Covid-19 live updates: Delta is the dominant coronavirus variant worldwide, WHO says

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imageFacing overwhelmed hospitals, Alaska became the second state this month to give health-care providers the power to prioritize patients — largely based on their likelihood to survive — for scarce resources and even deny treatment.“Our case counts are rising,” Gov.Mike Dunleavy (R) said at a Wednesday news conference.“It’s impacting our hospital capacity and the ability to get the care that you need.”The decision comes amid a surge in delta variant cases that has prompted the Food and Drug Administration to authorize a Pfizer-BioNTech covid-19 booster shot for people 65 and older and adults at risk of severe illness .Here’s what to know The United States will buy 500 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine to donate to countries in need, President Biden announced in a virtual summit Wednesday on ending the coronavirus pandemic, amid criticism that his administration has done too little on the global stage.The Biden administration already purchased 500 million doses of the vaccine in July to be distributed in tranches to poorer countries through Covax, the initiative led by the World Health Organization, Gavi, and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations.“This is a monumental commitment by the United States, bringing our total number of donated vaccines to the world to more than 1.1 billion,” White House coronavirus coordinator Jeff Zients and Blinken wrote in an op-ed in The Post on Wednesday .“For every one shot we’ve put in an American arm to date, we are now donating about three shots globally.”The summit, which coincides with this week’s United Nations General Assembly meetings , will be broken into four sessions, according to administration officials who previewed the event with reporters on Tuesday.Biden will chair the first session on the need to vaccinate the world, where he will call on global leaders to fully vaccinate 70 percent of the world’s population by next September, The Washington Post previously reported .“Vaccinating Americans and vaccinating people around the world aren’t a choice; they are an imperative,” Zients and Blinken wrote.“That’s why we’re doing both.”

Alaska on Wednesday activated crisis care of standards, the second state this month to give hospitals the power to allocate scarce resources to patients on a priority basis — largely based on their likelihood to survive — and even the authority to deny some patients treatment.“Our case counts are rising,” Gov.Mike Dunleavy (R) said at a news conference.

“It’s impacting our hospital capacity and the ability to get the care that you need.”One of the most feared scenarios of the pandemic comes as the state faces a combination of staffing shortages, limited resources and a surge of covid-patients.

With 1,224 infections recorded on Tuesday, Alaska reached its highest-reported case number and the most in any state, said Anne Zink, Alaska’s chief medical officer.Hospitalizations, especially among the unvaccinated, have also climbed.“Right now our cases and our hospitalizations are past that curve of hospital capacity,” Zink said.With the addendum, Alaska joins Idaho — the first to implement statewide crisis standards of care amid the delta surge — in covering health-care providers making patient decisions according to their policies and available resources.“What this addendum does is it clearly articulates that our health-care providers who act in good faith on behalf of the state have access to these committees, which can help them provide strategies and alternate tools in order to provide care,” said Adam Crum, Alaska’s commissioner of health and social services.“They’re also covered in good faith effort for liability access.”Last week, the state’s largest hospital, Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage, implemented crisis standards of care, as its emergency room overflowed and elective surgeries were postponed.“If you or your loved one need specialty care at Providence, such as a cardiologist, trauma surgeon, or a neurosurgeon, we sadly may not have room now,” Kristen Solana Walkinshaw, a doctor and hospital chief of staff wrote in a Sept.14 letter to the community.

“There are no more staffed beds left.”

The Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday authorized a Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus booster shot for people 65 and older and adults at risk of severe illness, an effort to bolster protection for the most vulnerable Americans against the highly transmissible delta variant of the virus.The agency said boosters should be made available to people 18 through 64 years of age at high risk of severe illness from the coronavirus and those “whose frequent institutional or occupational exposure” to the virus put them at high risk of serious complications of the disease caused by the virus.The agency said the extra dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine should be administered six months after its standard two-shot regimen.The FDA, in issuing the emergency clearance, took an approach similar to what was recommended Friday by the agency’s outside panel of vaccine experts.But the agency interpreted the advisory panel’s guidance broadly to cover a larger swath of people.

