U.S. Coronavirus: States Begin Cutting Daily Reports on Covid-19 Data as Federal Officials Try to Vaccinate More Americans

The reduction comes as eight states – all in the northeast – have fully vaccinated more than half of their residents against Covid-19, according to data released Wednesday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The states that have vaccinated more than half of their populations are Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

Some health officials are calling the reduction premature, and the National Association of County and City Health Officials is urging daily monitoring of Covid-19 data to continue.

“As far as I know, we are still in a public health emergency as a country,” Lori Tremmel Freeman, chief executive of the association, told CNN Wednesday. “It hasn’t been downgraded yet.”

Most of these states have reduced to five updates each week; Alabama and Kansas fell to three times a week and Florida to just once a week, according to Johns Hopkins University.

“Real-time public health data is the most powerful weapon against a pandemic,” wrote Beth Blauer, executive director of the Johns Hopkins University Centers for Civic Impact, in a blog post published Monday. “The decline in the frequency of reporting indicates that many states do not view this past year of investment in data infrastructure and public data reporting as a permanent fixture.”

Daily monitoring of Covid-19 data is expected to continue until the nation’s declaration of being in a public health emergency ends or the nation achieves collective immunity, Freeman said. The United States is still trying to get people vaccinated, Freeman said, so it will be important to compare vaccination rates with other Covid-19 data, such as cases, hospitalizations and deaths.

“An ultimate goal is to get to the point where even those who are not vaccinated are at much lower risk – and no one that I know of has really landed on that number,” Freeman said of herd immunity.

As summer approaches, the average daily cases approach the 14-month low and just over half of eligible Americans are fully vaccinated. About 50.3% of people aged 12 and older in the United States – the cohort eligible to receive a Covid-19 vaccine in the country – were fully vaccinated by Wednesday morning, according to the CDC.

The Biden administration is still trying to encourage vaccinations across the country. One of those efforts includes the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announcing that they will pay providers a little extra money to administer vaccines at home to those who have difficulty leaving their homes.

“There are approximately 1.6 million adults 65 years of age or older who may have difficulty accessing COVID-19 vaccines because they have difficulty leaving their homes,” the CMS statement said.

CMS will add an additional $ 150 to providers for two-dose vaccinations at $ 75 per dose, the CMS statement said.

Experts push vaccines to fight variants

Experts have warned that a variant of the coronavirus first identified in India and now growing in importance in the UK – the Delta variant, or B.1.617.2 – could pose considerable danger to those who do not are not vaccinated, including those who have already been infected. by older strains.

“We cannot let (the spread of the delta) happen in the United States,” Dr Anthony Fauci said Tuesday during a White House briefing on Covid-19, adding that it was “such an argument powerful “to get vaccinated.

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Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, warned that the Delta variant “could be associated with an increased severity of the disease, such as a risk of hospitalization, compared to” the Alpha variant, B.1.1.7, which was first identified in the UK and was dominant there before Delta recently took it over.
Delta variant is likely to be available Pfizer two-dose vaccines and AstraZeneca, he said, but protection against these vaccines requires following a two-dose schedule.

“The effectiveness of the vaccine is reduced in the single dose,” Fauci said. “Three weeks after a dose, the two vaccines, (AstraZeneca) and Pfizer / BioNTech, were only 33% effective against symptomatic Delta disease.”

Laboratory experiments described in a recent prepublication study also suggest that the Moderna vaccine, as well as the Pfizer product, will provide protection against the Delta variant, although further studies are needed.

Johnson & Johnson researchers on Wednesday revealed that the vaccine generates an immune response against some of the most common and disturbing variants of the virus.

Its effects appear to be somewhat reduced against the Beta variant first seen in South Africa and the Gamma variant which spread rapidly across Brazil, but the immune response appeared to be fully effective against the Alpha variant first seen. in Great Britain and a variant identified in California.

Fauci added that variant-specific boosters could be on the horizon.

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Even those who have had coronavirus in the past should get vaccinated because research shows immunity obtained from vaccination is better than immunity from a previous infection, Fauci said.

Meanwhile, the United States has averaged nearly 14,380 new cases of Covid-19 per day over the past week – the second lowest average since March 28, 2020, according to University data. Johns Hopkins. Only Friday’s average – 14,328 per day – was lower.

And the average number of new Covid-19 hospital admissions per day over a week – just over 2,200 – is well below the country’s maximum average of 16,500 per day on January 9, the director said on Tuesday. from the CDC, Dr. Rochelle Walensky.

But health experts warn that a recent lag in vaccination rates leaves millions of people unprotected against the variants of Covid-19 that have made their way to the United States from other parts of the world.

Over the past week, the United States has administered an average of over 1.07 million Covid-19 vaccines per day – well below the maximum seven-day average of 3.38 million vaccines per day reached on April 13, according to CDC data.

Vaccine maker says it’s working to extend shelf life

Johnson & Johnson – maker of the only single-dose Covid-19 vaccine allowed in the United States – says it is working to extend the shelf life of its product amid reports that doses in the country may expire before to be used.

Of the 21.4 million doses of Johnson & Johnson dispensed in the United States, about 11 million have been administered, according to CDC data. This vaccine can be stored for up to three months at refrigerator temperature.

Vaccines against coronaviruses likely to expire represent 1-2% of vaccines distributed to states, a source close to the federal vaccination effort told CNN on Wednesday.

As states report hundreds of thousands of doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine are about to expire, they are looking for ways to use them.

“It’s a problem that there are expiring doses – I imagine in every state. However, it’s a very small percentage of the overall doses that were sent to providers – probably 1-2%,” said source.

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The US Food and Drug Administration is examining whether the expiration date of Johnson & Johnson vaccines can be extended and, if so, how to use the doses, Fauci said Wednesday.

Johnson & Johnson is performing stability testing “in an effort to extend the shelf life of our COVID-19 vaccine before it expires,” he told CNN this week.

In Ohio, 200,000 doses of the state’s Johnson & Johnson vaccine are expected to expire before the end of the month, and the state is unable to share doses with other states or countries, the state said. week Governor Mike DeWine.

In Arkansas, the retired National Guard colonel overseeing the state’s vaccine distribution stopped ordering the Johnson & Johnson vaccine because the state has so many unused doses it told KATV last week.
The 11 million people vaccinated with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine represent a small fraction of the 171.7 million people who have received at least one dose of a vaccine in the United States.

Correction: An earlier headline and version of this story incorrectly labeled the latest seven-day average of daily new coronavirus cases in the United States as the lowest since March 2020; this is the second lowest since March 28, 2020. An earlier version also incorrectly reported the latest seven-day average of vaccines given per day.

CNN’s Hollie Silverman, Holly Yan, Amir Vera, Deidre McPhillips, Lauren Mascarenhas, Ryan Prior and Carma Hassan contributed to this report.

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