Latest on COVID-19 Pandemic
in 192 countries and regions
have been reported worldwide
have been reported in the U.S.
have been reported in the U.S.
Three Years of a Global Pandemic
Now entering year four of COVID-19, we have not reached the end of the Pandemic. Even in China, where the pandemic began, a resurgence of the virus posed a new threat to the nation’s attempts at containment. As the Pandemic goes full circle, more than 1.1 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. Misinformation is deadly, especially with something as complex as the emergence of and response to a new disease threat. Social media has unfortunately compounded the impact and reach of misinformation.
All that information can be daunting, especially as science learns more about the virus and the virus also “learns more” about changing. Please spend time on this page; it is offered as a reliable way to access verifiable facts about COVID-19, including the current state and history of this often deadly disease. Knowledge and trust are two of the most powerful tools in fighting this Pandemic and, indeed others that may follow. Lots of information appears online, but please confirm the reliability of the sources, particularly information shared on social media. You check the weather forecast regularly, forecasts that can change quickly as new information becomes available, and in this third year, it is worth your time to check in on the latest Pandemic reports as well. We have learned much in this Time of COVID-19 and some of the learnings are very hopeful as in this story about the effect of the Pandemic on some cities around the world.
We update this page regularly as new information becomes available. Please revisit and 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, followed by other new subvariants have caused an increase in COVID-19 cases in some states and countries.
READ MORE about the cautionary view from WHO.
Although the U.S. Government has announced that on May 11, the official declaration of the Federal COVID-19 public health emergency will be allowed to expire, it is still in place until then. READ MORE about the end of the emergency. The expiration will mean that COVID-19 has become endemic – it will remain with us.
The end of the emergency will also mean the end of some support programs. For most people with private or public insurance, vaccines will continue to be free. Some states gave short-term Medicaid coverage for COVID-19 vaccines, tests, and treatment to the uninsured. This coverage could end for some people in the spring. The uninsured will likely have less access to COVID-19 vaccines, tests, or treatments after this date.
Even as the May 11 date is announced, the latest Omicron subvariant XBB.1.5 has spread rapidly with different leading symptoms that include muscle pain. There also is the the fact that three respiratory virus threats are active in the Americas – COVID-19, RSV (respiratory syncytial virus), and the seasonal flu. Vaccines are available for COVID-19 and the flu, but no vaccine exists yet for RSV, a respiratory virus that is appearing with increased frequency in the very young, the elderly and people with chronic conditions.
Symptoms of COVID-19 Compared with Flu, Cold and RSV.
Some medical experts have feared a “tripledemic” with RSV, the flu, and COVID-19 all peaking at the same time. Protect yourself and your family by avoiding others who are sick, getting your flu shot, and staying up to date on your COVID-19 vaccines. READ MORE about the triple threat.
Even as more than 268 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 81% 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 the new subvariants. Updated vaccines now provide an 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 carefully navigating 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 with primary series (currently 69% of the U.S. population – only 15% of eligible population are vaccinated with the up-to-date 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 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 1.1 Million
The U.S. has averaged more than 40,000 new infections every day in the past week, according to the CDC COVID data tracker.
XBB.1.5 is the fastest spreading Omicron variant so far. In the U.S., it has spread like wildfire. In New England, it accounts for more than 84% of cases. The numbers vary by region. But, overall, they’ve been climbing. We don’t know yet if XBB.1.5 causes more severe disease than other COVID-19 strains. It will take time to see how well vaccines work against it, but a recent study shows that the bivalent booster is as good against XBB.1.5 as it is against BA.5.
As infection rates in some states have risen, the mortality rate is recording more than 490 deaths per day; more than 1.1 million people in the United States have died from COVID-19 (the near equivalent of the entire population of Jacksonville, Florida or Tucson, Arizona), 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 authorization and CDC approval, the rate of vaccination has slowed considerably. Fifteen states still report that less than 60% of their total population have completed the primary series of vaccination. Health authorities address vaccine hesitancy as a significant barrier to community immunization.
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. Being “up-to-date” on vaccination matters in the struggle with this fast changing virus. To learn more about the global story of the pandemic, open the ” Trusted Resources” below.
