Coronavirus update: White House ready to vaccinate youngest children

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GAO report finds the pandemic set children back academically

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

Total‌ ‌U.S.‌ ‌confirmed‌ ‌cases:‌ 85,217,725 (85,011,505)

Total‌ ‌U.S.‌ ‌deaths:‌ 1,010,525 (1,009,339)

Total‌ ‌global‌ ‌cases:‌ 533,781,613 (533,153,104)

Total ‌global‌ ‌deaths:‌ 6,305,292 (6,302,589)‌

White House announces plan to vaccinate infants and toddlers

A U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory committee meets next week to consider whether to approve COVID-19 vaccinations for children between the ages of six months and five years old. However, the White House says it anticipates a green light and has revealed a plan to quickly ramp up the vaccination process.

The Biden administration said it "has made 10 million vaccine doses available for states, tribes, territories, community health centers, federal pharmacy partners, and others to pre-order," according to a White House fact sheet.

Officials say the first vaccinations could start "as early as the week of June 20th —with the program ramping up over time as more doses are delivered and more appointments become available." 

Pandemic set kids back academically, study shows

A new government report reveals how the pandemic slowed academic progress for American school children over the last two years. The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) interviewed K-12 teachers nationwide.

Compared to a typical school year, teachers reported that more of their students started the 2020-2021 school year behind and made less academic progress. Teachers also reported that many students ended the year behind grade level expectations. Educators and parents also shared their insights and experiences about student struggles and learning loss during the year.

The study found that 52% of teachers had more of their students start the 2020-2021 school year behind when compared to a typical school year. The researchers say this affected younger students more than older students. About 64% of teachers had more students make less academic progress than in a typical school year. 

What doctors want people to know about at-home testing

Over-the-counter COVID-19 tests that can be self-administered at home have become the new norm as the pandemic continues. In the American Medical Association (AMA) series “What Doctors Wish Patients Knew,”  Dr. Emily Volk says patients need to understand the importance of administering these tests correctly.

“The fact that you can actually test yourself and get a reasonably accurate result within about 20 minutes can be very, very powerful,” said Volk, who is the president of the College of American Pathologists. “It’s very important, though, if you use those tests at home, that you treat them with the respect that they deserve.”

Volk says that means following the directions very carefully. Consumers should read the instructions, pay full attention, and avoid distractions.

Around the nation

  • Texas: COVID-19 is still affecting sports teams. The Texas Rangers placed relief pitcher Brett Martin on the COVID-19 list this week before the first game of a doubleheader against the Guardians. The team also placed bench coach Donnie Ecker in health and safety protocols.

  • California: State and local officials continue to walk a fine line when it comes to COVID-19 mitigation measures as cases rise around the state. Sacramento County health officials said they “strongly urge” citizens to mask up in public. However, they aren't requiring it as of yet.

  • Nevada: Clark County, home to Las Vegas, is seeing a sharp rise in new coronavirus cases. County health officials also report that local hospitalizations are beginning to rise among mostly older seniors. Nevada’s latest health figures show a 14-day rolling average of 315 patients per day, 276 of which are in Clark County.

  • Maryland: Democrats and Republicans in the state are sharply divided over whether to require COVID-19 vaccinations for school children. A poll that was conducted for Baltimore Sun Media and the University of Baltimore shows that three-quarters of Maryland Democrats support a vaccination mandate while half of Republicans in the poll oppose it.

  • Wisconsin: Gov. Tony Evers and the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) are wrapping up their tour of the state by thanking residents for their COVID-19 response. “Our state’s public health workers have endured so much these past years, helping folks through some of the most challenging of circumstances, and it is no small part due to their selfless efforts that our state is in the positive position we are today," Evers said.

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