The US is one step closer to that. A federal government official told CNN the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is poised to authorize Pfizer/BioNTech’s vaccine for children and teens aged 12 to 15 by early next week.
“What I really worry about is that those people who are already on the fence don’t get vaccinated (and) we don’t reach herd immunity come the fall,” CNN medical analyst Dr. Leana Wen told CNN. “And then with the winter … we have a big resurgence, maybe we have variants coming in from other countries, and we could start this whole process all over again and have another huge pandemic come the winter.”
It is not all doom and gloom. Some experts think driving down infections will be good enough, allowing most people to get back to their pre-pandemic lives as long as case numbers continue to plummet.
“We may not get to zero, we probably won’t,” Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of the Brown University School of Health, told CNN on Monday. “But if we can get the infections at very low levels, most of us can get back to our lives in normal ways. I think we can probably live with that,” he added.
YOU ASKED. WE ANSWERED.
Q: Can new or future variants ruin herd immunity?
A: Here’s the good news: All three vaccines currently used in the US give strong protection against known variant strains of the coronavirus.
But as the virus keeps spreading and replicating in new people, it has more opportunities to mutate. And if there are significant mutations, new and more dangerous variants could emerge. The key is to quash the amount of virus circulating, so it has fewer chances to mutate and cause more infectious or deadlier variants.
WHAT’S IMPORTANT TODAY
More Covid cases in last two weeks than first six months of pandemic
Covid-19 caused one in three deaths in Brazil so far this year
The virus has surged with a vengeance in the South American giant in recent months — fueled in part by a disregard for social distancing precautions and the emergence of extra-contagious new variants — and has claimed more lives in the past four months than in all of 2020. And despite Brazil’s robust immunization program, its rollout of Covid-19 vaccines has been slow. So far, less than 10% of the population has been vaccinated.
Europe plans a summer reopening
Officials hope the plan — which will be discussed by ambassadors of European countries tomorrow — could be implemented by the end of June. The proposals, published by the European Commission, advised that arrivals must have been inoculated 14 days before arrival with a vaccine from its approved list, including BioNTech/Pfizer, Oxford University/AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson and Moderna.
Decisions about borders can only be made by individual countries, so each member state will decide whether to implement these proposals or not.
ON OUR RADAR
- World No. 1 Novak Djokovic says he hopes Covid-19 vaccines will not be mandatory for tennis players on tour, while refusing to reveal whether he would get a vaccine in the future. The Serbian has previously said he would oppose compulsory vaccination but has since said he would wait for more clarification from the tennis governing body.
- New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Monday that subway service in New York City will return to a 24/7 schedule on May 17 as the state and neighbors New Jersey and Connecticut open up their economies
- Americans are not getting the mental health assistance they need during the pandemic, according to a report, which found this to be especially true for the youngest, oldest and most impoverished.
- America’s parents — mothers in particular — have been hit hard by the pandemic. But the vaccine rollout and Washington’s promises to spend big on child care could help moms get back to work.
TODAY’S TOP TIP
Teen stress has been heightened by the pandemic
“Many teens I work with deal with a nearly crippling social anxiety, either from a lack of practice after a year with precious little time with friends, or because of overall social insecurity,” writes psychologist John Duffy.
“Some also feel a sense of desperation, depression and anxiety they have never experienced before, always having considered themselves positive, upbeat people. Several of my clients are now taking medication to balance their moods,” he added.
“Our new show is a place where we can all reflect on how the pandemic has changed us and what steps we want to take to move forward, together.” — Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN Chief Medical Correspondent