An index of “pandemic misery” released this week by USC Dornsife Center for Economic and Social Research has found that 80% of people involved in the survey experienced hardships in the past year — and that number was even higher for Black and Latino people.
The index looked at nine indicators to determine “pandemic misery”: financial insecurity, food insecurity, symptoms of moderate or severe psychological distress, symptoms of high stress, job loss since March 2020, experience of COVID-19-based discrimination, missing a housing payment, being put in isolation or quarantine, and a COVID-19 diagnosis or perceived COVID-19 infection.
The study found that Black and Latino people were more likely to know someone who died from COVID-19. More than 85% of both racial groups reported facing at least one hardship, compared to 80% of Asian people and 76% of white people.
Although hardships have decreased, there are still people who reported at least one form of economic distress in March 2021. Twenty-three percent reported experiencing financial insecurity, 7% reported experiencing food insecurity and 6% reported missing housing payments.
Also in the news:
►The United Kingdom has approved the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in children ages 12-15. The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency said Friday clinical trial data showed the vaccine was “safe and effective in this age group.”
►The U.S. economy added 559,000 jobs in May and unemployment fell to 5.8% as COVID-19 cases fell and more states reopened, a jobs report released Friday shows.
►The filming of “Mission: Impossible 7” halted production after at least one person on the set tested positive for COVID-19, a Paramount spokesperson shared in a statement. Production will be on hiatus for 14 days.
►The United States will provide an “arsenal” of vaccines for the world and will donate 75% of its surplus doses through an international initiative for countries in need, the Biden administration announced Thursday.
►A Toledo resident is the latest winner in Ohio’s Vac-a-Million lottery. Jonathan Carlyle said when Ohio announced the lottery, he immediately went to get vaccinated for a chance to win the $1 million.
►In response to vaccine shortages in Canada, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization of Canada said people can mix their AstraZeneca vaccine with a different one for the second dose. Although they recommend both shots be the same brand, limited supplies of Moderna and AstraZeneca may result in a Pfizer follow up.
📈 Today’s numbers: The U.S. has more than 33.3 million confirmed coronavirus cases and 596,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The global totals: Over 172 million cases and 3.6 million deaths. More than 136 million Americans have been fully vaccinated – 41% of the population, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
📘 What we’re reading: Parents desperately need child care. But day cares are struggling to retain workers. Read the full story.
Health experts are urging parents to vaccinate their teenagers against COVID-19 after a report published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed hospitalizations had increased months leading up to the vaccine’s approval for people 12 and up.
The agency’s surveillance system COVID-NET – which covered approximately 10% of the country’s population – found hospitalization rates among teens between the ages of 12 and 17 increased from March 1 to April 24 after declining in January and February, according to a study published Friday in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
Among the 204 patients hospitalized for COVID-19 from Jan. 1 to March 31, more than 30% were admitted to the intensive care unit and nearly 5% required mechanical ventilation. More than 35% of patients hospitalized were Black and 31% Latino.
During a White House briefing Thursday ahead of the report’s publication, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky called the findings “troubling.”
“It is these findings within this publication – one that demonstrates the level of severe disease, even among youth that are preventable – that force us to redouble our motivation to get our adolescents and young adults vaccinated,” she said.
– Adrianna Rodriguez
As U.S. intelligence agencies scramble to determine the origin of COVID-19, the scarcity of CIA spy networks on the ground in China could prevent them from cracking whether Beijing is covering up an accidental leak of the deadly virus from a government research lab in Wuhan.
Some of the nation’s top spymasters have warned for years, mostly behind closed doors, that human intelligence networks, one of the most critical components of information-gathering efforts, have been decimated in recent decades by Beijing.
The CIA also hasn’t devoted enough resources to rebuilding the networks, according to interviews with current and former U.S. national security officials, congressional testimony and other sources.
The result, many of these experts fear, is the nation’s premiere spy agency is all but flying blind when it comes to cracking whether the novel coronavirus originated in the wild and spread to humans or from a laboratory in Wuhan.
“We should have Wuhan wired six ways from Sunday,” said Charles Faddis, former chief of the CIA’s Weapons of Mass Destruction directorate. “And yet 18 months into this, we’re still trying to figure out what happened.” Read more here.
– Josh Meyer
The monoclonal antibody bamlanivimab, made by Lilly, can reduce the incidence of COVID-19, including deaths, among nursing home residents and staff, according to a study published Thursday.
The finding came from the first large study to show these antibodies work prophylactically, after a person has been exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19, but before they fall ill.
Monoclonal antibodies, which are a concentrated version of antibodies made naturally to fight infections, have already been shown effective at preventing hospitalizations and death in people at high-risk from COVID-19. Several, including the Lilly drug, have been authorized for use against COVID-19 by the Food and Drug Administration.
In a study of 966 patients at 74 nursing homes and assisted living facilities, 15% of those who got the placebo developed COVID-19 compared to only 8.5% of those who got the antibodies. Even when they fell ill with COVID-19 people who received bamlanivimab recovered faster than those who got the placebo.
This finding opens up the possibility of using monoclonal antibodies in people who cannot get vaccinated or who get no protection from the vaccines, because of immunity issues. Monoclonal antibodies are generally considered protective for at least three months.
– Karen Weintraub
At bars, you might get asked to show your ID. If you visit Costco, you can’t get in or buy anything without your membership card. Will more Americans soon need to keep their COVID-19 vaccination cards handy to return to normal?
The question has been percolating: Is it legal for a business to even ask for proof that you’re vaccinated?
Currently, you don’t have to flash your COVID-19 vaccine card in most businesses in order to shop or to get a table. However, businesses are generally free to require that customers show proof of vaccination, sometimes known as a “vaccine passport.”
Legal experts have likened the requirement to a “no shirt, no shoes, no service” policy.
“A business can absolutely ask that question,” whether a customer has been vaccinated, said Lindsay Wiley, director of the Health Law and Policy Program at American University Washington College of Law, during an interview with USA TODAY. Read more here.
— Brett Molina and Kelly Tyko
Contributing: The Associated Press