As the Biden government steps up efforts to get firearms, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a new study on Friday highlighting the effectiveness of Covid-19 vaccines against serious illness or death.
The study, which looked at hospitalizations and deaths from Covid-19 over a period of more than three months, found that unvaccinated people were more than 10 times more likely to be hospitalized with Covid-19 than vaccinated and 11 times more, according to the CDC -Director Rochelle Walensky likely to die from the virus.
The study – as well as two others that were also released by the CDC on Friday – is still an early release, which means there may be changes in the final version. However, the results provide some clarity on the state of the pandemic as the delta variant shapes communities across the country.
As the Delta variant became more widespread in the US over the summer, the study also found that protection from primary infections decreased slightly – but "the vaccine's effectiveness against hospitalization and death showed little decrease over the entire period," says The Washington Post.
Another of the studies confirmed that the effectiveness remains consistently high. The three vaccines available in the U.S. – manufactured by Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech, and Johnson & Johnson – are 86 percent effective at preventing hospital stays for Covid-19 and 82 percent effective at preventing visits to the emergency room or the emergency room Emergency care due to the virus, according to the results of the study. The researchers also found that Moderna was most effective at 95 percent at preventing hospital admissions, with the Johnson & Johnson syringe providing about 60 percent protection against hospital admissions.
However, despite the remarkable effectiveness of the Covid vaccines, the virus continues to spread in the United States as the country struggles with resistance to the vaccine.
Americans are still lagging behind other affluent countries in vaccine intake, and according to the New York Times, only 52.76 percent of eligible Americans are fully vaccinated. In the US, only about 700,000 vaccine doses are administered daily – about 300,000 fewer than the Japanese vaccination program currently reports, despite Japan's smaller population.
Currently, the US is recording an average of nearly 146,000 new Covid-19 cases per day, compared to less than 12,000 new cases per day in June this year. At the height of the pandemic this winter, the country was reporting an average of more than 250,000 cases a day.
However, a new move toward stricter vaccine requirements coincides with a seven percent decrease in daily reported Covid-19 cases in the past two weeks, according to the New York Times. Tests are also up 21 percent over the same period, with an average of more than 1.6 million tests performed per day.
However, the number of deaths – which tends to lag behind the peaks in new cases – is currently increasing in the US. On Friday, the country recorded an average of more than 1,600 deaths a day from the virus.
While this latest statistic is bleak, there is evidence that the delta-fired spike in cases is at least flattening out in the summer as more people are vaccinated.
Cases in Mississippi, where the virus has stretched hospital capacity beyond their limits, have decreased by a third in the past two weeks. In Tennessee, which currently has the highest number of cases per capita of any state, the vaccination rate rose from July 12 to April 2.
"Our patience is failing"
With the US continuing to struggle with Covid-19, President Joe Biden announced Thursday that all companies with more than 100 employees will have to require either a vaccination or weekly Covid-19 tests.
"Many of us are frustrated with the nearly 80 million Americans who are still not vaccinated, even though the vaccine is safe, effective and free," Biden said at a press conference on Thursday, condemning what he described as a "pandemic policy." Republican leaders who downplayed Covid-19, spread disinformation and fought against measures such as vaccinations and the wearing of masks.
"We cannot allow these measures to stand in the way of protecting the vast majority of Americans who have done their part and want to get back to normal," Biden said.
Corporate America is also warming up to vaccine mandates as large corporations like United Airlines and Tyson Foods implement vaccine requirements for their employees. United set a deadline of Sept. 27 for all of its U.S.-based employees to be vaccinated and says that more than half of its previously unvaccinated employees have now been vaccinated, according to NPR.
Covid-19 cases in children are on the rise
However, despite the significant protection that vaccines offer, not all are eligible. The Food and Drug Administration has yet to approve a Covid-19 vaccine for children under the age of 12, and pediatric Covid-19 cases are on the rise as children return to face-to-face classes – especially in states where mask requirements have been declined.
New York City public schools, the largest school system in the country, will test their own Covid-19 guidelines on Monday at the start of the school year. All New York Department of Education employees must be fully vaccinated by September 27th.
This is also the case in Los Angeles, which on Thursday became the first major public school district in the United States to mandate Covid-19 vaccines for all eligible students and teachers following a unanimous vote by the school board.
In Florida, where Governor Ron DeSantis is currently fighting to prevent counties from requiring masks, child deaths from Covid-19 have more than doubled since July. While the death toll is still extremely low compared to other age groups – only 17 children have died of Covid-19 in the state since the pandemic began – seven of those deaths were between March 2020, when the outbreak began in the US, and July 2021, a period of 15 months. The remaining 10 occurred after July 30 of this year, Politico reported on Thursday.
Additionally, the Department of Education's Civil Rights Bureau is investigating the Florida public education system's anti-mask mandate policy, according to Politico. In a letter to Florida Department of Education commissioner Robert Corcoran, Suzanne Goldberg, assistant secretary of state for civil rights, warned that the policy could violate the civil rights of children with disabilities by preventing them from "safely returning to personal education."
With the increase in pediatric cases – and the review of Covid-19 prevention guidelines in schools – there is pressure on vaccine manufacturers to determine whether their vaccinations are safe for use in children.
According to German news agency Der Spiegel, BioNTech will publish the results of its clinical studies in children aged 5 to 11 this month and apply for global approval of the vaccine for use in this age group.
That could mean the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine could be approved for children in that age group as early as late October, Reuters reported on Friday.
BioNTech, which worked with Pfizer to make its vaccine, also plans to apply for approval for use in children 6 months to 2 years old by the end of the year and is working on vaccine in children 6 to 11 years old the determination of a suitable dosage for children from 6 months.
In the meantime, however, Biden officials have stressed that widespread vaccine intake among people eligible for the vaccine is the best way to keep pediatric Covid-19 cases low.
"That is why we as a society have a shared responsibility to ensure that we not only take care of our own health, but also reduce the chances of passing a virus on to more vulnerable people – that is why this is so important," said the surgeon general Vivek Murthy said on Friday. "And that is exactly what the efforts the President announced yesterday will help us: reduce transmission, protect lives and protect our children too."
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