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dr Ashish K. Jha, the White House COVID-19 coordinator, said people should focus more on what President Biden said after he quipped, “The pandemic is over.” During an interview with SiriusXM’s Zerlina Maxwell on Tuesday, Jha clarified the president’s comments: “He said, ‘But it’s clearly not over yet. And we still have a lot to do with COVID.” And that’s absolutely right.” Jha said, “Morning with Zerlina” that about 400 Americans are still dying every day as a result of the coronavirus. “That’s an unacceptably high number by any measure,” he said. “If you extrapolate that on an annual basis, that’s about 130,000 to 140,000 deaths a year. For me this is unbearable. So we have to shut that down. That’s priority number one.” He added that the nation also needs to “figure out how to lower infections” and “reduce the burden of long COVID.” Jha said, “There is still work to be done to ensure that we reduce the burden of this disease and leave the American people healthier and better off.”
Federal authorities on Tuesday indicted 47 people in Minnesota on conspiracy and other charges in what they described as the largest fraud scheme to date exploited the COVID-19 pandemic by stealing $250 million from a federal program that robs children low-income meals provides The Associated Press. Prosecutors say the defendants set up businesses that claimed to provide food to tens of thousands of children across Minnesota and then sought reimbursement for those meals through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s nutrition programs. Prosecutors say few meals were actually served, and the defendants used the money to buy luxury cars, real estate and jewelry. “That $250 million is the bottom,” Andy Luger, the US Attorney for Minnesota, said at a news conference. “Our investigation continues.” Many of the companies claiming to serve food were sponsored by a nonprofit organization called Feeding Our Future, which submitted the companies’ claims for reimbursement.
Despite President Biden’s hopeful remarks Sunday that the “pandemic is over,” COVID-19 is becoming more common, according to Dr. Bob Wachter is likely to remain one of the leading killers in the United States indefinitely. “When we think about the causes of death in our society, it’s likely that COVID is probably on the list forever,” the UCSF medical division chair told NBC News. “Whether we call it a pandemic or not, it’s still a major threat to people.”
COVID-19 has been the third leading cause of death in the United States for the past two years, behind heart disease and cancer, according to preliminary data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For the past three months, the nation has suffered an average of about 400 deaths a day from the virus. Public health experts say if this trend continues, the US will track between 113,000 and 188,000 COVID deaths annually. In comparison, influenza kills between 12,000 and 52,000 people each year. Wachter interpreted the comments from the White House to mean that the nation had emerged from the crisis mode of the pandemic and into a more stable era of the virus. “They feel like we need to shift our mindset here to the long game,” Wachter said. “It’s not as acute a threat as it used to be.”
Chinese scientists have developed a face mask with a built-in electronic sensor that can detect exposure to the coronavirus or influenza virus, according to a peer-reviewed report published Monday in the science journal Matter. The researchers at Tongji University in Shanghai said the “wireless bioelectric mask” can successfully detect airborne SARS-CoV-2, H5N1 and H1N1 influenza viruses within 10 minutes and send a notification to a smart device. They hope the development will “facilitate wireless and real-time surveillance for personal protection and prevent infectious diseases in advance,” they wrote.
Michael Osterholm, director of the University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, told STAT News Monday that there was no science to back President Biden’s claim on Sunday that the COVID-19 pandemic was “over.” be. The infectious disease expert called the president’s remarks, which were filmed for an episode of 60 Minutes at a Detroit auto show, “an unfortunate, unforced error.” He feared Biden’s words will hamper efforts to expand the national health emergency for COVID, which has been used to expand Medicaid coverage, telehealth services, increased payments to hospitals and other pandemic response.
