Children make up only 22% of the U.S. population but account for 27% of coronavirus cases nationwide, the American Academy of Pediatrics reported Monday.
The organization said the number of children receiving their first COVID-19 vaccine this week was the lowest recorded number since vaccines became available, and has been trending downward for almost two months.
Kids make up less than 1% of COVID-19 deaths, the Academy said, but there isn’t much data about the long-term effects of the coronavirus on children. Since the beginning of the pandemic, 5.9 million children have tested positive for COVID-19, and less than half of eligible children have been fully inoculated.
Children ages 5 to 11 — making up 14.5% of the U.S. population — are not yet approved to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, but recent action by the Food and Drug Administration suggests that may change soon. The FDA scheduled a meeting of the independent committee, which advises the administration on vaccine and drug approvals, for the end of October.
Pfizer-BioNTech says data shows their vaccine is safe and effective in children ages 5 to 11, and recommended one-third the dose used for those aged 12 and over. The company submitted clinical trial data to the FDA last Wednesday.
If both the FDA and a second federal advisory committee authorize vaccines for young children, inoculations could begin before Halloween.
Also in the news:
►Health officials in Washington state said Monday a woman in her late 30s died from a rare blood-clotting syndrome after receiving the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. The woman is believed to be the fourth person in the U.S. to die from possible blood clotting issues after receiving the J&J shot.
►The CDC says unvaccinated Americans should delay planned trips within the country until they’ve had their COVID-19 shots.
►Dr. Francis S. Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health for 12 years, said Tuesday he is stepping down, capping a career in which he directed crucial research into the human genome and the fight against serious diseases like cancer, Alzheimer’s, diabetes and COVID-19.
►Customs and Border Protection officers found 41 counterfeit COVID-19 vaccination cards Monday at a Chicago mail facility. The cards were found in shipments from China that were heading to cities in Texas.
►New York City’s vaccination mandate for school staff survived a court challenge Tuesday while hospitals across the state reported few disruptions to their services because of the COVID-19 vaccine requirement for health care workers.
📈Today’s numbers: The U.S. has recorded more than 43 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and more than 705,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. Global totals: More than 235 million cases and 4.8 million deaths. More than 215 million Americans — 65% of the population — are fully vaccinated, according to the CDC.
📘What we’re reading: For over a year, the pandemic has forced parents to do full-time childcare and house chores alongside their regular jobs. While most of this extra workload has fallen on women, an unprecedented number of men are spending more time at home than ever before, sometimes taking on full-time childcare because they lost their jobs or earned less than their partners. Read more here.
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As the school year is underway, schools and parents are still burdened by COVID-19 cases, contact tracing and quarantines. Remote learning has returned in some cases. In others, kids are back to sitting at home without work. Unlike last year, most classrooms are open, but they’re operating amid shifting health recommendations and, often, fights over masks.
When will school be normal again? Many educators, parents and students are looking past the health hurdles and saying: Never.
While the pandemic has worsened inequities in many ways, schools of all kinds have seen “some terrific adaptations during the pandemic that previously we’d been unwilling to embrace,” said Paul Reville, a professor at Harvard University who directs the Education Redesign Lab.
Experts believe some of the 2020-spurred jolts to the system will stick permanently, thrusting education into a more personalized, modernized, responsive space that sets up more students for success through high school and beyond. Read more here.
– Erin Richards
An Australia-based company is recalling hundreds of thousands of coronavirus tests after discovering some Ellume COVID-19 home tests deliver higher-than-anticipated false positive results.
Ellume became the first company to gain Food and Drug Administration authorization to sell consumers kits at major retailers such as Walmart, CVS, Target and Amazon. The kits don’t require a prescription and deliver results in minutes.
But the company discovered false positive results at higher rates than the company’s original clinical studies showed and “isolated the cause and confirmed that this incidence of false positives is limited to specific lots.”
The company has recalled 43 lots shipped from April through August to retailers, distributors and the Department of Defense. Ellume said affected customers will be notified through the Ellume COVID-19 home test app. Within two weeks, the company will email consumers who tested positive with a recalled product, the company said.
– Ken Alltucker
Gov. Doug Ducey’s programs that reward school districts for not imposing COVID-19 related mandates violate federal rules, and Treasury officials warned Tuesday that they may claw back federal stimulus dollars unless the state makes changes.
Before Arizona received an initial $2 billion payment from the American Rescue Plan, the state agreed to follow spending terms that included combatting “fiscal effects stemming from the COVID-19 public health emergency, including by supporting efforts to stop the spread of the virus,” the Treasury Department’s second-in-command wrote in a letter to Ducey on Tuesday.
But two programs announced by Ducey in August “undermine evidence-based efforts” to stop the coronavirus and are “not a permissible use” of the money, the letter reads. At least $173 million was set aside for those programs.
Federal Treasury officials gave Ducey 30 days to “remediate the issues” with those programs. The penalty for not doing so could include Arizona having to repay federal dollars it received, according to the Treasury letter signed by Deputy Secretary Adewale “Wally” O. Adeyemo.
– Stacey Barchenger, Arizona Republic
Golden State Warriors forward Andrew Wiggins, who had become a face of vaccine resistance in the sports world, explained why he got the COVID-19 vaccine, saying he felt “forced” to receive the shot.
Wiggins had been hesitant to take the shot, and risked forfeiture of half his $31.5 million salary for the 2021-22 season if he didn’t.
The city of San Francisco, where the Warriors play their home games, mandates that anyone over 12 years old must be vaccinated to attend indoor events. At the Chase Center, Golden State players will need proof of vaccination to enter the building.
“The only options were to get vaccinated or not play in the NBA,” Wiggins said Monday. “It was a tough decision. Hopefully, it works out in the long run and in 10 years I’m still healthy.”
Wiggins said he got the Johnson & Johnson shot and added he is the only one in his family who is vaccinated.
– Scooby Axson, USA TODAY
New Jersey’s largest health care system, Hackensack Meridian Health, said Tuesday that more than 99% of its 36,000 employees now either are fully vaccinated or have received their first of two shots for COVID-19.
In the largest example so far of the effectiveness of employer vaccine requirements in New Jersey, that represents a 28% increase since the system informed employees of the requirement in July. An additional 10,080 people have become at least partially vaccinated.
Hackensack Meridian provides care at 17 hospitals, 12 nursing homes, three assisted living facilities and hundreds of other sites from Bergen to Atlantic counties. Everyone from janitors to heart surgeons, per diem employees to full-time staff, was required to comply with the vaccine requirement.
One shot was required by Oct.1, and Nov. 15 is the deadline for full vaccination.
— Lindy Washburn, The Bergen Record
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