US coronavirus: Young Americans are lagging behind with Covid-19 vaccines. And these threats have experts pushing for their vaccination
For young Americans who feel hesitant or even unmotivated to get vaccinated, Dr. Anthony Fauci warned that even mild Covid-19 illness can result in life-disrupting impacts.
“There’s a syndrome that is referred to as long Covid, which means that you get a syndrome following the clearing of the virus where it could be for months,” the director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases said Monday at a town hall, adding that possible persisting symptoms include profound fatigue, muscle aches, temperature dysregulation and an inability to focus.
About 1 in 5 people between ages 18 and 34 who are infected with Covid-19 reported lingering symptoms beyond two or three weeks, according to a study last year by the US for Disease Control and Prevention.
And adolescents and children still deserve protection against their risk — however small — of contracting a serious illness, Fauci said.
Protecting students returning for school in the fall
Protection for school-aged adolescents has increasingly come into focus as officials look ahead to the new school year.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said Monday children should be back in school full-time in-person statewide in September. His statement came after New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that there will be no remote option for the city’s public schools in the fall.
Currently, only students 12 years old and older are eligible for vaccines, though studies are underway on vaccinating younger children.
When New York City does open its public schools on September 13, students will still have to wear face masks and adhere to social distancing guidelines, NYC Schools Chancellor Meisha Porter said Monday.
“We would never take any risks with our most important assets … our children,” Porter said, adding that every school will be equipped with social and emotional support resources for students.
In California, the Los Angeles Unified School District announced that school campuses will reopen for in-person learning five days a week in the fall. Superintendent Austin Beutner recognized that not all families in the district will be ready to send their students back by then.
“We expect the vast majority of students, teachers and staff to be at school every day, but recognize that we must provide the online opportunity for those who need it,” he said.
Understanding the origin of the virus could help mitigate another pandemic
Understanding how coronavirus developed could have an impact on officials’ ability to respond to future pandemics, but debate around its origin has grown.
After a US intelligence report found that several researchers at China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology fell ill in November 2019, a former commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration said on Monday that there is “growing circumstantial evidence” that Covid-19 may have come from a lab.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian on Monday refuted the report and accused the US of “hyping up the lab leak theory.”
“Through field visits and in-depth visits in China, the experts unanimously agreed that the allegation of lab leaking is extremely unlikely,” Zhao said.
“I think the challenge right now is that the side of the ledger that supports the thesis that this came from a zoonotic source, from an animal source, hasn’t budged,” Dr. Scott Gottlieb said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.” “And the side of the ledger that suggests this could have come out of a lab has been continuing to grow,”
Whether the virus derived from an animal or a lab, it is important for health experts to know, CNN Medical Analyst Dr. Leana Wen said.
“We need to understand what the origin is, if there is in fact an intermediary animal between bats and humans we need to understand because there may be a reservoir of disease we should be looking for,” Wen said. “If this is indeed a lab leak, we should also understand for the purposes of securing lab safety protocols.”
Among the unanswered questions are how seriously the researchers fell ill, when they got sick and if the virus was already circulating before then, Wen said.
The Chinese government has not been transparent on this issue, she said, but it is important the global community get down to the bottom of it.
“This is not the last pandemic that we are going to see and understanding the origin of this will help us to prevent something like this from happening in the future,” she said.
CNN’s Ryan Prior, Christina Maxouris, Holly Yan Jacqueline Howard, Lauren del Valle and Laura Ly contributed to this report.