Statistics show the stark risks of not getting vaccinated against COVID-19

Health

Yahoo News 19 July, 2021 - 05:02am 29 views

COVID-19 has become a "pandemic of the unvaccinated."

As top health officials warn that COVID-19 has become a "pandemic of the unvaccinated," recent figures from states and cities throughout the United States reveal the extent to which the virus is impacting people who are not fully inoculated.

A stark case in point: During June, every person who died of COVID-19 in Maryland was unvaccinated, according to a spokesperson for the governor's office. There were 130 people who died of COVID-19 in Maryland in June, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

New COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations were also predominantly among unvaccinated people, the state said, at 95% and 93% respectively.

Other states have reported similar findings while urging people to get vaccinated as the more transmissible delta variant is driving up COVID-19 cases.

Those figures were reported as state health officials warned Louisiana is now in a "fourth surge" of the virus; as of Friday, the statewide average daily number of cases per 100,000 residents were up 177% over the past 14 days. The number of COVID-19 hospitalizations also doubled during that time, health officials said.

With the delta variant now the most dominant strain in Louisiana, about 46% of adults in the state are fully vaccinated, according to the CDC.

"We only have two choices, we are either going to get vaccinated and end the pandemic or we are going to accept death, a lot of it, this surge and another surge and possibly another variant,” infectious disease specialist Dr. Catherine O’Neal said during a state COVID-19 press briefing Friday.

In Alabama, over 96% of COVID-19 deaths since April 1 were in unvaccinated people, the state health department said on July 13, for 509 deaths out of 529 total. Over 42% of adults in the state are fully vaccinated, according to the CDC.

"The COVID-19 vaccines are the most effective and important tool to reduce COVID-19 transmission and the spread of variants like the highly transmissible delta variant," Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said in a statement.

Due to a "rapid rise" in COVID-19 cases in the county, from 210 reported on June 15 to 1,537 two months later -- local officials reinstated a mandatory indoor mask mandate, regardless of vaccination status, over the weekend. Over 60% of county residents ages 16 and up are fully vaccinated.

New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi said the vaccines are "astonishingly effective" while sharing that over 98% of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths in the city between Jan. 1 and June 15 were in people who were not fully vaccinated. That included 8,069 deaths in people who were not fully vaccinated. Over 64% of NYC adults are fully vaccinated.

The national picture is unclear, through in mid-June, former White House COVID-19 adviser Andy Slavitt said in an interview with The Washington Post that "98, 99-plus percent of people that are being hospitalized and dying with COVID have not been vaccinated."

As parts of the country with low vaccination rates are seeing outbreaks of COVID-19, "there is a clear message that is coming through," CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said during a press briefing Friday. "This is becoming a pandemic of the unvaccinated."

"Communities that are fully vaccinated are generally faring well," she added.

Over 56% of those ages 12 and up in the U.S. are fully vaccinated, according to the CDC.

Clinical trials showed that the COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective at preventing serious disease and death. Breakthrough cases -- when a fully vaccinated person becomes infected with COVID-19 -- are rare after full vaccination; a recent CDC report found that they may occur in just 0.01% of all fully vaccinated people.

"The message, loud and clear, that we need to reiterate is that these vaccines continue to [provide] strong protection against SARS-CoV-2, including the delta variant," Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, said during Friday's White House briefing, calling the delta variant "formidable." "It's so important for yourself, your family and your community to get vaccinated."

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Analysis | Most American adults live in blue states. Most unvaccinated adults live in red ones.

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USA TODAY 19 July, 2021 - 03:00am

More experts are calling for vaccinated people to mask up as COVID surges around the country. Live COVID news.

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During a White House briefing Dr. Rochelle Walensky, said the Covid-19 outbreak is becoming "a pandemic of the unvaccinated." USA TODAY

New coronavirus cases rose in all 50 states on Sunday for the fourth day in a row on a rolling seven-day average, an ominous run not seen since the spring 2020 surge.

In some states the increases were startling. New cases in Rhode Island almost tripled week over week, a USA TODAY analysis of Johns Hopkins data shows. Maine and Vermont's hikes were almost as large. New cases in Massachusetts, Alaska and Kentucky more than doubled their case counts in one week; Minnesota, Florida and Texas were right behind.

The weekly rolling average for cases in the United States has nearly tripled in the last month. The pace of deaths also is up sharply – 24.7% from its low point two weeks ago.

