(Trends Wide) — With the holidays approaching, health experts said some holidays may begin to return to a sense of normalcy. However, they also warned that covid-19 is not defeated yet.
Experts said Sunday that outdoor Halloween – particularly for children who are vaccinated – should be fine this year.
“It’s a good time to reflect on why getting vaccinated is important. But get out there and enjoy Halloween, as well as the other holidays that lie ahead,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. from the US to Trends Wide’s Dana Bash.
Dr. Megan Ranney, Associate Dean of the Brown University School of Public Health, warned about indoor Halloween parties for children too young to be vaccinated and encouraged parents in areas with high virus transmission to play masks to her children, but agreed that the Halloween fun could continue this year.
Covid-19 infections and hospitalizations decrease
The overall picture for COVID-19 in the US looks a bit more rosy as new infections and hospitalizations decline. The average rate of new daily cases has fallen below 100,000, to 93,814 this Sunday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
Fauci said he would like to see new daily cases well below 10,000, but the decline is a start. “Hopefully it continues on that downward trajectory,” he said.
Although conditions are improving and the sense of normalcy is spreading, Fauci warned that the fight against the pandemic is not over.
“We have to be careful not to declare victory prematurely in many respects. There are still around 68 million people eligible to be vaccinated who have not yet done so,” Fauci said.
About 56.4% of the US population is fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Although experts do not know the exact percentage of vaccination coverage necessary to control the spread of the virus, Fauci has said that the “vast majority” of the population will have to be vaccinated.
“We haven’t gotten to that point yet,” said Dr. William Schaffner, a professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. “This virus can continue in places where vaccination rates are low.”
The potential for spread is especially concerning as winter holidays approach, often accompanied by meetings and travel.
Health experts have promoted the requirement for vaccination on air travel during these holidays. And although Fauci did not want to offer her position on the matter this Sunday, the professor of Emergency Medicine at the Oregon Health and Sciences University, Dr. Esther Choo, did speak out.
“Now is the time to impose obligations on the airlines,” said Choo. “It should happen quickly because people are making plans for the fall and winter holidays right now.”
When might vaccines be available for the little ones?
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is studying a proposal to expand vaccines to children up to 5 years old, and the youngest may not have an authorized dose for them until early in the year. next year, former FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb said Sunday.
The FDA is likely to ask for more data and perhaps studies with more children, because it involves a new vaccine and a new virus, Gottlieb told CBS’s “Face the Nation” program.
“And that could push it until 2022. Previously we had talked about trying to have this data available before the end of this year, which could have led to an authorization perhaps at the end of the year, at least in children between 2 and 4 years old. I think it is more likely to slide into the first quarter of next year at the very least, but not too far, “said Gottlieb, who also sits on Pfizer’s board of directors.
The FDA has called a meeting of its independent vaccine advisers, the Vaccines and Related Biologics Advisory Committee (VRBPAC), for October 26 to discuss pediatric vaccines.
Pfizer has submitted data and a formal application for authorization for its one-third-dose vaccine for use in children ages 5 to 11. But Gottlieb said he hopes the VRBPAC will also discuss what might be necessary for the authorization of younger children.
Having more information to consider can increase public confidence in vaccines, Gottlieb said. He is already confident and plans to vaccinate his own young daughters.
“There are many parents like me who, as soon as vaccines are available for their children, they will go out to vaccinate their children, who see the benefits of vaccination,” he said. “There are many parents who still have many doubts about vaccination. I think for them, they should have a conversation with their pediatrician to try to feel comfortable with the idea of vaccinating their children,” he added.
Gottlieb said he believes it will be years before the CDC recommends that COVID-19 vaccines be part of the regular childhood immunization schedule, opening the door for school districts to enforce them.
“I think there is a long way to go. Certainly, the CDC is going to look at 12-17 year olds differently than 5-11 year olds,” he said.
What we know about the long-term effects of covid-19
It’s important for people to understand that “not dying from COVID is great, but it’s not the only metric we should use,” Michigan emergency physician Dr. Rob Davidson said Saturday.
He said that at his hospital, some Covid-19 patients have been on a ventilator for more than a month, and some have endured invasive procedures to stay alive.
Even if they recover physically, some survivors of Covid-19 end up suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, due to the time they have spent in the ICU, Davidson said.
A study, published in February, found that 30% of covid-19 survivors experienced PTSD, which is a psychological illness that often appears after someone has a life-threatening experience.
The virus can also have negative effects on pregnant women infected during the third trimester and their babies, according to research.
Between March and September last year, symptomatic pregnant women in an Israeli hospital had higher rates of gestational diabetes, lower white blood cell counts and experienced heavier bleeding during delivery. Their babies also experienced more breathing problems, a research team reported in the Journal of Maternal-Fetal and Neonatal Medicine.
The study has limitations in that it only looked at women from one hospital, so its conclusions may not be valid for all pregnant women.
Then there is the long covid, when symptoms can last for months after infection.
A large study, published last month, showed that more than a third of COVID-19 patients suffered symptoms three to six months after becoming infected. Some had multiple and long-lasting complications.
Breathing problems, abdominal symptoms like stomach pain, diarrhea, fatigue, pain, anxiety, and depression were some of the most common problems.
Supplemental data showed that up to 46% of children and young adults ages 10-22 had experienced at least one symptom within six months of recovery.
Trends Wide’s Aya Elamroussi, Holly Yan, Ben Tinker, Lauren Mascarenhas, Jacqueline Howard and Keith Allen contributed to this report.