As the school year approaches in most of the country, there’s increasing evidence — both numerical and anecdotal — of children’s vulnerability to the coronavirus and its highly transmissible delta variant.
The American Academy of Pediatrics said as of July 29, almost 4.2 million children have tested positive for the virus since the pandemic began, nearly 72,000 of them in the last week. That’s almost twice as many as the 39,000 infections from the previous week. For perspective, about 79,000 Americans of all ages tested positive in a week of late June.
Two children with COVID-19 died over the weekend at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee.
One of the children was a patient at the hospital, said Le Bonheur’s Dr. Nick Hysmith, a pediatric infectious disease specialist. Another child died during transit to the hospital, he said. The child was coming to the regional hospital from a neighboring hospital.
“It’s important for everyone to know that we’re seeing sicker kids, we’re seeing more kids be admitted that are sick with actual COVID illness, and that those kids, some of them are in our intensive care unit and some of them are intubated,” Hysmith said.
Also in the news:
► Almost 500 cases of COVID-19 have been linked to the massive gathering of Milwaukee Bucks fans celebrating the NBA championship win in the Deer District last month, health officials in Wisconsin said.
►Olympic host city Tokyo again broke its record for new COVID-19 cases, logging 5,042 new cases Thursday.
►As Florida reached a new peak hospitalizations this week with 11,515 people hospitalized with COVID-19, Gov. Ron DeSantis openly defied President Joe Biden on Wednesday, saying he would “stand in the way” of any federal COVID-19 restrictions that he believed would hurt businesses or take away Floridians’ rights to choose.
►Nearly all foreign visitors will be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 before entering the U.S., according to a plan the Biden administration is working on, The Associated Press reported.
►Officials in Los Angeles are considering a proposal that would require people to show proof they’ve been vaccinated to enter restaurants, museums, gyms and other public spaces, following in the footsteps of New York City, which became the first in the country to require proof of the COVID-19 vaccine to enter many indoor public spaces this week.
►Texas state health officials say new coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and deaths in the state are showing steeper jumps than past surges in the pandemic. In a video conference Wednesday, a spokesman for the Department of State Health Services said the rolling seven-day average of new virus infections cases has increased 92% from last week, while hospitalizations rose 49% and deaths from COVID-19 grew by 15%.
📈Today’s numbers: The U.S. has had more than 35.3 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and 614,800 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The global totals: More than 200.1 million cases and 4.2 million deaths. More than 165.8 million Americans — 49.8% of the population — have been fully vaccinated, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
📘What we’re reading: Chicago’s Lollapalooza is a “recipe for disaster,” experts warn. Should more music festivals be canceled amid COVID-19?
Keep refreshing this page for the latest news. Want more? Sign up for USA TODAY’s Coronavirus Watch newsletter to receive updates directly to your inbox and join our Facebook group.
Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine is 93% effective as much as six month after full vaccination, the company said Thursday.
The vaccine maker also announced it has tested three potential booster shots which demonstrated “robust antibody responses to COVID-19 variants of concern.”
“We are pleased that our COVID-19 vaccine is showing durable efficacy,” Moderna Chief Executive Stéphane Bancel said in a statement. “But recognize that the delta variant is a significant new threat so we must remain vigilant.”
The announcement comes after Pfizer-BioNTech said last week its vaccine remains 84% effective six months after the second dose.
Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine has received emergency authorization for use in more than 50 countries.
The Food and Drug Administration is aiming to fully approve Pfizer-BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine by the start of next month, according to The New York Times. Moderna also announced Thursday it expects to complete its submission to the FDA for full licensing of its COVID-19 vaccine in August.
Amid climbing COVID cases and community efforts, racial disparity in vaccinations appears to be narrowing
Months into the nation’s unprecedented COVID-19 vaccination effort, disparities in vaccinating underserved populations have been stark, with data showing white people getting the shot at faster rates than Black and Hispanic people. But experts say that could be changing, as fears mount amid the new case surge and grassroots vaccination efforts begin to pay off.
Over the past two weeks, people of color have been vaccinated with a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine more than white people when compared to their shares of the population, according to the latest CDC data. Though race and ethnicity information is only available for about 60% of the U.S. population, it shows a glint of promise, experts say.
While Hispanic and Latino people make up 17% of the nation’s population, they totaled more than a quarter of those who initiated vaccination in the past two weeks. Similarly, Black people, who make up about 12% of the U.S. population, accounted for 15% of those receiving a first dose.
– Nada Hassanein
A freshman at Fayetteville State University is the third winner of the $1 million COVID-19 vaccine lottery, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper announced Thursday during his COVID-19 briefing.
Audrey Chavous, 18, was selected at random on July 21 for the third giveaway of $1 million in North Carolina’s vaccine lottery. Chavous will start her freshman year at Fayetteville State University this fall.
The vaccine lottery in North Carolina awards $1 million to four individuals 18 years or older who choose to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Four $125,000 scholarships are being awarded to four vaccinated individuals under the age of 18 as well.
Chavous joined the governor during his COVID-19 briefing and discussed why she chose to get vaccinated and what she plans to do with the money.
“I chose to get vaccinated, not only for the safety of other people around me, but simply for the safety of myself,” she said.
– Jack Boden, The Fayetteville Observer
Mattel announced Wednesday they would be creating a Barbie doll of Professor Sarah Gilbert, who played a crucial role in developing the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine. The Barbie made in her likeness will sport her signature dark-rimmed glasses and long auburn hair while wearing professional attire.
The doll derives from Mattel’s latest #ThankYouHeroes program, according to a news release from the toy manufacturer. They will be making five other dolls of other prominent first responders in the world’s fight against COVID-19.
According to Mattel, they have five other special edition Barbies lined up: Amy O’Sullivan of the U.S.; Dr. Audrey Sue Cruz of the U.S.; Dr. Chika Stacy Oriuwa of Canada; Dr. Jaqueline Goes de Jesus of Brazil; and Dr. Kirby White of Australia.
As part of the program, Barbie will donate $5 for each special edition doll sold at participating Target stores to the First Responders Children’s Foundation, the statement said.
For every one million Americans vaccinated against COVID-19, only 60 developed heart problems, according to a new study published in the JAMA Network Wednesday. The study found that the complications were short-lived.
Myocarditis associated with vaccination was primarily prevalent among younger male individuals within a few days after the second vaccine, the study said.
“We see that these adverse events are leading to very short and unremarkable hospital stays,” Dr. Jeremy Faust, an emergency medicine physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston who wasn’t part of the study told The New York Times. “The same can’t be said of hospitalizations for COVID-19 in this or any age group so far.”