President Joe Biden is making good progress in his recovery from COVID, he told reporters on Monday, and expects to be back to working in person by the end of the week. Presidential physician Kevin O’Connor said in a Tuesday statement that the president had been cleared to resume physical exercise.
The news comes as newly diagnosed COVID cases in the U.S. continue to hover close to 130,000 a day, the highest level seen since February, as the BA.5 omicron subvariant continues to spread.
BA.5 is understood to be the most transmissible variant seen so far and to have an ability to break through vaccination and prior-infection immunity.
The daily average for new U.S. cases stood at 128,015 on Monday, according to a New York Times tracker, up 10% from two weeks ago. The true case count is likely higher, given the number of people who are testing at home, where the data are not being collected.
The daily average for hospitalizations rose to 42,862, up 12% in two weeks. The daily average for deaths is up 3% at 439. Cases are higher in California than they’ve been in six months, while in New York there are more patients in hospitals than at the peak of last year’s delta wave.
Parents of children 6 months to 5 years old are hesitant to get them vaccinated against COVID, after that group was added to the vaccine program, according to a new study from Kaiser Family Foundation.
The study found that 43% of parents with eligible children said they would “definitely not” get them vaccinated, with more than half perceiving the risk from the vaccine as greater than from the virus, which experts say is not the case.
The survey found that just 7% of parents of children who became eligible in June have followed through by getting their children their shots. Another 10% say they would like to get their children vaccinated as soon as possible, including a quarter who would like to wait and see how it works for other children first. One in eight, or 13%, say they would only get their children their shots if required for school or child care.
As with adults, the survey found a partisan divide in how parents are approaching vaccination, with a larger share of those who lean Democratic, or 15%, saying they have already gotten their children vaccinated, versus 3% who lean Republican.
Republican parents are more than three times as likely as Democratic ones to say they will “definitely not” get their child vaccinated. And almost two-thirds of unvaccinated adults said they are not getting their children vaccinated either.
The authors found that many parents perceive that children have mostly mild cases of COVID, and that’s shaping their view of vaccines. Many are concerned about side effects, or are worried that not enough is known about long-term effects.
But the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends vaccinating all infants, children and adolescents 6 months and older who do not have contraindications.
“Pediatricians are encouraged to promote vaccination and vaccine confidence through ongoing, proactive messaging (i.e., reminder recall, vaccine appointment/clinics), and to use existing patient visits as an opportunity to promote and provide COVID-19 vaccines,” the AAP said in a June statement.
More than 14 million children living in the U.S. have had confirmed cases of COVID, according to AAP data, more than 6.1 million of which happened in 2022 as omicron was surging. The AAP no longer updates child deaths from COVID as only a subset of states is providing that information.
Other COVID-19 news you should know about:
• Novavax NVAX, +3.22% said its COVID-19 vaccine received authorization in Australia and Japan for teens. Both authorizations are for adolescents between the ages of 12 and 17. In Japan, Novavax is partnering with Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. 4502, -1.02% to manufacture and distribute the shots. The Novavax vaccine is protein-based, using a technology typical of many long-established U.S. vaccines. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention authorized the Novavax vaccine for adults last week, clearing the final obstacle to the use of a fourth alternative and one that some people had said they were holding out for.
• Micronesia’s first outbreak of COVID-19 grew in one week to more than 1,000 cases by Tuesday, causing alarm in the Pacific island nation, the Associated Press reported. Last week, Micronesia likely became the final country in the world with a population of more than 100,000 to experience an outbreak of the disease, after avoiding it for 2 years thanks to its geographic isolation and border controls. Health officials said cases were rapidly increasing. It reported 140 new cases Monday, bringing the total to 1,261, a figure which includes some cases caught at the border before the outbreak. Eight people have been hospitalized and one older man has died, officials said.
• Sen. Lisa Murkowski, a Republican from Alaska, and Sen. Joe Manchin, a Democrat from West Virginia, both tested positive for COVID on Monday. Both took to Twitter to say that they were isolating and following CDC guidelines.
Here’s what the numbers say
The global tally of confirmed cases of COVID-19 topped 571.3 million on Tuesday, while the death toll rose above 6.38 million, according to data aggregated by Johns Hopkins University.
The U.S. leads the world with 90.6 million cases and 1,027,373 fatalities.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s tracker shows that 222.9 million people living in the U.S. are fully vaccinated, equal to 67.2% of the total population. But just 107.5 million have had a booster, equal to 48.2% of the vaccinated population, and just 19 million of the people 50 years old and over who are eligible for a second booster have had one, equal to 29.7% of those who had a first booster.