The president has a BA.5 but is feeling better
Ashish Jha, MD, MPH, the White House’s COVID-19 response coordinator, said on Face the Nation on Sunday that President Biden has contracted the highly transmissible BA.5 subvariant of the coronavirus but is “feeling better.”
“It’s the BA.5 variant … but thank goodness our vaccines and treatments work well against it, which is why I believe the president is doing well,” said Dr. Jha.
Last Thursday, the 79-year-old president began taking the antiviral treatment Paxlovid after testing positive and experiencing mild symptoms. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 8 out of 10 new cases are associated with the very contagious BA.5 variant.
Age is a risk factor for Americans of Biden’s age
The New York Times cited data from the Centers for Disease Control that showed in early June, Americans age 75 to 84 were dying of the virus four times as often as those two decades younger. A wider gap exists than during the winter omicron surge, when the number of people aged 75 to 84 killed each week by COVID-19 was twice as high as that of people aged 55 to 64.
Increasing COVID numbers in nursing homes
According to the news source The 19th, according to figures from AARP, one in 35 nursing home residents tested positive for COVID-19 in June, an increase of 27 percent from the previous month. Between May and June of this year, COVID death rates nearly doubled, rising from 0.04 deaths per hundred residents to 0.07 deaths per hundred residents.
Nation’s Largest Nurses Union Wants Tougher Regulations
In a letter sent to the CDC last week, the National Nurses United union, which represents registered nurses, urges the federal government to take more action to strengthen COVID-19 guidance to protect public health given the recent outbreak of the virus around the country. The union is encouraging the CDC to reinstate mask-wearing policies and other mitigation measures. People wearing masks indoors in public will lower the chance of contracting this virus in addition to implementing the usual prevention strategies such as improving ventilation, getting tested, and quarantining and isolating.
Second Booster for those under 50 is on hold to focus on new vaccines
Recently federal health officials who declined to be identified in The Washington Post reported that the Biden administration is delaying its push to offer booster shots for people under 50 for the coronavirus vaccine, because new Pfizer and Moderna omicron-targeting shots will be available as early as mid-September. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommended that manufacturers include a component in their retooled shots that is effective against BA.5 and other omicron subvariants by the end of June.
Kids with COVID in emergency departments had symptoms after 3 months about 6 percent of the time
The study, which was conducted in 36 emergency departments in eight countries and published on July 22 in JAMA Network Open, found that nearly 6% of children who presented with COVID-19 later showed symptoms of long-term COVID. Long COVID is associated with an initial hospital stay of 48 hours or more, four or more symptoms at the first emergency department visit, and being 14 years of age or older. In the study, 1,884 children with COVID-19 were followed for 90 days. Children’s most common persistent symptoms include fatigue, weakness, coughing, difficulty breathing, or shortness of breath.
Co-principal investigator Nathan Kuppermann, MD, of the University of California, Davis School of Medicine, says that we have found a higher rate of long COVID in adults, compared to what we found in children. “These findings can be used to inform public health policy decisions about COVID-19 mitigation strategies for children and screening approaches for those with severe infections.”
‘Highest level of vigilance’ is called for by Japan
According to the South China Morning Post, Japan’s daily COVID-19 cases topped 200,000 for the first time on July 24, marking the fourth consecutive day of a record count during this seventh wave of infections. The daily tally dropped slightly to 176,554 on Sunday, according to Kyodo Daily News. The chief cabinet secretary, Hirokazu Matsuno, said: “We need to keep a close eye on the infection situation going forward, including access to medical services, with the highest level of vigilance.” The Guardian reported that residents of the southern prefecture of Okinawa, which saw a record 5,250 new cases, would be asked for a voluntary stay away from work from Friday until mid-August.