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US coronavirus: More infectious variant now makes up 20% of coronavirus samples tested, Fauci says

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The country appears to be following a pattern observed in the UK, with both a variant first seen there – the B.1.1.7 Alpha – and the Delta variant, said the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

“As with B.1.1.7, we seem to be following the pattern with the delta variant with a doubling time of around two weeks,” said Fauci on Tuesday at a briefing by the Covid-19 Task Force of the White House.

Some laboratories sequence samples of the virus taken from patients to find out which variant it is, and these test results are reported to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine was 88% effective in preventing Covid-19 symptoms in the Delta variant two weeks after the second dose of the vaccine, he said.

“If you look at hospital admissions, both Pfizer BioNTech and Oxford AstraZeneca are between 92 and 96% effective against hospital admissions,” said Fauci.

The challenge, however, is getting more people to take the vaccines.

Almost all Covid deaths are preventable, experts say

With vaccines so prevalent, almost every Covid-19 death is preventable, said Dr. Rochelle Walensky from the CDC at the White House briefing.

“Covid-19 vaccines are available to everyone 12 and older,” said Walensky. “They are almost 100% effective against serious illness and death – which means that almost every death from Covid-19 is particularly tragic as almost every death, especially in adults, from Covid-19 is completely preventable at this point in time.”

Fauci said it was “overwhelmingly” that those who are now dying of the disease are almost entirely unvaccinated.

“Any death from Covid-19 is preventable and if it happens it will be a tragedy,” he told CNN’s Jake Tapper.

Young people and some states are putting pressure on vaccination rates, Fauci said

The country may not meet President Joe Biden’s goal of vaccinating 70% of American adults with at least one dose by July 4th as young people rush to get vaccinated and some states are lagging behind, Fauci said.

Even Vermont, where more than 81% of eligible people started the vaccination process, is struggling to get young adults to get the vaccinations.

“You are a tough nut to crack,” said Vermont Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine, told CNN, but not because they’re against vaccinations.

“Most of them are not really a vaccine-resistant group,” Levine said. “They don’t have that highly polarized view. They’re mostly in the category where they’re not at the top of their list right now.”

But some government vaccination rates and efforts are lagging, and that is dragging the country’s overall rate down as well, Fauci said.

“It’s a combination of some states and regions that are below where we need them,” Fauci told Tapper on Tuesday. “In this context, it is younger people – especially 18 to 26 – that you really want to try to get them to vaccinate.”

In four states – Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Wyoming – fewer than 50% of adults received at least one dose, according to CDC data.

The theme “goes beyond youth in some states, in some regions,” said Fauci.

Although the country is getting closer and 65.5% of adults have received at least one dose, demand and vaccination rates have declined, leaving experts concerned about whether enough populations will be vaccinated in time to contain the fall and winter floods.

Fauci said he expected Biden’s goal to be achieved by mid-July.

“You set yourself a goal. If you can achieve it, great. If you don’t, you keep trying to reach it and go beyond it, ”he said.

No ‘Ave Maria Pass’ in sight

Although health officials are making efforts to convince those who are still reluctant to get vaccinated against Covid-19, none of the strategies appear to be an “Ave Maria Pass” to get the US to meet Biden’s vaccination goal and curb the spread variants.

“I just don’t know if there’s something out there that we won’t do that will safely get us across the finish line,” said Dr. Marcus Plescia, the Chief Medical Officer of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials CNN. “That’s the problem – we do everything we know can be effective, but it only allows us to maintain that steady state when we really need to get demand back.”

Low vaccination rates are dangerous when combined with the spread of variants like Delta, which are believed to be more communicable and cause more serious diseases. Steve Edwards, CEO of CoxHealth, a health care system in Springfield, Missouri, told CNN the combination was responsible for six times the number of hospital admissions in its system.

“I think it’s the Delta variety and there is a lot of kindling with low inoculation rates so it spreads very quickly,” Edwards said. “Almost all of our cases are unvaccinated people who I believe put themselves at risk during this pandemic.”

Fortunately, Plescia said, tactics are underway to promote vaccinations that have been successful.

Some states, like Colorado, are doing a final boost by calling unvaccinated people direct for information and making appointments. Incentives – from big lotteries like millions to free tickets to the zoo or meal vouchers – have also worked, Plescia said.

One strategy that Plescia and other experts have endorsed lately is to move from mass vaccination efforts to the offices of local providers – a plan that is slow moving but can be effective, he said.

“We expect this to be an important public health function for some time to come,” said Plescia.

Young adults are falling behind when it comes to vaccinations

Many officials have turned their attention to young adults – a population that is low in both vaccination rates and desire to be vaccinated, studies by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show.

