Jan. 12, 2022 — The CDC is getting ready to replace its COVID-19 masks suggestions to emphasise the usage of N95 and KN95 masks that higher filter the virus, Director Rochelle Walensky, MD, mentioned Wednesday.
“We are preparing an update to the info on our mask website to best reflect the options that are available to people and the different levels of protection different masks provide, and we want to provide Americans the best and most updated information to choose what mask is going to be right for them,” she mentioned at a White House information briefing.
While the higher-quality masks present higher safety, they are often uncomfortable to put on, costly, and more durable to search out. That’s why Walensky added an essential caveat.
“Any mask is better than no mask, and we do encourage all Americans to wear a well-fitting mask to protect themselves and prevent the spread of COVID-19. That recommendation is not going to change,” she mentioned.
“Most importantly, the best mask that you wear is the one you will wear and the one you can keep on all day long and tolerate in public indoor settings.”
Meanwhile, the World Health Organization was extra centered on vaccines.
WHO officers careworn Wednesday that international vaccine distribution is first precedence in defeating the extremely contagious Omicron variant, in addition to different variants which will evolve.
The WHO’s Technical Advisory Group on COVID-19 Vaccine Composition — a gaggle of consultants assessing how COVID-19 vaccines carry out in opposition to Omicron and different rising variants — says there’s an “urgent need” for broader entry to vaccines, together with reviewing and updating present vaccines as wanted to make sure safety.
The WHO additionally disputed the concept COVID-19 might turn out to be endemic in a single largely vaccinated nation, whereas the remainder of the world stays unprotected.
“It is up to us how this pandemic unfolds,” Maria Van Kerkhove, PhD, the WHO’s technical lead on COVID-19 response, mentioned at a information briefing.
The WHO has a purpose of vaccinating 70% of the inhabitants of each nation by the center of the 12 months.
But proper now, 90 international locations have yet to succeed in 40% vaccination charges, and 36 of these international locations have lower than 10% of their populations vaccinated, in accordance with WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, PhD.
A staggering 85% of the African inhabitants has not received a primary dose.
But progress is being made, Ghebreyesus mentioned on the briefing.
The WHO mentioned there have been over 15 million COVID-19 instances reported final week — essentially the most ever in a single week — and that is possible an underestimate.
Back on the White House in Washington, Walensky mentioned this week’s U.S. every day common COVID-19 case depend was 751,000, a rise of 47% from final week. The common every day hospital admissions this week is nineteen,800, a rise of 33%. Deaths are up 40%, reaching 1,600 per day.
But she additionally reported new knowledge that helps different analysis exhibiting Omicron might produce much less extreme illness. Kaiser Permanente Southern California launched a research Tuesday exhibiting that when put next with Delta infections, Omicron was related to a 53% discount in hospitalizations, a 74% discount in intensive care unit admissions, and a 91% decrease danger of demise.
In the research, no sufferers with Omicron required mechanical air flow. The pressure now accounts for 98% of instances nationwide.
But Walensky warned the decrease illness severity will not be sufficient to make up for the sheer variety of instances that proceed to overwhelm hospital programs.
“While we are seeing early evidence that Omicron is less severe than Delta and that those infected are less likely to require hospitalization, it’s important to note that Omicron continues to be much more transmissible than Delta,” she mentioned. “The sudden rise in cases due to Omicron is resulting in unprecedented daily case counts, sickness, absenteeism, and strains on our health care system.”