Covid-19 and Vaccine News: Live Updates
Experts fear that southern states, where vaccination rates are lagging behind, may face an increase in coronavirus cases over the summer.
A dozen states – many in the northeast, including Maine, Massachusetts and Connecticut – have already reached a threshold of at least 70% of adults with at least one dose of the vaccine, a goal the President Biden has fixed the nation by July. 4. But in the South, this marker is nowhere in sight for many states.
In 15 states – including Arkansas, Carolinas, Georgia and Louisiana – about half of adults or less have received a dose, according to a New York Times analysis. In two states, Alabama and Mississippi, it would take about a year to get a dose to 70 percent of the population at the current rate of distribution.
Public health experts and officials in states with low immunization rates say the president’s benchmark will help reduce cases and deaths, but is somewhat arbitrary – even though 70% of adults are vaccinated, the viruses and its more contagious variants can spread among those that are not. .
But they remain concerned that their residents are more susceptible to infection as restrictions ease across the country, the sense of urgency to get vaccinated diminishes, and many Americans in warmer climates avoid the disease. heat by traveling indoors, where the virus spreads more efficiently.
If there is a summer wave in the South, experts believe it won’t be as bad as last summer because at least some people are vaccinated and treatments have improved. But memories of last summer, when cases spiked rapidly after some southern states rushed to reopen, are still fresh. Younger people, who are less likely to be vaccinated, will be the most vulnerable during any increase this summer, said Dr. Edward Trapido, epidemiologist and associate dean for research at Louisiana State University School of Public Health. Although death or serious illness is not as common among young people with Covid-19, it is still possible, he said.
“This increase is unlikely to end up crippling hospitals and causing many deaths,” said Dr Trapido. âThere are some populations that are under-vaccinated, and that’s where we expect to see an increase. “
To avoid a summer wave, southern states need to catch up with those in the Northeast that have already received at least one dose to 70% of their population, according to Dr Peter Hotez, a vaccine expert at Baylor College of Medicine.
âWe’re not even close to that in the southern states,â Dr Hotez said. He said he foresees a new wave in the South because “we are so underperforming in terms of immunization.”
Mississippi, for example, has the lowest vaccination rate in the country, with 34 percent of the population having received at least one injection. Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves said on Sunday that despite the low number of vaccinations, the number of cases indicated the risk of contracting Covid-19 in his state was low.
Another concern is the test. But Dr Trapido said a drop in testing would make it difficult to contain outbreaks before a possible summer increase.
Nationally, the number of reported daily tests is down significantly. As of Thursday, around 316,000 tests were performed, well below the winter peak where more than two million tests were administered on certain days, according to data from the Centers for Disaster Control and Prevention.
âWe don’t have that many people rushing for testing because all the messages are about vaccines,â Dr Trapido said. âIt’s important to remind people that if you’re worried it’s worth getting tested. “
Even statewide numbers that look promising can overshadow local issues, said Dr. Joseph Kanter, Louisiana’s top health official in mid-May. In Louisiana, less than 20 percent of residents some parishes have received a first dose.
“We have a large percentage of Louisiana which initiated, but it is not collective immunity”, Dr Kanter said, referring to the portion of the total population that must acquire resistance to the virus to slow transmission. âIt’s not close to that. “
This is an excerpt from the Morning Bulletin.
Britain has had one of the most successful Covid-19 responses in the world in recent months.
Unlike the European Union, the UK government understood that getting vaccine doses quickly was more important than negotiating the lowest price. Unlike the United States, Britain was willing to re-impose nationwide restrictions late last year to reduce the number of cases. UK officials have also chosen to maximize the first vaccines and delay the second, recognizing the strategy could reduce Covid cases more quickly.
Thanks to these measures, Covid has retreated faster in Britain than in almost any other country. Fewer than 10 Britons per day have died in recent weeks, compared to 1,200 per day at the end of January. On a per capita basis, the death rate in Britain last month was less than a tenth the American rate.
Despite this success, Britain is now facing an increase in Covid cases. The main cause appears to be the highly infectious viral variant known as Delta, which was first detected in India. Britain’s recent steps to reopen the company are also likely playing a role.
The increase is a reminder that progress against the pandemic – even extreme progress – does not equal ultimate victory. The British experience also suggests that cases may soon increase in the United States. “What we are seeing in the UK is very likely to appear in other Western countries soon,” said John Burn-Murdoch of the Financial Times. wrote.
As the United States moves closer to President Biden’s goal of a 70% vaccination rate, many people are starting to wonder how long their protection will last.
Although many scientists estimate that vaccines licensed in the United States will last at least a year, no one knows for sure. It is also unclear whether emerging variants of the coronavirus will alter our vaccination needs.
Here’s what scientists know so far.
How do Covid-19 vaccines compare to others in terms of protection?
The first signs are encouraging. Researchers took blood from volunteers in vaccine trials and measured their levels of antibodies and immune cells that target the coronavirus. The levels are falling, but gradually. It is possible that with this slow rate of decline, vaccine protection will remain strong for a long time. People who were previously infected and then received the vaccine may benefit from even longer lasting protection.
Will some Covid vaccines last longer than others?
Scientists have already found that vaccines using different technologies can vary in their effectiveness. The most potent vaccines include Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech, both of which are based on RNA molecules. Vaccines based on inactivated viruses, such as those made by Sinopharm in China and Bharat Biotech in India, have been shown to be somewhat less effective.
How will we know when our vaccines are losing their effectiveness?
Scientists are looking for biomarkers that could reveal when a vaccine’s protection is no longer sufficient to contain the coronavirus. It is possible that a certain level of antibodies will mark a threshold: if your blood measures above this level, you are in good shape, but if you are below, you are at greater risk of infection.
And the variants?
The emergence of variants in recent months has accelerated research on boosters. Some variants have mutations that caused them to spread quickly. Others carry mutations that could blunt the effectiveness of licensed vaccines. But at this point, scientists still have only a handful of clues as to how existing vaccines work against different variants.
In search of a great symbol of the revitalization of New York after a year of brutal pandemic, Mayor Bill de Blasio is planning a large-scale representation through several acts and called Clive Davis, the 89-year-old producer and eminence of the music industry, to pull together.
The show, tentatively scheduled for August 21, a work in progress, with no confirmed artist, though Mr. Davis – whose five-decade career highlights have included work with Janis Joplin, Bruce Springsteen, Aretha Franklin, Alicia Keys and Whitney Houston – said he was targeting eight âiconicâ stars to put on a three-hour show in front of 60,000 attendees and a global TV audience.
Mr de Blasio said in an interview that the concert was part of a ‘reunion week’ to show New York City is returning from the pandemic – a celebration for residents and those in the area who cannot. – have not been visited for a while.
The show is said to be the latest in a long tradition of Central Park super-productions that tend to garner global coverage and portray New York as a peaceful, cosmopolitan haven for the arts.
Many New Yorkers, especially the mayor, might welcome the sight after the prevalence of pandemic-era images like a deserted Times Square and barricaded storefronts amid protests last summer at the following the murder of George Floyd.