five – Mackinac, Saginaw, Oakland, Washtenaw, and Wayne counties.
New York: New York City Mayor Eric Adams has announced plans to end the city’s controversial mandate for two- to four-year-old children to wear masks in public, citing a continuing decline in cases. The mask mandate for Broadway theaters and public transit continues, at least for now.
Alabama: State health officials say that because so many COVID-19 tests are now conducted at home, their results rarely make it into the official records. But the one metric that has remained useful, they say, is hospitalizations. Unfortunately, that number has moved higher over the last few weeks.
Oklahoma: State health officials are expressing concern about a rise in severe COVID-19 cases among children. Over the last few days, at least one child under five has died of COVID-19. Pediatric patients account for 24 of the state’s 122 COVID-19 hospitalizations.
Kansas: Cases of the coronavirus may be rising, but health officials say there are fewer severe cases. Experts at the University of Kansas Health System say Omicron BA.2 has largely been eclipsed by another subvariant, BA.2.12.1, which is causing fewer hospitalizations and deaths.