(Trends Wide) — While much of the United States is seeing a decline in hospitalizations for the covid-19 virus, it is also clear that the fight against the pandemic is far from over, with eight states reporting a limited number of beds available in their homes. ICU.
Texas, Idaho, Alabama, Georgia, Oklahoma, Kentucky, Arkansas and North Carolina have 15% or less of their ICU capacity available to patients, according to data from the Department of Health and Human Services.
Declining capacity from COVID-19 has put many hospitals under great pressure on resources and staff, often preventing them from offering the level of care they would like, according to healthcare professionals.
On average, during the last week, hospitalizations for Covid-19 have decreased by more than 1,400 a day, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC, for its acronym in English).
Health experts say it is not yet clear whether the change is temporary or the beginning of the end, and that now is not the time to get overconfident.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has said that the vast majority of Americans will need to get vaccinated to control the spread, but according to CDC data, only 56% of the population is fully vaccinated.
“I am concerned that we still have difficult days ahead of us,” said Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of the School of Public Health at Brown University. “Although we are doing reasonably well with vaccines, we have to do much better because the delta variant is very good at finding people who are not vaccinated and infecting them.”
And since children under 12 cannot yet be vaccinated, many experts are concerned about how children will fare.
An average of 225 children were admitted to the hospital with COVID-19 each day for the past seven days, according to CDC data. The figure is lower than the average of 263 from the previous week.
Although pediatric infections have decreased, they remain high. Children under the age of 18 make up 22% of the American population, but account for 27% of all cases nationally, according to data released Monday by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
And while these cases are less likely to be severe or cause death, children can end up with long-term symptoms.
The deaths of children by covid-19 are a “disgrace”
The deaths of children due to a preventable disease such as covid-19 are the motivation to authorize a vaccine in children, said Tuesday the head of vaccines of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA, for its acronym in English).
“In this latest wave of covid-19, especially in the south, there have been thousands of children hospitalized. And frankly, it is a shame in a developed country that even 100 children, as we have had, die of an infectious disease that can be prevent, “said the director of the Center for Biological Evaluation and Research, Dr. Peter Marks, at a meeting organized by the Covid-19 Vaccine Education and Equity Project.
“We didn’t have a vaccine to give them, but I would hate to deprive children of their lives because we didn’t decide to vaccinate them, even against something relatively low risk,” Marks said.
According to the CDC, 645 children have died from covid-19 in the United States.
“No parent should lose their child to a vaccine-preventable disease if we have a vaccine that can be implanted and is safe and effective. And we will only allow something that we consider safe and effective to be authorized,” Marks said.
Marks said he did not know if the authorization of a vaccine in children ages 5 to 11 would come after an FDA Vaccine and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee meeting scheduled for October 14 and 15, but said the FDA would work quickly to review the necessary data when it becomes available.
“Many of the people who work at the FDA have young children or have grandchildren. And this is clearly one of the most important issues to be resolved, so we are not wasting our time,” he said.
Johnson & Johnson requests authorization for a booster dose
As authorities prepare to review vaccines for young children, they are also considering authorizing a booster dose to increase protection for people who received Johnson & Johnson’s unique vaccine.
J&J said Tuesday that it has asked the FDA to authorize booster doses for its vaccine. According to the CDC, about 15 million people in the US have received the J&J vaccine.
The company said it has made the request, but leaves it up to the FDA and CDC to decide who should get the boosters and when.
The FDA’s Advisory Committee on Vaccines and Related Biologics is scheduled to meet on October 14-15 to study requests from Moderna and Johnson & Johnson to add booster doses to their covid-19 vaccines.
Last month, the company released some data from three different studies showing that boosting its vaccine at two months or six months increased immune protection.
“We announce that the six-month data is a very strong, very strong boost, like an incredibly strong boost,” said Dr. Mathai Mammen, head of global research and development for J & J’s vaccine arm, Janssen. “And those two months are a good booster, and the good two-month booster was associated with 94% vaccine efficacy, across the board, at all ages.”
Pfizer’s vaccine has already been cleared by the FDA for use as a booster for people 65 and older, people at high risk of serious illness, and people whose jobs put them at risk of infection.
Virginia Langmaid, Maggie Fox, Jen Christensen, Holly Yan, Susannah Cullinane, Ben Tinker, Jacqueline Howard, Mallory Simon y Theresa Waldrop de Trends Wide contribuyeron a este informe.