Advertisement Updates continue below advertisement Fed signals easing of markets supports could start in November, despite ongoing threat of delta variant By Rachel Siegel 7:10 p.m.Link copied Link

Reflecting growing optimism for the economic recovery, the Federal Reserve’s top policymakers signaled on Wednesday they will ease supports for markets in November if the economy progresses as expected, while also moving up expectations for a rate hike in 2022.Federal Reserve Chair Jerome H.Powell also raised concerns Wednesday about the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and its grip on the economy.

At the end of their two-day policy meeting, Fed officials downgraded earlier, more-encouraging expectations for job and economic growth by the end of the year, amid the continued strain of the public health crisis.The Fed’s assessment captures two simultaneous tales of the economy.By some measures, the economy has made a full recovery from the pandemic and is on track for even more growth.At the same time, jobs and peoples’ livelihoods are still being threatened by a surge in coronavirus cases and drop-off in government aid in a pandemic that has killed 1 in 500 Americans.

Advertisement Updates continue below advertisement International travel is about to get more complicated for unvaccinated Americans By Hannah Sampson 5:46 p.m.Link copied Link

The number of countries allowing unvaccinated American travelers to visit has been dwindling in recent weeks.Now those globe-trotters will find it more complicated to return to the United States after going abroad.Starting in early November, Americans who have not been vaccinated against the coronavirus will have to test negative within a day of leaving on a return flight to the United States.

That is a shift from the current rule that mandates travelers test negative within 72 hours of departure.In a new requirement altogether, those fliers will also have to show proof that they have bought a viral test to take after they return to the country.

Advertisement Updates continue below advertisement His dad died of covid last year.On his 12th birthday, his only wish was to get vaccinated.By Andrea Salcedo 4:30 p.m.

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Gavin Roberts didn’t want a big party, the newest gaming console or sports gear for his birthday this year.Instead, the soon-to-be 12-year-old wanted something free that he had waited over a year to get: protection from the virus that killed his dad.The wait was over on Sunday.At 10:10 a.m., 20 minutes before he was scheduled to get his first dose of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine, Alice Roberts and her son, Gavin, arrived at a pharmacy miles from their Glen Ridge, N.J., home.The preteen was so set on getting the vaccine on his birthday that his mom said he asked to be driven to a pharmacy farther from their home rather than waiting for one closer by to open on Monday.Sporting the cross necklace that his father wore while hospitalized with the virus last year, Gavin sat still as the nurse injected his left arm.Alice Roberts, who stood nearby snapping pictures, said she exhaled in relief.An elementary school social studies teacher who first wrote about her son’s experience in a column published by NJ.com, Alice Roberts said she hopes Gavin’s story can serve as an example for the millions of Americans who have yet to schedule their shots.

Advertisement Updates continue below advertisement Key coronavirus updates from around the world By Annabelle Timsit 3:51 p.m.

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Here’s what to know about the top coronavirus stories around the globe from news service reports.

More than half of adults who reportedly developed a rare inflammatory syndrome stemming from a coronavirus infection were admitted to an intensive care unit, indicating that severe symptoms developed in such cases, researchers with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found.The researchers identified 221 patients who had multisystem inflammatory syndrome — a condition in which different body parts, including the heart, lungs, kidney, brain, skin, eyes or gastrointestinal organs, become inflamed — after a bout of covid-19, according to the preprint posted Wednesday to JAMA Network Open .Most faced serious illness, including nearly half of the patients who required respiratory support.About 7 percent died, according to the CDC data.Ten patients presented with Kawasaki disease, a condition that causes inflammation in the walls of the blood vessels.Most of these adult patients were young, with a median age of 22, the researchers noted.The majority were male and either Black or Hispanic.It is believed that multisystem inflammatory syndrome also has affected hundreds of American children infected with the coronavirus during the pandemic, as they reported strange symptoms, including fevers and rashes.The study’s authors suggested that doctors should closely monitor covid-19 patients for inflammatory conditions if their history of illness is not known.

They also said more research is needed to evaluate the best treatments for multisystem inflammatory syndrome.

Within 48 hours of his appointment by Gov.Ron DeSantis (R), Florida’s new top health official issued an emergency order that lets parents choose whether their children will quarantine when they are exposed to the coronavirus.The order signed by Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo still requires children with symptoms of covid-19 or a positive test to quarantine.But children who are exposed to the coronavirus — by sitting next to a classmate who later tests positive, for example — do not have to stay home.Ladapo has said he does not support mandates for mask-wearing or vaccines and opposes lockdowns.

