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CDC Will Stop Issuing Daily Updates of COVID Cases, Deaths

U.S. News & World Report reported:

Anyone who still wants to keep track of U.S. COVID cases and deaths will soon have to wait for the weekly reports. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Thursday that it will stop publishing COVID case and death data on a daily basis and instead issue weekly updates, starting Oct. 20.

The move is in line with efforts to wind down other COVID-related tools on the CDC website. It eases reporting requirements for state and local health departments who can report the information weekly on Wednesdays, the agency said.

The agency is continuing its daily hospitalization reports, which the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services collects. The CDC will take charge of that data in December, and it’s not clear if it will still be published daily, CBS News reported.

Seniors Died From COVID at a Higher Rate Than Any Other Age Group This Summer: Analysis

The Hill reported:

More seniors than any other age group died from COVID-19 this past summer amid a disease surge fueled by new subvariants, according to a new analysis published Thursday from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

The foundation analyzed COVID-19 data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and found that death rates rose much faster for Americans older than 65, despite widespread vaccine coverage within the group.

The share of COVID-19 deaths within the older than 65 age group has risen since the beginning of this year, from 24% in January to 40% in September.

U.S. Gave Almost $29 Million to Chinese Entities for Joint Research Since 2015: Report

The Epoch Times reported:

U.S. government agencies sent almost $29 million in taxpayer dollars “directly to Chinese entities” for joint research over a five-year period ending in 2021, recently released findings show.

From fiscal years 2015 through 2021, “the CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention], NIH [National Institutes of Health] and DOD [Department of Defense] provided 22 awards totaling $28.9 million directly to Chinese entities, including universities and other research institutions,” the Government Accountability Office (GAO) said on Sept. 29 about a trove of analyses.

House Republican Conference Chairwoman Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) described such funding as “troubling.”

“China’s deception and stonewalling of the truth behind the origins of COVID-19 has led to millions of senseless deaths and trillions of dollars in economic destruction across the globe,” she said in a statement to The Epoch Times.

While receiving almost $5 million from the NIH and the CDC in recent years, the Chinese CDC had been suppressing information about the COVID-19 outbreak domestically and snubbed U.S. offers of assistance, although any health data would have been crucial to formulate a more effective pandemic containment strategy and minimize the disease’s global spread.

Health Canada Authorizes Pfizer’s Omicron Retooled Booster

Montreal Gazette reported:

Health Canada has approved the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 booster vaccine that targets the BA.4 and BA.5 strains of the Omicron variant.

The vaccine, which is approved for people at least 12 years old, can be given three to six months after a second dose of the primary vaccine series, or the most recent booster shot.

Dr. Howard Njoo, Canada’s deputy chief public health officer, said on Thursday that people who already had a booster shot of the original mRNA vaccines do not need to get a bivalent booster.

It is the second combination vaccine greenlighted by Health Canada’s vaccine review team, but the first that targets the virus strains that are now most common in Canada. The Moderna combination shot approved five weeks ago targets the original virus and the first Omicron variant, while the Pfizer shot targets the BA.4 and BA.5 strains. The Moderna vaccine is approved for people who are 18 and older.

German COVID Vaccine Developer BioNTech Signs Research Deal With Australia

Reuters reported:

BioNTech SE, the German biotech that developed a widely used COVID-19 vaccine with Pfizer Inc., will set up research and manufacturing centers in Australia based on the same technology, the company and Australian lawmakers said on Friday.

The Nasdaq-listed company (22UAy.DE), and Australia’s Victoria state said they signed a partnership to create a center, which would run clinical research of experimental messenger ribonucleic acid, or mRNA, vaccines and therapies with the aim of attracting experts from around the world.

The partnership would also involve setting up mRNA manufacturing facilities in Melbourne, based on BioNTech’s modular design, the company and the state government said.

Gun Injuries to Kids Rose During Pandemic

U.S. News & World Report reported:

Firearm sales in the United States broke records at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Now, researchers have found that firearm injuries to children also increased during the pandemic’s first two years compared to the preceding year.

In all, pediatric firearm-related injury cases rose, from 88 in 2019 to 118 in 2020. They continued to be high in 2021, with 115 children injured, the investigators found.

Firearm-related injuries in Black children grew from nearly 31% in 2019 to 40% in 2020 and 48% in 2021. Those cases also showed increases in patients with mental health issues and in injuries where the shooter was a friend.

Amid End to COVID Help, Homelessness Surging in Many Cities

Associated Press reported:

In California’s capital, massive tent encampments have risen along the American River and highway overpasses have become havens for homeless people, whose numbers have jumped a staggering nearly 70% over two years.

