These are the two key groups now being hit hardest by Covid-19

Vaccine makers are preparing for a next possible phase of the Covid-19 vaccine rollout: booster doses. CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta reports on these booster studies.

Posted: Jun 24, 2021 1:11 PM
Updated: Jun 24, 2021 1:11 PM

Covid-19 deaths have been falling dramatically in the US, but -- with many people still unvaccinated -- the number of daily deaths remains in the hundreds. And the groups most at risk are increasingly younger people and Black Americans.

Throughout the pandemic, Black people have been disproportionately affected by Covid-19, accounting for about 12.5% of the population but more than 15% of total deaths, according to data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In May, that percentage went up to 19%.

Recently, the average age of people dying from the virus also shifted younger. Adults under the age of 40 represented about 3% of Covid-19 deaths in May, more than double their share of total deaths since the pandemic began.

Health experts in the US have been conscious of disparity of vaccine accessibility for much of the time they have been available. Now, vaccines have demonstrated high enough protection against severe disease for the CDC director to call most new Covid-19 deaths "entirely preventable" -- even as the dangerous Delta variant is on the rise.

Officials are hoping to pick up the slowing vaccination rates by reaching people who are hesitant because of misinformation, unmotivated because they believe they are not at risk or unable to get vaccinated because they lack the technology or community access.

"As more Americans have rolled up their sleeves to get vaccinated, we have chipped away at the ability of the Covid-19 virus to cause more illness and more suffering," Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the CDC, said Tuesday. "This new virus forced too many of our families to accept death as its outcome for too many of our loved ones, but now, this should not be the case."

Benefits of vaccination outweigh risk of myocarditis

Some fears surrounding getting inoculated against the virus involve reports of heart inflammation, but CDC researchers say the benefits of the vaccines far outweigh the risks.

The US Food and Drug Administration expects to add a warning about the risk of myocarditis and pericarditis to information sheets for Covid-19 mRNA vaccines, an FDA official said Wednesday.

Myocarditis results from inflammation of the heart muscle and pericarditis is inflammation of tissue surrounding the heart.

For every million second-dose vaccinations, there may be tens of myocarditis cases, CDC researchers told the agency's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices during a virtual meeting on Wednesday.

On the other hand, for every 1 million second-dose vaccinations, 5,700 Covid-19 cases, 215 hospitalizations, 71 intensive care unit admissions and two deaths would be prevented, the data show. It's estimated there might be 56 to 69 myocarditis cases.

People who do experience myocarditis after receiving the vaccine often quickly recover, Dr. Matthew Oster, a pediatric cardiologist told the committee.

Although reduced heart function can occur in someone with myocarditis, "the good news so far is that that function tends to rebound rather quickly" in cases following vaccination, said Oster, a member of the CDC Covid-19 Vaccine Task Force.

He emphasized that in most cases, "there's typically quick resolution," but long-term data are still needed.

Following the committee's discussion, an unusual alliance of government and health agencies and groups signed a joint statement endorsing vaccination.

"As physicians, nurses, public health and health care professionals, and, for many of us, parents, we understand the significant interest many Americans have in the safety of the COVID-19 vaccines, especially for younger people," the long list of medical groups said in a joint statement. "The facts are clear: this is an extremely rare side effect, and only an exceedingly small number of people will experience it after vaccination."

CDC watching infections to decide on boosters

With variants increasing as the virus continues to spread, some experts have worried that there will come a point when the current vaccines can no longer fight the variants that have developed. Researchers say boosters to the vaccine could be the answer.

"We, in an interagency way, are planning to boost," Walensky said during the Milken Future of Health Summit Wednesday. "Because, quite honestly, we want to make sure that if we see more disease out there, we have a mechanism, we're fully ready to combat it."

Researchers at the CDC are closely monitoring data to consider whether Covid-19 vaccine booster shots may be needed in the future -- especially for at-risk groups.

Those include residents of long-term care facilities, adults 65 and older, health care personnel and immunocompromised patients.

The information that would help researchers decide if boosters are necessary and who would get them could come in part from a rise in so-called breakthrough cases, federal vaccine advisors said.

"We really, truly need to wait for more data," ACIP member Dr. Sharon Frey said in Wednesday's meeting. "I think the only thing we can do at this moment is, if we start to see an uptick in reinfections in people, or new infections in people who have been vaccinated, that's our clue that we need to move quickly."

New York Coronavirus Cases

County data is updated nightly.

Cases: 2506247

Reported Deaths: 55965
CountyCasesDeaths
Kings33129910834
Queens31382710273
Suffolk2383183590
Nassau2136033286
Bronx2067916745
New York1674924632
Westchester1433882338
Erie1054771938
Richmond882931930
Monroe835191180
Orange57192909
Rockland52859779
Onondaga51456755
Dutchess35411497
Albany30510386
Oneida28347582
Broome24121403
Niagara23795397
Saratoga20034197
Ulster17179277
Schenectady16525227
Rensselaer14618167
Putnam1242096
Chautauqua12281172
Oswego11449112
Chemung10740153
St. Lawrence10354124
Steuben9972173
Ontario9244110
Jefferson867574
Cayuga8582107
Sullivan839483
Wayne801884
Cattaraugus7586112
Genesee6904132
Herkimer6671125
Clinton663138
Tompkins646359
Fulton6228102
Madison6092102
Montgomery5865138
Livingston564971
Warren537181
Cortland528479
Tioga501271
Columbia4966111
Chenango463586
Allegany454296
Washington453367
Otsego452654
Greene434286
Wyoming433657
Orleans428087
Franklin417920
Lewis355038
Delaware350747
Seneca271663
Schoharie227221
Essex224531
Yates158827
Schuyler151317
Hamilton4343
Unassigned14424
Out of NY0310
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