“A high vaccination coverage in all age groups is important to reduce COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths, especially in groups with lower vaccination intake, such as young adults,” wrote the authors of a study published on Monday.

If the weekly vaccination pace continues from the week of May 22nd, only 57.5% of adults under 30 will receive at least one dose of Covid-19 vaccine by the end of August.

More than 71% of 30 to 49 year olds would have been vaccinated with at least one dose at the same time, as well as almost 86% of adults between 50 and 64 years and almost 95% of seniors 65 and over, the study found.

500 days have passed since the first known US death from Covid-19.  Variants and low vaccination rates threaten to prolong the pandemicAccording to another CDC study, only about half of adults under 30 said they had been vaccinated or were planning to have a vaccination, fewer than those between 30 and 34 years (55%) and those between 35 and 39 years (53 %).

The study authors said that “the desire to protect others and resume social activities were motivators for vaccination, suggesting messages emphasizing that vaccination would allow them to resume social activities and encouragement vaccination for the common good could be effective. “

While social media is often a source of misinformation, especially when it comes to Covid-19 vaccines, it can also be used to counter the untruths, said Fauci, who recently joined TikTok to connect with young people .

“In my wildest dreams I would never have imagined that I would do TikTok with people today and in the next few days,” Fauci said to Tapper.

“I had a TikTok discussion with a bunch of really dynamic young people,” he added.

CNN’s Jen Christensen, Virginia Langmaid, Deidre McPhillips, Jennifer Henderson and Lauren Mascaren contributed to this report.

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Pandemic

Here’s how to keep your kids safe from the Covid-19 Delta variant

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CNN

The more contagious Delta variant is spreading rapidly in the US, but children under the age of 12 can’t get the best protection there is – a vaccine.

That said, pediatricians say there are still simple things parents can do to help children protect themselves from Covid-19, especially when they return to school.

Serious cases are not common in children, but Covid-19 numbers have been higher than ever in the pandemic since November, said Dr. Yvonne Maldonado, director of infectious diseases in the Department of Pediatrics at Stanford Medicine and chair of the committee with the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Her association has been tracking cases and found that nearly 72,000 children and adolescents were infected with Covid-19 last week. That is a significant increase compared to the previous week, about five times as many sick children as at the end of June.

“It is clear that this variant can cause serious injuries in children. You’ve heard these stories from pediatric intensive care units in Louisiana where children are sick as young as a few months, “said Dr. Francis Collins, the director of the National Institutes of Health, John Berman of CNN on New Day Tuesday.

“Anyone who says that as a young healthy person you don’t have to worry, you have to think about it.”

The most important thing that parents need to think about, say pediatricians, is the vaccine.

If a parent or adult hasn’t been vaccinated in a child’s life, get one now, they guess. The same applies to siblings who are old enough.

Parents should also talk to children about why it is important.

“Make sure you have this conversation with them – about why it is important to be vaccinated and how it protects not just them but everyone around them,” said Dr. Dane Snyder, director of primary pediatrics at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.

Parents may also want to talk to anyone who interacts with the child about their vaccination status, Maldonado said. If the person isn’t vaccinated and the parents still feel good about having them around their unvaccinated child, at least ask them to wear a mask or even consider asking them to take a test before they do meet.

“You wouldn’t want your child in a car that someone drives without a seat belt or a driver’s license,” Maldonado said. “We shouldn’t be afraid to stand up for the health of our children.”

Snyder said parents should continue to reinforce the message about good hygiene.

For example, she said, parents should teach their children to cough into their elbows and wash their hands.

“Hand washing is really one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of any type of disease, be it in your home or community,” said Snyder.

Three feet of physical distance can reduce the spread of the virus, good ventilation helps, and masks for indoor activities are key, public health experts say.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that anyone over the age of 2, regardless of vaccination status, wear a mask when attending school.

“The data is very convincing that masking continues to be a very effective means of preventing infection,” said Dr. Larry Kociolek, attending infectious diseases physician at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago.

By some estimates, having a mask reduces the risk of contracting Covid-19 by about 50%, he said. “Masks are most effective in areas where there is a high risk of exposure and transmission,” said Kociolek.

Dr. Sarah Combs, an emergency doctor at Children’s National Hospital in Washington, DC, said parents can make wearing a mask fun.

“Go ahead and get them a mask of their favorite character and tell them it’s like Superman’s mask. Do whatever you can to get them involved, especially the younger who are less understanding, ”said Combs.

Snyder recommends that parents talk to their children about wearing a mask to school so they know what to expect, especially when a mask is not required. “Make sure you talk to children about accepting things about children who are either masked or not,” Snyder said.

As for parents and masks, Dr. Amy Edwards, assistant medical director of pediatric infection control at UH Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital in Cleveland, suggested that even vaccinated parents should wear a mask in public. “That way, they’ll be less likely to get Covid and bring it home,” Edwards said.

