I hope you enjoyed the sunshine and heat this weekend!
Let’s dive into the COVID news for the week.
The good news is hospitalizations are decreasing or plateauing across Canada. Over 1500 people are hospitalized with COVID in Ontario, with nearly 200 in the ICU, but this is lower than last week.
Though hospitalizations have decreased in Quebec, more than 6500 healthcare workers were unable to work last week due to infections.
The Public Health Agency of Canada reports that the Omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5 which are leading to a wave of infections in South Africa are present in Canada. However, BA.2 remains the most common variant in Canada. Unfortunately, studies show that BA.4 and BA.5 are more transmissible, and previous infections do not prevent infection from these strains.
Last week it was reported that 1 million lives were lost due to COVID-19 in the U.S. ABC News wrote that it is “more than the number of American deaths from World War I, World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War combined. More people died in two years of the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S. than in 40 years of the HIV/AIDS epidemic.” Forbes said, ‘The U.S. has 4% of the world’s population but recorded 16% of COVID-19 deaths.”
The number of deaths in Canada is above 40,000.
Most asked questions this week
Is there news on the Moderna vaccine for kids?
Moderna completed its emergency use authorization submission to the FDA of its COVID vaccine for kids. Their application is for kids six months to six years, six to eleven years, and twelve to seventeen years. The Moderna vaccine for kids aged 6-17 was previously approved in Canada, Australia and the European Union.
Do we know anything new about hepatitis in kids?
This week The Hospital for Sick Children announced that seven probable cases of severe acute hepatitis had been reported over the last six months. We are not sure yet the cause of hepatitis in these children; most are too young to be vaccinated against COVID-19, and some test positive for COVID-19 and/or adenovirus. There is mounting evidence that this is a form of Long-COVID.
A new study looked at the statistical association between the detection of hepatitis cases in kids and the number of Omicron cases (B.1.1.529). They evaluated 38 countries that belong to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and Romania. Of the 39 countries, 12 had at least one case of hepatitis between December 2021 and April 2022. Notably, countries with hepatitis cases experienced a higher burden of Omicron cases.
The researchers concluded that previous exposure to Omicron might be associated with an increased risk of severe hepatitis in kids. They suggested additional studies be conducted to tease apart further the association.
What is Evusheld, and who can use it?
EvuSheld is an injectable therapy of monoclonal antibodies tixagevimab and cilgavimab. Health Canada approved it for the prevention of COVID-19 infection. Ontario Health released guidance on EvuSheld last week.
Evusheld is preventative medicine for use in individuals 12 years and older (at least 40 kg) who are unlikely to mount an adequate immune response to COVID-19 vaccination or who are not recommended to receive a COVID-19 vaccination.
Evusheld will be available to those at the highest risk of a severe outcome from COVID-19, including solid organ transplant recipients, stem cell transplant recipients, CAR-T cell therapy recipients and other hematologic cancer patients undergoing treatment.
My silver lining of the week
This week was warm! I love the heat and sun and will take 20-30 degree temperatures. I hope you and your family enjoyed the beautiful weather this week!
Dina is a wife, mother of 4, and adrenaline junky. She loves to share children’s health information from her professional and personal experience. More About Dr Dina.