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in 192 countries and regions
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have been reported in the U.S.
Into the Third Year of the Global Pandemic
Now into a third Pandemic year, we have not reached the end. More than one million people have died in the U.S. and many more millions around the world. The losses are almost incalculable and sadly, many could have been avoided. One thing we have learned is the value and importance of good information that we can trust. All that information can be daunting, especially as science learns more about the virus and the virus also “learns more” about changing. This page is offered as a way to access facts about COVID-19. Please take the time to consider and learn more about the current state and history of this often deadly disease. Knowledge and trust are two of the most powerful tools we have in fighting the Pandemic. You check the weather forecast regularly, and in this third year, it is worth your time to check in on the latest Pandemic report as well. We update this page regularly as new information becomes available. Please share it.
The Pandemic is Not Over Yet
Suspension of pandemic precautions and misinformation about the pandemic imply that COVID-19 is “near the end.” On the contrary, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned that these factors, combined with the more transmissible Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 variants, have caused an increase in COVID-19 cases globally. While the Pandemic may seem over for some, it is not over for many.
Read more about the cautionary view from WHO.
Even as more than 263 million people have received a first shot of vaccine in the U.S. and as states and countries remove restrictions, the Pandemic persists in the face of conflict in Ukraine and the threats posed by more extreme weather events – in much the same way that the deadly 1918 influenza raged while the world was at war. Such crises actually increase the threat of a resurgence of COVID in the affected regions. Although more than 79% of the total U.S. population has received at least the first dose of vaccine, the rate of vaccine hesitancy in some areas severely hampered prevention efforts, particularly in the number of people receiving at least one booster. In a world weary of the Pandemic, the reimplementation of safety measures has met significant resistance. The new variants have proven to be more easily spread than measles, which had previously been the most contagious of all viruses.
Vaccines, however, offer the most hopeful view of the Pandemic. And the booster shot becomes more important with the spread of BA.5. And updated vaccines now provide an even more effective booster.
Nearly 20 million lives were saved by COVID-19 vaccines during their first year of implementation, according to a new study. The researchers concluded that 600,000 more deaths could have been prevented if international immunization targets of 40% had been met by the end of 2021. The data spanned 185 countries and territories. READ MORE about the vaccine success.
“From the start of the US vaccination campaign through the end of November 2021, Covid-19 vaccines prevented about 1.1 million deaths and 10.3 million hospitalizations in the United States, according to estimates by the health care foundation The Commonwealth Fund.” Read more about lives saved in this Vox report.
Masking, handwashing and avoiding large gatherings continue to be important in combating COVID-19. And while the CDC relaxed and removed mask-wearing requirements indoors by those who are fully vaccinated (currently 67% of the U.S. population – only 48% of eligible population are vaccinated with one booster), it is more important then ever for those who are not yet vaccinated to stay vigilant, continue to observe basic safety measures and get vaccinated.
Global COVID Snapshot
World deaths from COVID have reached more than 6 million (with experts including W.H.O estimating a much higher toll). Resistance to vaccine and mask mandates continues to challenge progress in defeating this highly contagious virus. Nearly 15 million more people died during the first two years of the Pandemic than has been reported, the W.H.O. found. READ MORE about this new report on the COVID death toll in this CNN story.
Compounding the catastrophic death toll, more than 10.5 million children have lost one or both of their parents during the coronavirus pandemic, nearly double the previous estimates, according to a research letter published in JAMA Pediatrics. Southeast Asia and Africa suffered the greatest rate of losses, with one out of every 50 children affected. In the Americas, this number dropped to one out of 150 children. Children in countries with lower vaccination rates and higher numbers of children per mother were more likely to be affected. READ MORE about the loss of parents.
U.S. COVID Status as Deaths Surpass 1 Million
The U.S. has averaged more than 54,000 new infections every day in the past week, according to the CDC COVID data tracker. The latest Omicron subvariants – with BA.5 and BA.4 the most dominant – are highly transmissible but less severe for those who have been vaccinated. As infection rates in many states rose, the mortality rate is recording more than 340 deaths per day; more than one million people in the United States have died from COVID-19 (the near equivalent of the entire population of Jacksonville, Florida). Last year, on September 20, 2021, the US marked an earlier grim milestone in the fight against COVID-19, recording more American deaths from COVID-19 than the 1918 flu – making COVID-19 the most deadly pandemic in American history. For a local view of infection rates in your community, visit COVID-19 Community Levels from the CDC.
Although three successfully tested, safe and free vaccines are in widespread use in the United States, and a fourth has been given emergency authorization and CDC approval, the rate of vaccination has slowed considerably. Seventeen states still report that less than 60% of their population are fully vaccinated. Health authorities address vaccine hesitancy as a significant barrier to community immunization. They are hopeful that the approval of a fourth more conventional vaccine will encourage those people who are hesitant to get vaccinated.
