Health News Roundup: U.S. COVID-19 death toll hits 700,000; Global COVID-19 deaths hit 5 million as Delta variant sweeps the world and more
An 18-month ban on international travel is set to be gradually lifted from next month for some states when 80% of people aged 16 and over are fully vaccinated. Delta increases COVID-19 risks for pregnant women; Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine antibodies gone by 7 months for many The following is a summary of some recent studies on COVID-19.
Following is a summary of current health news briefs.
U.S. COVID-19 death toll hits 700,000
The United States surpassed 700,000 coronavirus-related deaths on Friday, according to a Reuters tally, as officials roll out booster doses of vaccines to protect the elderly and people working in high-risk professions. The country has reported an average of more than 2,000 deaths per day over the past week, which represents about 60% of the peak in fatalities in January, a Reuters analysis of public health data showed.
Merck pill seen as 'huge advance,' raises hope of preventing COVID-19 deaths
An experimental antiviral pill developed by Merck & Co could halve the chances of dying or being hospitalized for those most at risk of contracting severe COVID-19, according to data that experts hailed as a potential breakthrough in how the virus is treated. If it gets authorization, molnupiravir, which is designed to introduce errors into the genetic code of the virus, would be the first oral antiviral medication for COVID-19.
U.S. eyes Israeli military data for Pfizer COVID-19 booster safety
U.S. health officials are hoping data on Israeli military personnel can help clarify the risk of heart muscle inflammation in younger people who have received Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 booster shots - a potential factor for U.S. regulators as they consider granting full approval of these boosters. A condition called myocarditis has in rare cases been linked to the two-dose mRNA vaccines made by Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna, mostly in younger males, but U.S. health officials are trying to better understand the risk.
U.S. administers nearly 394 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines - CDC
The United States had administered 393,756,866 doses of COVID-19 vaccines in the country as of Friday morning and distributed 477,069,555 doses, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. Those figures are up from the 392,909,995 vaccine doses the CDC said had gone into arms by Thursday out of 474,245,945 doses delivered.
Global COVID-19 deaths hit 5 million as Delta variant sweeps the world
Worldwide deaths related to COVID-19 surpassed 5 million on Friday, according to a Reuters tally, with unvaccinated people particularly exposed to the virulent Delta strain. The variant has exposed the wide disparities in vaccination rates between rich and poor nations, and the upshot of vaccine hesitancy in some western nations.
White House pushes U.S. airlines to mandate vaccines for staff by Dec. 8
The White House is pressing major U.S. airlines to mandate COVID-19 vaccines for employees by Dec. 8 - the deadline for federal contractors to do so - and is showing no signs of pushing back the date, four sources told Reuters on Friday. White House COVID-19 response coordinator Jeffrey Zients spoke to the chief executives of American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and Southwest Airlines on Thursday to ensure they were working expeditiously to develop and enforce vaccine requirements ahead of that deadline, the sources said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Heart inflammation rates higher after Moderna COVID-19 vaccine - Canada data
Canadian health officials said on Friday data suggests reported cases of rare heart inflammation were relatively higher after Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine compared with the Pfizer/BioNTech shots. The data also indicated heart inflammation occurs more often in adolescents and adults under 30 years of age, and more often in males.
Australia reports 2,355 new COVID-19 cases as vaccination push continues
Australia reported 2,355 new cases of the Delta coronavirus variant on Saturday, as the push to vaccinate the country's population continues in order to end lockdowns and allow for the reopening of international borders. An 18-month ban on international travel is set to be gradually lifted from next month for some states when 80% of people aged 16 and over are fully vaccinated.
Delta increases COVID-19 risks for pregnant women; Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine antibodies gone by 7 months for many
The following is a summary of some recent studies on COVID-19. They include research that warrants further study to corroborate the findings and that have yet to be certified by peer review. Delta variant increases risks for pregnant women
FDA advisers to review COVID-19 shots for young kids, boosters this month
An advisory panel of experts to the U.S. drug regulator will hold meetings this month to review data on Pfizer Inc's COVID-19 vaccine in young children, and whether to clear booster doses of Moderna and Johnson & Johnson's vaccines. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration's announcement on Friday comes as health authorities seek to mitigate a potential surge of cases this fall, with schools already open nationwide.
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