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Post: Coronavirus Update: CDC data confirm boosters offer high level of protection against severe COVID, bolster case for unvaccinated to get their shots

The risk of developing severe COVID-19 for people who are fully vaccinated and have received a booster dose is close to zero, according to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, further bolstering the case for unvaccinated people to get their shots.

Results from a study released Friday to the CDC’s website compare COVID incidence and death rates among unvaccinated adults and vaccinated adults, both with and without a booster dose, during waves of delta- and omicron-related cases from April 4 to Dec. 25, 2021, and demonstrate just how much protection boosters offer.

“During October–November, unvaccinated persons had 13.9 and 53.2 times the risks for infection and COVID-19–associated death, respectively, compared with fully vaccinated persons who received booster doses, and 4.0 and 12.7 times the risks compared with fully vaccinated persons without booster doses,” the authors of the study wrote.

Breaking news: FDA grants full approval to Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine

The highest impact from boosters was measured among people aged 50 to 64 and above 65 years old. “Eligible persons should stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccinations,” said the study.

Source: CDC

The data come at a time when governors of more U.S. states are calling for a shift to treating COVID as an endemic disease and no longer a pandemic, meaning Americans learn to live with it.

Gov. Phil Murphy of New Jersey, a Democrat, told NBC’s “Meet the Press”: “We’re not going to manage this to zero. We have to learn how to live with this.”

Gov. Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas agreed, saying the government should help states increase testing and gain access to treatments. “That’s where the federal government needs to step up,” the Republican said on “Meet the Press.” “Let’s take advantage of this going down to be prepared for what’s around the corner.”

Those comments come at a time when the omicron wave of cases has peaked, although pockets of the U.S. are still suffering record levels, including Montana, according to a New York Times tracker.

The U.S. is averaging 519,421 cases a day, down 35% from two weeks ago. Hospitalizations are down 8%, but, at 143,902 on average a day, they remain at undesirably high levels.

And deaths, which lag cases and hospitalizations, are up 28% from two weeks ago at 2,524.

See: 400 million free N95 masks are starting to hit pharmacies — here’s how to extend their use, and recycle them

Other COVID-19 news you should know about:

• Moderna

shares jumped 5% Monday after it said it has received full approval from the Food and Drug Administration for its COVID-19 vaccine, which is now called Spikevax. The FDA has granted full approval to one other COVID-19 shot: BioNTech SE 

 and Pfizer Inc.’s 

 Comirnaty. The Spikevax approval is for adults, though the vaccine still has emergency authorization for use in teens and as a booster dose. 

• After a bruising week, Spotify Technology SA on Sunday said it would add content advisories to certain podcasts and improve transparency about its misinformation policy, MarketWatch’s Mike Murphy reported. Last week, rock icon Neil Young pulled his music from Spotify 
 citing the spread of disinformation on the streaming platform, specifically citing Joe Rogan’s popular podcast. Artists such as Joni Mitchell and Nils Lofgren also pulled their music, while on Sunday ’90s alt-rock band Belly posted “Delete Spotify” on its Spotify profile. Calls to cancel Spotify have surged on social media in recent days.

• OraSure Technologies

said its COVID-19 rapid tests have now been authorized for children between the ages of 2 and 14. The tests had previously received emergency-use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration for use by teens and adults.

New high-tech Covid-19 tests promise better and earlier detection of the virus—similar to a PCR test. WSJ’s Joanna Stern (and her mannequin clone) tried out the Detect Covid-19 Test and Cue Health Monitoring System to see how they compare with rapid antigen tests. Photo illustration: Ryan Trefes/ WSJ

• Quest Diagnostics

will sell 50 common laboratory tests to consumers on Walmart’s

website. Consumers can buy tests to learn their blood type or iron levels, screen for drugs, and check their COVID-19 status, among other options. Some tests require a prescription, though the companies said they would review or order tests from a doctor, if necessary. Some patients may be directed to make an appointment with a Walmart healthcare provider, depending on the type of test. 

• With just five days to go before the start of the Winter Olympics, Beijing recorded its highest number of new COVID cases in a year and a half on Sunday, AFP reported. Beijing’s tally of 20 new cases on Sunday was the highest since June 2020, according to the National Health Commission. City authorities have locked down some housing compounds, while officials in Fengtai district — where most of Sunday’s infections were detected — have begun testing around 2 million people for the virus.

• The prime minister of the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan said it felt like “a bullet-hit to learn that one more precious life” had been lost to the pandemic, the Independent reported. Dr. Lotay Tschering made the comment in an open letter on Facebook on Saturday, referring to a 34-year-old woman who died on Friday, becoming the kingdom’s fourth death from COVID-19. Bhutan has been successful in containing the pandemic even as it borders both India and China.

Read: World could see end to ‘acute phase’ of pandemic this year if countries pull together to get vaccines to all, bolster testing and sequencing, says WHO head

Here’s what the numbers say

The global tally of confirmed cases of COVID-19 rose above 375.7 million, and the death toll is now nearly 5.7 million, according to data aggregated by Johns Hopkins University.

The U.S. leads the world with 74.4 million cases and 884,583 fatalities.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s vaccine tracker is showing that 211.6 million people living in the U.S. are fully vaccinated, equal to 63.8% of the total population.

Almost 88 million have received a booster, equal to 41.5% of the fully vaccinated.

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