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Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Update

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06/04/2021

Congress

  • New data shows how stimulus checks passed by Congress helped many Americans deal with financial hardships and hunger during the pandemic.

White House and Federal Agencies

  • Vaccination rates continue to decline which has led many states to try new strategies to persuade unvaccinated people to get vaccinated. President Biden announced that the federal government will also use incentives to help reach his Administration’s goal to get over 70 percent of American adults to receive their first shot before July 4th.
    • A dozen states have vaccinated at least 70 percent of their adult populations.
  • President Biden unveiled his budget proposal for 2022 on Friday which includes major increases for scientific agencies and research programs. NIH and CDC would each receive more than 20 percent increases in their annual budgets.
  • The Biden Administration previously stated it plans to share excess vaccine doses with other countries. This week, the Administration announced how it will distribute the first 25 million COVID-19 vaccine doses.
    • Nineteen-million of the doses will be routed through the global aid program COVAX to countries in Central and South America, Asia and Africa.
    • Another 6 million doses will be split among nations including Mexico, Canada and South Korea, as well as to U.N. health workers.
    • The donation will include of vaccines from Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer and Moderna.
    • The Administration might also begin distributing some doses allocated to states that are about to expire to other countries.
  • Medicare spending on COVID-19-related care for fee-for-service beneficiaries reached $6.3 billion from April through December 2020, while the mean hospitalization costs per case totaled $21,752.
  • The new White House science adviser wants to have a vaccine ready to fight the next pandemic in just about 100 days after recognizing a potential viral outbreak. 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Updates

 
Economy, Vaccine, Testing and Treatment

  • More than 60 percent of U.S. adults have gotten at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, and overall rates could reach 70 percent in the next few months, according to research from the Kaiser Family Foundation.
  • COVID-19 vaccination continues to lag among vulnerable populations despite their eligibility for vaccines. 
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) announced a new naming system for coronavirus variants. Instead of the alphanumeric and punctuation versions used so far, each variant will instead be given a name from the Greek alphabet. In addition to simplifying the way variants are referred to, the hope is that the new system will also strip away some stigma experienced by countries in which variants have emerged. Once the 24 Greek letters have been exhausted, the WHO will come up with another system to name additional variants. 
  • The CDC is predicting that COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths will decrease over the next four weeks.
  • Moderna has asked the FDA for full approval of its coronavirus vaccine in people 18 and older.
  • The heads of four major global agencies, including the WHO and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), are calling for world leaders to invest $50 billion towards ending the pandemic.
  • New reporting highlights inconsistent state-level data collection for vaccination rates by race and ethnicity.
  • NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins is highlighting two new studies that show mRNA vaccines for COVID-19 "appear to be completely safe for pregnant women."
  • BARDA is launching a new program to work with venture capital companies to help bring to market breakthrough technologies in preparation for the next pandemic. This program will provide $50 million over five years with the potential for up to $500 million over 10 years.
  • The pandemic moratorium on evictions will continue after a federal appeals court denied a legal challenge to lift the moratorium on evictions. A federal court recently ruled against the moratorium but stayed the decision from taking effect pending an appeal.
  • About 150 fully vaccinated adults will participate in an NIH-backed trial that will evaluate outcomes after mixing different vaccines for booster doses. For example, this study will evaluate if a person who received one type of vaccine (e.g. Pfizer) can receive a booster dose from a different manufacturer (e.g. Moderna or Johnson and Johnson). 
  • New weekly jobless claims continued to fall to a new pandemic low of 385,000.