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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.
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There have been more than 92.18 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States as of 6:20 a.m. ET Saturday, according to Johns Hopkins University. There have been more than 1.03 million deaths recorded in the U.S.
Worldwide, there have been more than 583 million confirmed coronavirus cases with more than 6.41 million deaths and more than 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.
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On Saturday morning, Aug. 6, 2022, more than half of Indiana was classified in the high-risk category for spreading COVID-19.
The counties listed on the CDC data map as having a “high” community risk of spreading COVID-19 include (listed alphabetically): Allen, Bartholomew, Benton, Blackford, Cass, Clark, Crawford, Daviess, Dearborn, Dekalb, Decatur, Debois, Floyd, Fulton, Gibson, Greene, Harrison, Henry, Howard, Jackson, Jasper, Johnson, Knox, Kosciusko, Lawrence, Madison, Martin, Morgan, Newton, Noble, Ohio, Owen, Parke, Perry, Pike, Pulaski, Putnam, Ripley, Rush, Scott, Shelby, Steuben, Sullivan, Tipton, Vanderburgh, Vermillion, Warrick, Washington and White counties.
There were also 38 more Indiana counties listed as “medium” risks.
Adams, Boone, Starke, Union and Warren are the only counties currently listed as “low” risks for spreading COVID-19 as of Saturday.
Over the past seven days, Indiana has recorded 14,392 new cases and 68 deaths.
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The Biden administration said Friday it has reached an agreement with Moderna to buy 66 million doses of the company’s next generation of COVID-19 vaccine that targets the highly transmissible omicron variant, enough supply this winter for all who want the upgraded booster.
The order of the bivalent shot follows the announcement last month that the federal government had secured 105 million doses of a similar vaccine from rival drugmaker Pfizer. Both orders are scheduled for delivery in the fall and winter, assuming regulators sign off on their effectiveness.
The omicron strain has been dominant in the U.S. since December, with the BA.5 subvariant now causing a massive wave of infections across the country, even infecting President Joe Biden.
The U.S. orders with Pfizer and Moderna include options to purchase 300 million doses each, but reaching that total will require more funding from Congress, the Biden administration said.
About 261 million Americans have received at least one COVID-19 shot, but only 108 million have received a booster.
The German government on Wednesday said basic coronavirus requirements would remain in place during the coming fall and winter, when experts expect COVID-19 cases to rise again as people spend more time indoors.
Face masks and presenting proof of a negative coronavirus test will be mandatory from October until early April at hospitals, nursing homes and similar institutions with vulnerable people.
Passengers on airplanes and making long-distance trips by train and bus also will have to wear masks during that period, as they do now.
However, Germany’s 16 states have the authority to adopt their own rules depending on how severely the virus affects their areas. State governments could decide to require masks on local public transportation, in schools for students in fifth grade and up, and at public indoor events.
U.S. regulators say they are no longer considering authorizing second COVID-19 booster shots for all adults under 50 this summer. Instead, the Food and Drug Administration said it will await revamped vaccines targeting the newest viral subvariants that are expected by September.
Some members of the Biden administration had been pressing regulators to open a fourth dose of the Moderna and Pfizer shots to all adults before the fall.
They had argued that another round of booster shots now could help head off rising cases and hospitalizations caused by the highly transmissible omicron strains.
Currently, all Americans age 5 and over are eligible for a booster shot five months after their initial primary series. Fourth doses of the Pfizer or Moderna shots — a second booster — are recommended for Americans 50 and older and for younger people with serious health issues that make them more vulnerable to COVID-19.
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.
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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.
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