The story of Birmingham, Italy, on the Covid-19 epidemic and the implications for vaccination and vaccination rates in the 21st century
In today’s newsletter, I want to tell you the story of what ended up happening in Birmingham, as a way of revisiting the larger issue of Covid and race.
The Trump administration had seemed uninterested in combating those inequities, leaving it up to states. President Biden made closing the gaps a priority. I talked to Ron Klain, the White House chief of staff, who said that equity was the heart of the Covid response.
A new Covid-19 wave appears to be brewing in Europe as cooler weather arrives, with public health experts warning that vaccine fatigue and confusion over types of shots available will likely limit booster uptake.
“With lots of people now being boosted and vaccinated and with people having some immunity from an Omicron infection, it’s also a very, very different sort of population landscape for a variant to emerge in,” he said. All of the signs are the best part of the scenario in that they do not see huge increases in cases.
WHO data released late on Wednesday showed that cases in the European Union reached 1.5 million last week, up 8% from the prior week, despite a dramatic fall in testing. The case numbers are declining around the world.
According to data from the US Department of Health and Human Services, Covid levels are not as high as they were prior to the surge. In the month of November, hospitalizations have spiked after a relatively quiet summer.
Vaccination effectiveness in Europe: Predictions for Covid, influenza and the first pandemic in the UK, and what the UK might have to do
Some meeting panellists were concerned about the bivalent vaccine being used, rather than an updated single-strain one. Scientists noted that there are few data on the effectiveness of bivalent vaccines when given as a primary series — particularly in young children, who make up a large proportion of the people now receiving a primary series in the United States. Studies have shown that the vaccine might be less effective against Omicron if the ancestral strain is included.
European and British officials only endorsed the most recent boosters for certain groups, including elderly people and people with compromised immune systems. Public health experts said that the choice of vaccine as a booster will likely add to confusion.
“For those who may be less concerned about their risk, the messaging that it is all over coupled with the lack of any major publicity campaign is likely to reduce uptake,” said Martin McKee, professor of European public health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. I think that the number of people taking part will be a bit lower.
How concerning are things like long covid and reinfections? In the opinion column of the newspaper, Zeynep Tufekci wrote that it was a difficult question because of the lack of research and support for sufferers. She has suggestions on how to deal with the problem. There is no way that there is a variant that negates the benefits of vaccines.
The EU only administered between 1 million and 1.4 million vaccine doses during September, compared with 10 million per week in the previous year, according to ECDC data.
“There must be some complacency in that life seems to have gone back to normal – at least with regards Covid and people now have other financial and war-related worries,” said Adam Finn, chair of ETAGE, an expert group advising the WHO on vaccine preventable diseases in Europe.
In its report, the Gimbe science foundation said the government was unable to prepare for the winter season and that a publication on management of the swine flue had been blocked.
The National Health Service is already stretched and British officials last week warned about the potential effect of flu and Covid-19.
With over 1 million deaths in the US from Covid-19, and close to 100 million cases of infection since the pandemic began, almost everyone in the nation has been touched by the disease in some way.
Europe appears to be the first hint of what is to come. Infections have been rising in many European countries, including the U.K., France, and Italy.
“In the past, what’s happened in Europe often has been a harbinger for what’s about to happen in the United States,” says Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota. “So I think the bottom line message for us in this country is: We have to be prepared for what they are beginning to see in Europe.”
“We look around the world and see countries such as Germany and France are seeing increases as we speak,” says Lauren Ancel Meyers, director of the UT COVID-19 Modeling Consortium at the University of Texas at Austin. “That brings me to my feet.” It adds uncertainty about what we can expect in the coming weeks and the coming months.”
However, it’s not certain the U.S. experience will echo Europe’s, says Justin Lessler, an epidemiologist at the University of North Carolina who helps run the COVID-19 Scenario Modeling Hub.
That’s because it’s not clear whether Europe’s rising cases are related to people’s greater susceptibility to new subvariants they’ve not yet been exposed to. Different countries have different levels of immunity.
The effects of variant on population are more influenced by a country’s vaccination rate than any other single factor.
The Winter Resurrection is Beginning: An Update on Omicron Boosters and the Impact on Vaccines in the United States and Beyond
“It’s really too early to say something big is happening, but it’s something that we’re keeping an eye on,” says Amy Kirby, national wastewater surveillance program lead at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“We’re seeing the northern rim of the country beginning to show some evidence of increasing transmission,” Rubin says. “The winter resurgence is beginning.”
He thinks it’s likely that we’ll see a rise in cases that may peak around the second week in January – as it has in years past – but that it won’t have a big effect on hospitalizations and deaths.
According to a Pandemic Center official at Brown University, the population has more immunity than it did last winter.
“Not only have people gotten vaccinated, but a lot of people have now gotten this virus. Some people have had it multiple times. That increases immunity in the population and reduces the risk of severe illness.
