Editor’s note: This is a live account of COVID-19 updates from Friday, June 10, as the day unfolded. It is no longer being updated. Click here to see all the most recent news about the pandemic, and click here to find additional resources.
A study found that babies of people who became ill with COVID-19 while pregnant faced double the risk of a delayed speech or motor skills diagnosis by their first year.
The risk rose from 3% to 6% among the babies exposed to the virus while in the womb, according to the findings.
Meanwhile, federal regulators and their advisers on Wednesday closely reviewed Moderna and Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccines for the youngest group of children in the U.S. The two vaccines are expected to be available to children younger than 5 June 21 following authorization from the Food and Drug Administration.
We’re updating this page with the latest news about the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on the Seattle area, the U.S. and the world. Click here to see the rest of our coronavirus coverage and here to see how we track the daily spread across Washington.
COVID shots for youngest children are almost available. Here’s what you need to know
Finally, vaccines for the youngest children are almost here.
Federal regulators and their outside advisers will scrutinize coronavirus vaccines Wednesday for the only group in the United States still not eligible for the shots — children younger than 5, a contingent 19 million strong. The long-anticipated action comes a year and a half after the first shots were cleared for adults, and amid a rush of graduations, vacations and camp gatherings as families scramble to enjoy the summer.
If all goes as expected, two vaccines — one by Moderna and the other by Pfizer and its German partner, BioNTech — will be authorized by federal authorities and be available by June 21. Experts predict the initial uptake will be modest, with many parents taking a wait-and-see approach.
Biden administration officials said they plan to make the vaccines as accessible as possible so parents can get their youngest children vaccinated at locations they know and trust. Along with pediatrician offices, there will be pop-up clinics at children’s museums, libraries and child-care sites.
Marathon US hearings to decide fate of COVID shots for tots
Parents anxious to finally vaccinate their youngest children against COVID-19, strap in: A lot is set to happen over the next week.
On Wednesday, both Moderna and Pfizer will have to convince what’s essentially a science court — advisers to the Food and Drug Administration — that their shots work well in babies, toddlers and preschoolers.
Kids under 5 are the only group not yet eligible for COVID-19 vaccination in the U.S. If the agency’s advisers endorse one or both shots for them — and the FDA agrees — there’s still another hurdle. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention must recommend whether all tots need immunization or just those at high risk from the virus.
Adding to the complexity, each company is offering different dose sizes and number of shots. And the week won’t even start with the littlest kid debate: Moderna first will ask FDA’s advisers to support its vaccine for older children.
Only a handful of countries, including China and Cuba, have offered different types of COVID-19 vaccinations to children younger than 5.
New COVID vaccine study looking for Pacific Northwest participants, particularly kids and families
A new study is looking for thousands of Pacific Northwest participants to help uncover answers about how COVID-19 vaccines work in kids and adults over the next few years, two Seattle health care systems announced Thursday morning.
UW School of Medicine and Seattle Children’s researchers are teaming up with Portland’s Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research on the work, called the CASCADIA study, and are hoping to enroll up to 3,500 children and adults living near Seattle and Portland. At $78 million, the work is one of the larger studies the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is funding, said Dr. Helen Chu, an associate professor of medicine at UW who’s co-leading the research.
“The goal is to look at vaccine effectiveness of SARS-CoV-2 vaccine over time,” Chu said. “The idea is that we can observe people both before vaccine and after vaccine, and understand what their immune response looks like and how well-protected they are against the variants that arrive and as new things come along.”
Investigators are looking for anyone between 6 months old and 49 years old, and are particularly interested in enrolling families to better understand the role of vaccination and prevention in household transmission, Chu said.
Anyone interested in participating in the study can find more information at cascadiastudy.org.
Man admits selling unregistered pesticide to fight COVID-19
A New Jersey man admitted Thursday he illegally sold unregistered pesticides as a COVID-19 defense to government and municipal entities including the U.S. Marshals Service and the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Paul Andrecola pleaded guilty in federal court in Camden to one count each of wire fraud, selling an unregistered pesticide and presenting false claims.
According to a criminal complaint, the 63-year-old Burlington County man made and sold pesticides that weren’t registered with the EPA as required, and weren’t on the EPA’s list of products deemed to be effective disinfectants against COVID-19.
Andrecola and others put another company’s EPA registration numbers on his products to hide the fact that they weren’t registered, according to the complaint.
