Coronavirus vaccine and COVID variant updates for 01-17-2022


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The US Department of Health and Human Services extended the Covid public health emergency for another 90 days. This will allow many public health protections and financial aid programs to keep going at least another three months. And states have been promised 60 days’ notice prior to any expiration of the emergency status in the future. This is the eighth extension.

France approved a law 215-58 that will ban unvaccinated citizens from all restaurants, sports arenas and other venues, essentially making them persona non grata. And that’s 9% of all French adults being reduced to second class status. Previously, the unvaccinated could get into establishments by showing a recent negative test, but no longer. There will also be increased penalties for fake passes.

The White House plans to buy and give out 1 billion rapid tests. But did they check with manufacturers and distributors to see if that’s even possible? They say it is, and the manufacturers say they can do it, but tests have been hard for the public to find. Research from Health Catalysts Group says the US has an estimated capacity of only 260 million tests this month, which is why critics say adding 1 billion more to demand will only crush the pipeline.

Speaking of hard-to-find tests, what do you do if your job requires that you get tested on a regular basis in order to show up, do your job and get paid? But you can’t find any? No one seems to have an answer for them, and the problem is hitting essential workers who can’t work from home – often people of color – particularly hard. The result is lost wages even though the worker may not even have COVID.

Has the Army found a super-vaccine? There’s talk they’ve developed a universal COVID vaccine that could successfully combat all variants. They’ve been working on it at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research for a year. In December, the Army announced its pan-coronavirus vaccine had completed Phase 1 of human trials with positive results. As opposed to mRNA vaccines, this one does use part of the actual COVID virus, but a harmless part. It also has less restrictive storage and handling requirements than current vaccines.

In the United States, cases were up 98% down from 159% Friday, deaths are up 57%, and hospitalizations are up 61% over 14 days. The 7-day average of new cases has been trending up since December 14.

The five states that had the most daily deaths per 100,000 are Indiana, New Mexico, Michigan, Maryland, and Pennsylvania.

There are now over 23 million active cases in the United States, at 23,031,325.

The five areas with the greatest increase in hospitalizations per capita: Puerto Rico 157%. The U.S. Virgin Islands 153%. Louisiana 142%. Alabama 140%. And Florida 131%.

The top 10 areas with the highest number of recent cases per capita according to The New York Times: West Feliciana, LA. Pitkin, CO. Teton, WY. Greensville, VA. Covington, MS. Tom Green, TX. Uvalde, TX. Kodiak Island Borough, AK. Rolette, ND. And Yazoo, MS.

There have been at least 850,605 deaths in the U.S. recorded as Covid-related.

The top 3 vaccinating states by percentage of population that’s been fully vaccinated: Vermont at 78.5%, Rhode Island at 77.8%, and Maine at 76.8%. The bottom 3 vaccinating states are Wyoming at 48.2%, Alabama at 48.4%, and Mississippi at 49.1%. The percentage of the U.S. that’s been fully vaccinated is 62.8%.

Globally, cases were up 98% and deaths up 16% over 14 days, with the 7-day average trending up since October 15.

There are now over 55 million active cases around the world, at 55,784,748.

The five countries with the most new cases: The United States 287,973. France 278,129. India 257,063. Italy 149,512. And Australia 87,457.

There have been 5,539,067 deaths reported as Covid-related worldwide.

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