Southern Covid-19 hotspots are cooling as cases in cold-weather states begin to rise – Community News
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Southern Covid-19 hotspots are cooling as cases in cold-weather states begin to rise

New cases in Georgia and Florida are down 37% and 25% respectively from last week, JHU data shows. Both states had one of the 10 lowest cases in the past week. But a handful of states — in regions where cold weather has set in — are seeing an increase. This pattern is similar to what happened last year.

Five states saw the number of Covid-19 cases increase by more than 10% compared to last week, data from JHU shows. Those states include Iowa, Oklahoma, Alaska, Vermont, and New Hampshire.

Alaska, in particular, had more Covid-19 cases per capita than any other state in the past week, JHU data showed. Cases rose 14% the week before, and there were 125 new cases per 100,000 people every day, about five times the national average.

Vermont was once one of the states with the lowest number of cases and is now among the 15 worst cases.

Cases are generally moving in the right direction in the US — the daily average is down 10% in the past week.

The decline in cases, hospitalizations and deaths could end with a new peak, said Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. But the US can still avoid that spike with higher vaccination rates.

The US Food and Drug Administration plans to allow people to receive a different Covid-19 vaccine as a booster shot than the one they initially received, people familiar with the FDA told The New York Times on Monday. .

According to the Times, the FDA may note that it prefers getting the same vaccine as the booster, but it wouldn’t recommend one injection over another.

The National Institutes of Health on Friday presented early information to the FDA’s vaccine advisers from an ongoing study showing that it doesn’t matter which vaccine people got first and which booster they got — it was safe to mix boosters and it increased the immune response. Mixing boosters also provided a good response to the Delta variant.

dr. Amanda Cohn, a member of the FDA’s Vaccine Advisory Panel, said guidance on mixing and matching Covid vaccine booster shots would provide flexibility to the public and to those trying to offer vaccine doses to the public.

“I don’t think it’s necessary from a public health perspective to have a preference for mixing or matching,” said Cohn, who is also chief medical officer of the U.S. Centers for Disease’s National Center for Immunizations and Respiratory. Control and Prevention. diseases.

While the number of cases still remains high, with an average of about 85,000 new infections per day as of Sunday, they are down by more than 8,000 from a week before, according to JHU data. Since the beginning of the month, the number of deaths has fallen by an average of more than 200 per day.

However, progress in numbers is threatened by low vaccination coverage. According to the CDC, 57% of the total population had been fully vaccinated against the virus on Monday.

And while health experts aren’t sure exactly what proportion of the population needs to be protected to control the spread of the virus, Fauci has said a vast majority should be vaccinated.

Fauci doesn’t think a new spike in cases is inevitable.

“It will be within our means to prevent that,” said Fauci, who is also President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser.

“The extent to which we continue to go down that slope will depend on how well we do in getting more people vaccinated.”

Mandates counterproductive, says governor

Health experts have pointed to vaccine mandates as an important tool for keeping the number of cases down and easing hospital pressures, but some officials are staunchly opposed to the measures.

Fauci is a supporter of mandates and says the data shows they are working to get more people vaccinated. And while it would be better to convince people to get vaccinated, that’s not always feasible, he said.

“I think when you’re in a public health crisis, sometimes unusual situations require unusual actions,” Fauci told Fox News.

More Covid-19 boosters are coming.  But not everyone needs one, experts say

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson said Sunday he believes both federal and state mandates are counterproductive to increasing vaccination rates.

Hutchinson told NBC News he believes muddled reporting at the highest levels of government has… “delayed vaccine acceptance and increased resistance.”

“I’d like to see that, without the battle for the mandate, we encourage vaccine adoption, build confidence in it, and that’s the direction we need to go,” the governor said.

Asked specifically about the success of Tyson Foods and Walmart’s vaccine mandates in the state of Arkansas, the governor said it’s “absolute” evidence that mandates work.

“So yes, there is an effectiveness there. And so let me make it clear that when I say I don’t believe we should be concerned with mandates, I’m talking about the government mandates, whether it’s a federal government mandate or a mandate of the state government,” he said.

Hutchinson pointed out that employers must navigate a nuanced, hands-on reality of some workers wanting a vaccine-mandated work environment to feel safe, while others don’t. Hutchinson said that based on that predicament, the choice of whether or not to mandate should be left to employers.

Gottlieb urges research on Delta variant type in UK

Former FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb said “urgent research” is needed into another version of the Delta variant of the coronavirus that has been seen in the UK, although there is no evidence it is more transmissible.

“The variant has been in the UK since about July but its prevalence is slowly increasing. There is no clear evidence that it is significantly more transmissible, but we need to work on characterizing this and other new variants more quickly. We have the tools, ‘ he wrote in a tweet on Sunday.

“This is not a cause for immediate concern, but a reminder that we need robust systems to identify and characterize new variants,” he said.

A report released Friday by the UK Health Security Agency says that in the week of September 27 – the last full week with full sequence data – this version was responsible for “about 6% of all sequences generated, in an increasing trajectory.”

Covid-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths have all risen in the UK, where there are no nationwide mask mandates and few travel restrictions from other countries.

Even with waivers, some paid thousands for Covid hospitalizations, study says

Many insurers waived hospitalization costs for Covid-19 in 2020, but those waivers didn’t cover everything, and the out-of-pocket costs cost patients much more than other respiratory illnesses, according to a new study.

The study published Monday in JAMA Network Open found that out-of-pocket expenses for Covid-19 hospitalization averaged about $4,000 for those with private insurance. For people with Medicare Advantage, it was over $1,500.

Researchers looked at hospitalizations of more than 4,000 people in 2020 and found that in 2019 this expenditure was about four times the average out-of-pocket costs for other respiratory infections.

“The findings suggest that out-of-pocket expenses for COVID-19 hospitalizations could be significant if insurers allow cost-sharing waivers to expire,” the study said.

Minnesota Governor Announces Incentives

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz announced that children between the ages of 12 and 17 are eligible for a $200 gift card if they are fully vaccinated.

In addition, all children who are fully vaccinated will be entered into a weekly draw for a $100,000 scholarship to a university in Minnesota.

“It’s an incentive, it’s an acknowledgment that the sooner we get this group vaccinated, the sooner we spread our vaccinations, we’re seeing it all over the world,” Walz said. “Once you get close to that 80%, you start to see some amazing things happen as the infections go down.”

CNN’s Deidre McPhillips, Carma Hassan, Gregory Lemos, Jen Christensen, Jamie Gumbrecht, John Bonifield, Elizabeth Cohen and Jennifer Henderson contributed to this report.

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