COVID-19 tally as compiled by Johns Hopkins University. (Previous numbers in parentheses.)
Total U.S. confirmed cases: 81,045,532 (80,988,514)
Total U.S. deaths: 991,629 (991,260)
Total global cases: 510,331,384 (509,574,738)
Total global deaths: 6,221,415 (6,218,431)
FDA approves remdesivir to treat young children
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has expanded its approval of the COVID-19 treatment remdesivir to include pediatric patients, including infants.
The drug may be used if children test positive for the coronavirus and are hospitalized. The drug may also be prescribed if a child is at high risk for progression to severe COVID-19.
The FDA action makes remdesivir the first approved COVID-19 treatment for children under 12 years of age. Previously, the drug was only approved to treat certain adults and pediatric patients who are 12 years of age and older and weigh at least 40 kilograms, which is about 88 pounds.
White House to make Paxlovid more available
The White House today said it is taking steps to help more COVID-19 patients get access to Pfizer’s treatment drug Paxlovid. They say the drug could make the U.S.’ falling death toll decline even more.
So far, the drug has been underused in the fight against the virus. To turn that around, administration officials say the government plans to double the number of places where patients can access Paxlovid.
“We can save more lives by getting this medication to more people,” a senior administration official stated. The official said the drug will soon be available at as many as 10,000 locations in the U.S.
Cruise ship reports outbreak
Cruise ships were among the first venues to see a surge in COVID-19 cases in March 2020, before the rest of the nation fully grasped the severity of the pandemic. Now, at least one cruise ship is experiencing a disconcerting case of deja vu.
CBS reports that the Ruby Princess docked in San Francisco earlier this month with 143 passengers who had tested positive for the virus. Travelers reported seeing some of their fellow passengers with symptoms not long after leaving Hawaii.
But unlike two years ago, everyone aboard the cruise ship was vaccinated. The San Francisco Health Department reports that nearly all infected passengers had mild or no symptoms. Only one person was admitted to a hospital for treatment.
Around the nation
Nevada: The number of new COVID-19 cases rose by 7.9% last week, as the state added 1,230 positive test results. The previous week had 1,140 new cases of the virus that causes COVID-19. Despite that, Nevada only ranks 33rd among states where the virus is spreading the fastest.
Connecticut: State officials are urging school districts to prepare for an increase in COVID-19 cases. In a message to school officials, the departments of Education and Public Health stated that COVID-19 transmission rates are on the rise throughout Connecticut. The positivity rate went over 8% last week.
Kansas: Even though cases of COVID-19 are at only a fraction of what they once were, the state legislature is considering a number of bills that limit government rules and mandates. Cheered on by anti-vaccination activists, lawmakers are considering passage of House Bill 2280, which would open the door to treatments not fully endorsed by federal regulators.
New Mexico: One sign that the virus may be in retreat is the return of tourists to New Mexico. After suffering sharp declines over the last two years, tourism officials say things are looking up. "We returned to 2019 levels in October of 2021," Jim Walton, public Information officer with the New Mexico Tourism Department, told The Center Square. "We're actually doing quite well."
Maine: While many states have seen COVID-19 hospitalizations drop off this month, Maine is seeing its numbers move in the opposite direction. Health officials report that the number of people requiring hospital treatment for the virus increased sharply last week to the highest level since March 9.