HAP's Latest News

5 Takeaways from Today’s COVID-19 Briefing

Public health leaders discuss case counts, children’s vaccines, and long COVID

October 27, 2021

The nation’s public health leaders offered encouraging trends in the fight against COVID-19, while urging the remaining 60 million unvaccinated Americans to make an appointment to get vaccinated.

“We know vaccines are the very best line of defense against the virus, so our top priority remains getting shots in arms,” said Jeff Zients, White House COVID-19 response coordinator.

Here are five takeaways from the today’s COVID-19 Response Team meeting:

  • Positive trends, with a caveat:  The seven-day daily averages for COVID-19 cases (65,900) declined about 16 percent from the previous week and hospitalizations (5,500) declined about 12 percent. These are encouraging trends, but the upcoming colder, drier winter months may pose new challenges, said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
  • Unvaccinated hospitalizations:  Unvaccinated adults have a hospitalization rate about 12 times higher than those who are vaccinated, demonstrating the “power and importance of vaccination,” Dr. Walensky said
  • Preparations for children:  Vaccine providers across the nation are preparing to administer the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to children between ages 5 and 11. The CDC’s advisory panel is set to review the available evidence next week before making recommendations for children in this age group
  • Vaccine mandates:  The federal government is still finalizing the emergency temporary standard for COVID-19 vaccination and testing requirements for organizations with more than 100 employees. Zients did not offer a timeline for the release of the rule but said it would be coming “soon”
  • Understanding long COVID:  Researchers are studying the prevalence of post-COVID-19 symptoms, such as anxiety, depression, pain, abnormal breathing, abdominal symptoms, and fatigue

In Pennsylvania, there were 4,178 new COVID-19 cases, 2,798 patients hospitalized, and 681 patients in the intensive care unit, according to the state Department of Health. More than 71 percent of Pennsylvania adults are fully vaccinatedNearly all Pennsylvania counties remain in the “high” level of transmission.

The nation reported 1.14 million shots in arms today, including 300,000 Americans getting their first shot. There have been 400 million total vaccinations since mid-January, Zients said.

HAP will continue to monitor the latest COVID-19 public health developments and provide updates to members. A replay of today’s COVID-19 briefing is available online.