Health officials are asking unvaccinated Americans to avoid travel this Labor Day weekend as the dangerous COVID-19 Delta variant continues to spread like wildfire throughout the nation. A rise in hospitalizations in the youth is also fueling the growing concern. Here is the latest on COVID-19.
The director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Dr. Rachelle Walensky, recommended that unvaccinated Americans refrain from traveling this Labor Day weekend. Walensky made the request during a White House COVID-19 Response Team Briefing on Tuesday. Walensky also said that vaccinated individuals need to travel with caution as the Delta variant continues to surge throughout the US. The issue will likely be compounded in the coming weeks as children all across the nation return to the classroom.
Youth Cases SoaringRead More »
In addition, the CDC said that there was an average of 330 children admitted to hospitals every day between the dates of August 20 and 26. This is the highest rate of new hospitalizations for this age group in over a year.
ICU Beds Running Low in These States
According to new data from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Alabama, Georgia, Texas, Florida, and Arkansas are in critical need of more ICU beds. All five of these states have less than 10% of their ICU beds left. Other states dealing with a frightening shortage of ICU capacity include Idaho, Mississippi, and Kentucky.
Hospitals Running Low on Oxygen Supplies
Several hospitals around the US are now also dealing with a lack of oxygen supplies. Four states, in particular, Florida, Louisiana, South Carolina, and Texas, are being forced to lean on their reserve supplies of oxygen in order to treat patients on ventilators. With so many new COVID-19 cases requiring hospitalization, the facilities are having a difficult time keeping the oxygen supply on pace with the current needs.
These states also suffer from some of the nation’s lowest vaccination rates. Less than 50% of the residents of South Carolina, Louisiana, and Texas are fully vaccinated.
While Florida has a slightly higher vaccination rate, this state continues to deal with a record number of COVID-19 cases, largely blamed on the anti-masking rhetoric of its government leaders. According to recent data from John Hopkins University, Florida had the distinction of having the highest hospitalization rate of any state in the country. As of last Saturday, 75 people per 100,000 residents were hospitalized fighting the virus. The state also reached a pandemic high of over 690 confirmed new cases per 100,000 residents during the week of August 20 to 26.
Traveling to Europe? Think Again
The European Union (EU) recently recommended that its members prevent Americans from traveling to its 27-nation bloc for nonessential reasons. These countries were advised to implement the previous COVID-19 restrictions. In addition to restricting travel from the US, the guidance recommended limiting travel from Israel, Kosovo, Lebanon, Montenegro, and the Republic of North Macedonia.
The non-binding guidance leaves it up to the member states to decide what constitutes nonessential travel. It is also up to these individual countries to decide if they will allow nonessential travel for vaccinated Americans.
Up to 100,000 More American Deaths Possible This Year
New data from a widely regarded model from the University of Washington is painting a grim picture if the nation cannot turn around the current COVID-19 trends. The latest prediction warns that it is possible that another 100,000 Americans may die at the hands of the virus by December.
There has been a daily average of 155,000 newly reported cases in recent days. This is leading to record numbers of hospitalizations in some areas. Data presented by the CDC on Monday demonstrates that the hospitalization rates in unvaccinated people are 16 times higher when compared to the vaccinated populations.
As of Wednesday, 641,882 Americans have died from COVID-19.
Vaccines for Children?
One of the most pressing questions on the minds of many parents is when will their children under the age of 12 be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. The latest projections indicate that Pfizer will be ready to submit its safety and efficacy data for the 5 – 11 age group by the end of September.
After this data has been submitted, it will be up to Pfizer to file an application for an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for this age group. Based on previous timelines, the vaccine could be approved for EUA sometime in November or early December.
The White House recently announced that about 50% of all kids age 12 and over have been vaccinated. Officials believe that opening up vaccine eligibility to younger children will go a long way in the fight against controlling the virus.
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