COVID-19 Update | December 16, 2022

COVID-19 News

COVID-19 Update | December 16, 2022

December 16, 2022

The California Biotechnology Foundation is committed to keeping you up to date about COVID-19 testing, treatment and prevention advancements. The following resources track what progress has been made as of December 16, 2022. Notable advancements include:

  • new study reveals that COVID-19 vaccines have spared more than 18.5 million people from hospitalization and saved more than 3.2 million lives in the United States.
  • Pfizer’s COVID-19 anti-viral treatment, Paxlovid, was shown to reduce hospitalizations and deaths in vaccinated adults over the age of 50 by 44 percent.
  • Free, at-home COVID-19 tests are once again available in the U.S. as COVID cases rise during the holiday and winter season.

Recent News

  • Winter is coming: White House restarts free COVID-19 test shipmentsFierce Biotech- December 15, 2022With winter and the holiday travel season on the horizon, the Biden administration has once again begun providing free, at-home COVID-19 diagnostics through the mail. The testing initiative was put on hiatus earlier this year due to a lack of federal funding. Described by the White House as a “limited round,” starting December 15 every U.S. household is eligible to order a total of four antigen test kits. The potential stocking stuffers will begin shipping through the Postal Service on December 19.
  • Delaying surgery after COVID-19 may lower risk of cardiac complicationsUniversity of Minnesota Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy – December 14, 2022Vanderbilt University researchers have found a link between delaying surgery after COVID-19 infection and a lower risk of major postoperative cardiovascular complications in JAMA Network Open. The team evaluated the association between time to surgery after COVID-19 diagnosis and the risk of major postsurgical cardiovascular events within 30 days among 3,997 previously infected adult patients. Based on recent data suggesting a higher death rate for patients who undergo surgery within 6 weeks of infection, the ASA and the Anesthesia Patient Safety Foundation recommend postponing surgery for 4 to 12 weeks after diagnosis, depending on COVID-19 severity and vaccination status.
  • Dr. Sanjay Gupta: After two years of COVID-19 vaccines, here’s why they’re still vitalCNN – December 14, 2022In the United States, approximately 658 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered since they were first distributed exactly two years ago. Framing the significance of preventive measures like vaccines can be challenging, which is why a new report from the Commonwealth Fund and Yale School of Public Health made headlines: According to their modeling of disease transmission across all age demographics and taking into account the existing health conditions in so many Americans, COVID-19 vaccines prevented an estimated 3.2 million deaths and 18.5 million hospitalizations from their introduction in December 2020 to November 30, 2022.
  • Think COVID-19 Vaccines Don’t Save Lives? Here’s Irrefutable Evidence They DoGV Wire – December 13, 2022A new study reveals that COVID-19 vaccines have spared more than 18.5 million people from hospitalization and saved more than 3.2 million lives in the United States. More than 655 million doses have been given, according to researchers, and 80% of Americans have received at least one dose. “The swift development of the vaccine, emergency authorization to distribute widely, and rapid rollout have been instrumental in curbing hospitalization and death, while mitigating socioeconomic repercussions of the pandemic,” states the research from the Commonwealth Fund and Yale School of Public Health.
  • Will California renew the COVID-19 state of emergency if cases spike?KTLA – December 15, 2022Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that the state’s COVID-19 State of Emergency order would expire on Feb. 28. 2023. However, as case numbers across the state increase, especially as the winter season approaches, some have questioned whether the emergency order will be renewed. The idea wouldn’t be so farfetched, as the order has been renewed before, most recently in November 2021, Cal Matters reported. Newsom decided to extend the order when the Delta variant led to an increase in COVID-19 cases and to ensure that hospitals across the state were properly staffed and equipped with the resources employees needed, according to a news release.
  • What parents should know about COVID-19 vaccine boosters for kids age 5 and underCNN – December 14, 2022The US Food and Drug Administration authorized the bivalent COVID-19 booster for children 6 months to 5 years old. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has since recommended the booster, and now everyone 6 months and older is able to receive the updated vaccine except kids who got three doses produced by Pfizer/BioNTech. There are two vaccines authorized for young children: Moderna and Pfizer. For the youngest age group, the Moderna vaccine was designed to be a two-dose primary vaccine, while the Pfizer version was designed to be a three-dose primary vaccine. That means young children are considered to have completed their primary series if they completed two doses of the Moderna vaccine or if they completed three doses of Pfizer. The FDA explicitly says that children 6 months through 4 years old who have completed their three-dose primary series with the original Pfizer vaccine are not eligible for a fourth shot of the bivalent booster.
  • Two years after COVID-19 vaccines rolled out, researchers are calling for newer, better optionsNBC – December 14, 2022Two years after the first COVID-19 vaccine went into arms, a growing chorus of researchers is calling for a new generation of vaccines that provide broader and more long-term protection against the disease. The U.S. is currently recording around 430 COVID-19 deaths per day, on average, according to NBC News’ tally. That includes many people who received at least two COVID-19 shots: Six in 10 adults who died of Covid in August were vaccinated or boosted, according to a report by KFF, a nonprofit health think tank. And for the most part, vaccinated people don’t avoid infections or reinfections anymore.
  • Paxlovid lowered COVID-19 hospitalizations, deaths in vaccinated adults over 50, Mass General Brigham study saysBoston Globe – December 13, 2022Paxlovid, the drug used to treat COVID-19 infections, reduced hospitalizations and death in a vaccinated population of adults over the age of 50 by 44 percent, according to a new study from Mass General Brigham researchers. The study, published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, analyzed “observational data” from nearly 45,000 patients diagnosed with COVID-19 between January and July, Mass General Brigham said in a statement. Paxlovid had been shown in previous clinical trials to reduce hospitalization and death among high-risk, unvaccinated patients by 88 percent. But the Mass General Brigham study shows the drug can also benefit vaccinated people, researchers said.
  • COVID-19 vaccines averted 3 million deaths in U.S., according to new studyStat News – December 13, 2022The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that more than 1 million Americans have died from COVID-19 since the onset of the pandemic. But the study results show the toll would have been even worse had the U.S. had relied upon so-called natural immunity acquired through infection as the only immunological defense against the virus. Without vaccines, the country would have experienced four times as many deaths, 1.5 times more infections, and 3.8 times more hospitalizations in the time since December of 2020. The vaccines also saved the U.S. $1 trillion in additional medical costs.
  • CDC Expands Updated COVID-19 Vaccines to Include Children Ages 6 Months through 5 YearsCDC – December 9, 2022CDC expanded the use of updated (bivalent) COVID-19 vaccines for children ages 6 months through 5 years. Children ages 6 months through 5 years who previously completed a Moderna primary series are eligible to receive a Moderna bivalent booster 2 months after their final primary series dose. Children ages 6 months through 4 years who are currently completing a Pfizer primary series will receive a Pfizer bivalent vaccine as their third primary dose. Updated COVID-19 vaccines are formulated to protect against some of the more recently circulating viruses. Most importantly, COVID-19 vaccines are critical to providing ongoing protection.

Rely on California Biotechnology Foundation to monitor breaking news and provide updates on the latest advancements in COVID-19 diagnostics, vaccines and treatments.

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If you have any questions about informational briefings contact California Biotechnology Foundation Executive Director Patty Cooper at (916)764-2434 or [email protected].