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Coronavirus update: New York hospitals face staff shortages, Pfizer close to seeking vaccine approval for kids

Stillbirths are increasing among women with COVID-19

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

Total‌ ‌U.S.‌ ‌confirmed‌ ‌cases:‌ 42,936,899 (41,941,348)‌

Total‌ ‌U.S.‌ ‌deaths:‌ 688,106 (687,752)

Total‌ ‌global‌ ‌cases:‌ 231,962,768 (231,642,439)

Total‌ ‌global‌ ‌deaths:‌ 4,750,658 (4,745,185)‌

New York faces shortage of health workers as vaccine mandate take effect

Starting today, health care workers in New York are required to be vaccinated against COVID-19. With many workers refusing to get vaccinated, the state could face severe staff shortages.

"I am monitoring the staffing situation closely and we have a plan to increase our health care workforce and help alleviate the burdens on our hospitals and other health care facilities," said New York Gov. Kathy Hochul. 

One option that is supposedly under consideration is the deployment of National Guard medical personnel. The governor is also reportedly considering an executive order that would allow medical personnel licensed in other states to temporarily practice in New York.

Pfizer close to seeking vaccine approval for children

Children under age 12 remain a weak link in COVID-19 mitigation efforts since they are not eligible for vaccination. However, that could soon change. Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla says he expects his company will soon ask the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to approve his company’s vaccine for children.

On ABC News’ “This Week” program, Bouria said Pfizer and its vaccine partner BioNTech are preparing to submit the clinical trial data they have gathered on children between the ages of five and 11, saying it will “be a matter of days, not weeks.”

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), 26% of all COVID-19 cases occur in children. Government figures show that an average of 266 children were hospitalized each day last week for treatment of the virus.

Health experts: Stillbirths may be linked to COVID-19

The coronavirus could be claiming the lives of very young victims. Health experts point to federal health statistics that show an increase in stillbirths among women who have had COVID-19.

“We’re seeing the numbers more out of Mississippi and Alabama. In Florida it’s hard to get hard numbers on these types of occurrences,” Dr. Tiffany Wells, OBGYN from Baptist Health, told WJXT-TV in Jacksonville.

Wells says no research has been done to establish causation between the virus and stillbirths, but she notes that lost pregnancies are increasing in the South while they remain very low in the nation as a whole.

Around the nation

  • Idaho: The state is reportedly running out of space in its morgues due to a spike in COVID-19 deaths. It has also caused problems for funeral homes in the state. “We’re so far behind on cremations,” Lance Cox, owner of Bell Tower Funeral Home in Post Falls, Idaho, told the Washington Post

  • Texas: Hospitalizations are falling across the state but deaths are not. COVID-19 deaths in Texas rose past 62,000 last week. Some media sources report that about half of those fatalities came after vaccines were rolled out in late 2020.

  • Virginia: Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe is making vaccine mandates a central part of his campaign in an effort to draw a contrast with his Republican opponent, Glenn Youngkin. McAuliffe has urged nursing homes in the state to enforce mandates. Youngkin said he urges everyone to be vaccinated but he has stopped short of supporting mandates.

  • Michigan: State health officials are preparing to roll out the Pfizer booster shot this week. Shots will be administered at many pharmacies around the state, but people must make appointments to get the booster.

  • New Jersey: Nursing homes across the state, which were hard hit during the early months of the pandemic, are reporting new outbreaks. However, officials say outcomes are better than a year ago because there are fewer severe cases. “People are still testing positive, but they’re not all going to the hospital. And we’re seeing more cases with mild symptoms,” said James McCracken, CEO of a large nursing home group.

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