By Karen Gutiérrez
Experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported on the state of the pandemic in the United States and across the world, during a recent news briefing organized by Ethnic Media Services in collaboration with the CDC.
Panelist’s included Dr. John Brooks, senior science adviser to the CDC’S Covid-19 Emergency Response team and Dr. Shannon Stokely, co-lead of the Vaccine Task Force at the CDC’S COVID-19 Emergency Response team.
The CDC stressed that it is necessary to be prepared for the arrival of a new variant or the next pandemic and assured that the vaccination remains the safest and most preventive measure for all ages.
Two years after the start of the pandemic, COVID-19 cases have decreased, and the CDC reports that more individuals have some immunity against the virus.
One of the most significant topics addressed by Dr. Brooks, was the high level of transmission from the BA.2 variant, which today accounts for 35% of new Covid infections in the U.S.
“As we’re learning from our colleagues in Europe, Asia and South Africa, the BA.2 has resulted in varied peaks of cases. But there is no evidence that the BA.2 variant results in more severe disease, nor does it appear to be more likely to evade immune protection,” said Dr. Brooks.
Another issue addressed by Dr. Brooks, is the monitoring of wastewater surveillance systems in different cities throughout the U.S., which according to the panelist have been an important factor in providing evidence of potential increases in cases and transmission of COVID-19. “We expect the system to pick up a signal even before we realize that something is going on in the community,” said Dr. Brooks.
According to the CDC, various analysis has been reported about COVID-19 in different parts of the world such as Western Europe, the United Kingdom and Asia. Dr. Brooks pointed out the variances in U.S. data compared to other countries.
“The situation in the U.S. has an important difference,” said Dr. Brooks, because the level of immunity in Americans is 95% compared to these countries, either because they have been vaccinated or infected with COVID.
The CDC considers testing an important way to continue controlling and monitoring the disease. “Testing in the United States is free and widely available,” prompting the government to focus its efforts on preventing and treating COVID-19.
“Untreated COVID-19 infection is the source of new variants,” stressed Dr. Brooks. “People who are not vaccinated and become infected can become a source of new variants.”
Dr. Brooks said he strongly recommends the vaccine be provided to everyone possible.
The pandemic has not come to an end. The CDC recommends that individuals continue to take care of themselves and others, because throughout history it has been evident that it will not be the first or the last pandemic in the world, but it is possible to prepare for the next one.
“We have administered more than 559 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines, and that is three times the number of vaccines that are usually administered in a flu season,” said Dr. Stokley. “A good majority of that have been mRNA vaccines that have been shown to be safe and effective in preventing complications of COVID-19 including hospitalization and death.”
Currently, different vaccine manufacturers continue to conduct clinical trials to identify the safety and efficacy of the COVID vaccine in children under the age of five.
“The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) will review the data and, if there is good evidence of safety and efficacy, will authorize the emergency use of the vaccine for children in this age group,” said Dr. Stokely.
The CDC noted that the immunity of those who have been vaccinated may decrease over time, which is why the CDC experts recommend a booster dose of the vaccine.
“What really worries us here, is preventing hospitalization and death. And these vaccines are very good at preventing these serious outcomes,” stated Dr. Stokely.
This is why it becomes apparent and necessary for people to have booster doses of the vaccine.
“Vaccinations remain the most effective and safe way to prevent COVID-19,” she said.
Karen Gutiérrez is a Journalist in Colorado.
Read More COVID-19 News: ELSEMANARIO.US
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