The sheer number of vaccinated Israelis means some breakthrough infections were inevitable, and the unvaccinated are still far more likely to end up in the hospital or die. But Israel’s experience is forcing the booster issue onto the radar for other nations, suggesting as it does that even the best vaccinated countries will face a Delta surge.
Francis Collins, the director of the National Institutes of Health, on Sunday became the latest public health official to predict the U.S. will break 200,000 daily coronavirus cases – numbers last seen in January – as he warned unvaccinated Americans remain “sitting ducks” for the highly infectious Delta variant.
As coronavirus cases and hospitalizations rise across the country, some areas with low vaccination rates have been hit hard, like Louisiana, Florida and Mississippi. The same is true for the U.S. Virgin Islands, where only about a third of residents are vaccinated. In recent days, the islands have seen their highest numbers of confirmed cases and hospitalizations since the start of the pandemic.
The number of people dying with Covid-19 in U.S. hospitals is hitting previous highs in some hot-spot states with low-to-average vaccination rates, upending hopes the virus has become less lethal.
Among Americans under age 50, average daily hospital admissions have hit a pandemic high, according to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
A Canadian study today in JAMA Pediatrics suggests that while younger children are less likely than older children to be the index COVID-19 patient in their home, they are more likely to spread it to household members.
With Covid-19 surging across the state, Texas has requested five mortuary trailers from the federal government in anticipation of an influx of dead bodies, state officials told NBC News.
For the first time since February, the United States reported more than 900,000 COVID-19 cases last week—with the country represented 20% of global cases—a sign the pandemic surge caused by the Delta (B1617.2) variant has stalled the progress made by an aggressive vaccine rollout that dampened cases this spring and summer.
Vaccine opponents have gleefully pointed to Iceland as proof that the shots are a “failure.” But contrary to online misinformation and conspiratorial social media posts, infectious-disease experts say Iceland’s outbreak actually illustrates how effective the vaccines are at preventing the virus’s most severe impacts.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern put the nation into a three-day lockdown after the discovery of the first community case of Covid-19 since February.
A study documenting the trade in live wild animals at Wuhan wet markets stayed unpublished for more than a year.
The UK regulator has confirmed the vaccine is safe and effective in this age group.
Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE submitted early-stage data to U.S. regulators showing that a third dose of their Covid-19 vaccine led to higher levels of protective antibodies when given eight to nine months after the initial regimen.
Abu Dhabi has made booster shots available for those who were vaccinated against Covid-19 at least six months ago.
According to updated details on clinical trial record site clinicaltrials.gov, the study will now enroll an estimated 13,275 participants, nearly double the earlier target of 6,975 participants. (https://bit.ly/3ACoHIn)
Early versions of COVID-19 largely spared children but the delta variant proved to be much less discriminating, and has led to more child hospitalizations. Now, health care workers on the front lines say there is another frightening prospect looming: a surge in children diagnosed with a combination of COVID-19 and respiratory syncytial virus.
While the vaccines are effective at preventing serious illness and death, the risk of developing post-Covid health problems after a breakthrough infection isn’t known.
Adrenal and thyroid function both were preserved in people with COVID-19. Although a significant proportion of patients experienced persistent fatigue, their symptoms were not accounted for by alterations in adrenal or thyroid function.
No significant increased risk of Bell’s palsy was seen after the Pfizer-BioNTech mRNA vaccine, but risk did increase for people who received the CoronaVac (Sinovac Biotech) shot, a vaccine that uses an inactivated virus, an analysis in Hong Kong showed.
Official Reporting for August 17, 2021
World Health Organization
Weekly Epi Update August 16, 2021 (latest release)
New Cases: 460,516
Confirmed Cases: 207,173,086
Confirmed Cases: 208,109,987
Total cases: 36,720,973 (+41,302 New Cases)
Total deaths: 619,564 (+104 New Deaths)
Science and Tech
Many factors influence our risk of illness from SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus responsible for COVID-19. That includes being careful to limit our possible exposures to the virus, as well as whether we have acquired immunity from a vaccine or an earlier infection. But once a person is infected, a host of other biological factors, including age and pre-existing medical conditions, will influence one’s risk of becoming severely ill.
Psychological and Sociological Impact
Persistent SARS-CoV-2 infection: the urgent need for access to treatment and trials – The Lancet
Normal Adrenal and Thyroid Function in Patients Who Survive COVID-19 Infection – JCEM
Animal sales from Wuhan wet markets immediately prior to the COVID-19 pandemic – Nature
Association of Age and Pediatric Household Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 Infection – JAMA
Misinformation, Disinformation, and Conspiracy Theories
Doctor Daniel Stock, of McCordsville, Indiana, will gladly offer a blunt assessment of the Covid-19 vaccines: They’re absolute bunk. “We’ve not had well-done research at all, and nearly every safety step on these vaccines has been bypassed,” he says. “And we will never have good research on the vaccines. Any long-term complications and risks aren’t going to ever be known.”
With nearly 60% of the eligible U.S. population fully vaccinated, most of the nation’s blood supply is now coming from donors who have been inoculated, experts said. That’s led some patients who are skeptical of the shots to demand transfusions only from the unvaccinated, an option blood centers insist is neither medically sound nor operationally feasible.
“There is a very long history in the United States, sadly … trying to blame outsiders for diseases and there isn’t any evidence.”
Coping with COVID