Coronavirus vaccine and COVID variant updates for 03-04-2022

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Hope you didn’t sell everything you own to go into the mask business. Data released by the CDC shows Covid levels have dropped enough that more than 90% of Americans can go without masks. The data shows nearly everyone in the country lives in an area with low to medium risk, though that data came out after the CDC tweaked how it measures risk. The new CDC guidance applies to everyone — including school kids and the unvaccinated. It does not, for whatever reason, apply to air travel, trains, or public transit.


Yes, Omicron was reported as milder than the Delta variant, but that doesn’t mean it’s no big deal. Japanese scientists say it’s at least 40% more lethal than seasonal flu. The case fatality rate of Omicron in Japan was about 0.13%, while the flu typically has a 0.006% to 0.09% death rate. They say more study is needed once all the restrictions are lifted.


If you have arthritis, it’s rare you feel lucky but when it comes to the pandemic, you may have been. Baricitinib is an oral drug commonly taken for rheumatoid arthritis, and an expansive study out of Oxford shows it reduced hospitalized COVID-19 patients’ risk of dying by 13%. Scientists and doctors welcomed the addition of the pill to the few treatments already shown to help treat severe COVID, especially since the drug comes in generic versions low- and middle-income countries can afford.


A couple of good news items for kids. The European Medicines Agency has authorized Moderna's vaccine for children aged six to 11, in addition to recommending boosters of Pfizer's vaccine for those aged 12 and up. And a new study has found Pfizer’s vaccine is 91% effective at protecting young people ages 12 to 18 against infection for at least four months after their second shot.


You may want to dust off the luggage as well. Rules requiring people to show a Covid-19 vaccine passport to access venues will be lifted in France March 14 and face masks will no longer be needed indoors except for on public transport. And vaccinated travelers to Italy will no longer have to test before entering the country. Unvaccinated travelers must still show proof of a negative test before entering. And once in country everyone must still get a “Super Green Pass” to stay at hotels, take trains, or eat at restaurants.


In the United States, cases were down 55%, deaths are down 26%, and hospitalizations are down 43% over 14 days. The 7-day average of new cases has been trending down since January 14.


The five areas that had the most daily deaths per 100,000 are Arkansas, Maine, West Virginia, Tennessee, and the Northern Mariana Islands.


There are 25,724,877 active cases in the United States.


The top 10 areas with the highest number of recent cases per capita according to The New York Times: Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands. Nome Census Area, AK. Bennington, VT. Linn, MO. Roanoke, VA. Pike, KY. Twin Falls, ID. Perry, KY. Fayette, AL. and Jerome, ID.


There have been 956,262 deaths in the U.S. recorded as COVID-related.


The top 3 vaccinating states by percentage of population that’s been fully vaccinated: Rhode Island at 80.7%, Vermont at 80.1%, and Maine at 78.4%. The bottom 3 vaccinating states are Alabama at 50.3%, Wyoming at 50.6%, and Mississippi at 51%. The percentage of the U.S. that’s been fully vaccinated is 65%.


Globally, cases were down 25% and deaths down 27% over 14 days, with the 7-day average trending down since January 25.


There are 61,379,411 active cases around the world.


The five countries with the most new cases: Germany 202,338. South Korea 198,802. Vietnam 118,790. Russia 93,026. And Japan 71,570.


There have been 5,982,566 deaths reported as Covid-related worldwide.


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