First, déjà vu. The NFL is rescheduling games due to coronavirus outbreaks for multiple state teams. The Centers for Disease Control reported that students who have been exposed to the coronavirus can safely continue in-person learning if they are regularly tested for the virus at school, avoiding disruptive at-home quarantines. Also announced, Pfizer and BioNTech said that they are modifying their clinical trial to include a third shot at least two months after the initial two-dose regimen for children under age 5. The companies reported that two doses of the pediatric vaccine failed in 2-, 3- and 4-year-olds to trigger an immune response comparable to what was generated in teens and older adults.
The Covid-19 pandemic last year drove the biggest increase in death benefits paid by U.S. life insurers since the 1918 influenza epidemic, an industry trade group said. Death-benefit payments rose 15.4% in 2020 to $90.43 billion, mostly due to the pandemic, according to the American Council of Life Insurers. The hit to the insurance industry was less than expected early in the pandemic because many of the victims were older people who typically have smaller policies.
With the proportion of COVID-19 cases caused by the Omicron variant of concern (VOC) expected to surge in the coming weeks in the US, more data are being collected on who is becoming infected, including people who are fully vaccinated. According to US CDC data published last week, 34 of the 43 Omicron cases initially recorded were in fully vaccinated people, 14 of whom had received a booster. While much is still unknown about Omicron’s ability to dodge vaccine-induced immunity, it appears Omicron is able to skirt at least some protection garnered from vaccination and cause breakthrough cases. A new report from the Peterson-KFF Health System Tracker—which was conducted prior to Omicron’s detection and is based primarily on COVID-19 cases caused by the Delta variant—suggests that COVID-19 breakthrough cases are highly correlated with age (more common among those aged 65 and older) and underlying health conditions. A recent Wall Street Journal analysis came to the same conclusions. According to CDC data posted on November 22, unvaccinated persons had 14 times the risk of dying in September compared to vaccinated persons, showing that vaccination continues to be the best way to reduce the risk of severe disease, hospitalization, and death from COVID-19.
CSSE is reporting 50,595,990 positive cases in the U.S. and 804,938 deaths.