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Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Update

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10/15/2021

White House and Federal Agencies

  • The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) held the seventh COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force Meeting to vote on recommendations for mitigating health inequities caused by COVID-19.
  • An FDA panel voted in support of half dose booster shots of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine for people 65 and up, with certain medical problems, or employed in jobs with increased risk of infection.
    • The booster still needs to be approved by an advisory panel and federal officials before it can be fully authorized.
    • The FDA will meet tomorrow to discuss authorization of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 booster shot.
  • The White House COVID-19 Response Team discussed COVID-19 vaccination rates and cases at a press briefing yesterday.
    • They announced that over one third of eligible seniors have already received their Pifizer COVID-19 booster.
  • U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas announced that the U.S. will lift COVID-19 restrictions at its land and ferry borders from Canada and Mexico in November for fully vaccinated individuals.
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) announced a new team of experts to lead studies about origins of epidemic and pandemic pathogens, including the origins of COVID-19, as well as advise the WHO Secretariat on future related missions.

Economy, Vaccine, Testing and Treatment

  • A preprint of a National Institutes of Health (NIH) study found mix-and-match vaccines effective. Johnson & Johnson boosters were not as effective in people that originally received Pfizer and Moderna shots, but Moderna and Pfizer boosters led to stronger immune responses in people that originally received Johnson & Johnson shots.
  • Director of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Dr. Fauci warned the public to not “declare victory” after seeing the current decrease in COVID-19 cases.
  • A military archbishop announced that Catholic military members can refuse the COVID-19 vaccine on religious grounds.
  • A new study showed Medicare Advantage (MA) beneficiaries had a 19% lower rate of COVID-19 hospitalizations in the first nine months of the pandemic compared to traditional Medicare patients.
  • A poll found most of the American public supports school vaccine mandates for children over 12.
  • China is preparing to test Wuhan blood samples in their effort to discover the origins of COVID-19.
  • A new study revealed that individuals with mental disorders have higher COVID-19 mortality risk.  
  • A study showed a 12% increase in cases of the multisite inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C) in children since late August.
  • NIAID Director Dr. Fauci announced that it is safe for children to go trick-or-treating this Halloween.
  • A CDC study shows that anxiety and depression amongst Americans decreased 26.8% from December 2020 to June 2021. It increased 13% at the beginning of the pandemic.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Updates