Vaccinations and booster shots continue to be the best defense against the coronavirus for the United States, even with the spread of the new omicron variant, which has now been reported in 15 states, health officials said on Sunday. .
Vaccines developed to fight the original strain of COVID-19 offered good protection against the delta variant, the dominant strain in the United States, said Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases . He thinks they will help with omicron.
“We get pretty good protection against delta when you’re vaccinated and especially when you’re boosted,” Fauci told Jake Tapper on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday. If you’re boosted,… we’re sure there will be some degree and possibly a considerable degree of protection against the omicron variant if in fact it starts to take hold in this country ”,
When Tapper pointed out that hospitalizations were not increasing rapidly in South Africa, where omicron was first reported last month, despite what appears to be a high degree of communicability, Fauci offered tempered optimism.
“It is too early to really make any definitive statements on this. So far it doesn’t seem like a great degree of severity, but we really have to be careful before we determine that it’s less severe or really doesn’t cause any serious illness comparable to the delta, ”he said. he declares. noted.
While omicron has legitimately raised concerns, the delta variant, representing 99.9% of the 90,000 to 100,000 cases reported daily in the United States, remains the dominant strain to combat, said Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers on Sunday. for Disease Control. ABC’s “This Week”.
To combat all forms of COVID, she recommended that people get vaccinated and get vaccinated and wear masks in indoor public places in 80% of counties where transmission of the disease is high or substantial.
“We have so many more tools now than a year ago,” said Walensky, who prefers mask recommendations to a national mandate. “We know so much that works against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID, regardless of which variant we’ve seen before. “
Also in the news:
►Connecticut, Massachusetts, Washington and Wisconsin reported their first cases of the omicron variant of the coronavirus on Saturday, according to their state health departments.
►More than 6% of the Air National Guard and the Reserve did not meet the deadline to get vaccinated against COVID-19, according to the Air Force.
►The FDA has cleared monoclonal antibody treatments manufactured by Eli Lilly for pediatric patients under the age of 12 who have underlying conditions that put them at high risk for serious infection.
►A judge in Brazil’s highest court on Friday ordered President Jair Bolsonaro to be investigated for comments linking COVID-19 vaccines to AIDS – a claim rejected by doctors and scientists.
The numbers of the day: The United States has recorded about 49 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 and more than 788,000 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Global totals: Over 265.5 million cases and 5.2 million deaths. More than 198 million Americans – about 59.7% of the population – are fully immunized, according to the CDC.
What we read: Private insurers will have to cover 100% of the cost of home coronavirus testing, President Joe Biden announced as he developed a plan to fight COVID-19 during the winter months. Will it be effective?
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Slow uptake of vaccines for Arizona children
Almost a month after children aged 5 to 11 became eligible for a low-dose Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, absorption in Arizona children in this age group remains relatively low.
As of Wednesday, 83,166 children aged 5 to 11 in Arizona had received their first dose of Pfizer, according to data from the Arizona Department of Health Services. This corresponds to 13% of the approximately 645,000 Arizona children in this age group.
Public health officials and doctors say that while there will always be a segment of the population who will not receive the vaccine for their children, they are optimistic that the number of children vaccinated in the state will increase dramatically to as more and more parents learn about it. and find time to bring their children to appointments and clinics.
Younger age groups lag behind the older Arizonans when it comes to vaccination, but have slowly increased. As of Wednesday, 68.4% of Arizona children aged 12 to 17 had received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, state health officials said.
– Stephanie Innes, The Republic of Arizona
Tennessee hospitals can’t demand COVID vaccines as Biden’s tenure remains on hold
In late October, Tennessee lawmakers exempted hospitals from a sweeping ban on vaccine requirements with one catch: They could only mandate vaccines if federal rules required it.
But as President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate for large employers remains stuck in federal court, hospitals and other healthcare facilities – many of which have fought to preserve their ability to demand vaccines among employees – must now end. to all these mandates.
Banning healthcare groups from requiring vaccines poses a significant public health risk that endangers patient safety, especially as omicron, a new variant of the coronavirus, is emerging across the country. countries, worry public health experts.
“I have big public health problems if we don’t enforce an evidence-based vaccination practice,” said Manoj Jain, infectious disease expert in Memphis. “This will compromise patient safety, which means that when patients are admitted to hospital, they may not know whether their caregiver is vaccinated or not.”
– Yue Stella Yu, Tennessee from Nashville
Contribution: The Associated Press