The wearing of masks and proper hand washing remain proven weapons against infection for those who have not received the vaccine and mask wearing is still important for those who have received the vaccine as well. The science is clear. They work. Prevention and getting vaccinated are both necessary to stop COVID-19. In addition, the booster shot is another important level of protection. To learn more about the global story of the pandemic, open the ” Trusted Resources” below.
Unequal access to COVID-19 treatments threatens the global recovery. Read this account in The Conversation.
The pandemic has proven especially lethal in predominantly Black and other neighborhoods of color that face systemic inequality including lack of access to quality health care combined with a shrinking safety net for critical public services. According to the COVID Racial Data Tracker, COVID has had a deadly impact on Black, Indigenous, Latinx and other people of color with Black people dying at twice the rate of white people. Authorities also saw significant disparities in vaccination rates from zip code to zip code within communities, often reflecting economic and social inequities in those same populations. In both rich and poor countries, the virus exposes and exploits every weak point in the health infrastructure. Where you live may determine whether you live or die. Fortunately the disparity in black and neighborhoods of color in the U.S. for the COVID response has diminished due to significant health system efforts to address the issue, but many of the basic causes of health inequity remain.
Global health inequity retains its deadly potential in communities of color with poor health care access as vaccine distribution lagged dangerously behind better-resourced neighbors. As an example, 80% of people in high-income countries have been vaccinated, but just 16% of people in low-income countries are. Vaccine hesitancy is also playing a significant role in countries and in communities in the U.S. where in the past the public health system has failed the people, leading to a historic mistrust of authorities. This lack of trust also highlights the importance of robust information and public education campaigns to promote vaccination. The COVID-19 Pandemic has brought new attention to the health equity crisis on a national and global scale and the complexity of building solutions.
CDC and Other Updates – Unmask the Facts
FDA & CDC okay Novavax’s Vaccine
The U.S. FDA issued an emergency use authorization (EUA) for the Novavax COVID-19 vaccine to help prevent serious illness and death from COVID-19 in adults 18 years old and older. Overall, the vaccine was 90.4% effective in preventing mild, moderate, or severe COVID-19. The Novavax . READ MORE about the latest vaccine.
Misinformation has hindered vaccine uptake among pregnant women. A recent poll found that one in seven adults (14%) have heard that pregnant women should not get the COVID-19 vaccine and believe it to be true, rising to nearly one in four (24%) among women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant. READ MORE about this lingering misinformation.
Power of the Booster
The CDC now urges everyone 12 years old and older to get an updated booster shot. They should do so at least 2 months after they complete their primary series or 2 months after they received their most recent booster shot. The updated Pfizer-BioNTech booster can be used in people as young as 12, and the Moderna booster can be used in those who are 18 and older. People 12 and older who got the Novavax or Moderna primary series can also get an updated booster shot 2 months after their last dose. READ MORE about the booster recommendations.
Three studies published by the CDC show that COVID-19 booster shots provide the best protection against the Omicron variant and the new subvariants. One of the studies found that the booster shot was 90% effective at preventing COVID-19-associated emergency department or urgent care visits and hospitalizations during both the Delta and Omicron surges. All three studies found that unvaccinated people faced the highest risks of becoming sick with COVID-19. READ MORE about the power of the booster…
The findings of a new study show that not only are vaccinations and boosting important for lowering individual risk of infection, but they also aid in controlling COVID-19 within a larger population. The vaccines and booster shots at both the individual and population level are critically important to limiting virus transmission. READ MORE about the impact of vaccination levels.
Urging Vaccinations for Children
More than 40% of parents who have children 6 months to 4 years old say that they will “definitely not” get their child vaccinated against COVID-19. Only 7% of parents have gotten their kids in this age group at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Scientists and medical experts have worked hard to ensure the vaccine is safe for these young kids. The COVID-19 virus, on the other hand, can be very dangerous to them. It was a leading cause of death among young kids during the pandemic. READ MORE about vaccine hesitancy affecting children.
The CDC now recommends that all children 6 months through 5 years of age should receive a COVID-19 vaccine. This expands eligibility for vaccination to nearly 20 million additional children and means that all Americans ages 6 months and older are now eligible for vaccination. Parents and caregivers can now get their children 6 months through 5 years of age vaccinated with the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines to better protect them from COVID-19. READ MORE about the recommendation.
The CDC recommends that all children between the ages of 5 and 11 years old receive a booster shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine at least 5 months after they’ve completed their primary series. All Americans over the age of 5 are now recommended to receive their first booster shot after a certain amount of time has passed (2 months for J&J recipients, 3 months for immunocompromised people 5 years old and older, and 5 months for everyone else). READ MORE about the booster recommendation for children.
