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Biden: ‘The Pandemic Is Over’
President Biden declared the coronavirus pandemic “over” in an interview that aired Sunday, pointing to the return of large events and the lack of masking and other public health measures in place nationwide.
“The pandemic is over,” Biden told “60 Minutes” from the Detroit auto show last Wednesday, the first time the event has been held since the onset of the pandemic in 2020.
“We still have a problem with COVID. We’re still doing a lotta work on it. It’s — but the pandemic is over. if you notice, no one’s wearing masks. Everybody seems to be in pretty good shape. And so I think it’s changing. And I think this is a perfect example of it.”
The Biden administration has focused its messaging on the importance of getting vaccinated and receiving booster shots to increase immunity, as well as the wide availability of antiviral pills and other forms of treatment for those who contract the virus.
Continuing COVID Craziness Shows It Was Never About the Science
The pandemic is essentially over, right? For some, yes. For others, not so much. It was only June when unvaccinated Canadians were finally allowed to leave the country, for reasons unclear to anyone. The vaccine doesn’t prevent transmission, so how did it make sense to keep the unvaccinated behind the frozen curtain? It didn’t.
But that’s Canada. It’s completely lost the plot with COVID and chucked all its previously freedom-loving ideals out the nearest window, eh? America wouldn’t behave like that, right? Except we are.
Tennis player Novak Djokovic couldn’t travel to America to compete in the U.S. Open in August because he’s unvaccinated. No foreigner may enter the United States without being fully vaccinated. Unless, of course, they walk across our border. That’s right. If you’re visiting, stay away with your COVID-infested self. If you’re trying to stay here forever, bring that COVID right in.
New York City kids don’t need a COVID vaccination to attend school but do need it to play school sports. Think about this. These kids can go to school, have lunch with their friends, take school trips and play sports during gym class, but they can’t play in an after-school league.
COVID Shots for Young Kids Arrived in June. Few Have Received Them.
In June, when the Food and Drug Administration authorized emergency use of coronavirus vaccines for children younger than 5, physicians expected apprehension among parents — after all, 4 in 10 parents with young children said they would definitely not get their youngsters vaccinated, according to a July Kaiser Family Foundation survey.
But doctors and public health experts never expected there would be this little interest in vaccines for young children.
Even in places with strong pro-vaccine sentiments, few young children have received shots, including in the District, which has the highest percentage of vaccinated. In DC, barely 21% of children 6 months to 4 years old have received one shot, and just 7.5% have received both doses, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Just under 325,000 young children are fully vaccinated nationwide, according to the CDC. While some parents blame a lack of access, experts believe misinformation surrounding the shots for younger children is driving vaccine hesitancy.
Fauci Fears ‘Anti-Vaxxer Attitude’ Could Cause Outbreaks of Non-COVID Diseases
“I’m concerned the acceleration of an anti-vaxxer attitude in certain segments of the population . . . might spill over into that kind of a negative attitude towards childhood vaccinations,” Fauci told The Financial Times in an interview published Sunday.
Fauci, who announced his pending retirement from the government last month, said the political division is one factor driving anti-vaccine sentiment, noting how some states have not promoted COVID-19 vaccination and Congress has failed to advance billions of dollars in funding.
The World Health Organization released a report in July showing that vaccination among children declined more during the COVID-19 pandemic than at any time in the past 30 years.
America Is Skeptical of the ‘Dark Horse’ COVID Vaccine Others Abroad Can’t Get Enough of
Nearly 225 million Americans are considered fully COVID vaccinated by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, meaning they’ve received two or more doses of a vaccine. The number who’ve been fully vaccinated with Novavax, the latest vaccine to receive approval from U.S. health officials: a mere 6,278.
The traditional protein-based vaccine, approved by U.S. health officials in July, was intended to win the hearts and minds of Americans who were hesitant to receive mRNA COVID vaccines Pfizer and Moderna, claiming that the technology was too new to be considered safe.
