Three more COVID-19 data points, August 15

The number of children hospitalized with COVID-19 has shot up in recent weeks. Chart from the CDC COVID Data Tracker.

A couple of additional items from this week’s COVID-19 headlines:

  • 1,900 children now hospitalized with COVID-19 in the U.S.: More kids are now seriously ill with COVID-19 than at any other time in the pandemic. The national total hit 1,902 on Saturday, according to HHS data. Asked about this trend at a press briefing on Thursday, Dr. Anthony Fauci explained that, thanks to Delta’s highly contagious properties, we’re now seeing more children get sick with COVID-19 just as we are seeing more adults get it. The vast majority of kids who contract the virus have mild cases, but this is still a worrying trend as schools reopen with, in many cases, limited safety measures. For more on this issue, I recommend Katherine J. Wu’s recent article in The Atlantic.
  • 2.7% of Americans now eligible for a third vaccine dose: Both the FDA and the CDC have now given the go-ahead for cancer patients, organ transplant recipients, and other immunocompromised Americans to get additional vaccine doses. There are about 7 million Americans eligible, comprising 2.7% of the population. Studies have shown that two Pfizer or Moderna doses do not provide these patients with sufficient COVID-19 antibodies to protect against the virus, while three doses bring the patients up to the same immune system readiness that a non-immunocompromised person would get out of two dioses. Still, this move goes against the World Health Organization’s push for wealthy nations to stop giving out boosters until the rest of the world has received more shots.
  • 203 cases so far linked to Lollapalooza, out of 385,000 attendees: Chicago residents and public health experts worried that Lollapalooza, a massive music festival held in the city in late July, would become a superspreader event. Two weeks out from the festival, however, local public health officials are seeing no evidence of superspreading, with a low number of cases identified in attendees. Lollapalooza may thus be an indicator that large events can still be held safely during the Delta surge—if events are held outdoors and the vast majority of attendees are vaccinated. (Officials estimated that 90% of the Lollapalooza crowd had gotten their shots.)

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