Israel says US booster decision vindicates its vaccine strategy
Overnight Health Care: WHO calls for pause on COVID-19 booster shots in wealthier countries | Delta's peak is difficult to project, but could come this month
Welcome to Wednesday's Overnight Health Care. Fall Out Boy is pulling out of two shows due to a positive test result. But Green Day and Weezer are still on.
Today: A new poll shows many of the unvaccinated are living in a different world from the vaccinated. The World Health Organization is calling for a moratorium on booster shots in wealthy nations, and it's hard to tell when infections from the delta variant might peak.
We'll start with WHO:
WHO calls for pause on COVID-19 booster shots in wealthier countries
The World Health Organization (WHO) is calling for a moratorium on COVID-19 booster shots in wealthy nations through at least the end of September as poor countries struggle with access to vaccines.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Wednesday he would like to see at least 10 percent of the population of every country vaccinated before booster shots are administered.
"I understand the concern of all governments to protect their people from the delta variant," Tedros said. "But we cannot, and we should not, accept countries that have already used most of the global supply of vaccines using even more of it, while the world's most vulnerable people remain unprotected."
Tedros and the WHO have long warned about vaccine inequities and have criticized wealthy countries for even discussing booster shots while some of the most vulnerable areas of the world struggle with getting even health workers vaccinated.
Key stat: Of the more than 4 billion doses that have been administered, more than 80 percent have gone to high- and upper-middle income countries, even though they account for less than half of the world's population.
State of play: There are a very limited number of countries that have begun administering booster doses but a far larger number of countries, including the United States, are contemplating it. WHO officials and public health advocates have repeatedly stressed that unequal distribution of vaccines will prolong the pandemic, and create an environment where variants can emerge and spread.
Majority of unvaccinated incorrectly believe vaccine poses bigger risk than COVID-19: poll
A slight majority of unvaccinated adults in the U.S. said they believe the vaccine poses a bigger risk to their health than COVID-19, according to a new poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation that comes amid an ongoing battle against coronavirus misinformation.
The KFF COVID-19 Vaccine Monitor released Wednesday found that 53 percent of unvaccinated respondents think getting the vaccine is a bigger risk to their health than the virus itself. Seventy-five percent of people who said they would "definitely not" get the shot think the COVID-19 vaccine is a bigger risk.
By contrast, 88 percent of vaccinated respondents said the virus poses a greater threat.
What this means: The poll results underscore the stark differences between vaccinated and unvaccinated people's viewpoints on COVID-19 and the vaccine.
Vaccinated respondents were much more likely to be concerned about variants disrupting the U.S. recovery, with 74 percent saying they're worried about the country, compared to 39 percent of the unvaccinated who said the same.
Glimmer of hope: About a quarter of unvaccinated adults, amounting to 8 percent of all adults, said they expected to get vaccinated by the end of the year. That amounts to almost half of people who say they want to "wait and see" before getting the shot.
So far, 67 percent of adults have reported getting the vaccine
When will delta peak? Experts say it's difficult to project, but the tipping point could come this month
The COVID-19 delta variant surging through the United States could peak later this month, but experts say projections are difficult and much will depend on an unpredictable factor: human behavior.
The U.S. is expected to endure a rough next few weeks no matter what. The seven-day average for COVID-19 has risen in recent weeks to 85,866 cases per day as of Monday, the highest point since Valentine's Day, according to data from The New York Times.
The boost in cases per day is higher than last summer's peak of almost 67,000 cases but much lower than the winter highpoint of nearly 260,000.
A lot of what happens in the next few weeks will depend on the population, which Nicholas Reich, an associate professor of biostatistics at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, noted is "really hard to predict and really hard to control."
"This is the sliver of optimism that we have is that the reason it's hard to predict is because it's sort of in our control as a society to change the trajectory," he said. "But it requires everybody being careful and being vigilant and looking out for each other."
It could get worse before it peaks: Fauci says US could see 200K daily COVID-19 cases in the fall
Chief White House medical adviser Anthony Fauci on Wednesday said the U.S. could see up to 200,000 daily COVID-19 cases in the fall.
"Remember, just a couple of months ago, we were having about 10,000 cases a day," Fauci told McClatchy in an interview. "I think you're likely going to wind up somewhere between 100,000 and 200,000 cases."
Fauci's prediction comes as the U.S. is experiencing a surge in cases while health officials are struggling to convince individuals to get vaccinated.
"What we're seeing, because of this increase in transmissibility, and because we have about 93 million people in this country who are eligible to get vaccinated who don't get vaccinated - that you have a significant pool of vulnerable people," Fauci said.
The infectious disease expert says he is concerned the high number of unvaccinated people could lead to a stronger variant emerging that could combat the vaccines that have been given out.
For now, the CDC says the delta variant accounts for 93 percent of all infections
The delta variant accounts for at least 93 percent of all sequenced coronavirus in the U.S., according to estimates from the CDC.
For the two-week period ending July 31, all the different lineages of the delta variant made up about 93 percent of cases that were sequenced.
In some parts of the country with low vaccination rates, especially the Midwest, the percentages are even higher.
Vaccination rates have been uneven across states, and only about half of all eligible people nationwide are fully vaccinated.
Two weeks ago, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said the delta variant was responsible for 83 percent of all sequenced COVID-19 cases.
Health officials have described the latest stage of the coronavirus as a "pandemic of the unvaccinated" while emphasizing that those who have had their shots are relatively safe.
What we're reading
Chaos and confusion: Back to school turns ugly as Delta rages (Politico)
Analysis: Delta variant upends politicians' COVID calculus (The Associated Press)
FDA aims to give final approval to Pfizer vaccine by early next month (The New York Times)
Alzheimer's patients are in limbo as hospitals, insurers grapple with whether to offer Aduhelm (Stat News)
State by state
In worst-case scenario, Colorado's COVID hospitalizations could approach December peak again this fall (The Denver Post)
Some Florida school districts defy DeSantis, require masks (The Associated Press)
SC health officials urge immunizations as kids prepare to go back to school (Greenville News)
Op-eds in The Hill