In this week’s newsletter
I answer more questions on “Kids and COVID-19”
I hope you and your family are enjoying the Summer.
The sun and warmth have been refreshing to many of us.
Let’s review the bad news, the good news, the most asked question of the week, and my silver lining.
What’s the bad news?
188.4 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported around the world, with over 4 million deaths. In Canada, there have been over 1.4 million cases, with almost 26,500 deaths.
The World Health Organization is hoping to find out the origin of COVID-19. Getting access to critical raw data has proven difficult. They are asking China “to be transparent, open and co-operate, especially on the information, raw data that we asked for at the early days of the pandemic.” There is still some suspicion that COVID-19 might have escaped from a Chinese government lab in Wuhan. But, per the WHO, the world owes it to the millions who people have died “to know what happened and to prevent the same crisis from happening again. And that’s why we need co-operation.”
COVID-19 continues to rise in all 50 Unites States, and vaccination rates are lagging. Some public health officials are concerned the public misunderstood the CDC guidance for fully vaccinated people (2 doses), thinking that everyone can go back to living their lives as we did pre-pandemic applies whether vaccinated or not.
Thirty-eight states are seeing at least a 50% increase in cases, likely due to slowing vaccination rates. Only 48.3% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, per the CDC.
In Arkansas, for example, where only 35.1% of the population is double vaccinated, the Delta variant has led to hospitals being full and cases doubling every ten days.
In Los Angeles County, California, the nation’s largest county with 10 million people, there has been a surge in cases and hospitalizations. As a result, they had to reinstate a mask mandate. Some businesses and hospitals require their employees to be vaccinated, and now some universities are implementing requirements. Rhode Island is the first state where all private and public universities and colleges need their students to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before returning to school this fall.
The most extensive public university system, The University of California, plans to mandate all staff, students, and faculty be vaccinated before returning in September. Those who don’t receive the vaccine (and are not medically exempt) will not be allowed to attend in-person classes, activities and use university housing.
Two months ago, 1.3 million people were getting vaccinated a day in the U.S. Now, only 340,000 are.
Six players on the New York Yankees are confirmed positive for Covid-19. This is the second time this year the Yankees experienced an outbreak.
Tokyo continues to report < 1,400 new cases a day over the last week. With the start of the Olympics around the corner, they remain under a state of emergency.
Daily cases in Thailand remain above 10,000. This significant wave has overwhelmed hospitals, strained the economy, and challenged tourism recovery plans since April 2021.
Supply problems have hindered the vaccine rollout plan in Thailand, and only 5% of the population is double vaccinated, and 15% have received one vaccine.
The WHO Director in Africa says the continent has registered a million infections in the past month, and hospitals are at a breaking point. However, this is likely a significant underestimate. The slow arrival of vaccines has led to only 1% of the population of 1.3 billion getting vaccinated.
Over 100,000 people in Argentina have died from COVID-19, particularly significant as they have intermittently imposed some of the most severe lockdowns in the world. In addition, erratic compliance by much of the population has led to COVID cases rising. Finally, economic struggles have been suggested because many citizens ignored quarantine regulations to continue to support their families.
What’s the good news?
Almost 45 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered so far in Canada. Nearly 60% of eligible Canadians are fully vaccinated, and 80% have received at least one dose. This is incredible! We feel differently about vaccinations than our neighbours to the South. As a result, our cases have remained stable and low. Vaccination works!
Approximately 20% of Ontarians remain unvaccinated, with a higher percentage among young people 12 to 17 years of age.
Currently, children 12 years and older can receive only the Pfizer vaccine in Canada. The European Medicines Agency plans to decide about recommending the Moderna vaccine for children this week. This would be the first license for the Moderna shot in children globally.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford has rejected the possibility of implementing vaccine passports. Ontario is now in Stage 3 of the reopening plan. Ontarians can now enjoy indoor dining, see a movie in a theatre, and increase retail capacity limits.
Did you miss last week’s
“The new Lambda strain, what does it mean?”
Questions of the week
Let’s review what we know about COVID-19 in kids:
I heard COVID-19 is mild in kids. Is this true?
It is true that most children with COVID have an asymptomatic or mild illness, though some kids have had severe disease. Mississippi has recently seen a surge in severe pediatric COVID-19 due to the Delta variant.
As far as severe infection is concerned, the vast majority of cases of hospitalizations and deaths are among unvaccinated people. The recommendations remain the same; Public Health urges anyone eligible to receive a vaccine to do so while continuing to social distance and wear a mask when appropriate.
Will kids be wearing masks in school in September?
According to the CDC, fully vaccinated teachers and students will not have to wear masks in school. However, your school may require students to wear masks anyway, despite your child’s guidance or vaccination status. It will be decided state by state and province by province.
Importantly, this only applies to students and teachers who are fully vaccinated. Unfortunately, kids 11 years and younger cannot yet get vaccinated, so they will likely be in masks come September.
When will kids 0-11 years receive the COVID-19 vaccine?
Children have very robust immune systems and have varying responses to the vaccine. It is standard practice to test older kids for their response first and then modify the dosage a younger child would receive. Several studies on vaccines in kids are assessing the efficacy and safety in babies as young as six months of age.
According to Dr. Fauci, children as young as 4 “would likely be able to get vaccinated by the time we reach the end of the calendar year 2021 and at the latest, into the first quarter of 2022.”
The silver lining of the week
I have written in the last couple of weeks about my happiness with the recent weather and warmth. Spending time outside as a family has been filling my bucket.
Going for evening walks with friends, eating meals outdoors, going for family runs; nothing makes me feel more alive and ‘normal.’
I hope you have been enjoying this respite and are having a safe and enjoyable summer.
Have a great week, friends,