Osterholm also thinks the comments have “violated” public health messages urging Americans to keep up to date on their immunizations against COVID. “The last thing you want to do is stop people from getting their boosters,” he said in reference to the updated bivalent shots federal officials rolled out last week. “If I hear the President of the United States say that the pandemic is over, why the hell do you want a refresher?” Osterholm told CIDRAP News that pandemics are not declared over because of political decisions, but because of scientific consensus . As new Omicron subvariants like BF.7 and BA.2.75.2 gain ground on BA.5, he said it’s better to let people know that the future of the COVID-19 pandemic remains uncertain.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams plans to drop the city’s requirement that private sector workers be vaccinated against COVID-19. In a statement in which Adams and New York City health officials urged residents to schedule an appointment for a bivalent booster shot, the mayor also said the city will “encourage private companies to establish their own immunization policies after they have the immunization mandate for made the private sector optional.” The private sector mandate, introduced by former Mayor Bill de Blasio, expires on November 1.
Xavier Becerra, the US Secretary of Health and Human Services, said he supports President Biden’s comment in Sunday’s 60 Minutes on the state of the COVID-19 pandemic. “The President is right,” he told Yahoo Finance on Monday. “He made it clear that Americans are still dying by the hundreds every day from COVID and that’s why we have to stick with it. The vaccines are the most effective way for us to stay protected.” Speaking on 60 Minutes, Biden said, “The pandemic is over.” Many senior White House officials were surprised by the remark, according to the Washington Post. But Becerra stood by the president. “I think the president has reflected what so many Americans are thinking and feeling,” he said, noting that vaccines, tests and treatments have improved the outlook for many coronavirus patients. “I think the President made it very clear – COVID is still here. We just have to make sure we’re smart.”
The value of shares in the top three US COVID-19 vaccine makers fell sharply on Monday after President Biden said during a “60 Minutes” interview that the coronavirus pandemic was “over.” Moderna shares fell 9.21%; Pfizer fell 1.81% and its partner BioNTech fell 9.44%; while newcomer Novavax fell 8.8%.
White House officials said Monday that despite President Biden’s comment that “the pandemic is over,” there will be no change in the nation’s COVID-19 policy. On Monday, an administration official told CNN that there were no plans to lift the public health emergency that has been in place since January 2020 and is scheduled to be extended on October 13. Officials fear Biden’s comments could jeopardize the administration’s request Congress approves $22.4 billion in additional funding to continue offering tests, treatments and vaccines.
dr Adding to the chorus of public health experts who responded to President Biden’s off-the-cuff comment that “the pandemic is over” during a “60 Minutes” interview, Bob Wachter said he wasn’t sure if the statement was true . “It’s a discretionary decision,” said UCSF’s chair of medicine in a tweet Monday. He elaborated, clarifying that the US could potentially move beyond COVID-19 crisis mode into a more sustained coronavirus control phase. “The threat is clearly much lower than before, people have the means to stay fairly safe (although many are choosing not to), and at some point we need to move from an emergency baseline to a sustainable long-term strategy,” Wächter said. Diana Zicklin Berrent, the founder of grassroots COVID advocacy group Survivor Corps, answered, “Maybe you wait until you really know the pandemic is over before declaring victory? You know… doesn’t hurt?” Paula Weston, another Twitter user, contradicted the ambiguity of Wachter’s statement: “The CDC says 358 people die from COVID in the US every week.” She wrote
Students at Stanford are criticizing the university’s updated COVID-19 guidelines that require people infected with the coronavirus to isolate in their dormitories or apartments, potentially putting their roommates at risk. Johanna Flodint told the student newspaper The Stanford Daily that it was “unfair to force a roommate who is not ill to look for an apartment”. The university previously required people who were infected to be isolated remotely. A spokesman for the university said students without critical health conditions can also apply for temporary housing, but these will be assessed on a case-by-case basis. Lizbeth Hernandez added, “I don’t think so [the new policy] is a solution at all. The risk of roommates catching COVID is even higher if they’re forced to stay in the same room.” Many students said the change will highlight inequality issues at Stanford, noting that the new policy will benefit low-income students would affect it the most. Alexander Worley said that “wealthier students can rent a hotel or otherwise make arrangements to avoid staying with their COVID-positive flatmate. But low-income students who can’t afford it are forced to stay with their roommate and are likely to contract COVID.”