A new survey suggests reasons why some people reject vaccination – 90% of respondents to a YouGov poll who reject vaccination fear possible side effects from the vaccine more than they fear COVID-19 itself. Less than one in 10 of the vaccine rejectors trust medical advice from Dr. Anthony Fauci, and only one in five trusts the CDC. And one in five believe the government is using vaccines to microchip the population.

â–șU.S. stocks, which had been trading at record levels in recent days, fell sharply in early trading Monday amid worries the pandemic is worsening in hotspots around the world. Global stocks also swooned.

â–șRight-wing British commentator Katie Hopkins was deported from Australia on Monday after she boasted on social media that she planned to breach quarantine rules. Hopkins was to appear in a reality television program and was in a 14-day mandatory hotel quarantine in Sydney.

â–șEuropean officials released figures from Our World in Data showing that 55.6% of EU citizens have had at least one dose, compared with 55.4% in the U.S. It was the first time the EU figures outpaced those across the Atlantic. Canada’s vaccination rate is also now higher than the U.S.'s rate.

📈Today's numbers: The U.S. has had more than 34 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and more than 609,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The global totals: More than 190.5 million cases and 4 million deaths. More than 161.2 million Americans — 48.6% of the population – have been fully vaccinated, according to the CDC.

📘What we're reading: Cuba sent doctors abroad amid the pandemic. Now, its own COVID surge has sparked historic protests.

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Kara Eaker, an alternate on the U.S. women's gymnastics team, has tested positive for COVID, coach Al Fong confirmed in a text message to USA TODAY Sports. Alternate Leanne Wong, who trains with Eaker, is also quarantining after being deemed a close contact, Fong said. Opening Ceremonies for the Games in Tokyo are set for Friday.

U.S. tennis star Coco Gauff shared Sunday that she tested positive for COVID-19, announcing that she would be withdrawing from the Tokyo Olympics just days before the start of the Games. Olympic organizers revealed Sunday that three residents in the Olympic Village, including two athletes, had tested positive for COVID-19 despite initially clearing arrival protocols. 

A bipartisan group of criminal justice advocates are asking President Joe Biden to grant clemency and commute sentences of federal prisoners who were allowed to serve their sentences at home because of the pandemic but now face the possibility of going back to prison. Advocates have been pushing Biden to aggressively use his powers citing his campaign promise to cut the federal prison population.

"This is your opportunity to provide second chances to thousands of people who are already safely out of prison, reintegrating back to society, reconnecting with their loved ones, getting jobs and going back to school," stated the letter Monday from 20 advocacy groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union, Amnesty International and NAACP.

Two more Democratic Texas state lawmakers who fled to Washington, D.C., to stymie passage of a restrictive, GOP-backed voting law have tested positive for COVID-19 despite being vaccinated, according to Texas House Democratic Caucus leadership. That brings the total number to five.

A group of the lawmakers traveled by private plane to Washington, D.C., to lobby Congress to pass federal election reform. The lawmakers, however, drew some criticism after photos from the plane appeared to show them traveling without masks. Federal pandemic guidelines require masks to be worn on commercial flights, but not on private aircraft.

More experts are calling for vaccinated people to mask up as COVID surges around the country. Almost 5,500 fully vaccinated people have been hospitalized or died from COVID-19, among the more than 160 million people who have been fully vaccinated, the CDC reports. "Instead of vax it OR mask it, the emerging data suggests CDC should be advising to vax it and mask it in areas with (rising) cases and positivity until we see numbers going back down again," former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams said on Twitter.

"If I'm in an area where I think there may be a lot of folks who are unvaccinated, out of an abundance of caution, I will wear my mask in indoor settings," current U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy told CNN.

Biden administration public health officials took aim Sunday at social media platforms like Facebook for perceived inaction on stopping misinformation about COVID-19 and vaccines. It comes two days after the president himself said falsehoods online are "killing people." Alarmed by rising coronavirus infections across the country and frustrated by persistent conspiracy theories about the pandemic, public health officials are more forcefully criticizing media and tech platforms they argue are endangering the public.

Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, the federal government's top public health adviser, said Sunday that "misinformation is still spreading like wildfire in our country aided and abetted by technology platforms."

