The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has updated its guidance for cleaning and disinfecting facilities and homes to prevent the spread of Covid-19, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said Monday during the White House Covid-19 Response Team briefing.
The science has shown that people can get infected via contaminated surfaces, but the risk is low. Regular cleaning of these surfaces with soap or detergent works. Disinfection is not necessary, Walensky said.
“Disinfection is only recommended in indoor settings, schools and homes where there has been a suspected or confirmed case of Covid-19, within the last 24 hours,” Walensky said.
In most cases, fogging, fumigation and electrostatic spraying is not recommended as a primary method of disinfection, and actually carries several safety risks.
Surface transmission can also be reduced by wearing masks consistently and correctly, Walensky said, in addition to proper handwashing.
White House senior adviser for Covid-19 response Andy Slavitt announced three new mass vaccination sites on Monday, bringing the total number of federal US mass vaccination sites to 28.
Slavitt announced the new sites would be at the Columbia Place Mall in Columbia, South Carolina, the Colorado State Fairgrounds in Pueblo, Colorado, and the Minnesota State Fairgrounds in St. Paul, Minnesota.
“Across the country there’s already 25 existing mass vaccination sites that have a combined capability to administer over 95,000 shots per day. And that number’s gonna continue to grow as we bring additional sites online,” Slavitt said.
He added that the three new sites are all in areas defined by the CDC as a “high risk community,” continuing to put a focus on equitably administering vaccines.
“Of the more than 2.1 million shots administered at these sites to date, more than 60% have been administered to racial and ethnic minorities,” Slavitt said.
A bar opening event in rural Illinois in February was linked to 46 Covid-19 cases, a school closure affecting 650 children, and the hospitalization of one long-term care facility resident, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report on Monday.
The Illinois Department of Public Health identified 29 individuals who tested positive for Covid-19 or had Covid-19-like symptoms within 14 days after the event. All 29 cases were confirmed by Covid-19 antigen or nucleic acid amplification tests except for one probable symptomatic case who did not receive testing.
These bar attendees had close contact with at least 71 others. Of the 37 close contacts tested for Covid-19, 17 tested positive within 14 days of contact.
Two of the secondary Covid-19 cases were student athletes in close contact of a bar attendee with Covid-19 who attended indoor sports practice and in-person classes. The school district closed for two weeks beginning Feb. 18 after 13 staff members could not work due to isolation, quarantine, or their child in quarantine.
Three of the secondary Covid-19 cases were long-term care facility residents in close contact of a bar attendee who worked as a certified nursing assistant. The nurse tested positive for Covid-19 four days after the bar opening event. One of these secondary Covid-19 cases was hospitalized within 14 days of the positive test result and discharged the same day.
Two weeks after the event, the seven-day average daily Covid-19 incidence in the county more than doubled to at least 86 cases per 100,000 people, according to the report.
“Bars can play a role in community spread of COVID-19 because of limited mask use while eating or drinking and lack of consistent physical distancing,” the authors wrote in the report. “These findings show that SARS-CoV-transmission originating in a business such as a bar not only affects the patrons and employees of the bar but can also affect an entire community.”
The event was held indoors with no outside air flow. Attendees cited inconsistent mask use and disregard of the six-feet physical distancing guidelines. Although the total number of people who attended the event is unknown, the bar can accommodate about 100 people.
The high percentage of symptomatic people linked to the event, 82.6%, as well as the reluctance of many people to disclose contacts suggest that the actual case count was higher than what was found, according to the CDC report.
“As community businesses begin to reopen, these findings underscore the importance of businesses and individuals adhering to public health prevention and mitigation guidelines to reduce additional community transmission, including isolation after receipt of a COVID-19 diagnosis and while experiencing COVID-19–like symptoms, even as vaccination efforts expand,” the authors wrote.
A new model estimates that nearly 40,000 children have lost a parent to Covid-19, and Black children have been disproportionately affected, according to a new research letter published Monday in the journal JAMA Pediatrics.
“The number of children experiencing a parent dying of Covid-19 is staggering, with an estimated 37,300 to 43,000 already affected,” said the research letter, led by Rachel Kidman of the Program in Public Health at Stony Brook University. “Black children are disproportionately affected, comprising only 14% of children in the US but 20% of those losing a parent to Covid-19.”
Kidman and coauthors estimated the expected number of affected children for each death from Covid-19, also known as the parental bereavement multiplier.
The model suggests that each Covid-19 death leaves 0.078 children aged between 0 and 17 parentally bereaved, representing a 17.5% to 20.2% increase in parental bereavement absent Covid-19.
They point out that although the bereavement multiplier is small, it translates to large numbers of children who have lost parents.
“As of February 2021, 37,300 children aged 0 to 17 years had lost at least 1 parent due to Covid-19, three-quarters of whom were adolescents,” says the research letter.
When the authors factored in excess deaths, they estimated that 43,000 children have lost a parent and looking at a natural herd immunity strategy which resulted in 1.5 million deaths “demonstrates the potential effect of inaction: 116,900 parentally bereaved children.”
