The importance of achieving herd immunity
(WABNEWS) – Daily cases of coronavirus in the United States have recently risen, a trend that medical experts have said they would not want to see as a potentially complicated flu season approaches.
Daily new cases averaged about 39,700 for the week through Thursday. That average has risen in recent days, to 13% more than the previous week, data from Johns Hopkins University show.
This comes after weeks of decline from a summer rebound. The figure is well below the average summer high of 67,300 on July 22.
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But health experts have said they fear it is too high to avoid big peaks this fall, when colder weather brings more people indoors. This increases the risk of spreading covid-19 and flu.
“We really need to see an increase in the uptake of the flu vaccine across the Northern Hemisphere … especially this year,” Maria Van Kerkhove, World Health Organization technical lead for coronavirus, said Friday. “Because we have a tool against influenza (…) that will help, and will help particularly vulnerable populations,” he explained.
Health experts have said that the Covid-19 collision with the flu season could affect health care capabilities, in part because in normal years many Americans are hospitalized for the flu.
One possible silver lining: The nation’s leading infectious disease expert says the United States won’t necessarily see its worst flu season.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, pointed to the southern hemisphere on Thursday, where the end of winter is coming, and where Australia has experienced a nearly non-existent flu season.
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3 keys for winter
A new study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also suggests that measures taken against COVID-19, such as social distancing and teleworking, could lead to a mild flu season.
“The key point here remains this: No. 1, if we don’t want to see a double whammy (of covid-19 and flu), get vaccinated against the flu, ”Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, an epidemiologist and former Detroit Health Commissioner, said on Friday.
“. 2, be sure to wear a mask. No. 3, continues to practice safe social distancing, “he added.
More than 6.6 million covid-19 infections have been officially reported in the United States since the start of the pandemic. At least 197,633 people have died, according to Johns Hopkins.
The country has averaged 838 COVID-19 deaths a day over the past week, a lower rate than weeks ago. Daily deaths remained above 1,000 for 25 days in a row from late July to mid-August.
Dr. Fauci calls for protection against covid-19 0:48
CDC reverts controversial changes to testing guide
On Friday, the CDC reversed controversial changes made last month to the testing guide for people who do not have coronavirus symptoms.
Like the guidance before the August change, the new language on Friday emphasizes that anyone who has been in contact with an infected person should get tested, whether they have symptoms or not.
In August, the CDC’s site had changed to say that people without symptoms don’t necessarily need to be tested. They claimed this even if the people had been in close contact with someone known to have the virus, unless the asymptomatic person was ‘a vulnerable individual’, or if that person’s healthcare provider or a public health official recommend that the person take one.
The measure was strongly criticized by doctors and health agencies.
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Two sources recently confirmed to WABNEWS that the August alteration was not written by CDC scientists and was posted online before it underwent the normal scientific review process.
Details about the background of the August changes were first reported Thursday by The New York Times.
A senior federal health official close to the process had previously told WABNEWS that the August change in the covid-19 testing guide was the result of pressure from the Trump administration. “It comes from top to bottom,” he said about it. Controversial guide to covid-19 testing.
In a statement Thursday night, CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield told WABNEWS: “The guidelines, coordinated in conjunction with the White House Coronavirus Task Force, received appropriate attention, consultation and input from the experts of the working group.
Report: White House rejected plan to distribute 650 million masks through the mail
The United States Postal Service (USPS) had planned to distribute 650 million face covers to the Trump administration in April to curb the coronavirus, according to internal documents recently obtained and reviewed by WABNEWS.
But the White House scrapped those plans to avoid causing “concern or panic” among Americans, senior government officials told The Washington Post.
Documents obtained by transparency group American Oversight show that the Postal Service was doing this in partnership with the White House Coronavirus Task Force. Also with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and “a consortium of textile manufacturers.”
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USPS planned to ship the masks in April. He planned to prioritize areas “that HHS has identified as experiencing high rates of covid-19 transmission,” according to a draft USPS publication.
A draft statement in response to the media said the packages would include “five reusable face cloths, which can be used up to 15 times each.”
The scrapped plan offers new insight into how the White House was responding to the pandemic in its early days. When contacted by WABNEWS, the White House declined to comment.