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will spend 10 days self-isolating after contact with a confirmed coronavirus case. The announcement by his office on Sunday reverses an earlier statement that, unlike most people, he would not face quarantine. Johnson met Friday with Health Secretary Sajid Javid, who later tested positive for COVID-19. Contacts of positive cases usually have to self-isolate for 10 days. Johnson contracted the disease in April 2020, spending several days in the hospital before fully recovering.

The British government still plans to lift all remaining legal restrictions on social contact, as well as other public health measures on Monday, despite the U.K. recording more than 50,000 new COVID-19 cases for the first time in six months and a dire warning from the British government’s top medical adviser.

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New infections rising in every state; Fauci says we'd still have polio if vaccine had drawn COVID-like misinformation: Live COVID updates

USA TODAY 18 July, 2021 - 08:42am

The number of new coronavirus infections is now rising in all 50 states and hospitalizations nationwide are increasing. Latest COVID news.

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The Tokyo Olympic games are taking place as COVID-19 rates surge in Japan. Here is what athletes, fans and the media can expect to face. USA TODAY

The number of new coronavirus infections is now rising in all 50 states and hospitalizations nationwide are increasing at an alarming rate, data out Sunday reveals.

New infections rose in all 50 states Saturday, the third consecutive day, data from Johns Hopkins University shows. And more than 25,000 U.S. patients who likely had COVID-19 were in hospitals Saturday, up 24.1% from a week earlier. Throughout the week hospitals admitted 51,378 likely COVID patients, up 15%. And 6,198 adults with COVID-19 were in intensive-care units, up 25.7% from a week earlier.

The vast majority of new case and hospitalizations involve people who are not vaccinated, health experts say. Some blame "misinformation" about the vaccine being spread on social media and elsewhere.

"When we talk to people who believe some of these myths about the COVID-19 vaccine about COVID itself and ask them where to get that information, many of them point to their social media platforms," Surgeon General Vivek Murthy said in an interview with "Fox News Sunday."

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said past vaccination campaigns wouldn't have been nearly as effective had they also been hampered by misinformation.

"We probably would still have polio in this country if we had the kind of false information that's being spread now," he said.

â–șHealth officials in Arizona on Sunday reported 980 additional COVID-19 cases and three more coronavirus-related deaths. It was the first time in five days that the state reported less than 1,000 new cases.

â–șThree Democratic Texas state lawmakers who fled to Washington, D.C., to stymie passage of a restrictive, GOP-backed voting law have tested positive for COVID-19 despite being vaccinated, according to Texas House Democratic Caucus leadership.

â–șOver 100,000 people protested across France on Saturday against the government’s latest measures to push people to get vaccinated and curb rising infections by the delta variant of the coronavirus.

â–șThe British government still plans to lift all remaining legal restrictions on social contact, as well as other public health measures on Monday, despite the U.K. recording more than 50,000 new COVID-19 cases for the first time in six months and a dire warning from the British government’s top medical adviser.

📈Today's numbers: The U.S. has had more than 34 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and more than 608,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The global totals: more than 190 million cases and more than 4 million deaths. Nearly 159 million Americans – 47.9 % of the population – have been fully vaccinated, according to the CDC.

📘What we're reading: Cuba is reeling from a surge in cases, surpassing 6,000 new daily infections last week in a spike that has fueled unrest and anger across the country.

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Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva says his office won't enforce the county's latest mask mandate, arguing that it isn't backed by science. Health officials in popular tourist destinations such as Los Angeles and Las Vegas are asking more people to mask up indoors. The Southern Nevada Health District is now recommending people wear masks in places such as Las Vegas casinos regardless of vaccination status.

Los Angeles County announced that it would reinstate an indoor masking policy because of a recent surge in COVID-19 cases, and more counties in California are joining the list. The mask guidelines are meant to help quell the spread of COVID and the highly contagious delta variant, which has caused an uptick in daily cases in some regions across the U.S.  

"The underfunded/defunded Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department will not expend our limited resources and instead ask for voluntary compliance,"  Villanueva said in a statement. "We encourage the (Public Health Department) to work collaboratively with the Board of Supervisors and law enforcement to establishment mandates that are both achievable and supported by science."

A federal appeals court has sided with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in its legal battle with Florida over COVID-19 guidelines for cruise lines. The 2-1 decision handed down just before midnight Saturday by the U.S. Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals judges stays a U.S. district judge's decision – minutes before it would have gone into effect – that the CDC could not enforce its rules for the return of cruises.

