Seven Mississippi children are currently in the hospital due to coronavirus infections, with two of the young people on life support, a top health official said on Twitter Tuesday.
State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs also tweeted Monday that “pretty much all cases in Mississippi are delta variant right now” and that the “vast majority of cases/hospitalizations/deaths” are of unvaccinated people.
“7% of deaths in vaccinated worrisome — we are allowing too much circulating delta to reach our most vulnerable,” he added.
At University of Mississippi Medical Center, pediatric admissions for coronavirus-related reasons have increased in the past three weeks, said Dr. Alan Jones, UMMC’s associate vice chancellor for clinical affairs. There are currently four pediatric patients undergoing treatment at UMMC, he said, with two of the young patients in an intensive care unit.
“It does feel a little bit surreal that we’re faced with some rising numbers,” Jones said at UMMC in Jackson on Tuesday. “We certainly remain concerned with the low vaccination rate, we’ll continue to see increases (in cases).”
At least 57% of cases sequenced in the U.S. are of the delta variant, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Tuesday. And the World Health Organization said Tuesday that the variant has been detected in 111 countries and will become the dominant variant globally in the coming months.
“The emergence of more transmissible variants, coupled with the relaxation and inappropriate use of public health and social measures, increased social mobility and mixing, and low vaccination coverage in many countries continue to contribute to rapid surges in incidence, hospitalizations, and deaths in many countries,” the WHO said in its weekly status report.
Also in the news:
►Los Angeles County is reporting the fifth straight day of more than 1,000 new coronavirus cases. County officials said the five-day average of cases is 1,095 — a jump of more than 500% in just one month.
►The Chicago Department of Public Health said starting Friday unvaccinated travelers from Missouri and Arkansas have to either quarantine for 10 days or have a negative COVID-19 test.
►More than 1 million people in France made vaccine appointments in less than a day, according to figures released on Tuesday after the president cranked up pressure on everyone to get vaccinated to save the summer vacation season and the French economy.
►The Tennessee Department of Health will halt all adolescent vaccine outreach — not just for coronavirus, but all diseases — amid pressure from Republican state lawmakers, according to an internal report and agency emails obtained by The Tennessean, part of the USA TODAY Network. If the health department must issue any information about vaccines, staff are instructed to strip the agency logo off the documents.
► A spike in COVID-19 cases prompted the mayor of Orange County, Florida to issue a “strong recommendation” for people to wear masks in crowded places indoors regardless of vaccination status. The county known as the home of Universal Orlando and Walt Disney World has had cases double in the span of a week, Dr. Raul Pino of the Florida Department of Health said Monday, reporting 400 cases per day since Thursday.
► COVAX signed an agreement with Chinese vaccine makers Sinopharm and Sinovac to buy over half a billion of their COVID-19 vaccines by the first half of next year, according to a news release by the Global Alliance for Vaccine and Immunization (Gavi).
📈 Today’s numbers: The U.S. has had more than 33.91 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and more than 607.76 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The global totals: more than 187.7 million cases and more than 4 million deaths. Nearly 160 million Americans – 48.1% of the population – have been fully vaccinated, according to the CDC.
📘 What we’re reading: Do you need a booster shot for COVID-19? It’s not recommended, yet. Here’s what to know.
Pop star Olivia Rodrigo is taking a day off from driving through the suburbs and heading to the White House Wednesday to meet with President Joe Biden and chief medical advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci.
As part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s effort to get young people vaccinated, they will be making videos with Rodrigo to talk about the importance of the vaccine and answer important questions young people might have.
The Pfizer vaccine was approved by the CDC to inoculate children 12 years old and up in May. Currently, 33.5% of 12-to 15-year-old Americans have at least one dose of the vaccine, and 24.9% are fully vaccinated, according to the CDC.
As the highly transmissible delta variant takes up 10% of new COVID cases in the U.S., experts are urging people to get vaccinated and take precautions.
The administration has previously worked with young influencers on TikTok and gaming platforms to take their initiative “one step forward” in reaching younger audiences.
The COVID crisis taking place in and around Springfield, Missouri, where hospitals are getting flooded with coronavirus cases, is likely a preview of what’s in store for the rest of the state as the delta variant continues to spread.
That’s the belief of Steve Edwards, CEO of CoxHealth, a key health care system in southwest Missouri. Cox is currently treating 127 COVID patients, similar to the number it had during last winter’s horrific surge, and nearly a tenfold increase from the 14 such patients seven weeks ago.
Edwards said he hopes people in other parts of Missouri, whose vaccination rate ranks in the bottom 20 among states, “begin to realize that we’re kind of a harbinger for the rest of the state.”
Not only has the number of patients grown significantly, but their ages are much lower, with the average dropping 12 years since the winter. More concerning, they often have severe disease despite a lack of underlying conditions.
“We are seeing younger and sicker patients coming,” Edwards said. “The delta variant’s almost got to be looked at as a different disease, affecting younger people.”
— Gregory J. Holman, Springfield News-Leader
Nestled in the southeast corner of Indiana along the Kentucky border, Switzerland and Ohio counties share much in common: They are rural riverside communities with no major highways. They are overwhelmingly white — both about 96% — and not particularly wealthy, with median household incomes below $32,000.
But in one significant way, these two neighboring counties could not be more different. Ohio County has the state’s third-highest vaccination rate. Switzerland County has the fourth-lowest vaccination rate.
Of Ohio county’s 5,875 residents, 66.4% had been fully vaccinated, as of July 11. Only Hamilton and Boone counties have a higher vaccination rate. For a period of time around March 29, Ohio County was number 1 in the state for both first dose and complete vaccination rates.
Travel south across the county line and just 27.6% of Switzerland county is fully vaccinated. As of July 11, Ohio County had fully vaccinated 3,404 residents, which is 913 more than Switzerland County, despite being half its size.
It’s a story — often repeated — of how in small-town America, all it takes to triumph over hardship is a few good neighbors doing the right thing at the right time to protect one another. Read the full story.
— Ko Lyn Cheang, Indianapolis Star
Contributing: The Associated Press.