Jill Biden tested positive for Covid and is experiencing “mild symptoms”, per a 4 September statement from the White House.
New Covid boosters from Pfizer and Moderna are now available at pharmacies nationwide.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are recommending one dose of the updated vaccine for everyone six months and older in the US; some children may be eligible for up to three doses depending on their age and previous vaccination status.
Hospitalisations and deaths from Covid-19 have been rising for weeks in the US, and global health authorities are monitoring two new variants, BA.2.86, known as Pirola, and EG.5, known as Eris.
First reported in February, Eris is now responsible for nearly 25 per cent of Covid cases in the US, per CDC data.
Doctors warned that Pirola may be cause for concern as it is a newly-designated, highly-mutated variant of Omicron which triggered a surge in cases in a number of countries including the US.
Some experts are urging Americans to wear a mask when necessary to slow the spread of the virus.
CDC Covid tracker
18,871 hospitalisations from 27 August to 2 September
CDC: Not being up-to-date on your Covid vaccine could make you high-risk for severe disease from the virus
Many people are high-risk for severe disease from Covid due to health issues. For example, some people with conditions such as cancer, asthma, and diabetes are more likely to become very sick if they’re infected with Covid, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
But otherwise healthy people who are unvaccinated—or who don’t stay up-to-date on their vaccines—are also more likely to get severely ill, the agency says.
To lower your chances of suffering a bad outcome from Covid-19, you should get the updated vaccine, now available in pharmacies across the country, experts say.
Maggie O’Neill19 September 2023 15:00
When pregnant women get vaccinated against Covid, their babies could see the benefits, NIH says
Experts are strongly urging pregnant women to get vaccinated against Covid-19 as updated shots roll out across the country. Pregnant women are more likely to develop severe disease from the virus, according to health authorities.
But getting the shot may do more than protect mothers from severe disease, research from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) says.
In a small study, which was supported by the agency, researchers found “protective antibodies in nearly 75% of infants born to women who had been vaccinated during pregnancy”. Those antibodies were, on average, still present when the infant hit the five-month mark.
The research adds to a growing body of evidence that suggests pregnant women benefit greatly from staying up-to-date on their Covid-19 vaccines.
Maggie O’Neill19 September 2023 10:00
CDC program offers free Covid vaccines to people without health insurance
The Bridge Access Program, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), offers updated Covid-19 vaccines to people who do not have health insurance (or those whose health insurance won’t cover the shot).
To find a pharmacy participating in the program and make an appointment, you can visit Vaccines.gov. After selecting which vaccine you’re looking for, you can filter for pharmacies that are participating in the program.
Maggie O’Neill19 September 2023 06:00
Former Florida surgeon general criticises DeSantis administration for not recommending updated Covid vaccines to all who are eligible
Last week, the office of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis released a statement explaining his administration would not recommend the updated Covid vaccines for people under the age of 65, even though the shots have been recommended for everyone six months and older by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
DeSantis, quoted in the statement, said health authorities were using people who chose to get the vaccine as “guinea pigs”. Florida Surgeon General Dr Joseph Ladapo, who was appointed by DeSantis, warned against the “risks” of the updated vaccines in the statement.
Now, the former surgeon general of Florida has criticised Dr Ladapo’s guidance in a new interview with ABC News. Dr Scott Rivkees said, “If they say that Covid vaccines are not safe and that they are not effective, the onus is on them to show those data,” adding that the vaccines are “very, very safe and have a really proven efficacy, particularly against preventing severe disease”.
Maggie O’Neill19 September 2023 01:00
Pirola variant found in these 10 states, data show
So far, Pirola, first detected in July, has been found in Colorado, Maryland, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, and Washington.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in a statement released 23 August that it was too soon to tell whether Pirola, a descendant of Omicron, differs significantly from past variants.
Maggie O’Neill18 September 2023 22:00
Covid symptoms may appear weeks after exposure, CDC says
After a person has been exposed to the virus, symptoms could begin anywhere from two to 14 days later, according to the CDC.
These may include chills, fever, fatigue, shortness of breath, cough, body or muscle aches, headache, sore throat, congestion, nausea, diarrhoea, or loss of taste and smell.
Maggie O’Neill18 September 2023 19:00
How long you need to isolate if you have Covid-19
As hospitalisations and deaths from Covid-19 continue to rise in the US, experts say it’s important to follow guidelines from health authorities if you’re exposed to or infected with the virus.
People with moderate Covid infections should be isolated for a full 10 days. Those with severe infections may need to extend their isolation period to 20 days, since they can still be infectious after 10 days.
Maggie O’Neill18 September 2023 16:07
Experts weigh in on when to get the updated Covid vaccines
Updated Covid vaccines are available for everyone six months and older in the US. Some children may need two or three doses, depending on their age and vaccination status.
Experts say it’s worth getting the shot sooner rather than later. “The earlier you get it, the more similar it’ll be to the current circulating strains and the more immediate protection you get,” Justin Lessler, an epidemiologist at University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health, recently told CNN.
Maggie O’Neill18 September 2023 12:00
Childhood poverty skyrocketed after pandemic aid disappeared
The number of children living in poverty in the US more than doubled when pandemic policies were halted, after Congress refused to renew them. The childhood poverty rate jumped from 5.2 per cent to 12.4 percent.
Maggie O’Neill18 September 2023 07:00
Global health authorities continue to monitor Pirola variant
The new Covid variant BA.2.86, also known as Pirola, is being monitored around the world. A recent outbreak at a nursing home in the UK revealed that 22 residents had been infected with the variant, a descendant of Omicron.
Maggie O’Neill18 September 2023 02:00