But for the 20% of Americans who remain unvaccinated, hesitancy about the safety of mRNA vaccine technology was likely just an excuse, experts say, as Novavax was formulated using the same technology as the flu vaccine — and uptake is still dismal.
However hesitant Americans are about Novavax, for whatever reasons, the situation is quite the opposite elsewhere. The vaccine has been approved in 38 other countries, including Australia, France, Ireland, Italy, Korea and the U.K., according to the World Health Organization. And Japan and Australia have approved the vaccine for usage as a booster dose, according to the Journal of American Medical Association.
Brazil Approves Pfizer Vaccine for Children as Young as Six Months
Brazilian national health regulator Anvisa has approved the COVID-19 vaccine produced by Pfizer (PFE.N) and BioNTech for children aged between six months and four years, the government body said in a statement Friday night.
The move broadens the availability of the vaccine, which is sold under the brand name Comirnaty for adults and is already available in Brazil for older age groups.
Brazil’s vaccination rates are already among the world’s highest, with almost 90% of the population having received at least one dose, according to the Our World in Data project, which collects official numbers from governments worldwide.
Moderna Gives WHO’s mRNA Hub Some Help, Pfizer Snubs Request
Afrigen Biologics & Vaccines, a South African biotechnology company working with the WHO, has used the Moderna vaccine in comparison studies in mice to test the effectiveness of its own shots, said Petro Terblanche, Afrigen’s managing director.
With Moderna’s help, Afrigen is aiming to develop a shot that may be manufactured by at least 15 production facilities around the globe under the aegis of the WHO’s mRNA Vaccine Technology Transfer Hub in Cape Town.
Moderna didn’t supply the vaccine directly. It allowed the vaccine to be provided by the French government after a request from the United Nations-backed Medicines Patent Pool, according to Marie-Paule Kieny, the pool’s chair. Pfizer Inc. refused a similar request because it didn’t regard the need as urgent, she said.
Alzheimer’s and COVID: Is There a Link? — Study Mines Electronic Health Records to Find out
Older adults with COVID-19 were more likely to have a new diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease a year later than non-infected people, an analysis of electronic medical record (EMR) data showed.
The risk for a new diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease in older COVID patients within 360 days after SARS-CoV-2 infection was 0.68%, according to Rong Xu, Ph.D., of Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, and colleagues. In a matched group of older adults without SARS-CoV-2 infection, the risk for a new Alzheimer’s diagnosis was 0.47% (HR 1.69, 95% CI 1.53-1.72), Xu and co-authors wrote in a brief communication published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.
Alzheimer’s disease takes years to develop and long-term studies to determine whether COVID plays a role in dementia are underway. “The Alzheimer’s Association’s International SARS-CoV-2 Study is a network of studies aimed at answering some of these open questions but because this virus is still relatively new, longitudinal research examining COVID-19 and dementia risk will take some time,” Snyder said.
Previous research has linked COVID with cognitive changes. In Wuhan, China, long-term cognitive decline was common a year after older adults were hospitalized with SARS-CoV-2 infection. Preliminary studies also showed COVID patients had an uptick in the same biomarkers as Alzheimer’s patients and persistent cognitive problems.
White House Pushes for Monkeypox Funding as Cases Fall
Monkeypox cases are declining in many areas of the country, but the Biden administration is warning that the virus still poses a danger and pushing for lawmakers to approve its multibillion-dollar funding request to combat it.
More than 23,000 infections have been confirmed in the U.S. during the outbreak, but the growth has slowed. Cases have dropped about 50% in the past month, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), from an average of 440 cases a day on Aug. 16 to 170 cases a day on Sept. 14.
The White House requested $4.5 billion for the monkeypox response in the upcoming government spending bill. The funding would go towards increasing access to vaccinations, testing, treatment and operational support, as well as helping to combat monkeypox globally.