In March 2020, the CDC halted cruises and has since has laid out a four-phase, conditional framework allowing cruise lines to resume operations under specific conditions. Florida filed a lawsuit, championed by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, claiming the process to allow cruising from Florida is overly burdensome, harming the multibillion-dollar industry and revenue collected by the state.

Norwegian Cruise Lines had filed court papers backing the CDC rules. The cruise line also has sued Florida for the right to require that all its passengers be vaccinated when its cruises return to Florida next month.

Tens of thousands of vaccinated, socially distanced and masked Muslim pilgrims circled Islam’s holiest site in Mecca on Sunday, a small fraction of the usual crowd drawn to the Saudi Arabian city for the hajj. About 60,000 vaccinated citizens or residents of Saudi Arabia are allowed to participate in this year's hajj, which saw numbers drastically trimmed for the second year in a row. In years past the event has drawn millions of Muslims from around the globe. Hajj is a religious duty required at least once for all adult Muslims who are physically and financially able to make the journey.

The COVD-prompted rule changes eliminate the ability of people outside Saudi Arabia to fulfil the Islamic obligation and costs the country billions of dollars. The Islamic pilgrimage lasts about five days, but traditionally Muslims begin arriving in Mecca weeks ahead of time. The hajj concludes with the Eid al-Adha celebration, marked by the distribution of meat to the poor around the world.

A south Alabama hospital that vaccinated thousands of people against COVID-19 plans to send a team to do immunizations in Peru, which has been hit hard by the pandemic. USA Health said more than 20 volunteers will travel to the country's Cusco region. CerviCusco, a nongovernmental agency in Peru, sought the assistance, the health system said in a statement. USA Health has provided more than 75,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines on the U.S. Gulf Coast, including at mass clinics where more than 2,200 people received injections daily.

“Our plan is to travel to Peru in mid-August, establish processes and protocols for safe and efficient vaccine distribution in the region with a goal of providing 5,000 doses to the people of Peru," said Natalie Fox, assistant administrator and chief nursing officer for USA Health Physicians Group.

The Tokyo 2020 organizing committee reported the first positive case of COVID-19 in the Olympic Village on Saturday. The unidentified person, who is listed by organizers only as "Games-concerned personnel," was quarantining at a hotel. Toshiro Muto, the CEO of the organizing committee, said in a news conference that he did not have any information about whether the person had been vaccinated. And Seiko Hashimoto, the committee's president, said organizers are doing everything in their power to ensure that the Olympic Village – like all venues and facilities – is as safe as possible.

The unnamed Olympic Village resident is one of 44 people affiliated with the Games who have tested positive for COVID-19 since July 1, according to organizers. Fourteen of those cases were reported Saturday. Twenty-eight of the 44 positives have involved Tokyo 2020 contractors. Read more.

© 2021 USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Satellite Information Network, LLC.

Rise in COVID-19 infections threatens unvaccinated and some hospitals

Yahoo News 18 July, 2021 - 05:16am

In the last week, the seven-day average of confirmed COVID-19 cases has jumped 69% to 26,306, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Deaths have risen 26% to 211, and hospitalizations have risen 36% to 2,794.

Most states are seeing at least small upticks in the number of daily cases. A Washington Examiner analysis of CDC data found that only 10 states — Colorado, Indiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, South Dakota, and Vermont — did not experience an increase in cases from July 7-14.

The delta variant, which is believed to have originated in India, is driving the current wave. According to research from the United Kingdom, it may be more than twice as infectious as the original virus. The CDC reported that by early July, the delta variant accounted for 58% of new COVID-19 cases.

Almost all recent cases have occurred among those who have not received a COVID-19 vaccine.

“There is a simple public message: Get vaccinated or get COVID,” said Dr. Georges Benjamin, executive director at the American Public Health Association.

"This is becoming a pandemic of the unvaccinated," Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky said at a briefing Friday.

An Associated Press analysis of CDC data found that over 98% of those hospitalized with COVID-19 in the U.S. in May and over 99% who died were unvaccinated. Of the 12 states with 40% or less of their populations vaccinated, eight have seen daily cases increase by 48% or more in the last week. Two, Alabama and Georgia, have seen cases double in that time.

Many of those states are in the South and Midwest, which, according to Benjamin, entails additional risk because of underlying poor health.

“Many of the low vaccinated states have poorer health outcomes — high incidences of diseases like heart disease and diabetes,” he said.

