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FS-ISAC Coronavirus Update, April 16, 2021
Vaccine advisers to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have scheduled a meeting for April 23 to take up the question of whether Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen coronavirus vaccine causes blood clots and, if so, what to do about it.
The seven-day average of US daily new coronavirus infections is 71,282, according to Johns Hopkins University data, up 8% from one week ago, and overall cases are rising in 33 states and Washington, D.C.
In Michigan - experiencing the worst outbreak in the country on a new cases per capita basis - infection counts keep rising, and the state is reporting a seven-day average of nearly 7,900 daily new cases, approaching the state’s pandemic high of more than 8,300 per day recorded in December.
More than 30% of adults in the US are fully vaccinated, about 48% have received at least one dose of vaccine, and among seniors, about 64% are fully vaccinated and 80% have received at least one dose.
About 77 million people in the US have been fully vaccinated. In data released to CNN on Wednesday, the CDC said 5,800 breakthrough cases have been reported so far, although there is a delay in reporting. Among the reported cases, 396 were hospitalized, 74 died. The CDC also said 29% were asymptomatic.
The first US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention accounting of breakthrough coronavirus infections among fully vaccinated people shows such infections are very rare, with 5,800 infections reported so far out of about 77 million people fully vaccinated, of which 396 people were hospitalized, 74 died and 29% were asymptomatic.
Even young and relatively healthy people who have had Covid-19 before should still get a vaccine to prevent re-infection and to slow down the spread of the disease, new research suggests, with the study, published Thursday in the journal the Lancet Respiratory Medicine, finding that about 10% of those who had previous infections in the study became reinfected, compared to the 50% of new infections among those who had not had Covid-19 before.
People are likely to need a booster dose of vaccine six to 12 months after their first round, Albert Bourla, CEO of Pfizer, said today, explaining that “If you ask me, I think that there will be a need, based on these data, for revaccinations.”
Dr. David Kessler, chief science officer for the Biden administration’s Covid response, said Thursday that the US is making plans just in case Covid-19 vaccines need booster doses later, and Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said that there were a few different approaches that could boost the potency of a vaccine which are being researched and until then scientists are trying to figure out what the most dangerous variant is and to make a special boost against that.
So far, scientists agree that there is no evidence that the known coronavirus variants of concern are causing diagnostic tests to fail completely, with Mara Aspinall, an expert in biomedical diagnostics at Arizona State University, saying that “The tests today work very, very well,” but scientists warn that manufacturers and regulators will need to remain vigilant to ensure they keep pace with a constantly changing virus, and if new strains begin to evade detection, that could be consequential not only for individual patients, who may not receive the treatment they need, but also for the broader population.
Europe has surpassed one million Covid-19 related deaths, the World Health Organization said on Thursday, a grim milestone passed last week, as Regional Director for Europe Hans Kluge warned that despite the progress of the European vaccine rollout the situation in the region remained "serious" with 1.6 million new cases being reported every week.
Brazil is reporting some of the world's highest new cases per day - and the country may be headed for even worse times and an “unimaginable loss of lives” thanks to a combination of political chaos and inaction, a team of public health experts said on Wednesday.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada has come under renewed political attacks for the country’s slow vaccination rate, which lags behind the US, just as the daily per capita increase in Covid-19 cases has edged past that of its neighbor for the first time.
The Dow passed 34,000 on Thursday and closed up 305 points, as stocks rallied to record highs on rosy reports of increased consumer spending, lower unemployment and increased corporate profits for the month of March, the S&P closed 1% higher, at about 4,170, to beat a previous all-time high set on Tuesday, and the Nasdaq finished the trading day 1.3% higher.
Americans filed 576,000 initial jobless claims last week, the Labor Department reported Thursday, falling to their lowest level since March 2020, a 193,000 drop from last week’s surprise spike, suggesting the recovery is trudging onward even as unemployment remains elevated.
A new report estimates overall fraud in the Covid-19 Paycheck Protection Program and Economic Injury Disaster Loan program and grants could reach $84 billion.
West Virginia this week launched a new initiative offering remote and self-employed workers $12,000 and a year-long pass for free outdoor activities - and all you have to do is relocate to the "wild and wonderful" mountain state for at least two years.
On Wednesday, the US reported 75,375 new cases, according to Johns Hopkins University data, down slightly from 77,878 a day earlier, and while the seven-day average is sharply down from peaks near 250,000 in January, it has been climbing in recent weeks.
More than half of states are seeing a higher seven-day average than 14-day average, which signals a rise in infections, with the upper Midwest and parts of the Northeast in particular recording larger caseloads.
Hospitalizations have also been rising recently, with 45,308 Covid-19 patients in hospitals around the US, according to the latest data posted by the Department of Health and Human Services, a figure that had flattened out at around 40,000 in March, following a steady, months long decline from a January peak above 140,000.
Michigan’s largest health care provider is sounding the alarm that hospitals and staff have hit critical capacity levels, and are pleading for residents to take immediate steps to help stop Covid-19 spread, with Beaumont Health system reporting that Covid-19 patients have jumped from 129 in late February to more than 800 patients, exceeding the volume from fall of the previous year, and just two weeks ago there were about 500 patients in the system.
Maine reported 588 new cases, the highest number since January amid a surge in cases among younger unvaccinated people, state health data shows, with people in their 20s now making up almost 19% of new cases, compared with 8% at the start of the year.
New York state hospitalizations for Covid-19 dropped below 4,000 for the first time since December 1, and the seven-day average rate of positive test results dropped to 3.05%, the lowest since November, Governor Andrew Cuomo said Thursday.
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment appealed to residents to test for Covid-19 as a fourth wave of the disease sweeps the state.
Detroit’s metro area hospitals are at or nearing capacity, with most units 75% to 100% full, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.
Florida’s Miami-Dade county is reporting an average of 1,450 new cases a day, 27 percent more than the average two weeks ago, after swarms of spring-break revelers descended in February and March, lured by the promise of loose Covid-19 regulations.
New York City’s average positivity is 3.33% with Staten Island reporting the highest rate among the five boroughs, at 4.29%.
Economy and Business
The most recent IHS Markit global survey of manufacturers finds that the “stretching of supply chains” over the last year has extended delivery times to levels “unsurpassed in over 20 years of data availability,” and with stimulus dollars flowing, the pressures will increase as consumers come out of lockdowns with pent-up demand as well as a lot of liquidity - the household savings rate is now 18 percent compared to the normal 7 percent.
BlackRock CEO Larry Fink said Thursday he’s optimistic about financial markets as the economy attempts to recover from the coronavirus pandemic, explaining “I am incredibly bullish on the markets,” and noting that a host of factors are likely to propel markets higher in the near term, even as the S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average hover near record levels.
Disney Cruise Line US departures through June 2021 are suspended, the company said in a post on its website Thursday.