Next up in 5
Example video title will go here for this video
INDIANAPOLIS — Here are Saturday’s latest updates on the coronavirus pandemic, including the latest news on COVID-19 vaccinations and testing in Indiana.
Registrations for the vaccine are now open for all Hoosiers through the Indiana Department of Health. This story will be updated over the course of the day with more news on the COVID-19 pandemic.
RELATED: Here’s everything we know about the COVID-19 vaccine
RELATED: Biden administration launches covid.gov site
The U.S. government is suspending 26 flights by Chinese airlines from the United States to China in a dispute over anti-virus controls after Beijing suspended flights by American carriers.
The Department of Transportation accused Beijing of violating an air travel agreement while enforcing anti-virus controls that are among the world’s most extreme.
The agency complained airlines were treated unfairly by China’s “circuit breaker” system that requires them to suspend flights if passengers test positive.
The suspensions apply to flights in September by Air China from New York City and Air China, China Eastern Airlines, China Southern Airlines and Xiamen Airlines from Los Angeles.
RELATED: COVID vaccines for fall: Pfizer seeks OK of updated boosters
On Saturday, Aug. 27, 2022, 53 Indiana counties were classified in the high-risk category for spreading COVID-19.
The central Indiana counties listed on the CDC data map as having a “high” community risk of spreading COVID-19 include Bartholomew, Cass, Delaware, Grant, Hancock, Henry, Howard, Johnson, Miami and Shelby.
There were also 29 more Indiana counties listed as “medium” risks, including Marion and Hendricks.
Adams, Boone, Carroll, Hamilton, Jay, Newton, Porter, Tippecanoe, Union and Wells are the only counties listed as “low” risks for spreading COVID-19 as of Saturday morning.
Over the past seven days, Indiana has recorded 15,018 new cases and 66 deaths. The 7-day moving average of new hospital admissions for COVID-19 is 126.29.
There have been more than 94.17 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States as of 9:20 a.m. ET Saturday, according to Johns Hopkins University. There have been more than 1.04 million deaths recorded in the U.S.
Worldwide, there have been more than 600.21 million confirmed coronavirus cases with more than 6.48 million deaths and more than 12.12 billion vaccine doses administered.
For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness like pneumonia, or death.
RELATED: Fauci, nation’s top infectious disease expert, announces retirement
Pfizer asked U.S. regulators Monday to authorize its combination COVID-19 vaccine that adds protection against the newest omicron relatives — a key step toward opening a fall booster campaign.
The Food and Drug Administration ordered vaccine makers to tweak their shots to target BA.4 and BA.5 that are better than ever at dodging immunity from earlier vaccination or infection.
Pfizer and its partner BioNTech aim to offer updated boosters to people 12 and older, and shots could begin within weeks if the FDA quickly clears the modified vaccine — a step not expected to require waiting on new studies.
Moderna is expected to file a similar application soon for updated boosters for adults. The U.S. has a contract to buy 105 million of the Pfizer doses and 66 million Moderna ones, assuming FDA gives the green light.
“It’s going to be really important that people this fall and winter get the new shots. It’s designed for the virus that’s out there,” White House COVID-19 coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha said last week.
For now at least. BA.5 currently is causing nearly all COVID-19 infections in the U.S. and much of the world. There’s no way to know if it still will be a threat this winter — or if another mutant will have replaced it.
The vaccines currently used in the U.S. still offer strong protection against severe disease and death, especially if people have gotten their recommended boosters. But those vaccines target the coronavirus strain that spread in early 2020, and their effectiveness against infection has dropped markedly as new mutants came along, particularly the super-contagious omicron family.
The nation’s top public health agency relaxed its COVID-19 guidelines, dropping the recommendation that Americans quarantine themselves if they come into close contact with an infected person.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also said people no longer need to stay at least 6 feet away from others.
The changes, which come more than 2 1/2 years after the start of the pandemic, are driven by a recognition that an estimated 95% of Americans 16 and older have acquired some level of immunity, either from being vaccinated or infected, agency officials said.
“The current conditions of this pandemic are very different from those of the last two years,” said the CDC’s Greta Massetti, an author of the guidelines.
Many places around the country long ago abandoned social distancing and other once-common precautions, but some of the changes could be particularly important for schools, which resume classes this month in many parts of the country.
Perhaps the biggest education-related change is the end of the recommendation that schools do routine daily testing, although that practice can be reinstated in certain situations during a surge in infections, officials said.
The CDC also dropped a “test-to-stay” recommendation, which said students exposed to COVID-19 could regularly test — instead of quarantining at home — to keep attending school. With no quarantine recommendation anymore, the testing option disappeared, too.
Masks continue to be recommended only in areas where community transmission is deemed high, or if a person is considered at high risk of severe illness.
As Americans ramp up their summer travels without their masks, two COVID-19 subvariants are causing a surge in cases.
BA.5, which accounts for 65% of cases, and BA.4, which is 16% of cases, are omicron’s smarter cousins. The two subvariants are evading antibodies and even vaccine protections, as they are one of the most contagious versions of the virus yet.
“It knows how to trick our immune system,” said TEGNA’s medical expert Dr. Payal Kohli.
Since the subvariants derived from the original omicron variant, symptoms fall under the same umbrella. However, symptoms still vary depending on vaccination status, age, prior infection, medication and other factors, said Kohli.
Data collected from the Zoe app in the UK show most symptoms mimic the common cold, with sore throats and runny noses. Kohli said a significant change in symptoms for the subvariants are heightened amounts of sneezing, something not seen in earlier forms of the COVID-19 variant.
The subvariants responsible for the latest surge pose a different threat as it also has higher rates of reinfection.
The Indiana Department of Health (IDOH) announced that the public can now schedule COVID-19 vaccine appointments for children through age 5 by visiting www.ourshot.in.gov.
Appointments are available for individuals seeking the Moderna vaccine for children ages 6 months through 5 years and the Pfizer vaccine for children ages 6 months through 4 years on the state’s scheduling platform.
IDOH has updated its map at www.ourshot.in.gov to show sites that offer vaccines for the youngest age group.
Appointments are recommended due to vaccine and provider availability. Individuals also can call 211 for assistance or contact their child’s healthcare provider to determine if they are offering vaccines.
Visit the Indiana Department of Health at www.health.in.gov for important health and safety information.
Riley Children’s Health has the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine for children 6 months to 5 years old.
Appointments are required and can be made by calling 211.
Riley Physicians at IU Health West:
Riley Physicians at IU Health North:
Riley Physicians at East Washington
Riley Physicians at Methodist Medical Plaza South
Riley Physicians at Georgetown
The Marion County Public Health Department is offering COVID-19 vaccinations to children ages 6 months to 4 years old at its district health offices and ACTION Health Center.
To see the schedule for each location, click here. Vaccinations are by appointment only. Call the specific location to make an appointment, or call MCPHD’s Immunization Program at 317-221-2122.
Notifications can be turned off anytime in the browser settings.