(Trends Wide) — Covid-19 cases are declining in the US, but the optimistic outlook must be tempered by the still high rate of infections, especially in children.
The number of new cases in children remains “exceptionally high,” with 148,222 cases reported in the week ending Oct. 7, according to data from the American Academy of Pediatrics released Monday.
Children accounted for nearly a quarter of the COVID-19 cases reported weekly, according to the AAP.
Nationwide, COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths have decreased, according to Johns Hopkins University. During the past week, an average of 87,676 people reported infections and 1,559 people died of COVID-19 a day, according to JHU data.
The infection rate is still well above what is necessary, which according to Dr. Anthony Fauci should be below 10,000 cases.
And with winter threatening to send people home and increase the spread, experts fear that cases could rise again. The risk is higher in the case of children, many of whom cannot yet be vaccinated.
The vaccines are currently only available for children up to 12 years of age, although Pfizer and BioNTech have applied for an emergency use authorization from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for older children. little ones.
Meanwhile, some schools have resorted to preventive measures to protect students, such as masking, distancing and testing. In Massachusetts, Governor Charlie Baker is planning to deploy 200 National Guard members to assist in COVID-19 testing in schools.
Vaccination is the key
But vaccination remains the best tool to fight the pandemic, experts say.
And some regions are doing better than others.
Thirty-five states have fully vaccinated more than half of their residents, while another five – Vermont, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Maine and Massachusetts – have fully vaccinated more than two-thirds, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Department of Diseases (CDC).
In general, the figures are not so promising. As of Tuesday night, only 56.5% of the American population was fully vaccinated, according to CDC data.
“We need the overwhelming proportion of those unvaccinated people to get vaccinated and then we can be pretty sure that if we do that, we won’t see a resurgence,” said Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
Hospital System “Deeply Disappointed” by Texas Vaccine Ban
While many experts and officials encourage institutions to enact vaccination mandates to protect their employees, students and clients, some oppose their efforts.
On Monday, Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued an executive order prohibiting any entity from requiring people to get vaccinated.
“The covid-19 vaccine is safe, effective, and our best defense against the virus, but it should remain voluntary and never mandatory,” Abbott said.
“This goes against public health guidelines and is really not the right thing to do in the middle of a pandemic,” Trends Wide medical analyst Dr. Leana Wen told John King on Tuesday.
Dr. Marc Boom, president and CEO of the Houston Methodist, said the hospital system is reviewing Abbott’s decree and its possible implications, although it continues to wait for employees and physicians to get vaccinated.
“As the first hospital system in the country to order the covid-19 vaccine for employees and physicians, we are deeply disappointed by the governor’s order that attempts to prohibit such mandates,” Boom said in a statement, noting that the system’s employees and physicians comply with the 100%.
“We have fulfilled our sacred obligation to keep our patients safe by putting them first. As a result, not only are our patients safe, but we can stay healthy at work and be there for our community when it needs us most.” said.
The prohibition of mandates has been especially relevant in healthcare systems, where some professionals have resigned over these measures and others have advocated for them to protect their colleagues and vulnerable patients.
According to a new survey by Axios-Ipsos, the majority of Americans, 65%, support the requirement for vaccinations for everyone who works in a healthcare setting.
It was also found that a greater number of Americans, 30%, expect it to take more than a year to return to normal life before the disease, compared to 9% who thought this in early June.
There are also fewer who claim to have returned to their normal life -22% now, compared to 28% in June- or those who say they will do so in the next six months -13%, compared to 36% in June-, according to the survey.
In a sign of normalcy, senior administration officials told Trends Wide that the US plans to ease travel restrictions for fully vaccinated visitors from Canada and Mexico beginning in early November, relaxing bans that have been in effect for more than 18 months.
Moderna proposes a smaller vaccine dose
As the US has approved booster doses of the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine for some vulnerable Americans – and authorities are weighing approval of the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson boosters – Moderna on Tuesday urged the FDA to authorize a 50-microgram dose, based on documents released before a key meeting.
The company said this dose increases protection against the coronavirus and helps maintain the global supply of vaccines.
That dose is half the size of the 100 microgram doses used in the primary series of the two-dose vaccine.
Moderna requests authorization of the smallest dose at least six months after the second dose for certain groups: people 65 years of age or older; people ages 18 to 64 who are at high risk for severe cCovid-19; and people between the ages of 18 and 64 whose exposure to coronavirus in their environments or work puts them at risk of complications or serious illness from covid-19.
On Thursday, the FDA’s independent vaccine advisers are expected to discuss and vote on whether to recommend the authorization of boosters for the Moderna vaccine.
Meanwhile, on Friday, advisers are scheduled to debate and vote on whether to recommend the authorization of boosters for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Both vaccines are already licensed for use in people over 18 years of age. Members of the VRBPAC will also hear a presentation Friday on “mixed” booster doses.
Trends Wide’s Naomi Thomas, Deidre McPhillips, Julian Cummings, Rosalina Nieves, and Jamie Gumbrecht contributed to this report.