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COVID-19 deaths trend up, cases down in U.S. as vaccination remains key to combating variant


The United States hit a 7-day average of over 2,000 deaths for the first time since March on Sept. 18.

The number of COVID-19 deaths in the United States kept hiking above 2,000 per day, while the total numbers of cases and hospitalizations have trended down for days from their highs in early September, according to media reports.

The United States hit a 7-day average of over 2,000 deaths for the first time since March on Sept. 18. The death rate has risen by 23 percent since two weeks ago, when the country was tallying just over 1,650 deaths per day, and by 65 percent from the 1,234 deaths reported each day at this time in August, reported Forbes on Tuesday.

Leading the country in recent mortalities are Alabama, which is clocking 2.37 deaths per 100,000 residents after seeing deaths rise 211 percent over the past two weeks, Florida (1.56 per 100,000), South Carolina (1.29), Alaska (1.23) and West Virginia (1.22), said the report.

U.S. President Joe Biden is seen on a screen as he receives his COVID-19 vaccine booster shot in Washington, D.C., the United States, on Sept. 27, 2021. (Xinhua/Liu Jie)

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According to The New York Times (NYT), the 7-day average of confirmed cases of the pandemic stood at 117,966 nationwide on Monday, with its 16-day change striking a 33-percent fall. The COVID-19-related deaths were 2,052 on Monday, with the 14-day change realizing a 12-percent rise.

Meanwhile, per the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updates on Tuesday, 213,657,193 people have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, making up 64.4 percent of the whole U.S. population; fully vaccinated people stood at 183,888,907, accounting for 55.4 percent of the total.

The Delta variant of the coronavirus was the main reason behind people's decision to get vaccinated this summer and why most say they will get boosters when eligible, according to the latest monthly survey on vaccine attitudes released by the Kaiser Family Foundation on Tuesday.

BOOSTER BLUEPRINT

U.S. President Joe Biden on Monday received his COVID-19 vaccine booster shot on camera at the White House, saying that "boosters are important, but the most important thing we need to do is get more people vaccinated."

Some 20 million Americans are eligible for a third shot of the Pfizer vaccine, while about 23 percent of eligible Americans haven't gotten any shot, according to media reports.

"What I want to say is, this is a 'Walk, don't run' situation to go get your boost," CDC Director Rochelle Walensky was quoted by The Atlantic as saying on Monday.

"Booster shots, when doled out at the right time, to the right people, are a boon. They jog the microbe-specific memories of immune cells, reinvigorating the body's defenses against the pathogens that trouble us," said the magazine's report.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), under advisement from an independent panel of experts, had green-lit a third shot, at least six months out from dose two, for Pfizer recipients who are over 65 or who are at high risk of getting severe COVID-19 because of health status or increased exposure to the virus.

The CDC actively recommended the booster shots only for the 65-plus population, residents of long-term-care facilities, and those 50 and older with underlying health issues. The 18-to-49 crowd may opt to get shots as well if they had chronic medical issues, it said.

Photo taken on Aug. 23, 2021 shows Pfizer signage at Pfizer

VACCINE PLUS ORAL DRUG

Pfizer and BioNTech announced on Tuesday that they had submitted data to the FDA showing that their coronavirus vaccine is safe and effective in children ages 5 to 11.

The companies said that they would submit a formal request to regulators to allow a pediatric dose of their vaccine to be administered in the United States in the coming weeks. Similar requests will be filed with European regulators and in other countries.

Pfizer and BioNTech announced favorable results from their clinical trial with more than 2,200 participants in that age group just over a week ago. The FDA has said that it will analyze the data as soon as possible, reported NYT.

Also a step ahead for the company, Pfizer has started mid-to-late stage trials to test an oral drug designed to prevent COVID-19 in those who have been exposed to the virus, according to its announcement on Monday.

The drugmaker has moved forward in examining the effects of the oral antiviral candidate PF-07321332 after its first trial phase determined the drug was "safe and well-tolerated." In the next phase, Pfizer will enroll up to 2,660 healthy adults who live in the same household as a person with a confirmed symptomatic COVID-19 infection.

The study aims to "assess safety and efficacy" of the drug in preventing COVID-19 cases and symptoms through two weeks after exposure. Pfizer said in a release that the drug can potentially be administered "at the first sign of infection or at first awareness of an exposure without requiring patients to be hospitalized."

Published : September 29, 2021