U.S. Coronavirus: Southern Covid-19 hotspots cool as cases begin to rise in cold-weather states


New cases in Georgia and Florida are down 37% and 25%, respectively, from last week, JHU data showed. Both states had one of the 10 lowest case numbers last week. But a handful of states – in regions where cold weather has set in – are seeing an increase. This pattern is similar to last year.

In five states, Covid-19 cases rose more than 10% compared to last week, JHU data shows. These states include Iowa, Oklahoma, Alaska, Vermont, and New Hampshire.

Alaska in particular had more Covid-19 cases per capita than any other state in the past week, JHU data showed. The number of cases rose 14% compared to the previous week, and there were 125 new cases per 100,000 people every day, about five times the national average.

Vermont was once one of the states with the lowest number of cases and is now among the 15 worst-case rates.

Cases are moving in the right direction overall in the US – the daily average has dropped 10% in the past week.

The decline in cases, hospitalizations, and deaths could end in further spikes, said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergies and Infectious Diseases. But the US could still prevent this increase with higher vaccination rates.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration plans to give people the option to get a different Covid-19 vaccine as a booster than the one they originally received, people familiar with the FDA told the New York Times on Monday .

According to the Times, the FDA might find it preferable to get the same vaccine as a booster, but it wouldn’t recommend one vaccination over the other.

The National Institutes of Health presented the FDA’s vaccine advisors on Friday with early information from an ongoing study showing that it doesn’t matter which vaccine people get first and what booster they get – it was safe to mix up boosters and boost the immune response . Mixed boosters also met with a good response with the Delta variant.

Dr. Amanda Cohn, a member of the FDA’s Vaccine Advisory Panel, said guidelines on mixing and matching Covid vaccine booster vaccinations would allow flexibility for the public and for those trying to offer vaccine doses to the public.

“I don’t think there is any need, from a public health perspective, to have a preference for mixing or matching,” said Cohn, who is also the chief medical officer of the National Center for Immunizations and Respiratory of the US Centers for Control and Respiratory Disease prevention is disease.

Although the cases still remain high with an average of around 85,000 new infections per day (as of Sunday), according to JHU data they have decreased by more than 8,000 compared to a week earlier. The number of deaths has fallen by an average of more than 200 a day since the beginning of the month.

However, the progress in numbers is jeopardized by the low vaccination rates. According to the CDC, 57% of the total population were fully vaccinated against the virus as of Monday.

And while health experts don’t know exactly what proportion of the population needs to be protected in order to control the spread of the virus, Fauci said a large majority need to be vaccinated.

Fauci does not consider a further increase in cases to be inevitable.

“It will be in our power to prevent this from happening,” said Fauci, who is also the senior medical advisor to President Joe Biden.

“The degree to which we get further down this slope will depend on how well we manage to get more people vaccinated.”

Mandates counterproductive, says Governor

Health experts have pointed to vaccine mandates as an important tool to help keep cases down and reduce the burden on the hospital, but some officials stand firmly against the measures.

Fauci was a proponent of mandates, saying the data showed they are working to get more people vaccinated. And while it would be preferable to convince people to opt for vaccination, it isn’t always feasible, he said.

“I think when you’re in a public health crisis, sometimes unusual situations call for unusual action,” Fauci told Fox News.

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson said Sunday that he believes both federal and state mandates are counterproductive to increasing vaccination rates.

Hutchinson told NBC News that he believes the news is muddled at the top government level “Slowed vaccine adoption and increased drug resistance.”

“I want us to get around to promoting vaccine uptake, building trust in it, without the mandate warfare, and that is the direction we need to go,” said the governor.

When asked about the success of Tyson Foods and Walmart’s vaccine mandates in the state of Arkansas, the governor said it was “absolutely” evidence of the mandates’ work.

“So yes, there is an effectiveness. And so, let me make it clear that when I say that we shouldn’t be involved in mandates, I am talking about the government mandate, whether it is a government mandate “or a mandate from the state government,” he said.

Hutchinson pointed out that employers have to deal with a nuanced local reality where some employees want a vaccinated work environment to feel safe while others don’t. Hutchinson said based on this predicament, the decision on whether to award a mandate should be in the hands of employers.

Gottlieb urges research into the Delta variant type in Great Britain

Former FDA commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb said “urgent research” is needed on another version of the Delta variant of the coronavirus that has emerged in the UK, although there is no evidence that it is more communicable.

“The variant has been in the UK since around July, but its prevalence is slowly increasing. There is no clear indication that it is much more transferable, but we should work to characterize this and other new variants more quickly. We have the tools, ”he wrote in a tweet on Sunday.

“This is not a cause for immediate concern, but a reminder that we need robust systems to identify and characterize new variants,” he said.

A report released Friday by the UK Health Authority said that by the week of September 27th – the last full week of full sequencing data – this version was “approximately 6% of all sequences generated on an increasing trajectory”.

Covid-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths have increased in the UK, where there are no nationwide mask requirements and few travel restrictions from other countries.

Despite waivers, several thousands paid for hospital stays at Covid, the study says

Many insurers waived hospital bills for Covid-19 in 2020, but those exemptions didn’t cover everything, and the out-of-pocket expenses cost patients much more than other respiratory diseases, according to a new study.

The study, published on Monday in JAMA Network Open, found that hospital expenses for a stay in Covid-19 averaged around $ 4,000 for those with private insurance. It was more than $ 1,500 for people on Medicare Advantage.

The researchers looked at the hospitalizations of more than 4,000 people in 2020 and found that these expenses were roughly four times the average expenses for other respiratory infections in 2019.

“The results suggest that self-spending on COVID-19 hospital stays can be significant if insurers let the co-payment waiver expire,” the study said.

Minnesota Governor Announces Incentives

Minnesota Governor Tim Walz announced that children ages 12-17 will be eligible for a $ 200 gift card if fully vaccinated.

In addition, all fully vaccinated children will be entered into a weekly drawing for a $ 100,000 scholarship to college in Minnesota.

“It’s an incentive, it’s an affirmation that we’re seeing it all over the world, the sooner we get this group vaccinated, the sooner we’ll spread our vaccinations.” Once you get near that 80% figure, you see how amazing things happen when the infections wear off. “

CNN’s Deidre McPhillips, Carma Hassan, Gregory Lemos, Jen Christensen, Jamie Gumbrecht, John Bonifield, Elizabeth Cohen and Jennifer Henderson contributed to this report.

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