In a news conference at which his appointment was announced, he said too many responses to the coronavirus have been driven by emotion .“Florida will completely reject fear,” Ladapo said.“We’ve just brazenly pulled children who need the structure of school and need the structure of routine in their lives out of school.”

In addition to announcing that the United States is donating another 500 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine to countries in need, Biden said Wednesday that his administration would work to “scale up” vaccine manufacturing in other countries, including in Africa.“We’re working with partner nations, pharmaceutical companies and other manufacturers to increase their own capacity and capability to produce and manufacture safe and highly effective vaccines in their own countries,” Biden said at Wednesday’s virtual summit on the sidelines of the U.N.General Assembly.Biden said another focus will be helping with the logistics of “getting those vaccines in people’s arms.”He announced that the United States would spend an additional $370 million on that effort globally and spend another $380 million to assist Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, “to further facilitate vaccine distribution in regions with the greatest need.”

In remarks at Wednesday’s virtual summit on the sidelines of the U.N.General Assembly, Biden called the coronavirus pandemic a “global tragedy” and urged greater international cooperation on the issue.Biden opened his remarks by noting that the global coronavirus death toll exceeds 4.5 million people — more than 670,000 of whom are Americans.“We’re not going to solve this crisis with half-measures or middle-of-the-road ambitions,” he said.“We need to go big, and we need to do our part.Governments, the private sector, civil society leaders, philanthropists — this is an all-hands-on-deck crisis.”

Federal agents have seized bundles of counterfeit coronavirus vaccination cards and Pfizer-branded stickers shipped to Cincinnati from China.Authorities said the items were bound for unvaccinated people seeking to cheat requirements that they must furnish proof of vaccination to gain entry to restaurants, schools and public spaces.The vaccination cards, which were printed with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention logo, had misspellings and substandard printing, clues that tipped off U.S.

Customs and Border Protection officers that they were fake, the agency said in a news release last week .In one photo , it appeared the disease caused by the virus was spelled “COVD-19” and “COVLID-19.”Officers have seized thousands of fake vaccine cards since the country’s vaccination campaign began.Making or buying a counterfeit card violates federal laws against the unauthorized use of a government agency’s official seal, which can result in a fine and up to five years in prison, according to the FBI .“Creating or buying a fake COVID-19 vaccination card is illegal, not to mention dangerous,” Cincinnati Port Director Richard Gillespie said in a statement.“Purchasing counterfeit cards supports criminals whose only concern is their bank account, not American security or the health of our citizens.”The shipments were being imported by “non-medical entities” in homes and apartments in Illinois, Maryland, Missouri, New York and Texas, authorities said.Katie Shepherd contributed to this report.

A leading asthma patient group has issued a warning against a coronavirus treatment circulating on social media that is leading some people to post videos of themselves breathing in hydrogen peroxide through a nebulizer.The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America called the practice “concerning and dangerous” in a Tuesday blog post , emphasizing that it will neither treat nor prevent the virus and is harmful to the lungs.“DO NOT put hydrogen peroxide into your nebulizer and breathe it in.This is dangerous!” the foundation wrote in a brief blog post.

Analysis: The hidden cost of the coronavirus death toll to younger Americans By Philip Bump 9:33 a.m.Link copied Link

Since the coronavirus emerged last year, there’s been a repeated line of argument aimed at minimizing it that can be summarized succinctly: Most people who contract it live.That, happily, is true.

The majority of people who contract the virus live, particularly younger people.Ironically, that may also have helped increase the virus’s death toll: a deadlier virus might have led to fewer people who went on to help spread it.But the argument suffers from two flaws, one obvious and one not.The obvious one is that 675,000 dead Americans, more than 1-in-500 alive last year, is a brutal toll for the country to have paid.The 1 or 2 percent who do die of the virus add up to a lot when indifference to the virus is used as an excuse not to try to contain it.The less obvious point is that, while it is true that covid-19 disproportionately kills older Americans, it has also killed a lot of younger ones.And while all of those deaths are tragic, the tragedy is different when a 40-year-old dies than when someone in her 90s does.This was another weird argument that has cropped up : a lot of those who died were going to die soon anyway, as though that makes it all right.

But a lot of those who died also might have expected to have had years or decades of life in front of them — a future that vanished when they succumbed to covid..

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