Biden announces others warrants, researchers are probing new vaccines and treatments, and global vaccine distribution is faltering. Here’s what you need to know:
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White House announces sweeping new plan to tackle next phase of pandemic
Yesterday, President Biden announced a series of new Covid-19 policies. The six parts of his plan increase immunizations, strengthen protections for the unvaccinated, keep schools safe and open, increase testing and masking, strengthen economic recovery, and reorganize care for sick people. Vaccination mandates are a centerpiece. All employers with more than 100 employees will be required to require weekly vaccinations or tests, give workers paid time off to get vaccinated and recover from side effects, and face fines of up to $ 14,000 per week. offense if they do not. And all federal executive employees and government contractors will also need to be vaccinated.
Biden also called on governors to demand vaccinations for school employees. This week, Los Angeles, the nation’s second-largest school district, went further and announced it will demand all students over 12 years old also get vaccinated in order to attend classes in person.
Drugmakers and researchers are working to develop more vaccine and treatment options
Senior executives of BioNTech recently announced that the drug maker is ready to seek worldwide approval to use its Covid-19 vaccine in children as young as 5 years old. FDA officials today added that the agency is “work 24 hours a day” approve vaccines for children. Meanwhile, other drugmakers have said plans are underway for a new type of vaccine, which could fight both Covid-19 and the flu. Novavax said this week that it has started the first tests to test its combined shot, and it expects results in the first half of 2022. Moderna is also developing a booster two in one.
The researchers also worked on find existing drugs who could treat mild cases of Covid and keep more people out of hospital. Early data suggests that a drug, an antidepressant called fluvoxamine, may be helpful, but more research is needed to tell. And while ivermectin has had promising early results, there is no evidence to suggest that it helps prevent or treat Covid.
International vaccine distribution efforts continue to be insufficient
The Biden administration should suggest an international summit to discuss the pandemic, and vaccine manufacturing and distribution in particular, at the time of the United Nations General Assembly meetings later this month. Equitable vaccine distribution continues to be onerous: this week, COVAX announced that it is on track to drop almost 30 percent short of its distribution target for 2021. Drugmakers have said there should be enough vaccines for each adult in the world in 2022, but the rich countries that have bought most of the global supply will need to ensure that those shots are distributed fairly.
This week, the WHO chief spoke out again on the booster injections, calling on rich countries to pause them until the end of the year make these doses available to people elsewhere who have not yet received their first doses.
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Why are nosocomial infections on the increase during the pandemic?
Healthcare-associated infections, which often strike people while they are in hospital, are caused by several factors. Patients in the intensive care unit are vulnerable to infection, but they are treated in close proximity to other sick people, and healthcare workers may unintentionally be carriers, as can life-saving equipment. Overcrowding and the extra demands placed on hospital staff don’t help either. During the pandemic, the pressure to take care of people ill with Covid years of progress undermined in the prevention of this kind of infections. The good news is that the solution to this problem may well be the same as the solution to the pandemic: vaccination. The fewer seriously ill people there are, the better equipped hospitals will be to protect everyone who walks through their doors.
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