US deaths nearly double in two weeks, rise in 42 states; California school district mandates student vaccines: Latest COVID-19 updates
Despite the huge spike in coronavirus cases across the nation, some analysts believed the number of deaths – a lagging indicator – would not soar nearly as swiftly because of the protection from severe disease provided by vaccines.
The increase has indeed been less dramatic, but no less worrisome – and it’s picking up.
Deaths are rising in 42 states, the worst tally seen since December. In the week ending Wednesday, the U.S. reported 5,742 deaths, nearly double the total from two weeks earlier. The 10,991 Americans who died of COVID-19 in the first 18 days of August are already more than all the fatalities in June or July.
The nearly 2.2 million U.S. cases in those first 18 days make this the fifth-worst month in the pandemic, blowing past the highest monthly totals of the 2020 spring and summer surges, with case counts rising in 44 states.
And while infections have climbed by 47% in the last two weeks, deaths have more than doubled that figure at 97%, according to the New York Times database. At the current pace, 34 Americans die of COVID-19 every hour.
New daily caseloads have surpassed 150,000 nationwide, still about half the total from the pandemic’s most horrific point in January, and the current weekly average of about 800 deaths a day remains one-quarter of the fatalities at that time.
But with the delta variant continuing to spread wildly, the trends are going in the wrong direction.
– Mike Stucka
US sees more cases in August than all of July; CDC OKs third vaccine dose for immunocompromised; 620K US deaths: Latest COVID-19 updates
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention decided Friday that people with severely weakened immune systems should be able to receive a third dose of COVID-19 vaccine.
The move came after the Food and Drug Administration decided late Thursday to allow extra shots for the less than 3% of Americans who are severely immunocompromised, but left it to the CDC to define exactly who should get the additional doses.
The CDC’s advisory committee on vaccines spent four hours Friday considering evidence on the safety and effectiveness of extra shots for specific groups of people whose immune systems do not work well, either because of disease or medication.
They voted unanimously to offer a third shot to a very narrow band of people: the 2.7 million Americans with the weakest immune systems, who were unlikely to get adequate protection from their initial shots.
“This official CDC recommendation – which follows FDA’s decision to amend the emergency use authorizations of the vaccines – is an important step in ensuring everyone, including those most vulnerable to COVID-19, can get as much protection as possible from COVID-19 vaccination,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said in a statement.
The severely immunocompromised are often left unprotected by the two-dose regimen. Roughly 40-44% of people hospitalized with severe COVID-19 infections after vaccination are immunocompromised, the CDC said.