The impact of a rise in infections is influenced by a few variables, including the number of people who get a bivalent omicron booster.
The US was already lagging behind. William Hanage, an associate professor at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, says that half of people who are eligible for a booster have never gotten one. “It’s wild. It’s really crazy.”
And the demand for the newest boosters is pretty lethargic so far. Less than 8 million people have gotten one of the new boosters since they became available over the Labor Day weekend even though more than 200 million are eligible.
It’s critical that people are up to date on their vaccines, says Nuzzo. “The most important thing that we could do is to take off the table that this virus can cause severe illness and death,” she says.
The Last of the Daily Times: The Case for Covid, or Why Drug Use is a Problem for Black Women: CNN Opinion ‘America’s Future Starts Now’
First, a programming note: This is my last newsletter before starting a book leave. I will be back in late January. I look forward to reading the work of other Times journalists until that time, but until then they will be writing The Morning.
There seem to be two main reasons for underuse of drugs. The first is that the public discussion of them has tended to focus on caveats and concerns, rather than on the overwhelming evidence that they reduce the risk of hospitalization and death. Many Republicans still don’t take Covid seriously, according to the second explanation.
Editor’s Note: This roundup is part of the CNN Opinion series “America’s Future Starts Now,” in which people share how they have been affected by the biggest issues facing the nation and experts offer their proposed solutions. The authors have their own views on these commentaries. Read more opinion at CNN.
For Chimére Smith, who has suffered from long Covid since 2020, the last two years have laid bare the myriad problems with the American health care system. To advocate for her own health, “I became who I never wanted to be: a confrontational, complaining Black woman,” she writes.
I am unable to teach my students because of the days of pain and brain fog that came with my new life. I didn’t want the money to show up in my bank account, but I was done with my leave benefits. crying is all I can do on some days.
The Nurses of the Coal Mine: The Challenge of Policy and Practice in the Local Hospital Industry: A Case Study of a California Nurse’s Death
Patients who die because there is not enough nurses on the hospital floor are likely to be survivors. That is not hyperbole, but a fact well established by research.
To save nursing, and patient care, we need federally mandated staffing ratios of nurses to patients in the hospital. Ratios were implemented in California in 2004 without putting big hospital systems out of business. Nurse staffing requirements have recently been imposed in skilled nursing facilities, which are specialized nursing homes. Hospitals that are struggling could be helped by the support of the government.
As nurses fare, so fare patients, because nurses are the canary in the coal mine for patient health. Patients deserve to have safe curative care prioritized over excessive health care profits.
Theresa Brown is the author of two books: “Healing: When a Nurse Becomes a Patient” and “The Shift: One Nurse, Twelve Hours, Four Patients’ Lives.”
Policymakers could drive down hospital costs by repealing the ban on physician-owned hospitals from participating in the Medicare program, paving the way for physicians to open both new community hospitals and develop more specialty hospitals, which would increase hospital market competition.
With the recent focus on corporate power and the ills of monopoly, the hospital industry has come under the policy microscope. According to the KFF, 90 percent of metropolitan areas are highly concentrated for hospital care, with hospitals buying up physician practices and driving further consolidation.
With robust evidence demonstrating that competition in outpatient care markets lower costs, policymakers could reform Stark Law, which prohibits physician referral for designated health services to facilities in which the physician or a family member has a financial interest. Corporate self-referral is not subject to these restrictions, and corporate health systems frequently mandate internal referrals.
Brian J. Miller is an assistant professor of medicine in the university’s School of Medicine and is also an American enterprise institute fellow. He served as a Special Advisor to the Federal Trade Commission in 2015.
First, building trust in science requires a human connection. We must leverage trusted messengers in all communities and start from a place of dialogue as opposed to just fact-sharing. Even with a fancy health official title, you’re doomed to fail if you can’t make a personal connection with the people you’re trying to keep healthy. Local health departments play a big part in this. They know their communities better than the federal government.
This could come at the worst time. There is a need for people to mask up in order to help prevent the spread of infectious diseases such as the H1N1, and this is especially important since we are in a time of epidemics.
A Brief History of Medical Insurance Reform in the Light of Biden’s Affordable Affordable Care Act and the Obama-Born-Infeld Tax Cuts
But Americans are often struggling to discern between fact and fiction in an increasingly polarized nation, causing an unprecedented epidemic of misinformation that can often spread faster and further than the truth.
At Boston University’s Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases Policy and Research, the senior director of the New York City Health + Hospitals program is also an infectious disease epidemiologist. She is also a fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. She tweets @syramadad.
It can be difficult to get things done in Washington. Health care reform is no exception. President Joe Biden’s administration and Congress have made some noteworthy progress, with the passage of legislation to lower prescription drug prices in the face of fierce opposition from the GOP and Big Pharma. Efforts to expand Medicare to include dental, hearing, and vision benefits failed because of lack of support from Senate Democrats and the fact that Republicans were against it.