The authors note that the estimates rely on modeling, not survey or administrative data and do not include bereavement of nonparental primary caregivers.
More vaccines are being sent to Michigan as the state sees a worrying surge in Covid-19 cases and the spread of variants sparks concerns.
Michigan reported 8,413 new Covid-19 cases on Saturday, bringing the state’s total pandemic case count to 692,206, according to the state’s health department. Saturday’s daily case count is the highest the state has reported since Dec. 7, when the reported case count was 9,350, state statistics show.
More than 12,500 cases of the B.1.1.7 variant, meanwhile, have been reported across the United States, according to CDC data, including more than 1,200 in Michigan. Michigan had the second-highest number of cases of the variant, after Florida.
CNN correspondent Polo Sandoval reported from a vaccination site in Detroit, Michigan, and answered viewers’ questions.
CNN’s Laura Ly and Alanne Orjou contributed reporting to this post.
Iran has entered its fourth wave of the Covid-19 pandemic and has reached a four-month high in terms of number of daily cases, health ministry spokesperson Sima Sadat Lari said in a news conference on Monday.
“The Covid-19 pandemic in the country is very widespread and is a matter of deep concern, and the fourth wave is rapidly progressing from mid-western parts of the country to mid-eastern cities,” Lari said.
The ministry reported at least 13,890 new Covid-19 cases on Monday, increasing the country’s total cases since the start of the pandemic to 1,945,964. The country also reported 172 new Covid-19 related deaths, bringing the country’s death toll to 63,332 on Monday, as at least 4,095 patients remain hospitalized in intensive care units, Lari said.
The health ministry also announced 88 cities have been categorized as “Red Zones” in Iran, where for two weeks on average more than three people per one hundred thousand are hospitalized.
Iran’s health ministry has been anticipating a spike in cases and death toll, as people begin to return from holiday travel and celebratory gatherings on the occasion of the two-week long Persian New Year holiday, or Nowruz, which began on March 21.
Iran has the most severe Covid-19 outbreak in the Middle East, with the highest number of cases and deaths in the region.
The country continues to keep restrictions in place to avoid a larger outbreak of cases.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on an episode of the Politico Dispatch podcast Monday that he doesn’t think the US government will be the main mover behind vaccine passports, but that individual entities could do something with the idea.
“I doubt that the federal government will be the main mover of a vaccine passport concept,” Fauci said. “They may be involved in making sure things are done fairly and equitably, but I doubt if the federal government is going to be the leading element of that.”
When asked by Politico’s Jeremy Siegel if not the government, then who the responsibility would fall on, Fauci said that he believes there could be individual entities that do it.
“There may be theaters that say you don’t get in unless you have proof of vaccination, there may be colleges or other educational institutions that do that,” he said. “I’m not saying they should or that they would, but I’m saying you could foresee how an independent entity might say, well, we can’t be dealing with you unless we know you’re vaccinated, but it’s not going to be mandated from the federal government.”
Holiday weekend travelers crowded US airports and packed planes amid a travel surge that pushed Delta Airlines to fill middle seats, despite a pledge not to do so until the end of the month.
The Transportation Security Administration says it screened 1.54 million people at airports across the country on Sunday, just shy of a pandemic record set Friday when 1.58 million people flew. More than 6 million people have flown since Thursday.
Sunday’s number is more than ten times greater than bottomed-out figures of a year ago, but still well below 2019 levels.
TSA figures have been higher than 1.5 million for three of the last seven days and higher than one million for 25 days in a row.
While travel is coming back with a vengeance, the CDC is still advising against it. On Friday, the CDC said those who are fully vaccinated can travel at low risk to themselves but said non-essential travel should still be avoided.
Delta Air Lines said it had to fill some middle seats on weekend flights to keep up with demand, even though its cap on seating capacity does not end until May 1.
The European Union would have vaccinated as much of its population as the United Kingdom has if AstraZeneca had fulfilled its contract to the EU, the head of the EU executive’s vaccine task force said Sunday.
European Commissioner Thierry Breton’s comments threaten to raise the temperature in a months-long dispute between the bloc and the drug maker.
Speaking to Le Parisien newspaper, Breton said:
If we had received the 100% of AstraZeneca’s vaccines that were contracted to us, the European Union would be at the same level today as Great Britain in terms of vaccines. So I can say that the pocket of turbulence we have experienced is solely due to AstraZeneca’s failure to deliver.
The World Health Organization called the rollout of vaccines in Europe “unacceptably slow” on Wednesday. The WHO European Region (a group of 53 countries including the UK) has vaccinated only 10% of its population with one shot in a two-dose regimen, WHO said in a statement.
The UK has administered about 54 doses of vaccine per 100 people according to data tracked by CNN. No country in the European Union has come anywhere close to that level.
“In the first quarter, (AstraZeneca) delivered only a quarter of the doses we ordered, while the British received all of them, even though our contract was signed before them, in August 2020,” Breton told the French newspaper.