COVID vaccinations might be available for children for the start of the next school year in September, according to Dr. Anthony Fauci. In an interview with ProPublica, Fauci says clinical trials are about to start for teens, and those trials will gradually phase in lower age groups. "I would think by the time we get to school opening, we likely will be able to get people who come into the first grade," he says. Of course, having actual shots ready by the fall assumes that all goes well in the various trials. Pfizer is ahead of the other drugmakers in terms of enrolling children, but Moderna, AstraZeneca, and others will follow. Related:
- Open season: In a separate interview with the Today show on Thursday, Fauci predicted "open season" for vaccines in April, per the Hill. Meaning, anyone who wants a shot in the US would be able to get one by then, thanks to an increased pace of vaccinations. "I would imagine by the time we get to April, that will be what I would call ... open season. Namely, virtually everybody and anybody in any category can start to get vaccinated."
- Double masking: The CDC now recommends doubling up on face protection, reports CBS News. Read the agency's new guidelines here.
- Hopeful stats: COVID cases continue to decline in the US, reports Axios. About 108,000 new cases a day were reported last week, which is down 24% from the previous week. Hospitalizations fell 8% and deaths 3%. The current numbers aren't exactly rosy—Axios pegs deaths at 3,000 per day—but they're at least heading in the right direction.
- Wild cards: The stats make one thing clear, writes David Leonhardt at the New York Times. "The pandemic is in retreat." He notes that the virus is still spreading faster in the US than in almost any other major country and that too many people are still dying daily, but for now, at least, "things are getting better." His wild cards on whether the trend continues: how many people wear masks and observe social distancing, how contagious the emerging variants turn out to be, and the speed of vaccinations.
- Faster for kids? The ProPublica story about children's vaccinations includes the wish of pediatricians and infectious disease experts that things move faster on that front. If not, "we’re going to have tens of millions of individuals in our communities that are able to maintain the virus," says Dr. Buddy Creech of the Vanderbilt Vaccine Research Program. "And when that happens, what that allows is for these unusual variants to emerge that may have the ability to evade our immunity."
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