The risk of contracting Covid-19 is much lower if the child is playing outdoors.

Edwards said she restricted her own children to playing outdoors only with their friends. “It’s okay to play with the neighborhood kids, but only outside in the yard, not inside in the playroom or bedroom or the like where there is closer internal contact – which is a bigger problem,” she said.

For older children who enjoy video games, Edwards said a parent could set up time for streaming together even if they are in different rooms.

“Try to come up with creative ways kids can play together, but limit their exposure,” Edwards said.

Playing outdoors has an added benefit. “It’s not just safer from a Covid-19 standpoint – physical activity is a real health benefit,” Kociolek said, particularly given the rise in child obesity rates in the Chicago area since the pandemic began.

Talking to children about Covid-19 is essential, according to paediatricians. Children are like sponges, said Combs.

“Even at this very young age, they are aware of their surroundings, they are picking up your emotional cues. And when we try to keep things from the kids, they get more suspicious and fearful, ”said Combs.

This way even a toddler can understand the basics.

Edwards says she even talked to her kids ages 2 and 4 about the Delta variant. “I told them the virus kind of grew up and got a little bit stronger, so we have to fight a little bit harder,” said Edwards.

With teenagers, parents don’t want to make them more anxious, so be factual, Combs said. It can be helpful to acknowledge that it can be scary even for parents. “That’s fine because we know things and ways to reduce the risk and help each of us in the family,” said Combs.

Combs added that it is also good to encourage the children to be open, especially when they are unwell, so that the parents can keep them at home and remind the child that being home is not a punishment stay – it serves the security of the people.

Edwards said clear communication and reassurance are important in children.

“How many times have we told our parents it wasn’t fair and our parents told us life wasn’t fair?” Said Edwards. “For children, this pandemic is the ultimate ‘life is not fair’. We have to let them know that we are doing everything we can to help them. ”

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Australia records one of its youngest COVID-19 deaths as Sydney outbreak grows

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SYDNEY, Aug. 4 (Reuters) – Australia’s New South Wales on Wednesday reported one of the country’s recent deaths from COVID-19 as daily infections remained near a 16-month high despite 5 million people in the state capital, Sydney in the 6th week.

The nameless man in his twenties, who had no underlying health problems and was unvaccinated, died at his home in the city, authorities said. It was deteriorating rapidly after previously complaining of only mild symptoms, they added.

The death underscores the risk to Australia’s largest city, which is struggling to contain a highly contagious Delta variant outbreak when fewer than 20% of Sydney’s residents are vaccinated.

Last year, neighboring Victoria state said an unnamed man in his twenties died of COVID-19, although a coroner is still investigating the exact cause of death.

The young man was one of two COVID-19 deaths reported in New South Wales (NSW) in the past 24 hours. NSW also recorded 233 new cases, near a 16-month high reported last week, and Prime Minister Gladys Berejiklian said case numbers were likely to rise.

“I am not going to rule out that the number of cases will not worsen, I even believe that they will worsen,” Berejiklian told reporters in Sydney.

“If you look at the number of infected people in the community, it suggests that we may not have peaked yet.”

Berejiklian is under intense pressure to ease the restrictions on movement that are threatening Australia into its second recession in as many years. However, she said at least 50% of the state’s population would need to be vaccinated in order for the curbs to be loosened in late August. Continue reading

Still, many are wary of taking the AstraZeneca (AZN.L) vaccine, the most powerful of two vaccines approved in the country, due to a rare blood clotting problem.

In addition, government models released Tuesday showed that at least 70% of the state’s population would need to be vaccinated to slow the spread.

Authorities have warned people not to wait for an increase in Pfizer shipments (PFE.N) expected in the next month, as case numbers are proving difficult to cut and wastewater tests suggest that the coronavirus may be heading north has spread.

COUNTER-MEASURES

New South Wales has taken aggressive countermeasures to halt the spread of the coronavirus, including cordoning off high-risk suburbs and urging the military to help police enforce lockdown rules. Continue reading

A total of 17 people have died in Sydney during the current outbreak, which began on June 16. During that time, the surge has brought the total number of cases in NSW to more than 4,000.

Nationally, Australia has recorded 927 deaths since the pandemic began, with just over 35,000 cases affecting 22 million people.

Queensland reported 16 locally acquired cases on Wednesday, just like the day before, prompting authorities to declare it the state’s worst outbreak since the pandemic began and warn that a lockdown in the capital, Brisbane, could be extended beyond Sunday .

“If we don’t do anything really, really, really special in Queensland, we’ll be extending the lockdown,” Queensland chief health officer Jeannette Young told reporters in Brisbane.

