But by February, when seniors were being vaccinated in greater numbers, the department started to erase names of the facilities from these outbreak lists. “It was sort of a very visible miracle,” Dr. Louise Aronson, a professor with the UCSF Division of Geriatrics, told CNN.
These “miracles” were playing out across the country this spring, according to a report published Tuesday by the US Department of Health and Human Services, which found that vaccinations prevented at least a quarter of a million Covid-19 infections and tens of thousands of deaths among seniors between January and May of this year.
It is a tragic milestone fueled by the highly transmissible Delta variant and unvaccinated people. In July, authorities warned of the “pandemic of the unvaccinated,” with outbreaks largely seen in parts of the country with low vaccine uptake.
Preventable Covid-19 deaths of children is also an embarrassment for a developed country, the US Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) top vaccine official, Dr. Peter Marks, said Tuesday, adding that it should also be a motivation for authorizing a vaccine in children.
YOU ASKED. WE ANSWERED.
Q: What would an antiviral pill mean for the fight against Covid-19?
White House Covid-19 Response Coordinator Jeff Zients said in a briefing last week that the best way to think of molnupiravir is as “a potential additional tool … to protect people from the worst outcomes of Covid” but he added that vaccination “remains far and away, our best tool against Covid-19.”
While the prospect of a pill to prevent severe outcomes of Covid-19 is an exciting breakthrough in treating the virus, there is still much to learn about the drug and who it might work for. Full data from the molnupiravir trial is yet to be released, and this data has not been scrutinized, peer-reviewed or published.
READS OF THE WEEK
Anger over UK quarantine rules for fully vaccinated travelers from India and much of Africa
The update to UK travel rules took effect October 4 and visitors from its “red list” of “high risk” countries — including India, more than 20 African countries and most Latin American nations — now have to quarantine in a hotel for 10 days despite being fully vaccinated. South Africa’s minister of international relations and cooperation, Naledi Pandor, described it as “a political punishment.”
New Zealand is set to abandon its zero-Covid strategy
This comes after a major outbreak in August, sparked by the Delta strain, plunged the city of Auckland into a long lockdown. And despite the city enduring more than six weeks of restrictions on movement, New Zealand still reported 24 new cases in the community on Tuesday — the majority in Auckland.
Ardern admitted Monday the virus was “a tentacle that has been incredibly hard to shake.”
Thousands of Brazilians demand President Bolsonaro’s impeachment over his mishandling of the pandemic
Thousands of people gathered in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro — Brazil’s most populous cities — calling out his mishandling of the Covid-19 pandemic. They also protested economic woes hitting ordinary Brazilians thanks to surging inflation and high fuel prices. Brazil continues to be hit hard by the pandemic and nearly 600,000 Brazilians have died from the virus — the highest death toll in the world after the United States.
Are there any downsides to getting the booster shot?
Data from Israel, where there has been an extensive booster program, shows that the side effects from the third dose are comparable to those from the second dose. The most common side effects are local reactions like a sore arm and short-term symptoms like achiness, fatigue and chills that are resolved within a couple of days, said CNN Medical Analyst Dr. Leana Wen.
“The one concerning — though very rare — side effect is myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart muscle, which appears to have the highest incidence among males of adolescent and young adult age. It’s important to note that the myocarditis associated with the mRNA vaccines is generally mild and resolves with no long-term harm — and that Covid-19 itself can cause myocarditis,” she added.