Fueled by a long-running housing shortage, rising rent prices and the economic hangover from the pandemic, the overall number of homeless in a federal government report to be released in coming months is expected to be higher than the 580,000 unhoused before the coronavirus outbreak, the National Alliance to End Homelessness said.

The Associated Press tallied results from city-by-city surveys conducted earlier this year and found the number of people without homes is up overall compared with 2020 in areas reporting results so far.

Research has shown places seeing spikes in homelessness often lack affordable housing. Making matters worse, pandemic government relief programs — including anti-eviction measures, emergency rental assistance and a child tax credit that kept people housed who may have been on the streets otherwise — are ending.

COVID Rebound After Pfizer Treatment Likely Due to Robust Immune Response, Study Finds

Reuters reported:

A rebound of COVID-19 symptoms in some patients after taking Pfizer‘s antiviral Paxlovid may be related to a robust immune response rather than a weak one, U.S. government researchers reported on Thursday.

They concluded that taking a longer course of the drug — beyond the recommended five days — was not required to reduce the risk of a recurrence of symptoms as some have suggested, based on an intensive investigation of rebound in eight patients at the National Institutes of Health’s Clinical Center.

All patients in the study had developed robust immune responses, but researchers found higher levels of antibodies in the patients who experienced a rebound.

The team said their data argues against the hypothesis that impaired immune responses are the reason symptoms return in some patients.

COVID Wave Looms in Europe as Booster Campaign Makes Slow Start

Reuters reported:

A new COVID-19 wave appears to be brewing in Europe as cooler weather arrives, with public health experts warning that vaccine fatigue and confusion over types of available vaccines will likely limit booster uptake.

Omicron subvariants BA.4/5 that dominated this summer are still behind the majority of infections, but newer Omicron subvariants are gaining ground. Hundreds of new forms of Omicron are being tracked by scientists, World Health Organization (WHO) officials said this week.

WHO data released late on Wednesday showed that cases in the European Union (EU) reached 1.5 million last week, up 8% from the prior week, despite a dramatic fall in testing. Globally, case numbers continue to decline.

In the week ended Oct. 4, COVID-19 hospital admissions with symptoms jumped nearly 32% in Italy, while intensive care admissions rose about 21%, compared to the week before, according to data compiled by independent scientific foundation Gimbe. Over the same week, COVID hospitalizations in Britain saw a 45% increase versus the week earlier.

Monkeypox Cases Are Down, but Concern Over Intradermal Vaccine Lingers

The Washington Post reported:

With many in the gay community clamoring for the monkeypox vaccine this summer, hoping for protection from a virus that causes painful and gruesome lesions, the United States faced a challenge.

In August, the FDA announced that it was issuing an emergency use authorization for the Jynneos monkeypox vaccine to be administered by intradermal injection — delivering the vaccine into the immune cells between the layers of the skin, often in the forearm, rather than a deeper injection into fat or muscle tissue in the shoulder. The method, while used for other vaccinations, had not previously been authorized by the United States for the monkeypox vaccine. It uses a smaller amount of vaccine, meaning one dose could be split among five people.

However, the makeshift vaccination plan has not been without its downsides. The intradermal injection can leave a painful, itchy red mark for weeks, potentially worsening the stigma of an outbreak mostly affecting gay men, and it can cause long-term discoloration or scarring. The FDA’s emergency authorization of the intradermal method largely relied on a single study done in 2015, which showed that intradermal and traditional “subcutaneous” injections of the vaccine produced similar immune responses.

All of which has left some people with lingering concerns about stigma, discomfort and efficacy.

Are Pets at Risk of Catching Monkeypox From Humans?

NBC News reported:

The risk of people with monkeypox passing the virus to their pets is low, the authors of a new study that found no such transmissions in the United Kingdom have concluded. The study’s findings offer a broader perspective in the wake of two recently reported cases of apparent monkeypox transmission from humans to their pets, including a dog in France and a puppy in Brazil.

Such rare cases tap into fears that the global monkeypox outbreak could spill over from humans and become endemic in new populations of wild animals. Infectious disease experts anticipate that if such animal reservoirs of the virus were established, they could be impossible to eradicate, or at least challenging to control, and could spark new outbreaks among humans.

Epidemiologists have expressed concern that animal-to-human transfers of viruses will only become more common as climate change and human encroachment upon wild areas increasingly bring people into contact with wild animals.

HIV, for example, is believed to have passed from nonhuman primates to humans in western Africa in the early 20th century. SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19, is thought to have originated in bats in eastern China — although a highly politicized debate still rages over whether the coronavirus might have come from a lab.