People with preexisting health conditions are far more likely to be hospitalized with and die from COVID-19.

Susan Hassig, an epidemiology professor at Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, said she doesn’t think that the current increase in cases will be as severe as the wave the U.S. experienced last summer. But she warned that, with still just over 50% of the population not fully vaccinated, cases could increase substantially.

“Where people are unvaccinated, even if only a small percentage of them get infected, that will still be a lot of people,” Hassig said.

Some hospitals are already feeling the strain. In Springfield, Missouri, health officials have submitted a request to the state government for funding to set up an alternate care site for COVID-19 patients. The “increase in severe illness is projected to outpace hospital capacity,” the officials said in a statement. About 231 people are being treated for COVID-19 in Springfield-area hospitals.

A total of 1,357 people are hospitalized with COVID-19 in Missouri, a 44% increase over the last two weeks, according to data from the New York Times. Missouri is recording an average of 1,779 daily cases of COVID-19, a 60% increase over the last week.

Arkansas has the third lowest vaccination rate in the nation, with only about 35% of residents fully vaccinated. There are 669 COVID-19 patients in Arkansas hospitals, 119 of whom are on ventilators, the highest levels since February.

At least two hospitals in the state, Mercy Fort Smith and Mercy Hospital Northwest Arkansas, are reporting that their COVID-19 units are at capacity.

Tags: Healthcare, Coronavirus, CDC, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Hospital, Hospitals, Vaccination, Missouri, Arkansas

Original Author: David Hogberg

Original Location: Rise in COVID-19 infections threatens unvaccinated and some hospitals

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More experts are calling for vaccinated people to mask up as COVID surges around the country. Live COVID news.

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Understanding COVID-19 spike, return of mask mandates and 'pandemic of the unvaccinated'

The Hill 17 July, 2021 - 09:30am

With prior spikes of COVID-19 activity what invariably followed a few weeks later were high levels of hospitalization and deaths. These phenomena were coupled. What the vaccine has done is decoupled them by removing the ability of the virus to cause severe disease, hospitalization, and death to the degree and at the rate it once could. This decoupling is achieved by high rates of vaccination in the highest risk population — the elderly. In the U.S., close to 80 percent of those above 65 years of age are vaccinated and this, more than anything, is responsible for the change most hospitals experienced in their COVID-19 censuses from January to July. 

However, it has become clear that decoupling is not universal across the country and looking at overall vaccination rates can obscure significant vulnerabilities. Rising cases in areas in which there is not universal vaccination of high-risk individuals of any age will translate into an uptick in hospitalization. When a significant proportion of these higher risk unvaccinated individuals lives in geographic proximity, it can strain the resources of hospitals (as appears to be the case in places like Springfield, Missouri) which, for myriad bureaucratic reasons, are always capacity constrained.

COVID-19 is, as CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky stated, “a pandemic of the unvaccinated” and as the unvaccinated appear to cluster in certain regions of the country, COVID-19 has transformed from a systemic threat to a regional threat. A regional threat to hospital capacity can be managed with proactive planning and load-balancing among neighboring hospitals acting as health care coalitions.

What also makes the recent COVID-19 case increases different than in the past is that a solution is nearly ubiquitous: the vaccines. Safe and highly efficacious vaccines are in plentiful supply in this country making the entire scenario completely preventable. The COVID-19 vaccines are performing tremendously at defanging this virus and its troublesome variants. They have succeeded to such a degree that the fully vaccinated have little to fear of the delta variant.

Given vaccination rates and vaccine availability, mask mandates for the vaccinated — such as those about to be enacted by Los Angeles County — are not backed by the scientific evidence and could, paradoxically, end up stalling vaccine uptake as people will no longer see the vaccine as a way back to normalcy.

To treat the 61 percent of county residents that are fully vaccinated as if they pose the same risk as the unvaccinated is not justified and wrong. It is doubtful how well this order will be complied with, what metrics will be used to guide its recension, and what impact it will have.

When thinking about the pandemic, it is critical to realize that SARS-CoV2 is not a virus that is eliminable or eradicable. It is an efficiently transmitted respiratory virus with an animal host and it will be the fifth seasonal coronavirus that we will deal with decades into the future. While it is important to minimize cases, primarily using vaccination, they will still occur. So long as hospital capacity is not compromised, the pandemic response is succeeding.    

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