Bill Gates says the omicron variant should create a wealth of immunity for at least the next year, and annual COVID-19 shots will likely be needed “for some time.”
Gates wrote in a tweet during Twitter Qandah With Devi Sridhar, Head of Global Public Health at the University of Edinburgh, earlier this week.
Gates, co-founder of Microsoft and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, said it was unlikely that a “more transitional variant” of Omicron would emerge. But he acknowledged that COVID-19 has presented many surprises during the pandemic.
The newly reported frequency of COVID-19 in the United States, driven by the omicron variant, continues to rise. The country reported more than 5.5 million cases in the week ending Wednesday, according to a USA TODAY analysis of Johns Hopkins University data. Compared to the previous week, 47 states had a rise in cases, 38 had an increase in deaths, and 49 states had more COVID-19 patients in hospital beds. The country now has more than 152,000 COVID-19 patients in hospitals, federal data shows, and about 25,200 people are in intensive care beds.
Also in the news:
►CDC guidelines recommend wearing the N95 and KN95 mask for no more than five uses. However, some experts did offer advice on how to extend mask wear and keep it clean. Read more here.
► The number of hospitalizations in New Jersey with COVID-19 is up 28% since Jan. The number of people needing a ventilator rose to 500 on Monday — an increase of 71% in that period.
Novak Djokovic admitted on Wednesday that the Australian travel authorization form contained incorrect information, and also admitted an “error of judgment” in participating in an interview and taking photos in Serbia last month after he tested positive for COVID-19.
The US military, for the first time, is offering a maximum enlistment bonus of $50,000 to recruits who join for six years as the service struggles to attract soldiers to critical jobs amid the pandemic, according to the Associated Press.
📈Today’s numbers: The United States has recorded more than 63.2 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 and more than 844,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. Global totals: more than 317 million cases and nearly 5.5 million deaths. More than 208 million Americans — 62.7% — have been fully vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
📘What we read: Should you wipe your throat with a COVID test at home in Omicron? This is why experts say no.
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The United States buys 500 million rapid home tests
President Joe Biden said Thursday that the federal government will buy 500 million rapid at-home COVID-19 tests, doubling the purchase the White House announced last month. Biden has spoken about what the administration is doing in response to the current coronavirus outbreak.
The first batch of 500 million tests, which Biden announced in December, has yet to be distributed. Americans will be able to order the tests through a website that has yet to be disclosed. The tests will be sent to people’s homes.
– Maureen Group
Health experts say the number of pregnant women receiving the vaccination is steadily increasing amid the current rise of the Corona virus A modest improvement is not enough. The renewed concern comes after a large study published Thursday in the journal Nature Medicine showed that unvaccinated pregnant women and their babies may suffer the worst consequences of the virus. Researchers at the University of Edinburgh’s Usher Institute analyzed a database tracking nearly 145,000 pregnancies in 130,000 women from March 2020 to October 2021. The study found that 98% of pregnant women admitted to critical care had not been vaccinated.
Researchers have reported more than 450 deaths in the perinatal period, when a baby dies in the womb or during the newborn period, all associated with unimmunized pregnant women.
Study co-author Aziz Sheikh said: “The main message we want to get home is that the best way to protect mother and baby is to get vaccinated at the earliest opportunity. This can be done at any stage of pregnancy.” Read more here.
high risk? Don’t take risks with COVID-19
As the coronavirus rips through America, it’s A particularly bad time for people at high risk of contracting COVID-19. This means that many Americans are at risk. Nearly 40% of adults in the United States are at risk of developing a serious infection because they are over 65, carry extra pounds or have certain medical conditions. And while there are good treatments to prevent sufferers from needing hospital care, including two that were recently approved, they are almost completely unavailable across the country.
“Right now, we don’t have anything else to treat ambulance patients with COVID,” said Dr. Jane Marazzo, director of the division of infectious diseases at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. “We don’t have monoclonals at the moment. We don’t have the oral medications yet and we don’t have any other options – so it’s really important to try to protect yourself.” Read more here.
Experts criticize CDC رسائل messages
Many Americans navigating the COVID-19 pandemic during the latest wave of the virus say frequent changes to federal guidelines don’t make their lives any easier. And they are not alone in their frustration. Some of the eminent health experts who have stood by the Centers for Disease Control and its science-based decisions since the beginning of the pandemic They are now criticizing the agency for miscommunication.
In every policy update, the CDC should back its decision with clear data and translation of the science so the public can understand it, said Thomas Heber, associate director of the Center for Public Health Readiness and Communication at Drexel University’s Dornsiv School of Public Health. . Heber said when announcing the new isolation guidelines on December 27, CDC officials failed to cite the science specifically.
“Just announcing the change and trying to explain it without a clear rationale leaves you open to questioning,” he said. “Allowing the public to see those imperfect choices helps justify why the decision was made.”
The second issue contributing to the CDC’s messaging problem, health experts said, is that local health departments and national organizations feel excluded from the agency’s decision-making process. Finally, experts said, the CDC has left itself open to accusations that it lacks accountability. The agency reiterated that epidemiology is developing, and while that is true, health experts say the CDC still needs to admit its mistakes in that space of inherent uncertainty.
“It humanizes the effort, and it will go a long way in rebuilding trust,” Heber said. There’s nothing wrong with admitting that, ‘Hey, we didn’t get everything right, but we are committed to making it as true as possible. “
More children are being hospitalized, but cases are generally not very severe
More children in America are testing positive for coronavirus like The nation hits records in cases and hospitalizations. Children have accounted for more than 7 million cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began. The United States has seen more than 60 million cases overall.
Given the “staggering number of new infections” in children each day, University of South Florida professor of epidemiology Jason Salemi expects to see more children hospitalized with COVID-19 in the coming weeks. Fortunately, given the relatively mild symptoms in most Omicron patients, the vast majority of these cases will not be very severe, experts say. You can find details and data on children and COVID here.
– Janie Hassmann and Alesso Plow
Covid patients crowd out other patients in need
Just as the rising wave of COVID-19 patients need care, hospitals are facing severe staffing problems because many are either patients outside the home, caring for family members or are quarantined due to exposure. on One in five hospitals reported a “severe staff shortage” in data released Wednesday by the Department of Health and Human Services, according to a USA TODAY analysis. One in four expect serious shortages within the next week. Alabama, Indiana, Kentucky and New Hampshire have less than 10% of the remaining capacity in their intensive care units.
Doctors like Chicago cancer surgeon Dr. Ryan Mirko must make agonizing decisions about who to have surgery and who to wait. He said Northwestern Memorial Hospital is “full of COVID patients. Our surgical floors have been converted to COVID floors.” Some cancer patients undergo chemotherapy and travel with family members to aid recovery.
He said, “Then we have to pull the rug out from under them.” Read more here.
Elizabeth Wise and Kristen Jordan Shamus
Biden sent medical teams to countries overwhelmed with troop surge
The federal government is USA TODAY has learned that medical teams are dispatched to six states — New York, New Jersey, Ohio, Rhode Island, Michigan and New Mexico — to help hospitals overburdened by COVID-19. President Joe Biden announced the deployments Thursday when discussing the steps the administration is taking to address the increase in the number of infections driven by the omicron variant.
His comments come as hospitalizations for the COVID-19 virus set records. Some hospitals are postponing elective surgeries as states deploy National Guard personnel to health care facilities. Facing pressure even from members of his own party to do more to control the pandemic, Biden’s new measures are expected to focus on the additional workforce.
– Maureen Group and Donovan Slack, USA Today
Contributing: The Associated Press