It is an easy option that has been made more convenient by the Biden administration. Voters in the states that are holding out should get their state legislature to join the majority of states that have expanded Medicaid. And they should keep this issue front of mind at the ballot box.
So far, 38 states and the District of Columbia have expanded Medicaid – including 16 traditionally red or purple states. Kaiser Health News says more that 4 million uninsured Americans would gain coverage if the remaining states followed suit.
The Covid-19 Affordable Care Act: How many Americans will be able to continue living in the United States during a public health emergency?
Max Richtman is the president of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security. He is former staff director of the US Senate Special Committee on Aging.
One of the biggest issues facing the American health care system are the disparities that keep many from accessing quality care. Medical education has a huge role to play in eliminating those disparities.
The ultimate goal is for a diverse community of doctors that represent the populations they serve. While studies show minority patients benefit from having a minority doctor, the current makeup of the US physician workforce is not representative of population estimates. AfricanAmericans make up over 12% of the US population, yet only 5% are black according to data from the Association of American Medical Colleges.
After the next generation of doctors learns how to recognize and dismantle the ways that our health care system encourages discrimination, they will be in a position to recommend ways to better care for our patients.
The Inflation Reduction Act takes a vital step by extending the premium tax credits for those who buy their own coverage on the Affordable Care Act marketplace, enabling 13 million individuals to continue to afford their coverage, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. The tax credits would be made permanent by Congress.
As part of a Covid-19 relief package passed in March 2020, states were barred from kicking people off Medicaid during the public health emergency in exchange for additional federal matching funds. Medicaid enrollment has skyrocketed to a record 90 million people since then, and millions are expected to lose coverage once states began culling the rolls.
As the Georgetown University Health Policy Institute points out, as of September 30, only 27 states and the District of Columbia have publicly shared their plan to prepare for the end of the PHE. State leaders should act now to ensure every Medicaid enrollee knows how to stay covered and should work to simplify renewal processes, such as using electronic data sources to verify eligibility.
The cost of Covid-19 vaccinations won’t be free for anyone with insurance when the public health emergency ends due to several federal laws, including theAffordable Care Act.
The Swine Flu is Coming: When Work is Safe and Paying Medical Leave in the Presence of Outbreaks and Other Inequalities
Legislators need to explore policies such as prohibiting drug makers from shifting costs to non- Medicare consumers and establishing a federal reinsurance program for high- cost drugs, to mitigate the high prices of drugs.
Public-health services were disrupted due to the Swine Flu, and the drop in vaccine rates is a direct result. But it isn’t simply a crisis of access to vaccines. The failures and inequities in the global public-health response, coupled with politicization of the pandemic, have also undermined confidence in the institutions and people that coordinate and conduct immunization efforts.
The missed opportunity is worker safety. If colleagues feel unwell, they can benefit from being at work if they stay home. But this will happen only with a change in culture around sickness and, more important, the provision of paid sick leave to workers, especially for those in low-income jobs and the gig economy. Paid sick leave is particularly important in the health care, hospitality, public transportation and retail industries, where infections can most easily spread. Congress doesn’t want to pass legislation requiring paid sick and family medical leave despite the fact that it’s spread from coronavirus and other respiratory infections at work.
Proactive outreach will be useful in future emergencies. It is possible that these underserved groups will be left out again.
The ill-equipped National Institute of Health and the consequences for the respiratory syncytial virus, COVID-19, and other seasonal viruses
The government has not ensured a stable domestic production capacity or raw material supply chains for personal protective equipment, such as N95 face coverings, gloves and disposable gowns.
Nor has it fixed the system of clinical research, which proved slow in generating useful results on a range of concerns, such as optimal vaccine schedules and the evaluation of drugs to lessen Covid symptoms and prevent hospitalizations. The reliable clinical results proving the benefits of steroids and the problems with hydroxychloroquine tended to come from Britain and other countries. The National Institute of Health doesn’t have any changes to their model of organization, funding and reward in large, pragmatic clinical trials.
Restrictions on the spread of COVID-19 mitigated the spread of other respiratory illnesses. The seasonal virus that causes mild cold-like symptoms and is dangerous for young children and older adults disappeared in 2020 and early 2021. The hospitalization rate for flu in the United States is higher this time of year than it was five years ago, as a result of the surge in the spread of the Respiratory syncytial virus. Why exactly are these surges happening now? What will happen to the winters in the future?
A tough respiratory virus season is underway in the United States, as influenza and the respiratory syncytial virus came early and hit hard this year, straining the nation’s health care system and driving up hospitalizations to rates not seen in years — even as Covid-19 continues spreading across the country.
The population is naive more than we would expect in most years. Normally, children get infected by their second birthday. Now, you will end up having kids that are three, four years of age, who haven’t seenRSV.
In August 2021, researchers in France coined the term ‘immunity debt’ to describe this reduction in population-level immunity. The term has quickly gained popularity on the micro-messaging service. Matthew Miller, an immunologist at the University of Hamilton in Canada, calls the idea that a lack of exposure to pathogens has damaged the immune system nonsense.