Federal authorities alleged Andrecola made 150 sales of the unregistered pesticides between March 2020 and May 2021 and made more than $2.7 million. Among the additional entities that bought the products were a Delaware police department, a Virginia fire department and a medical clinic in Georgia.
Andrecola is scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 11. He also must forfeit $2.7 million in proceeds from the scheme.
US lifts COVID-19 test requirement for international travel
The Biden administration is lifting its requirement that international air travelers to the U.S. take a COVID-19 test within a day before boarding their flights, easing one of the last remaining government mandates meant to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
A senior administration official said Friday that the mandate will expire Sunday at 12:01 a.m. EDT, adding that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention determined it is no longer necessary.
The official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to preview the formal announcement, said that the agency would reevaluate the need for the testing requirement every 90 days and that it could be reinstated if a troubling new variant emerges.
Shanghai returns to lockdown for mass testing amid COVID fears
Shanghai will briefly lock down most of the city this weekend for mass testing as COVID-19 cases continue to emerge, causing more disruption and triggering a renewed run on groceries days after exiting a grueling two-month shutdown.
The plan emerged from one area with a handful of cases, then spread in hours to 15 of the financial hub’s 16 districts. It encompasses almost all of the city’s 25 million residents as health officials use testing to root out any silent transmission of the virus, a key tool in China’s COVID Zero arsenal.
The quick escalation reflects the worry that continues to shroud Shanghai, which implemented one of the world’s strictest lockdowns in late March after a sluggish initial response to its outbreak. The newest move follows a rebound in infections within the community to six on both Thursday and Friday, up from zero a day earlier. Residents will be released after taking the tests, but they’ll be back under lockdown if new infections are found in their compounds.
U.K. plans to burn billions in wasted pandemic protective gear
The British government plans to burn billions of pounds (dollars) in unusable personal protective equipment purchased in haste during the coronavirus pandemic, a public spending watchdog said Friday.
The idea of burning the face masks, gowns and other equipment to generate power has not impressed the watchdog committee. The panel is investigating how the government came to spend 4 billion pounds ($5 billion) on protective gear that has to be dumped because it is defective or does not meet U.K. standards.
Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee said the government planned to dispose of 15,000 pallets a month of the gear “via a combination of recycling and burning to generate power.”
Pat Cullen, chief executive of the Royal College of Nursing, a professional body, accused the government of “sending billions of pounds up in smoke.”
The Department of Health said only about 670 million pounds’ ($835 million) worth of the PPE was “unusable in any context.” It said some of the excess stock would be repurposed for use by dentists or donated to charities, transport agencies and other countries.
China calls COVID ‘lab leak’ theory a lie after WHO report
China on Friday attacked the theory that the coronavirus pandemic may have originated as a leak from a Chinese laboratory as a politically motivated lie, after the World Health Organization recommended in its strongest terms yet that a deeper probe is needed into whether a lab accident may be to blame.
Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian also rejected accusations that China had not fully cooperated with investigators, saying it welcomed a science-based probe but rejected any political manipulation.
He also reiterated calls for an investigation into “highly suspicious laboratories such as Fort Detrick and the University of North Carolina” in the United States where China has suggested, without evidence, that the U.S. was developing the coronavirus as a bioweapon.
“The lab leak theory is totally a lie concocted by anti-China forces for political purposes, which has nothing to do with science,” Zhao said at a daily briefing.
“We always supported and participated in science-based global virus tracing, but we firmly opposed any forms of political manipulation,” he said, repeating China’s long-standing explanation for delaying or rejecting further investigations into the virus’s origins.
COVID during pregnancy doubled babies’ risk of delays, study shows
This 2020 electron microscope image made available by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases shows a Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 particle... (NIAID / NIH via AP, file)More Skip AdBy Carey GoldbergBloomberg
Babies whose mothers caught COVID-19 during pregnancy faced nearly double the risk of being diagnosed with delayed speech or motor skills by their first birthday, according to a study of medical records.
While the risk of developmental delays was low overall, it rose to about 6% among babies who were exposed to COVID in the womb, while unexposed infants’ risk was about 3%, according to findings released Thursday in the journal JAMA Network Open. The lags were seen in behaviors such as rolling over, reaching for objects or babbling — basic milestones of infancy.
COVID has already been shown to affect a wide variety of the body’s systems and organs, including the lungs, heart and nerves. The study of electronic health records from more than 7,000 obstetric patients at Massachusetts hospitals, including those of 222 pregnant patients with COVID, along with their children’s, is another indication of the pandemic’s potential long-lasting impact.
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