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COVID-19 forecasts are uncertain as states withdraw mask requirements | National

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Prolonged doubts about COVID-19 infection and immunity have clouded the fall outlook as the United States withdraws restrictions, including masking requirements, and reduces case surveillance.

The decision to abandon some safeguards has divided public health professionals due to the proliferation of viruses in some countries abroad and delayed vaccination in the United States. New federal guidance to lift the recommendation of indoor masks for vaccinated people has also encouraged many Republicans to completely ignore mask obligations, with some state leaders at school. We have even stepped up to the ban on masks.

Cases are likely to increase as people move indoors after the summer, said Ali Mokudad, a professor at the University of Washington Institute for Health Index Evaluation. However, the severity of the epidemic when the temperature drops depends on the subspecies epidemic and the number of people vaccinated in the coming months.

“This rise depends on how well we can cope with the hesitation in vaccines,” Mokudad said in an email.

This combination envisions an uncertain future as scientists seek to determine how long immunity lasts. Researchers still don’t know if the general public needs booster shots, or if future variants could weaken the vaccine.

Older people who are most vulnerable to the virus are least likely to maintain long-term immunity. Older people were included in the first group vaccinated last winter, so they are the earliest in terms of vaccine lifespan. Elderly people are also facing the test.

The overall number of new cases is the lowest since June 2020, with a seven-day average of less than 20,000 in the United States. Recent studies show that current vaccines have adequate protection against current varieties, even when diminished.

Infection after vaccination

However, documented breakthroughs, rarely, can cause transmission. The New York Yankees headlined last month that nine people who had been completely vaccinated with Johnson & Johnson tested positive.

Neither the Yankees nor the New York Department of Health answered questions about outbreaks. However, Johnson & Johnson shots are about 66% effective in blocking COVID-19 disease — by comparison, Moderna or Pfizer vaccines are more than 94% effective.

The incident highlighted the risk of infection after vaccination. Especially Johnson & Johnson’s shots, even if they succeed in preventing serious illness.

On May 20, a senior Food and Drug Administration (FDA) official, Peter Marks, said the case was “not shocking at all” because of the low efficacy of the J & J vaccine.

“I don’t want this to be controversial, but there may be a dialogue about wearing a mask and the wisdom of wearing a mask, so if you still feel comfortable wearing a mask, wear a mask. Tell people that you need to do it. Mask. ” “If you are worried about wearing a mask, follow the CDC guidance.”

Reversal evokes frustration

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s new mask recommendations allow vaccinated people to abandon masks in most indoor environments, regardless of the number of cases in the community, vaccination coverage, or the type of shots received. Caused a backlash to do. Due to the sudden reversal, many state and industry leaders were dissatisfied with the lack of direction and time to prepare.

Only 10.6 million Americans received Johnson & Johnson’s one-shot vaccine after a catastrophic failure at a facility operated by contractor Emergent BioSolutions. Epidemiologists are confident in their ability to stop the spread of Pfizer and Modana, but research was primarily conducted when the world was under mask restrictions.

On May 20, Jeanne Marazzo, director of the Department of Infectious Diseases at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, said studies involving real-world analysis in Israel probably reflected the degree of mask compliance.

Meanwhile, the country’s largest nurses’ union questioned the research underlying the CDC’s rapid turnaround. According to a review by the National Nurses United, many of the studies that the CDC cites in the science briefs behind the changes are preprints that have not been scrutinized by experts. NNU President Zenei Triunfo Cortez said the guidance was “quite shocking.”

Michael Osterholm, director of the University of Minnesota Infectious Diseases Research Policy Center, agrees that the science of how vaccines can control infections is inadequate.

“I found this a bit confusing … not because I don’t believe these vaccines are really powerful tools. They. But frankly, the data submitted is pretty vague. It was what I did, “he said.

The CDC did not respond to requests for comment, but Secretary Rochelle Walensky defended the CDC’s rationale at the American Chamber of Commerce event on May 27.

“There is evolving data that if you are vaccinated, even a mild infection cannot be infected and taken back to another person,” she said.

CDC guidance has led some Republicans to boycott Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s mandatory masks, but many did not state whether they were vaccinated. Federal Health Authorities Said that the guidelines were misunderstood as allowing unvaccinated people to drop their masks.

Some Republican-led states, such as Iowa and Texas, have banned mandatory masks in schools, but vaccines are not licensed for children under the age of 12, and the CDC guidance states that schools. Wearing the mask must continue for the rest of the school year. The CDC will update its 2022-23 recommendations in the coming weeks.

Another dispute with the teachers union may come. The US Teachers’ Federation recently approved a full fall resumption, but CDC guidance raises questions.

“We wanted to have time to prepare the new COVID-19 guidance this summer and incorporate it into our new semester plans, as the school year will end within a few weeks,” said Randy Wine of AFT. President Garten said in a letter. The state bans masks and forces teachers to become “mask police.”

The new guidance has also stepped up calls for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to revoke the long-awaited workplace protection rules.

Virginia Foxx (RN.C.), who led a Republican member of the House Education and Labor Commission on May 24, wrote to Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh that the provisional criteria for emergencies were “not It’s necessary, it’s untimely, and it’s all-out. “

But supporters say masks are important to workers.

Unlike customers, “many workers spend 8-12 hours a day in a poorly ventilated indoor environment, with frequent or long-term close contact with each other or the general public.” , Former OSHA employees David Michaels and Jordan Barab wrote in Time.

Of all these, the CDC recently stopped monitoring groundbreaking infections unless they were hospitalized or died.Warrensky said authorities’ resources are limited and severe cases should be prioritized.

Test rates have also dropped by a third since January, suggesting that some cases may be missed.

According to Walensky, only up to 10% of positive test results were sequenced in May to monitor the spread of variants. The government is stepping up genome surveillance through a recent $ 1.7 billion injection from the COVID-19 Assistance Act.

According to data from the CDC released on May 25, 64% of the 555 test samples of breakthrough cases from January to April were caused by the variant of concern.

By April 30, the CDC had tracked 10,262 breakthrough infections in vaccinated people in 46 states. That’s a fraction of the 101 million people who were fully vaccinated in the United States by that time.

However, researchers admit that this number may be “significantly underestimated.”

For some experts, it makes sense to track only critical breakthrough cases.

“The goal of these vaccines is to keep people out of hospitals and morgues,” said Paul Offit, a vaccine scholar at the University of Pennsylvania.

However, Marazzo said his current ability to sequence genomes is “weak,” but admits that breakthroughs are rare.

“It understands,” she said, about the decision to reduce surveillance. “But it’s an opportunity to actually track vaccine failure in situations where variants have evolved and masks have diminished over time. I’m worried that it will be part of the loss.-I’m wearing it. “

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

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