There is also a lot that researchers still don’t understand about seasonal viruses. For reasons that are not completely understood, COVID-19 restrictions had little impact on one type of seasonal virus, which is the most common cause of colds. That might be because of their hardiness, Miller says. They can persist for a longer time in the environment.
Another open question is how these viruses compete and interfere with one another. Infection with one virus can raise a strong innate immune response that might prevent infection with another virus. Hensley points out that last year’s first wave of influenza declined soon after the Omicron surge began. Omicron might have provided a short-lived protection against flu. Maybe people were convinced to keep their distance by the Omicron surge.
Does Covid-19 look like a winter before the pandemic? And what will we learn about the next few decades? An epidemiologist and virologist’s perspective
Pitzer expects that next year’s peaks and valleys might look much more like those that occurred before the pandemic. She is not placing bets. She thinks this winter is going to be the last unusual one.
This is not unusual for Covid-19. Thanksgiving gatherings have the potential to amp up the spread of other viruses too, notably respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, and influenza, which are both already at high levels for this time of year.
“Covid positivity is going up,” said Shishi Luo, associate director of bioinformatics and infectious disease at the genetic testing company Helix, which has been monitoring coronavirus variants. “It’s increasing fastest among 18- to 24-year-olds” in the Helix sampling.
When test positivity increases, this can mean that there is an increase in the number of positive tests.
He said that they should expect more cases. “Whether they’re measured in how we measure cases right now, I don’t know, but I think in general, you should see more people who are sick. I definitely am.”
Increasing cases may not be picked up as quickly by official counts because people are mostly testing for Covid-19 at home and not reporting their results – if they test at all.
BQ.1 and BQ.1.2 will not have an impact. They have shown resistance to the antibiotics that are available to be used to protect and treat people who have Covid-19 infections. There are good reasons for people to be cautious if they have weakened immune systems or will be around someone who does.
Nobody knows what will happen with the Bq variant. Many experts say they feel hopeful that we won’t see the big waves of winters past – certainly nothing like the original Omicron variant, with its jaw-dropping peak of nearly a million new daily infections.
Bill Hanage, an epidemiologist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, thinks our behavior and our social contacts might be bigger determinants of whether cases will rise this go-round than whatever variant is in the lead.
Andrew Pekosz, a virologist at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, says that’s probably because BQ.1’s advantages are incremental, not drastic.
“It’s probably got a bit more of a fitness advantage, so what we’re seeing is gradual replacement without a massive change in the total number of Covid-19 cases,” he said.
Scientists at Los Alamos National Labs recently completed a study delving into what drove the effects of 13 dominant variants of coronavirus as they transitioned from one to another in 213 countries. The study includes data up to the end of September and was published as a preprint ahead of peer review.
The New Birth of the U.S. Pandemic Influence on Immunization Practices: How Much Should We Pay for a Vaccine?
The number of previous cases in a country, the percentage of people who wore masks, average income and the percentage of the population older than 65 ran a distant second, third, fourth and fifth, respectively.
When there is a new one, how much other variants are in the mix is an important factor.
By the time Alpha reached the United States, we were evolving our own variants out of California and New York “that were very distinctive and had a competitive edge compared to what it had to come up against in England,” Korber said, which probably slowed its roll here.
But Korber isn’t making any predictions. She says it is difficult to know what will happen, pointing out that Asia is the source of her uncertainty.
Asian countries have been contending with waves driven by the recombinant XBB, a subvariant that really hasn’t had much of a presence in the US. She says that the BQ variant looks impressive against XBB, which is also highly immune-evasive.
When it is possible to wear masks, it is a good time. Masks protect the wearer as well as others around them. “And get the booster if you’re eligible and it’s the right moment for you,” especially as we gather around the table to feast with our friends and family.
“It’s a time to exercise a little additional caution to prevent that wave that we don’t want to see happening, or at least make it a smaller bump,” Korber said
Some people were less sure if the jab should be updated every US autumn or if healthy people should not receive it at all. Angela Shen, a vaccine specialist at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia in Pennsylvania, says the proposal, released on Monday, is “conceptually not a bad idea”. She wonders if it is possible to update the vaccine composition once a year because of the new variant of swine flu that is still being created. COVID is not the flu and replacing it with Flu on all the documents might not work, says Shen, who is a former member of the CDC’s advisory panel on immunization practices.
Why don’t we see deaths every day? How many lives have we saved in the U.S.? A tribute to Covid-19
One answer is that as a country, we prefer just to not see those deaths at all, regarding a baseline of several hundred deaths a day as a sort of background noise or morbid but faded wallpaper. About 100 Americans die of Covid-19 every day, making it the country’s third leading cause of death, but we don’t know why and don’t want to. This is normalization at work, but it is also a familiar pattern: We don’t exactly track the ups and downs of cancer or heart disease either.
