Loading...

Disease Experts Look to the End Of Pandemic But Aren’t Sure When

April 16, 2021 by Tom Ramstack
A child in a medical mask during a coronavirus pandemic

WASHINGTON — As the U.S. death toll reached 564,000 from COVID-19, the nation’s top disease experts said Thursday normal life will return for Americans only when enough of them get vaccinated.

But with more than 70,000 new infections daily, they could not predict for Congress when the pandemic will end.

“The only way we’re going to get out of this, particularly with the increase in variants, is to get people vaccinated,” said David Kessler, chief science officer for the White House COVID-19 Response Team.

He told the House Oversight and Reform select subcommittee on the coronavirus crisis that hopes are rising for the pandemic to subside as the supply of vaccine increases, enabling more than three million Americans a day to be vaccinated.

Nevertheless, infections continue more than a year after the onset of the disease in the United States.

“Let’s get this done, then we can see the light at the end of the tunnel,” Kessler said as he suggested a fast pace of vaccination.

So far, at least 37% of the U.S. population has received at least one COVID-19 vaccine injection and more than 23% are fully vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

CDC Director Rochelle P. Walensky cautioned against believing the steady progress has reached a level that makes the public safe, also known as “herd immunity.”

She said that COVID-19 variants that emerged recently from South Africa, the United Kingdom and Brazil present ongoing threats.

“We must remain vigilant in our prevention efforts,” Walensky said.

She declined to project a date for the United States to reach herd immunity.

“I think it’s changing given the variants,” she told lawmakers.

Walensky testified to Congress while one of the COVID-19 vaccines produced by pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson was “paused” by the Food and Drug Administration.

The FDA ordered distribution halted on Tuesday after seven women developed blood clotting problems when they received the vaccine. One of them died.

Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told the congressional subcommittee the FDA wanted a few more days to study the rare aftereffect. He described the move as an effort to show an abundance of caution.

Also on Thursday, a new Economist/YouGov poll showed Americans’ trust in the Johnson & Johnson vaccine fell after the FDA paused distribution.

The report said 52% of U.S. adults believed the Johnson & Johnson shot was “very safe” or “somewhat safe” before the pause. Afterward, only 37% said they believed the injections are safe. Thirty-nine percent believed they are unsafe

The persons surveyed showed much stronger confidence in the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines.

The blood clots formed in fewer than one in a million recipients of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Fauci endured intense criticism from Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, for the public health restrictions he helped to craft. They include shutdowns of schools, businesses and some government agencies.

“I just want to know, when do Americans get their First Amendment liberties back,” Jordan asked Fauci.

Fauci responded, “I don’t see this as a liberty issue. I see it as a public health issue.”

Jordan told him the shutdown was “a national disgrace” that is falling heavily on schoolchildren who are being deprived of adequate education, some of them becoming suicidal.

“Long term damage is being done to those kids,” Jordan said.

Rep. Mark E. Green, R-Tenn., accused the Biden administration of adding to the pandemic by failing to block illegal immigrants who might be infected from entering the United States.

“Americans are at risk of another massive health crisis” because of illegal immigration, Green said.

“This is what we get with an open border,” he said.

In The News

Health

Voting

Health

'Heightened Alert': Abortion Providers Brace for Ruling

In her first week on the job at a Philadelphia abortion clinic, Amanda Kifferly was taught how to search for... Read More

In her first week on the job at a Philadelphia abortion clinic, Amanda Kifferly was taught how to search for bombs. About a year later, protesters blocked the entrances and exits of The Women’s Centers, at one point pulling Kifferly into something resembling a mosh pit,... Read More

June 22, 2022
by Alexa Hornbeck
US Begins Rollout of Childhood COVID Vaccines After FDA and CDC Approval

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention gave the greenlight last week to... Read More

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention gave the greenlight last week to Moderna and Pfizer regarding the emergency use authorization for COVID-19 vaccines for children under 5.  The latest EUAs make vaccines available for an additional 19 million... Read More

June 22, 2022
by Alexa Hornbeck
Sens. Shaheen and Collins Move to Cap Insulin Costs 

Sens. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., and Susan Collins, R-Maine, moved Wednesday to cap the monthly price of insulin at $35 for... Read More

Sens. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., and Susan Collins, R-Maine, moved Wednesday to cap the monthly price of insulin at $35 for those privately insured and those on Medicare, as outlined in this discussion draft. Shaheen and Collins serve as co-chairs of the Diabetes Caucus. They previously led the... Read More

June 22, 2022
by Alexa Hornbeck
DOI to Establish Health and Wellness Program for Wildland Firefighters

A health and well-being program for wildland firefighters is being created by the U.S. Department of the Interior, said Secretary... Read More

A health and well-being program for wildland firefighters is being created by the U.S. Department of the Interior, said Secretary Deb Haaland Friday.  Haaland also announced the allocation of $103 million in fiscal year 2022 for wildfire risk reduction efforts throughout the country through the bipartisan infrastructure law. ... Read More

June 22, 2022
by Alexa Hornbeck
UV Tracking App Launches on First Day of Summer to Prevent Skin and Eye Sun Damage 

The SunSmart Global UV app was released on June 21 to provide localized information on ultraviolet radiation levels for preventing... Read More

The SunSmart Global UV app was released on June 21 to provide localized information on ultraviolet radiation levels for preventing overexposure to the sun, a major cause of skin cancer and UV-related eye damage.  The app was jointly developed by the World Meteorological Organization, the World... Read More

June 22, 2022
by Alexa Hornbeck
Report Shows Omicron Variant Less Likely to Give Someone Long COVID

A report released on June 18 and published in The Lancet shows the omicron variant is less likely to give someone long... Read More

A report released on June 18 and published in The Lancet shows the omicron variant is less likely to give someone long COVID than previous strains of the virus.  The research is the first peer-reviewed study to report on long COVID risk associated with infection by the omicron... Read More

News From The Well