And sometimes the direct experience of a health worker with COVID-19 and the vaccine can provide a higher level of trust. Hear it from Emmanuel, a free clinic worker in Texas in the following video.
Unequal access to COVID-19 treatments threatens the global recovery. Read this account in The Conversation.
As many as 1.3 million lives may have been lost due to global COVID-19 vaccine inequities. Read more about the deadly effects of the unequal distribution of vaccine.
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 experts vote to make all COVID-19 vaccines and booster shots bivalent
A panel of experts that advise the FDA on its vaccine decisions voted to update all COVID-19 vaccines so that they contain the same ingredients as the two-strain shots that are now used as booster doses. The vote means that young children and others who haven’t gotten a vaccine may soon be able to receive two-strain vaccines that more closely match the variants in the U.S. The FDA must sign off on this choice before it goes into effect. READ MORE about bivalent vaccines and boosters.
CDC aims to add COVID-19 shots to routine vaccine schedules in 2023
The CDC’s routine vaccine schedule is the “gold standard” for deciding what vaccines people should get and when. COVID-19 vaccines are free to everyone right now, but this can change in the future. Adding COVID-19 vaccines to this schedule makes it simpler for them to be covered by insurance or accessed for free through certain programs if the need arises. This choice does not mean that COVID-19 vaccines will be mandated for any age group. READ MORE about the vaccine schedule.
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. READ MORE about the 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.
COVID-19 caused a large increase in pregnancy-related deaths in the U.S. The death rate of mothers after childbirth in the U.S. is higher than many other developed countries. Black women had a higher maternal death rate than White and Hispanic or Latina women. READ MORE about new study.
Power of the Booster
New research provides new confidence at how the boosters work in the real world outside of clinical trials. The results? Bivalent boosters do improve our defenses against COVID-19. Those who got the updated booster shot gained between 30% to 56% protection against COVID-19. These boosters should be thought of as a layer of defense. This defense can be made stronger by mixing it with other measures like wearing masks, staying home when you feel sick, and washing your hands. READ MORE about the effectiveness of boosters.
Only about 15% of eligible Americans have received their bivalent booster shot. The CDC recommends that everyone over 5 get an updated booster, if at least two months have passed since their last COVID-19 shot. People who recently got COVID-19 should wait at least until their acute illness ends, but the CDC says they can also delay their boosters until three months after their symptoms started or they first tested positive. READ MORE about the latest on the booster…
Three studies published by the CDC show that COVID-19 booster shots provide the best protection against the Omicron variant and the new subvariants. 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…
Some adults can now choose to get a Novavax COVID-19 booster shot. Adults who are 18 years old and older can choose to get Novavax’s booster shot. To do so, they must check three boxes. First, they must have finished their primary series at least six months ago. Second, they cannot have received any other booster dose(s). And third, they must not be able or willing to receive an mRNA vaccine. Novavax’s booster shot was not made to defend against Omicron, but some people might prefer its older vaccine technology to that of the newer mRNA vaccines. READ MORE about the Novavax booster.
Urging Vaccinations for Children
COVID-19 is the 8th most common cause of death among children in the U.S. A recent study found that COVID-19 was a leading cause of death for children 0-19 years old. Between August 2021 and July
2022, 821 children died from the virus at a rate of 1 per 100, 000. COVID-19 ranked fifth in disease-related deaths and first in infectious or respiratory illness deaths, causing more deaths than the flu and pneumonia. While it’s rare for kids and teens to die in the U.S., COVID-19 is now the leading cause of death from infectious disease for this age group. READ MORE about COVID threat to 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 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.
Kids 5 years old and older should get their COVID-19 booster shot. These new boosters can better defend kids and adults from getting very sick from COVID-19. Kids who are 5 years old or older can get Pfizer’s new “bivalent” booster, and kids who are 6 years old or older can get Moderna’s. They should get their new booster shot at least 2 months after they get their second primary series shot or their most recent (monovalent) booster shot. COVID-19 vaccines and boosters are free to all people in the U.S. READ MORE about the booster for children.
The CDC officially recommended that Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine be used as an option in different dosages 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. READ MORE about the Moderna recommendation.
In the current 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.
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.