People wanted to be active when we were out of the lockdowns. When we told people that they didn’t have a Covid vaccine, they said they were going to get a flu vaccine. I think.
The Covid-19 vaccines have kept more than 18.5 million people in the US out of the hospital and saved more than 3.2 million lives, a new study says – and that estimate is most likely a conservative one, the researchers say.
If you include the cases of long Covid that may have prevented vaccines, the savings could be much higher.
“Given the emergency of highly transmissible variants and immune-evading variants like Omicron, it is a remarkable success and an extraordinary achievement,” said Galvani, founding director of the Yale Center for Infectious Disease Modeling and Analysis.
Don’t wait. If you wait, you put yourself at risk,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, President Biden’s chief medical adviser and director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, said Friday at an AARP event. “We’re entering the colder months of the late fall and the early winter. We are all going to spend the holidays with our families and friends. If you are up to date, great. Get vaccine now if you are not.
The legacy of Anthony Fauci, director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and a possible cure for HIV
Anyone who uses public transportation should be masked. It also suggests wearing one in other public settings in communities with high Covid-19 community levels. People who are at highrisk of severe illness are urged to wear masks in areas with less than medium community levels.
This month, Anthony Fauci will step down as director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) after more than 38 years in the post and 54 years at its parent organization, the US National Institutes of Health (NIH). The institute oversaw the research and response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic when he was president of the US under seven presidents. The 81-year-old physician-scientist became a household name during the pandemic, during which he was revered as a trusted source of advice by some and disparaged by others, including former US president Donald Trump, who saw his advice as inconsistent and overbearing. On 11 December, he was attacked on Twitter by Elon Musk, who took over the social-media platform in October. Fauci spoke to Nature about Musk’s comments, the pandemic and his own legacy.
One of the most important is in the area of HIV. When we first learned about the cases of HIV, it was a mysterious disease of unknown cause that was killing people. It was one of the most challenging periods of my career in infectious diseases. We went from that bleak time of not knowing what was killing all of these mostly young gay men to getting the [underlying virus], a diagnostic test and, within a few years, an entire series of drugs, which when used in combination, have completely transformed the lives of people with HIV. We have developed a method for treating people who are in danger of getting the virus, so they don’t transmit it to anyone else.
A vaccine for HIV is one of the most promising discoveries in infectious disease research. The development of therapies has made improvements for treatment and prevention of disease. A vaccine that is safe and effective is what has eluded us to this point. So that’s one of the things we look forward to. There is a possibility that there can be a cure for HIV in which you can have suppression of the virus and/or eradication in the absence of any further therapy. We have not reached that point yet, but that is an aspirational goal.
Yes, we do. It is possible to do it by simply doing it. It is not difficult to incorporate the discipline of social sciences into the work of the hard sciences of vaccine development. Our country has a shocking fact that the majority of the population has been vaccinations with the primary vaccine for COVID. Of those, only half have received a single boost. And importantly, [despite] the availability of an effective BA.4/5 bivalent updated booster, only 13% of the eligible population has received it. That is very disturbing, and almost embarrassing for us that we have that low an enthusiasm about getting a life-saving vaccine.
What Have We Learned From COVID-19? The Implications for Mental Health, Public Health, and the State of the Art
Another aspect that has been brought to the fore by COVID-19 is the importance of mental health, and paying attention to the stresses that [the pandemic] has put on society: not only on health-care workers, doctors and nurses, but also on the general population, including children. The stress of not being present in-person school, and also seeing the flow of their childhood disrupted, have shaped their growth and development. All of that has had a major negative impact on mental health.
That’s impossible to answer. If countries or groups are not transparent, that makes it difficult to do global public-health work. And I would hope that all the countries of the world come to a realization that we’ve got to be completely cooperative, collaborative and transparent in everything we do, because there’s no such thing as a pandemic, particularly of an infectious disease spread by the respiratory route, that’s going to stay in one country. It was extremely sad to see how much COVID spread throughout the world and has resulted in close to seven million deaths.
The possibility of a second pandemic raises the obvious question of whether we have learned anything from the last one. Is there any reason to expect that even with new political leadership, the country’s response to a new global outbreak — of H5N1 or something else — would be more coherent or more coordinated? To the contrary. Contemplating the possibility of a new pandemic in the near future suggests all the ways that America, in its rush to return to normal, failed to do all the things that might have secured a lasting normalcy.
Why are we here today? How do we want to make sure that we take care of our public health and the public interest? The example of a law enforcement officer
I don’t pay attention to that, Max, and I don’t feel I need to respond. I don’t tweet. I don’t have a Twitter account. A lot of the stuff is just a bunch of nonsense, and I don’t pay much attention to it.
It is at risk. That’s why I have armed federal agents with me all the time. That stirs up a lot of hate in people who have no idea why they’re hating — they’re hating because somebody like that is tweeting about it.
