Delta variant in US has entered deadlier phase: COVID updates

As the Food and Drug Administration granted full approval for the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine on Monday, America’s delta-driven surge in COVID-19 has entered a more deadly phase.

Cases are rising in 42 states, the lowest number in six weeks. But deaths are now rising in 43 states – the worst record since December, ahead of America’s deadliest month of the pandemic, according to a USA TODAY analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University.

The number of deaths in the US for the week ending Monday was 7,225. By comparison, about 5,400 Americans died in the Pearl Harbor and September 11th attacks combined.

The face of the dying also changes quickly. Deaths are increasingly centered in white non-Hispanic people, an analysis by USA TODAY of data from the National Centers for Health Statistics shows.

Most other races and ethnic groups now have lower proportions of deaths, but white non-Hispans, who account for about 61.1% of all deaths during the pandemic, accounted for 68.8% of the deaths reported so far in July and August.

Meanwhile, the proportion of deaths among young people is also increasing, with the numbers of 30-year-olds and 18-29 year olds roughly tripling their share of deaths in July and August, according to preliminary figures from the Centers for the Control and Prevention of Show diseases.

People between 50 and early 60s make less than 1 in 6 victims of the pandemic, but in July and August they make up more than 1 in 4.

– Mike Stucka

Also on the news:

►Kentucky will send National Guard members to hospitals overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients and facing shortages of care, Governor Andy Beshear said Monday. The announcement came as the state broke its records for hospital stays, patients in intensive care units, and patients on ventilators.

►LSU, ranked 13th in U.S. college football coach TODAY’s preseason poll, said Tuesday that fans 12 and older who attend home games this season will have evidence of COVID-19 vaccination or a negative test have to submit.

►Florida’s Walt Disney World will require its employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 starting October 22nd in order to keep their jobs at the theme park.

►As Israel expands its vaccine refresh efforts amid the spread of the Delta variant, data shows that transmission rates of the virus are falling in those who received a third dose, Reuters reported.

►An Italian student who has his COVID-19 vaccination record tattooed on his arm says the QR code actually works when scanned.

📈 Today’s numbers: In the United States, there have been nearly 38 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and more than 629,800 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. The global totals: More than 212.8 million cases and 4.44 million deaths. According to the CDC, more than 171 million Americans – 51.5% of the population – have been fully vaccinated.

📘What we read: After the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine received full FDA approval on Monday, millions of Americans faced a confusing, difficult task: How the hell do you pronounce Comirnaty? This is the brand name for the companies’ COVID-19 vaccine. That’s how you say it.

Keep updating this page for the latest news. Want more? Sign up for USA TODAY’s Coronavirus Watch newsletter to receive updates straight to your inbox and join our Facebook group.

Pediatricians say children under the age of 12 should not be vaccinated against COVID-19 yet

Leading pediatricians said loudly and unanimously on Monday that doctors shouldn’t prescribe COVID-19 vaccines to children under the age of 12.

With the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine fully approved by the FDA, such off-label use is now legal. But it’s definitely not a good idea, said several experts.

“We don’t have any data on young children, so this should really be a no-go,” said Dr. Jesse Goodman, an infectious disease expert at Georgetown University.

Yet while the American Academy of Pediatrics agreed that children should not be vaccinated yet, the group is also calling on the FDA to speed up the process of approving vaccinations for children under the age of 12 by relying on early study data rather than more complete ones Waiting for results.

In the week up to August 19, around 180,000 children and adolescents were infected with COVID-19, practically all of them with the Delta variant, the AAP announced on Monday. Since the U.S. pandemic began, nearly 4.6 million minors have been infected – 12% of the total – and rates have quadrupled in the last month alone, reaching roughly the same level as last winter’s increase. Hospital stays and child deaths remain low.

– Karen Weintraub

Vaccine approval, mandates could help the US control COVID by next year, Fauci says

When FDA approval and additional vaccine mandates were announced on Monday, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country’s leading infectious disease expert, said the measures could help the US get the disease under control by next year.

“If we can get through this winter and really get the majority – the overwhelming majority – of the 90 million people who haven’t been vaccinated, I hope we can get good control in the spring of 2022,” Fauci told CNN.

After the FDA granted full approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, companies, schools, and governments included CVS, the University of Michigan, Chevron, the city of Chicago and New York, and New Jersey public schools a new vaccine announced requirements for some or all of their employees.

President Joe Biden also urged corporations, nonprofits, government agencies and schools to “increase vaccine requirements that will reach millions more people.”

FDA warns against using animal wormers as a COVID-19 treatment

Health officials are warning against using a drug called ivermectin for unapproved use as a medicine to prevent or treat COVID-19. The drug, which was only approved as an anti-parasitic treatment for humans and animals such as cattle and horses, has been the subject of a surge in calls to the Mississippi Poison Control Center.

The drugs made for humans are different from those made for livestock, which are “highly concentrated, toxic to humans and can cause serious harm,” the Mississippi State Department of Health said in a warning on Monday. At least two people were hospitalized with potential ivermectin toxicity after taking the drug made for farm animals, the state poison control center said Monday.

Interest in the drug is growing as the delta variant of the coronavirus has led to higher COVID-19 transmission rates and increased concern among vaccinated people about infection.

Multiple reports of patients being treated or hospitalized after “self-medication with ivermectin for horses” prompted the FDA to issue a warning on Friday. “You are not a horse. You are not a cow. Seriously, all of you. Stop it,” said the agency on Twitter.

Hawaii Governor David Ige urges tourists to stay home amid the surge in COVID

Hawaii Governor David Ige urges tourists not to visit the popular vacation destination until October as the number of COVID cases increases and the state’s hospitals are busy.

“It is not a good time to travel to the islands,” he said at a press conference on Monday.

That doesn’t mean travelers can’t visit Hawaii because the state hasn’t tightened its entry requirements. Since October, travelers have been able to present a negative COVID test to bypass the state’s strict quarantine. In July there is no compulsory test for vaccinated travelers.

There has been speculation that the testing requirement would return from the Delta variant due to the surge in COVID cases, but Ige said it was difficult as the CDC says domestic travel is safe for vaccinated travelers.

How one woman vaccinated more than 94% of her Alabama city

Dorothy Oliver runs a general store out of a white trailer in Panola, Alabama, the only place you can shop for miles. She’s not afraid to ask her clients about their vaccination status and allay their concerns. When the COVID-19 vaccine became widely available, the closest clinics to offer it were about 40 minutes away by car.

Oliver said she wanted to simplify the process, so she volunteered to help set up appointments and drive her clients to and from locations. “Many of them had a lot of doubts and many of them were thrilled to have someone to help them,” said Oliver.

There are approximately 350 people in the Panola area, and according to Oliver’s records, only about 20 adults in the community are unvaccinated. She keeps a slowly dwindling list of them. Read more about Oliver’s efforts here.

Contribution: The Associated Press

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