The CDC officially recommended that Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine be used as an option for children ages 6 through 17 years old. This means that the Moderna vaccine—in different dosages—is recommended for everyone 6 months old and older. The CDC’s recommendation comes after a thorough review of the scientific evidence demonstrating the vaccine’s safety and efficacy, and it
supports the use of this vaccine in people 6 to 17 years old. READ MORE about the Moderna recommendation.
As U.S. students begin the 2022-2023 school year, Americans are mostly divided on whether students at all levels of education should be required to have COVID-19 vaccinations as a condition of in-person attendance. READ MORE about children, parents and vaccination.
Federal Reports on Long COVID
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released two new reports on Long COVID. The National Research Action Plan on Long COVID details advances in current research and charts a course for future study. The Services and Supports for Longer-Term Impacts of COVID-19 report highlights resources for health care workers, and those effected by broader effects of COVID-19, including not only Long COVID but also effects on mental health and substance use, and loss of
caregivers and loved ones. READ MORE about COVID long term effects.
Children and Adolescents also at Risk
Compared to patients aged 0–17 years old who had not been infected by COVID-19, those who had previously been infected showed higher rates of rare or uncommon conditions. These conditions included acute pulmonary embolism, myocarditis and cardiomyopathy, venous
thromboembolic event, acute and unspecified renal failure, and type 1 diabetes. COVID-19 vaccination for all persons 6 months old and older is critical to reducing the impact of post-COVID conditions among these age groups. READ MORE about post-COVID in children.
Reminder on Mask Quality
CDC has clarified that some types of masks and respirators provide more protection to the wearer against COVID-19 than others. Loosely woven cloth products provide the least protection, layered finely woven products offer more protection, well-fitting disposable surgical masks and KN95s offer even more protection, and well-fitting NIOSH approved respirators (including N95s) offer the highest level of protection. Overall, CDC recommends wearing the most protective mask that you can, ensuring that the mask fits well, and finding one that can be worn consistently. READ MORE about the most effective masks.
CDC recommends Novavax COVID
vaccine for adolescents
The CDC announced that Novavax’s COVID-19 vaccine can be used as another primary series option for adolescents ages 12 through 17. Novavax’s COVID-19 vaccine provides a more familiar type of COVID-19 vaccine technology for adolescents. Having multiple types of vaccines offers more options and flexibility for the public and vaccine providers. No one who receives the Novavax vaccine in the U.S. is recommended to get a booster shot at this time, and it can’t be used as a booster shot for any age group. READ MORE about the Novavax vaccine.
The J&J COVID-19 vaccine is now only available to individuals 18 years of age and older who cannot receive an mRNA vaccine because mRNA vaccines are not accessible or clinically appropriate. Those with personal concerns about the mRNA vaccines can also still choose to get the J&J vaccine instead. The FDA has made this decision based on the risk of thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS), which they outline in their updated fact sheet. READ MORE about the FDA placing further limits on the use of the Janssen (J&J) COVID-19 vaccine.
The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine booster has been approved for 16-17 year-olds.
Both the Pfizer-BioNTech and the Moderna vaccines have received full F.D.A. approval for adults. The Moderna vaccine was the most recent to receive full approval. READ MORE on the latest vaccine approvals…
In addition, new CDC guidelines allow people to “mix and match” which COVID-19 vaccine they take as a booster. A booster for Pfizer and Moderna recipients is now recommended 5 months after the second dose for people 65 and up and some younger adults. A booster for the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine is recommended for people 18 and older at least two months after their initial dose. READ MORE about mixing vaccines….
FDA regulators have authorized two antiviral medications to treat covid-19, one from Pfizer and a second from Merck. Both the Paxlovid pill from Pfizer and Merck’s Molnupiravir are considered useful tools in the fight against the coronavirus. In order to be effective, however, they must be given very early in an infection.
The FDA has revised the previous emergency use authorization (EUA) for Paxlovid (nirmatrelvir and
ritonavir) so that state-licensed pharmacists can now prescribe the drug to eligible patients. Patients seeking to determine their eligibility must bring their health records from the past year, their most recent bloodwork, and a list of all their medications to their pharmacist. Paxlovid must be taken within five days after symptoms begin. READ MORE about Paxlovid.
Reports of a rebound effect from some people who have used an antiviral medication have generated a closer look at the specifics of its use, according to a story from NPR. READ MORE about the rebound effect.
Disclaimer: This project was funded in part by a cooperative agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention grant number 1 NU50CK000588-01-00. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is an agency within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The contents of this resource center do not necessarily represent the policy of CDC or HHS and should not be considered an endorsement by the Federal Government.
Video of one of our health workers in Colombia teaching a very young fellow proper hand-washing skills