I would encourage them not to be deterred, because the satisfaction and the degree of contribution you can make to society by getting into public service and public health is immeasurable. It’s really extraordinary. It overcomes and counters all of the other bad stuff. We are having attacks on public-health officials. But the satisfaction and the accomplishments you can [achieve] in the field are great. It certainly supersedes all the other stuff.
Public health leaders say it is hard to get people to get their vaccine because they are tired of hearing about it.
Gellin wondered if the plan to give an updated jab in the US autumn was wise. Throughout the pandemic, the United States has seen a late-summer COVID-19 wave in addition to a larger winter surge, which could suggest that it’s better to give the vaccine earlier in the year, he says.
How the flu and Covid-19 vaccines are effective, but what do they need to do? “I don’t know how to prevent that,” says LJ Tan
The old saying is that familiarity breeds contempt. He said that familiarity does seem to breed a certain nonchalance.
“The public health message – and I think we did it very effectively – was, you can’t protect yourself against Covid right now, but you can definitely take flu off the table,” said LJ Tan, chief strategy officer for the Immunization Action Coalition and co-chair of the National Adult and Influenza Immunization Summit, nonprofits dedicated to improving vaccination coverage in the US.
“If it were a vaccine like measles, where it is really effective and it’s not repeated, it might be different,” Hackell said. The flu vaccine has less effectiveness than Covid and when there is controversy, that spills over.
There is fatigue and moral injury on the part of providers as well. Hackell, the chair of the American Academy of pediatrics committee on practice and ambulatory Medicine, said that they are not pushing it as hard. It becomes very difficult to keep having these unproductive conversations. And there’s so much more respiratory illness now that I don’t know that the time is there to have these long discussions when your office is packed with sick kids.”
There is evidence that linking the two does not work for boosting coverage rates.
According to Tan, we usually give multiple vaccines to kids at the same time, but haven’t typically done that for adults.
The person who gives some confidence to the patient is the health-care provider or the doctor or nurse who assures the patient that it is safe. “In that personal conversation between the provider and the patient, the patient ends up being converted and getting the vaccine. It is a testimony to our health-care providers.
The message may be sticking. There is more co-administration of the flu and Covid-19 vaccine at drugstores this year than there was last year.
White House Response to the Covid-19 Epidemics: Do we need to be better than we currently are? A CNN interview with Dr. Ashish Jha
Four weeks ago, we were seeing continuous decline as opposed to the increase that we have now. “But while I’m sounding positive, I want to remind us all that we need to be better than we currently are.”
In an interview with CNN laying out the White House’s launch of a new public campaign on Thursday aimed at preparing Americans ahead off what is expected to be a continued rise in Covid-19 cases this winter, White House Covid-19 response coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha stressed that the stakes are even higher as the United States confronts a trio of threats.
There is evidence that the number of cases has started to come down. It will be a while before there is a decrease in the impact of the virus.
The Biden administration’s renewed push to encourage people to use all of the necessary tools available to keep Covid-19 at bay – getting vaccinated and boosted, making use of tests and treatments and masking up when necessary – are all part of achieving what Jha said is the White House’s ultimate goal: preventing serious illness, hospitalizations and death.
The government is also reopening Covidtests.gov for a limited time so more Americans can get access to free tests. Each household in the US can order up to four at home tests that ship as early as next week.
Data from the last few weeks supports the claim that the number of Covid-19 cases has been on the increase, likely due to the Thanksgiving and winter holiday season.
“If somebody gets vaccinated tomorrow, they will have some protection by Christmas. But it’s not like Christmas Day is the last day people socialize over winter,” Jha said. It’s important that you get the vaccine as soon as possible in order to protect yourself for as much time as possible.
There are currently specific and more conservative guidelines from the CDC for what an individual should do if they test positive for Covid-19, including isolating from others, than for if one catches the flu or RSV. Jha said that has to do with the fact that the spread of RSV and the flu largely happens when a person is symptomatic, whereas Covid-19 can be transmitted a lot more even when a person is asymptomatic.
He is encouraging Americans to follow this simple rule of thumb, whether you have Covid-19 or something else: “If you are feeling sick, you should stay home.”
If you don’t believe you have Covid-19, and you don’t know when you might get it, don’t cough at a family holiday dinner.
Just when you thought it was safe for a holiday visit with your Auntie Mary and her fragile health, RSV and the flu reared their heads – and now Covid-19 numbers are creeping up again.
The availability of protective measures, tests and treatments is what health officials are emphasizing in order to prevent a repeat of the Covid-19 surge of the past two winters.
Older people are bearing the brunt of the serious illnesses and have seen a rise in Covid-19 hospitalizations. The hospitalization rates for seniors are higher than any other age group.
The White House said Thursday that this Covid-19 season does not have to be like last winter’s, when there was a large spike in cases with the rise of the Omicron coronavirus variant.
