COVID-19 Round-Up: New CDC School Guidance Emphasizes In-Person Learning; Pfizer Seeing Waning Immunity from its Vaccine; and More

Here are some of the latest headlines pertaining to the COVID-19 pandemic on the week ending in July 9, 2021.

New CDC School Guidance Emphasizes In-Person Learning

The US CDC on Friday updated its school guidance, and emphasizes that schooling is a priority – even if all COVID-10 safety measures aren’t in place. “If localities decide to remove prevention strategies in schools based on local conditions, they should remove them one at a time and monitor closely (with adequate testing) for any increases in COVID-19 cases before removing the next prevention strategy,” the guidance says. It adds that: “Screening testing, ventilation, handwashing and respiratory etiquette, staying home when sick and getting tested, contact tracing in combination with quarantine and isolation, and cleaning and disinfection are also important layers of prevention to keep schools safe.

Of all COVID-19 Deaths in the US, Very Few Have Been Children

The results of two studies published on Thursday show that of the 606,000 people in the US who have died from COVID-19, less than 400 (n=391) were children. The children most at risk, according to the authors, were children at-risk for respiratory disease such as influenza, and these are mostly children with underlying conditions. “We found extremely low numbers of children and young people required pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) or died as a result of SARS-CoV-2 in the first pandemic year,” they wrote in a second, separate pre-print. “Children and young people admitted due to COVID-19 disease were older and more likely to be non-white with pre-existing conditions, similar to patterns seen in adults.”

Pfizer Seeing Waning Immunity from its Vaccine; Ramping Up Booster Efforts

Pfizer said this week that its observing waning immunity from its coronavirus vaccine, and is ramping up efforts to develop a booster dose to guard against variants. “As seen in real world data released from the Israel Ministry of Health, vaccine efficacy in preventing both infection and symptomatic disease has declined six months post-vaccination, although efficacy in preventing serious illnesses remains high,” the company said to CNN. “While protection against severe disease remained high across the full six months, a decline in efficacy against symptomatic disease over time and the continued emergence of variants are expected. Based on the totality of the data they have to date, Pfizer and BioNTech believe that a third dose may be beneficial within 6 to 12 months following the second dose to maintain highest levels of protection.”

Latest Vaccine Numbers

As reported by CNN, here some of the latest US vaccine numbers, which came from the CDC:

  • 47.7% of the US population is fully vaccinated
  • 20 states have fully vaccinated more than half of their residents. They are: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin, as well as Washington, DC.
  • 20 states have reached Biden’s goal to vaccinate 70% of adults with at least one dose: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Washington, as well as Washington, DC.
  • The current pace of vaccinations  is 343,281 people fully vaccinated per day; and 599,070 doses have been administered per day.