A new study out of Israel found that unvaccinated children may get indirect protection from COVID-19 through their vaccinated parents.
Researchers studied households made up of two parents and unvaccinated children, estimating the effect of parental vaccination on unvaccinated childrenâ€™s risk of catching COVID-19. The research was conducted during two periods in 2021, corresponding with the alpha and delta variant waves.
The study found that, regardless of household size, having one vaccinated parent decreased the risk of an unvaccinated child catching COVID-19 by 23.4% on average. Two vaccinated parents decreased the risk by an average of 64.9%, although the risk only decreased by 58.1% during the delta wave, compared to 71.7% during the alphaÂ wave. Â
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends everyone over the age of five receive a vaccine.
Reported child COVID-19 cases have spiked dramatically across the United States with the rise of the highly contagious omicron variant. In the week ending Jan. 20,Â over 1.1 million COVID-19 cases in children were reported nationwide â€”Â a 17% increase from the 981,000 cases a week prior, and double the cases from the two weeks earlier,Â according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.Â
Also in the news:
â–ºFormer Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin dined at a New York City restaurant Wednesday, days after it was confirmed she tested positive for the coronavirus multiple times. CDC guidelines call for people to isolate themselves for at least five days after the onset of symptoms or a positive test.Â
â–ºA New York couple is facing felony charges for allegedly using fake COVID-19 vaccine cards to get into the Buffalo Bills’ playoffÂ game against the New England Patriots.Â
â–ºSan Francisco will allow vaccinated office workers, gym members, and other “stable cohorts” of people to stop wearing masks indoors on Feb. 1.
â–ºDespiteÂ access toÂ vaccines, boosters and testing, some people still contract COVID-19 and feel immense shame. Doctors say thatÂ thinking needs toÂ shift.
📈Today’s numbers:Â The U.S. has recorded more than 73Â million confirmed COVID-19 cases and more than 878,000 deaths,Â according toÂ Johns Hopkins University data. Global totals: More than 365Â million cases and over 5.6Â million deaths. More than 211 million Americans â€” 63.6% â€”Â are fully vaccinated,Â according toÂ theÂ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
📘What we’re reading:Â The Biden administrationâ€™s mandate that began Jan. 15 calls forÂ those with private health insuranceÂ to get a monthly allotment of free tests. Yet health experts say the ambitious federal plan to quickly extend home testing will be challenging because of the nationâ€™s fragmented healthÂ care system.
Keep refreshing this page for the latest news. Want more?Â Sign up forÂ USA TODAY’s freeÂ Coronavirus Watch newsletterÂ to receive updates directly to your inbox andÂ join ourÂ Facebook group.
60M households have ordered at-home tests from federal government
Sixty million households have ordered free COVID-19 tests from the federal government since the Biden administration launched COVIDtests.gov last week, White House principal deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Friday.
The website is part of the administrationâ€™s effort to make 1 billion rapid tests available as the highly contagious omicron variant continues to surge around the country. Americans are allowed to request four tests per household, which are supposed to be mailed by the Postal Service within seven to 12 days of ordering.
Tens of millions of tests have been shipped, Jean-Pierre said. Many have already arrived.
Among Americans who tried to get an at-home test over the past month, 6 in 10 said one was difficult to find, according to a survey released Thursday by the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health research organization.
Four in ten blamed President Joe Biden and test manufacturers for the limited availability. Slightly more said the Food and Drug Administration deserves at least a fair amount of blame. The Jan. 11-23 survey was still being conducted when Biden announced mid-month that free tests would be coming.
â€” Maureen Groppe
The government’s main health agency is failing to meet its responsibilities for leading the national response to public health emergencies includingÂ the coronavirus pandemic,Â extreme weather disastersÂ and even potential bioterrorist attacks, a federal watchdog said Thursday.
The nonpartisan Government Accountability Office said it is designating the Health and Human Services Department’s leadership and coordination of public health emergencies as a â€œhigh riskâ€ area for the governmentÂ signaling to Congress that lawmakers need to pay special attention to the agencyâ€™s operations.
Long-standing â€œpersistent deficienciesâ€ at HHS â€œhave hindered the nationâ€™s response to the current COVID-19 pandemic and a variety of past threats,â€Â the GAO said in its report.
The shortfalls include managingÂ the medical supply chain, coordinating with federal and state agencies and providing clear and consistent communication to the public and the health care community, the GAO said.
â€” The Associated Press
The Food and Drug Administration pulled its authorization of two of the most used monoclonal antibodies to treatÂ COVID-19 this week, leaving doctors with fewer options to help theirÂ patients avoid the hospital.
Why did the FDA shut them down?Â Because the two, from drugmakers Regeneron and Eli Lilly, don’t work against the omicron variant thatÂ now causes more than 99%Â of coronavirus infections in the United States.
“All the data show that these older antibodies are ineffective against omicron,” said Dr. Daniel Kuritzkes, chief of the division of infectious diseases at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.
It was clear that forÂ patients with omicron infections the monoclonals wereÂ “doing nothing,” said Dr. Eric Topol, founder and director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute in La Jolla, California. “There’s overpowering data (that these) monoclonals are unable to bind to omicron,” he added.Â
â€” Karen Weintraub, USA TODAY
Contributing: The Associated Press