The White House has the tools and knows how to deal with the situation at hand, according to the White House Covid-19 response coordinators.
The Biden administration has been in daily contact with state and local public health leaders, monitoring hospital levels, he said. And the federal government has medical personnel, supplies and other resources ready if states and communities need them.
People who test positive should be evaluated for treatment, particularly those over the age of 50, according to Jha.
If the people would use those tools, we could get through the Covid-19 season.
Why does the anti-vaccine movement in low- and middle-income countries falter? An anthropologist’s perspective on competing priorities in vaccine delivery
When children come back from winter break in Philadelphia, they will have to wear masks for 10 days as a “proactive” measure to decrease the spread of respiratory illnesses.
The risks of allowing these infections to flourish are clear. Zimbabwe is currently working to contain a huge measles outbreak that claimed the lives of more than 750 children between April and October. And poliovirus has recently re-emerged in the United States after decades of successful elimination, prompting a state of emergency in New York.
A new variant must also prompt redoubled vaccination efforts in lower-income nations. Global collaborations, such as COVAX, were established to deliver vaccines equitably. But they faltered as wealthy nations prioritized vaccinating their own populations. Too often, vaccines for low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) were delivered sporadically and close to their date of expiry, exacerbating the challenge of rolling them out in places with limited health-care infrastructure.
There’s the chance that this distrust will spread around the world. The anti-vaccine movement is being promoted through the use of social networks, says an anthropologist at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. In South Africa, hesitancy in vaccine cases is more prevalent in areas with time and resources to find information on the internet. “TikTok is one of the more dangerous platforms that I have seen,” she says. “That’s where a lot of these things are happening.” In poorer communities with no easy access to the internet the conversations are driven by radio broadcasts, religious leaders or poster campaigns.
This is in keeping with Ndwandwe’s experience in South Africa. She says that even at the height of a flu epidemic, mothers will usually rely on the guidance of their physician or nurse to make sure that they get their immunizations. But the story is different in poorer communities, where people often need to make considerable trade-offs when seeking even routine care. She says that you’re talking about competing priorities. “Do I want to travel 10 kilometres to go and sit in a clinic for the whole day, instead of going to a job that will pay me money and actually feed my kids?”
There were a lot of optimistic statements. In January, Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen declared that SARS‑CoV-2 no longer poses a threat to society. US President Joe Biden stated during an interview that the H1N1 was over. The director-general of the World Health Organization has expressed hope that COVID-19 will not be a global emergency in the next few years.
Continuous infections and death are giving way to constant losses as well as the consequence of long COVID. There has been an affect on the fights against AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis because of a focus on COVID-19. Although precise counts are difficult to obtain, overall death rates in many countries remain higher than before COVID-19 hit.
While the seven-day rolling average of hospitalization cases derived from US Health and Human Services’ data has come down in recent weeks, experts warn a resurgence is possible as people travel and gather for the holidays.
The New York City COVID-19 Emergency Commissioning Call for Closer Look at the Prevalence of the Covid Influenza Pandemic
The flu and other respiratory illnesses can have symptoms similar to congestion and coughing. But some are unique. Respiratory syncytial varification and covid can cause problems, for example, decreased appetite and wheezing. Testing can help determine which illness is at play, which health experts say is helpful to ensure individuals are receiving the appropriate treatment in a timely manner. Covid patients are able to use Paxlovid which can help treat the flu.
It will be hard to coordinate the composition of a COVID-19 jab globally since the world doesn’t sweep as evenly as an H3N2 strain. The Rockefeller Foundation’s Pandemic Prevention initiative in New York City was asked at the meeting if the proposal would require other countries to follow FDA decisions. Bill Falstich is vice-president for global supply chain at Pfizer, based in New York City.
But administering the jab before the winter surge could avert a rush of hospitalizations, noted Peter Marks, head of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research in Silver Spring, Maryland. In winter, clinics are swamped with people infected with influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), which led to some US hospitals nearing capacity this season.
The bivalent vaccine could become the main vaccine for people who haven’t yet had a primary series if the vaccine composition is changed.
The UK and the U.S. use bivalent boosters that target both the Omicron strain and the ancestral strain that circulates at the start of the pandemic. Data from the CDC shows that people in their 50’s are more likely to die from COVID-19 if they get just a single-strain booster. Boosters still reduce the chances of death from COVID-19.
The White House said it would extend the Covid-19 emergencies one final time in order to ensure an orderly wind-down of key authorities that states, health care providers and patients have relied on throughout the pandemic.
The administration had commitments to give at least 60 days notice prior to ending the public health emergency, according to the statement.
The statement added, “To be clear, continuation of these emergency declarations until May 11 does not impose any restriction at all on individual conduct with regard to COVID-19. They don’t impose mask or vaccine mandates. They do not restrict school or business operations. They do not require the use of any medicines or tests in response to cases of COVID-19.”