Coverage of Byron Kaye and Renju Jose in Sydney and Colin Packham in Canberra; Editing by Gerry Doyle and Christian Schmollinger

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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US Covid-19 hospitalizations top 50,000 for first time since February

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According to new data from the US Department of Health, more than 50,000 Covid-19 patients were hospitalized on Monday for the first time since February 27.

The 50,625 Covid-related hospital admissions on the HHS dashboard are more than three times the number of people hospitalized for Covid-19 a month ago when 16,000 patients were hospitalized.

Florida leads the nation in Covid-19 hospital admissions, with 10,682 listed on the HHS dashboard. Texas reported 6,628 Covid-19 hospital admissions this week. California reported 4,682. And Louisiana reported 1,839 Covid-19 hospital admissions, nearing its record for that pandemic.

“You have people with chest pain sitting in an emergency room while their families sit in the waiting room wringing their hands and calling everyone they know,” said O’Neal.

Just over two weeks ago, the hospital had 36 Covid-19 patients, O’Neal said. On Monday it was 155.

“No diagnosis should take up a quarter of your hospital,” said O’Neal. “We no longer believe we are adequately caring for anyone because these are the darkest days of the pandemic.”

The best way to slow the spread of Covid-19 is to get a vaccination, but it doesn’t go fast enough, O’Neal said. Even if people are vaccinated today, it will take weeks for the vaccines to fully work.

So people should wear masks, said O’Neal.

In many hospitals, patients are younger and sicker than they used to be, doctors say.

The seven-day average of daily new coronavirus cases is up more than 40% from the previous week, said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Monday.

“While we absolutely want to deal with this pandemic, Covid-19 is clearly not done with us yet. Therefore, our fight has to take a little longer,” said Walensky.

With vaccination rates rising but still below where they need to be to slow or stop the spread of the virus, many local leaders are turning to masks again to protect their populations.

The CDC updated its guidelines last week advising even fully vaccinated individuals to mask themselves in areas with significant or high transmission. CDC adds 16 travel destinations to its

These guidelines cover more than 90% of the US population – about 300 million people, according to a CNN data analysis released by the CDC on Monday.

Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards has temporarily reinstated the state mask mandate for anyone aged 5 and over, both vaccinated and unvaccinated, while indoors and in public. The mandate comes into force on Wednesday.

“Nobody should suffer the misconception that this is just another climb. We’ve already had three of them, this is the worst we’ve had so far,” said Edwards.

The state health officer, Dr. Joseph Kanter said he anticipates that at any point in the pandemic, Louisiana will hit the highest number of hospitalized Covid-19 patients on Tuesday.

“If we intend to prioritize the things that are important to us, such as keeping our children back in school and in person, and keeping our growing economy open by keeping business open, masking is the best way to ensure that Masking order seriously, both in your personal life and in your professional life, “said Kanter.

Breakthrough infections aren’t as alarming as they seem, says Fauci

Reports of infections in vaccinated individuals known as breakthrough infections have caused some public concern. However, experts say they are not as alarming as they seem. About 99.999% of fully vaccinated Americans have not had a fatal breakthrough Covid-19 case, CDC data shows

“The vaccines do exactly what we ask them to do when it comes to keeping you out of the hospital, keeping you away from serious illness, and certainly preventing your death,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Vaccines result in an eight-fold reduction in the number of people developing the disease and a 25-fold reduction in both hospital admissions and Covid-19-related deaths, Fauci said.

“An important point to make is that the absolute number of breakthrough infections might appear high in a larger percentage of people vaccinated, even with a high level of protection. That’s not the critical number. The critical number is the proportion “of those vaccinated, people who … get breakthrough infections, and that’s the critical one,” added Fauci.

This Texas city has a relatively high vaccination rate, but it is still struggling to get firearms in the face of rising casesWalensky gave some details on what that percentage looks like: Of the tens of thousands of people likely to have been exposed in an outbreak in Provincetown, Massachusetts, she found 346 confirmed breakthrough infections.

“During the summer, some Barnstable County towns can have up to 240,000 visitors a month,” Walensky noted.

Some of these people will even get infected if they are vaccinated, Fauci said.

“You can expect breakthrough infections,” he said. “Most of these infections will be asymptomatic or mild.”

“The bottom line of what we’re saying is … Get vaccinated. I say that every time,” said Fauci.

The CDC reported on Sunday that 816,203 additional doses were administered, and for the fifth straight day the agency recorded more than 700,000 firearms. The current 7-day average of administered doses is 662,529 per day, the highest average since July 7th.

CNN’s Matthew Hilk, Rebekah Riess, Deidre McPhillips, Maggie Fox, Ralph Ellis and Theresa Waldrop contributed to this report.

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