Biden announces additional Command, researchers investigate new shots and treatments, and disrupt global vaccine distribution. Here’s what you need to know:
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The White House has announced a new plan to deal with the next phase of the epidemic
Yesterday, President Biden announced several new Covid-19 policies. The six parts of his plan are to increase vaccinations, increase protection against vaccines, keep schools safe and open, increase testing and masking, accelerate economic recovery and improve the care of the sick. Vaccine command is central. All employers with more than 100 employees will require either vaccinations or weekly testing, workers will have to pay time to get their shots and recover from side effects, and face fines of up to $ 14,000 per violation if they do not. And all federal workers in the executive branch and government contractors will also need vaccinations.
Biden has also called on governors for the need for vaccinations for school staff. This week, the country’s second-largest school district, Los Angeles, took a step further and announced that all students over the age of 12 would need to be vaccinated to attend classes in person.
Drug makers and researchers are working to develop more vaccine and treatment options
Top officials at Bioentech recently announced that the drugmaker is ready to request worldwide approval to use its Covid-19 vaccine in children under 5 years of age. Meanwhile, other drug manufacturers have said plans are underway for a new type of vaccine that could fight both Covid-19 and the flu. NovaVex said this week that it has begun an early-stage trial to test its joint shot, and it expects results in the first half of 2022. Moderna is also developing a two-in-one booster.
Researchers are also working to find existing drugs that can treat mild cases of covid and keep more people out of the hospital. Preliminary data suggest that an antidepressant drug called fluvoxamine may be helpful, but more research is needed to say for sure. And although there were some promising initial results from ivermectin, there is no evidence to suggest that it helps prevent or treat covid.
International vaccine distribution efforts are falling short
Around the time of the UN General Assembly meetings later this month, the Biden administration is expected to suggest an international summit to discuss the epidemic and in particular vaccine production and distribution. Fair vaccine distribution continues in full swing: This week COVAX announced that it is on track to be about 30 percent lower than its distribution target for 2021. Drug manufacturers say there should be enough vaccines for every adult in the world in 2022, but rich countries that have bought most of the world’s supplies need to make sure those shots are properly distributed.
This week, the WHO chief spoke again about booster shots, urging rich nations to suspend them until the end of the year so that those doses could be made available to people elsewhere who have not yet received their initial doses.
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Why are hospital-related infections on the rise during epidemics?
Health-care-related infections, which often occur in people while in the hospital, are caused by a number of factors. Patients in the ICU are susceptible to infection, but are treated in close proximity to other sick people, and health care personnel may inadvertently become carriers, such as life-saving equipment. Crowds and extra demands on hospital staff also don’t help. During an epidemic, the pressure to care for sick people with covid has undermined years of progress in preventing this type of infection. The good news is, the solution to this problem may be the same as the solution to the epidemic: vaccination. The fewer people are seriously ill, the better hospitals will be equipped to keep everyone safe from coming through their doors.
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