The End of the Public Health Emergency and Implications for Medicare, Health, and Medicaid: How the White House and Congress Weighed in
The White House weighed in because House Democrats were concerned about voting against the Republican legislation to end the public health emergency that is coming to the floor this week without a plan from the Biden administration, a senior Democratic aide told CNN.
The administration argues that the bills are unnecessary because it intends to end the emergencies anyway. The White House also noted the passage of the measures ahead of May 11 would have unintended consequences, such as disrupting the administration’s plans for ending certain policies that are authorized by the emergencies.
Flexible policies that were authorized under the public health emergency will be reviewed to see if they can be kept in place after May 11.
The aide told CNN that they are responsible for what is best for them and how they vote this week. Title 42, a border restriction, will likely be set up for confrontation on Capitol Hill if the public health emergency is declared an end.
“People will have to start paying some money for things they didn’t have to pay for during the emergency,” said Jen Kates, senior vice president at the Kaiser Family Foundation. People will start to notice that.
Those with private insurance could face charges for lab tests, even if they are ordered by a provider. Vaccinations will remain free for everyone, even if they go to out-of-network providers or don’t have private insurance.
The uninsured had been able to access no-cost testing, treatments and vaccines through a different pandemic relief program. Since the federal funding ended in the spring of 2022, it is more difficult for those without coverage to get free services.
Pfizer and Moderna have already revealed that the prices of their vaccines will be at least three to four times what the federal government has paid, according to Kaiser.
Hospitals have had an increase in funding as a result of the public health emergency and have been receiving an increase in Medicare payment rates for Covid-19 patients.
Also, Medicare Advantage plans have been required to bill enrollees affected by the emergency and receiving care at out-of-network facilities the same as if they were at in-network facilities.
Improvements to public assistance programs are no longer tied to the public health emergency. Congress ended the connection in December due to funding issues.
Most notably, states will now be able to start processing Medicaid redeterminations and disenrolling residents who no longer qualify, starting April 1. They have 14 months to look at the eligibility of their beneficiaries.
The public health emergency gave some food stamp recipients a boost. Congress increased food stamp benefits to the maximum for their family size in a 2020 pandemic relief package.
The Biden administration expanded the boost in the spring of 2021 so that households already receiving the maximum amount and those who received only a small monthly benefit get a supplement of at least $95 a month.
Seven Years of the COVID-19 Epidemic: Propaganda against the GOP in the 2020 State of the Union Addressed by Rep. Jayden Biden
During a public health emergency, more Medicare recipients are able to receive care from other people. The service is open to everyone, not just those living in rural areas. They don’t have to travel to a facility to perform the visit at home. Plus, beneficiaries can use smartphones and receive a wider array of services via telehealth.
On Tuesday Republicans in the House pushed legislation that would repeal vaccine mandates and declare the outbreak over, in order to use the federal response to the outbreak of the coronavirus to further their agenda of propaganda against the Democrats.
The leading edge of the bid to portray Mr. Biden and Democrats as overreaching bureaucrats, who kept measures in place for far too long, causing havoc with the economy, and some cases costing people their livelihoods with health restrictions, was offered by the Republicans. It is a theme that taps into the grievances of parents who were furious about school closures and the resentments of Americans angry about how the pandemic destabilized their lives, and one that is already shaping the nascent 2024 Republican presidential primary.
“Americans have not recovered from Covid-19,” said Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, Republican of Georgia, a close ally of Speaker Kevin McCarthy who was banned from Twitter over violations of the company’s coronavirus misinformation policy, but has now been assigned to a select subcommittee to investigate the origins of and response to the virus. In a financial way and an emotional way, as well as a physical way.
In 2016 Donald Trump ran for president against his fellow Republicans and then against Hillary Clinton by promising economic nationalism: a break with the bipartisan enthusiasm for globalization, an end to outsourcing, a manufacturing revival, new infrastructure spending, frank competition with China instead of friendly integration.
Seven years later, President Biden just gave a State of the Union speech whose key themes and most enthusiastic riffs could have been lifted — albeit with more Bidenisms and fewer insults — from Trump’s populist campaign.
It was wrapped up with the same themes as before, to tax only the rich, do not touch Social Security and spend forever on education. The Democrats used the supposed crisis of democracy to rally their base, but they mostly pushed it into the speech long after the president had finished his main pitch.
Booster Tests for Children and the End of the Coronavirus Pandemic: David Wells, Mark Wells and Akiko Iwasaki
When will the pandemic come to an end? We asked three experts if they thought it was appropriate to recommend a booster test for children, as well as other pressing questions, like whether getting covid is just inevitable.
How will the virus continue to change? A group of scientists who study viruses explains that there is no reason why the virus won’t evolve, from a different angle.
What could endemic Covid look like? 100,000 Americans could die from the coronaviruses every year, according to David Wallace Wells. To stop, you will need to increase and sustain high levels of vaccination. New vaccines, which can be delivered through the nose, may be part of the answer according to Akiko Iwasaki.