The number of new cases in children remains “exceptionally high,” with 148,222 cases reported in the week ended October 7, according to data from the American Academy of Pediatrics released Monday.
Children accounted for almost a quarter of the weekly reported Covid-19 cases, the AAP said.
The infection rate is still well above what is needed – which, according to Dr. Anthony Fauci should be below 10,000 on Sunday.
And with winter threatens to send people indoors and increase the spread, experts fear the cases could rise again. Children, many of whom cannot yet be vaccinated, are at greater risk.
Meanwhile, some schools have taken preventive measures to protect students, such as masking, distancing, and testing. In Massachusetts, Governor Charlie Baker plans to deploy 200 members of the National Guard to help with school tests for Covid-19.
But vaccinations are still the best way to fight the pandemic, experts say.
And some regions are doing better than others.
Overall, the numbers aren’t that promising. As of Tuesday evening, only 56.5% of the US population was reportedly fully vaccinated CDC data.
“We need the overwhelming proportion of these unvaccinated people to be vaccinated, and then we can be pretty sure that if we can do that, you won’t see a resurgence,” said Fauci, director of the National Allergy and Infectious Disease Institute.
Hospital system “deeply disappointed” in Texas vaccine mandate ban
While many experts and officials encourage institutions to enact vaccine mandates to protect employees, students, and customers, some are fighting their efforts.
On Monday, Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued an executive order banning companies from requiring individuals to be vaccinated.
“The COVID-19 vaccine is safe, effective and our best defense against the virus, but it should be voluntary and never enforced,” Abbott said.
“This is against public health guidelines and really is not the right thing in the middle of a pandemic,” said CNN medical analyst Dr. Leana Wen, opposite CNN’s John King on Tuesday.
Dr. Marc Boom, president and CEO of the Houston Methodist, said the hospital system is reviewing Abbott’s order and its potential impact, but continues to expect staff and doctors to be vaccinated.
“As the first hospital system in the country to mandate the COVID-19 vaccine for staff and doctors, we are deeply disappointed with the governor’s order seeking to ban such mandates,” Boom said in a statement, noting that the System employees and doctors are 100% compliant.
“We have lived our sacred obligation to protect our patients and put them first. By doing this, not only are our patients safe, but we are also able to stay healthy at work and be there for our community when she needs us most. “
Mandate bans have been particularly relevant to health systems, where some professionals have resigned because of such measures and others have worked to protect their colleagues and their vulnerable patients.
It also found that more Americans, 30%, expect it will take more than a year to return to normal pre-Covid life, up from 9% who thought so in early June.
Fewer people also say they have returned to their normal lives – 22% now versus 28% in June – or say it will happen in the next six months – 13% versus 36% in June – according to the poll.
Moderna suggests a lower vaccination dose
As the US approved booster doses of the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine for some at-risk Americans – and officials ponder approving the booster vaccination of Moderna and Johnson & Johnson – Moderna called on the FDA Tuesday to approve a 50-microgram dose documents, published before an important meeting.
The company said this dose increases protection from the coronavirus while helping to keep vaccine supplies higher around the world.
This dose is half the 100 microgram doses used in the primary series of the two-dose vaccine.
Moderna applies for approval of the smaller dose at least six months after the second dose for certain groups: people aged 65 and over; People aged 18 to 64 who are at high risk of severe Covid-19; and those ages 18 to 64 whose exposure to the coronavirus in their environment or at work puts them at risk for Covid-19 complications or serious illness.
On Thursday, the FDA’s independent vaccine advisors are expected to discuss and vote on whether to recommend approval of boosters for the Moderna vaccine. On Friday, the advisors are due to discuss and vote on whether the approval of boosters for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is recommended. Both vaccines are already approved for use in people aged 18 and over. VRBPAC members will also hear a presentation on “Mix and Match” booster doses on Friday.
Contributors to this report were Naomi Thomas, Deidre McPhillips, Julian Cummings, Rosalina Nieves and Jamie Gumbrecht of CNN.