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COVID-19 Impact on GeorgiaCOVID-19 News from Around the State

US to spend $3.2B on treatments for COVID-19, other viruses

AP - June 18, 2021

The United States is devoting $3.2 billion to speed development of antiviral pills to treat COVID-19 and other dangerous viruses that could turn into pandemics. The new program will invest in “accelerating things that are already in progress” for COVID-19 but also would work to come up with treatments for other viruses, said Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert. He announced the investment Thursday at a White House briefing.

The U.S. agrees to buy 200 million more doses of Moderna’s vaccine, in case boosters are needed.

New York Times - June 18, 2021

The purchase, with delivery expected to begin this fall and continue into next year, gives the administration the flexibility to administer booster shots if they prove necessary, and to inoculate children under 12 if the FDA authorizes vaccination for that age group, according to two administration officials not authorized to discuss it publicly.

CDC: Over 300 cases of ‘mild’ heart issues in young people after COVID-19 vaccinations

TODAY - June 18, 2021

More than 300 cases of heart inflammation after Covid-19 vaccinations have been reported in young people, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said Thursday. "The cases are rare," she said. "Over 20 million adolescents and young adults [have been] vaccinated in the United States." Still, the cases of either myocarditis or pericarditis, which involve inflammation of the heart or the surrounding tissue, are higher than what would be expected for this age group.

High Hopes for Johnson & Johnson’s Covid Vaccine Have Fizzled in the U.S.

New York Times - June 18, 2021

Production problems and a brief pause on its use kept the one-dose vaccine from becoming the game changer that health officials across the country believed it would be. … with only 11.8 million doses administered in the United States so far — less than 4 percent of the total — the “one and done” vaccine has fallen flat. States have warned for weeks that they may not find recipients for millions of doses that will soon expire, partly because the vaccine’s appeal dropped after it was linked to a rare but serious blood-clotting disorder and injections were paused for 10 days in April.

Nearly 900 people got expired Pfizer-BioNTech shots in New York City

Washington Post - June 18, 2021

The NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene is urging the 899 people, who were given Pfizer-BioNTech shots between June 5 and 10 at the former NFL Experience building in Times Square, to get another dose as soon as possible. Experts say the expired doses are not dangerous, but their effectiveness could be in question.

As COVID-19 crisis ebbs, some seeking 9/11-style commission

AP - June 18, 2021

With more than 600,000 Americans dead of COVID-19 and questions still raging about the origin of the virus and the government’s response, a push is underway on Capitol Hill and beyond for a full-blown investigation of the crisis by a national commission like the one that looked into 9/11. It is unclear whether such a probe will ever happen, though a privately sponsored team of public health experts is already laying the groundwork for one.

Vaccine effort turns into slog as infectious variant spreads

AP - June 17, 2021

As cases tumble and states reopen, the potential final stage in the U.S. campaign to vanquish COVID-19 is turning into a slog, with a worrisome variant gaining a bigger foothold and lotteries and other prizes failing to persuade some Americans to get vaccinated. … While two of the states slammed hardest by the disaster, California and New York, celebrated their reopenings this week with fireworks and a multimillion-dollar drawing, hospitalizations in parts of Missouri are surging and cases are rising sharply in Texas, illustrating the challenges the country faces this summer.

Royal Caribbean’s Launch Of Its New Megaship Just Got Sidelined By COVID Cases

NPR - June 17, 2021

Royal Caribbean's new megaship, Odyssey of the Seas, was supposed to hail the company's return to business as near-usual this summer. But the ship's launch is now delayed after eight crew members tested positive for the coronavirus. Its first scheduled trips are now canceled. The Odyssey of the Seas had been slated to make its debut sail with paying passengers on July 3 … Its first voyage is now delayed for four weeks, until July 31.

Jobless claims: Initial filings unexpectedly rose to 412,000 last week

Yahoo! Finance - June 17, 2021

Initial unemployment claims unexpectedly rose to end a six-week streak of improvements, even as economic activity ramped further. In the coming weeks, a phase-out of enhanced unemployment benefits across many states may decrease the total number of claimants. … New filings were expected to hold below the psychologically important level of 400,000 for a third week and near their pre-pandemic average of just over 200,000 per week.

With moratorium ending, more than 8 million households face foreclosure or eviction

CBS News - June 17, 2021

Even as the nation rebounds from the coronavirus pandemic, more than 2 million homeowners are behind on their mortgages and risk being forced out of their homes in a matter of weeks, a new Harvard University housing report warns. Most of the homeowners at risk of foreclosure are either low-income or families of color, said researchers who published the 2021 State of the Nation's Housing report.

Americans lost more years of life to COVID-19 in 2020 than to all accidents combined in a typical year

Pew Research - June 17, 2021

In 2020 alone, the coronavirus was responsible for about 380,000 deaths and roughly 5.5 million years of lost life in the United States, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of provisional data from the CDC. That number of life years lost is more than the number lost in a typical calendar year to all accidents combined – including traffic accidents, drownings, firearm accidents, drug overdoses and other poisonings – and more than triple the number of life years lost in a normal calendar year due to liver disease or diabetes.

In poorest countries, surges worsen shortages of vaccines

AP - June 17, 2021

A sense of dread is growing in some of the very poorest countries in the world as virus cases surge and more contagious variants take hold amid a crippling shortage of vaccine. ... With intensive care units filling up in cities overwhelmed by the pandemic, severe disease can be a death sentence. Africa is especially vulnerable. Its 1.3 billion people account for 18% of the world’s population, but the continent has received only 2% of all vaccine doses administered globally.

US COVID-19 deaths hit 600,000, equal to yearly cancer toll

AP - June 16, 2021

The U.S. death toll from COVID-19 topped 600,000 on Tuesday, even as the vaccination drive has drastically brought down daily cases and fatalities and allowed the country to emerge from the gloom and look forward to summer. The number of lives lost, as recorded by Johns Hopkins University, is greater than the population of Baltimore or Milwaukee. It is about equal to the number of Americans who died of cancer in 2019. Worldwide, the COVID-19 death toll stands at about 3.8 million.

More evidence suggests COVID-19 was in US by Christmas 2019

AP - June 16, 2021

A new analysis of blood samples from 24,000 Americans taken early last year is the latest and largest study to suggest that the new coronavirus popped up in the U.S. in December 2019 — weeks before cases were first recognized by health officials. The analysis is not definitive, and some experts remain skeptical, but federal health officials are increasingly accepting a timeline in which small numbers of COVID-19 infections may have occurred in the U.S. before the world ever became aware of a dangerous new virus erupting in China.

Regeneron antibody saves lives in some hospitalized Covid patients, study finds

STAT - June 16, 2021

A monoclonal antibody treatment for Covid-19 developed by Regeneron saved lives among hospitalized patients who had not mounted their own immune response, a finding that could dramatically change the way that doctors will use the therapy, researchers in the UK announced Wednesday. The new data mark the first time that a medicine that works by fighting the SARS-CoV-2 virus has been shown to reduce mortality. Other treatments, such as the steroid dexamethasone, have been shown to save lives by tamping down the immune system’s overactive response to the virus.

Almost All U.S. Physicians Have Gotten a COVID Vaccine

HealthDay - June 16, 2021

More than 96% are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, with no significant difference in vaccination rates across regions, according to a new survey from the American Medical Association (AMA). Even among the 4% not yet vaccinated, 45% said they do plan to get their vaccine.