Hospitalizations are rising again in New York City with the spread of new COVID-19 subvariants that are better at evading immunity. Cases of flu and respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, are also increasing.
State data show about 1,100 patients hospitalized with COVID as of Oct. 24, up from 750 in mid-September, as the New York Times reported. Case numbers have held steady, although with many people testing at home where data are not being collected, those numbers are not reliable.
Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that the omicron sublineages named BQ.1 and BQ.1.1 accounted for 42.5% of all cases in the New York region in the week through Oct. 29, up from 37% the previous week.
That was more than the BA.5 omicron subvariant, which accounted for 35.7% of new cases in the New York region in the latest week. The two sublineages were not even registering as recently as three weeks ago, demonstrating just how fast they are spreading.
Experts are also concerned about a nationwide surge in RSV, which can cause breathing difficulties in small children and older adults and for which there is currently no vaccine.
There was good news from Pfizer Inc., however, which said Tuesday that data from a late-stage trial of an RSV vaccine had proved effective in preventing severe illness in children up to 6 months old.
The Phase 3 trial found that the vaccine, given to pregnant mothers, achieved vaccine efficacy of 81.8% in infants from birth through the first 90 days of life. The trial found efficacy of 69.4% through the first 6 months of life.
Pfizer PFE, +3.11% said it expects to make its first U.S. regulatory application for the vaccine by the end of 2022 and to follow on with other regulatory bodies. It will also submit the results of the trial for peer review in a scientific journal.
The daily U.S. average for new COVID cases stood at 37,665 on Monday, according to a New York Times tracker, which was flat as compared with two weeks ago. The daily average for hospitalizations was up 2% to 27,184, while the daily average for deaths was down 3% to 348.
Other COVID-19 news you should know about:
• Apple AAPL, -1.75% supplier Foxconn 2317, -0.98% said Tuesday it has quadrupled bonuses for workers at its Zhengzhou plant in central China as it seeks to quell discontent over COVID restrictions and retain staff at the giant iPhone manufacturing site, Reuters reported. Daily bonuses for employees, who are part of a Foxconn unit responsible for making electronics including smartphones, have been raised to 400 yuan ($55) a day for November from 100 yuan, according to the official WeChat account of Foxconn’s Zhengzhou plant. The move comes after workers fled the site over the weekend to avoid COVID curbs after complaining about their treatment and provisions via social media.
• The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday that Hong Kong stocks appeared to be rallying after an anonymous post on Chinese social media suggested that the government may intend to soften pandemic-related restrictions beginning in March. Other outlets also reported on the rumor. American depositary receipts for Chinese companies surged on the news.
• Pfizer’s COVID antiviral Paxlovid brought in $7.5 billion in sales in the third quarter of the year, compared with a FactSet consensus of $7.6 billion. The drug company also reiterated guidance for Paxlovid revenues in 2022, saying it still expects $22 billion in sales for the year. The FactSet consensus is $22.5 billion. Pfizer raised its full-year revenue guidance for the company’s Comirnaty COVID vaccine by $2 billion to $34 billion. The guidance includes doses expected to be delivered in fiscal 2022, primarily under contracts signed as of mid-October.
• AstraZeneca PLC’s AZN, +1.77% AZN, +0.90% COVID vaccine Vaxzevria has been granted full marketing authorization in the European Union, Dow Jones Newswires reported. The Anglo-Swedish pharmaceutical giant said Vaxzevria has been shown to be effective against all forms of the virus. Vaxzevria was originally granted conditional marketing authorization due to the urgency of the COVID-19 pandemic, it said.
Here’s what the numbers say:
The global tally of confirmed cases of COVID-19 topped 630.6 million on Monday, while the death toll rose above 6.59 million, according to data aggregated by Johns Hopkins University.
The U.S. leads the world with 97.5 million cases and 1,070,429 fatalities.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s tracker shows that 226.9 million people living in the U.S., equal to 68.4% of the total population, are fully vaccinated, meaning they have had their primary shots.
So far, just 22.8 million Americans have had the updated COVID booster that targets the original virus and the omicron variants, equal to 7.3% of the overall population.