Sources and updates, July 17

  • COVID-19 and antimicrobial resistance: The pandemic resulted in major losses for the fight against antimicrobial resistance, according to a new CDC report published last week. Antimicrobial resistance (AMR), in which bacteria evolve the ability to bypass commonly-used antibiotics, is a significant public health concern in the U.S. and globally. The CDC is still missing data for several major AMR threats during the pandemic, but data the agency was able to compile present a concerning picture about resistant infections in U.S. hospitals during the pandemic.
  • CDC’s air travel contact tracing needs work: And now, a report about the CDC: the U.S. Government Accountability Office found that the agency’s data system for contact tracing on flights “needs substantial improvement.” Without a comprehensive, singular data source for airplane passenger contact information, the CDC has to do extra research and extend contact tracing time after a passenger tests positive for COVID-19.
  • State COVID-19 data reporting continues slowing: New York Times reporter Adeel Hassan and colleagues described how states are reporting their COVID-19 data less frequently and closing public testing sites, leaving more gaps and delays in their numbers. This article provides a helpful summary of a trend I’ve alluded to in various blog posts for the last few weeks.
  • Private companies step up to assist with PCR testing: Two major testing companies, Quest Diagnostics and Color Health, announced this week that they will provide free COVID-19 testing to some Americans without health insurance at hundreds of sites across the country; these site locations will be determined by the CDC’s Social Vulnerability Index. The CDC is picking up the tab for these testing costs, according to press releases. (H/t the COVID Weekly Testing Newsletter.)
  • FDA authorization for Novavax vaccine: Novavax’s protein-based COVID-19 vaccine has been granted Emergency Use Authorization by the FDA. While this vaccine option is unlikely to substantially increase uptake in the U.S., the FDA’s authorization opens the door for Novavax shots to be used as fall booster shots—an idea that seemed promising to some members of the agency’s advisory committee in a recent meeting.

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