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The two key groups that are being most affected by covid-19

Young people and blacks, with more vulnerability to covid-19 0:51

(CNN) – Deaths from covid-19 have dropped dramatically in the United States. But, with many people still unvaccinated, the daily death toll remains in the hundreds. And the groups most at risk are the increasingly young and black people.

Throughout the pandemic, black people have been disproportionately affected by covid-19. This sector represents approximately 12.5% ​​of the population, but more than 15% of total deaths, according to May data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of the United States (CDC) that percentage rose to 19% .

Recently, the average age of people who die from the virus has also decreased. Adults under the age of 40 accounted for about 3% of COVID-19 deaths in May, more than double their share of total deaths since the pandemic began.

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Health experts in the United States have been aware of the disparity in the accessibility of vaccines for much of the time they have been available. Now, vaccines have shown high enough protection against serious disease, so much so that the CDC director called most of the new COVID-19 deaths “totally preventable,” even when the dangerous delta variant is in increase.

Officials hope to recover from slower vaccination rates by reaching out to people who are hesitant due to misinformation, unmotivated because they believe they are not at risk or cannot get vaccinated because they lack the technology or community access.

“As more Americans have rolled up their sleeves to get vaccinated, we have reduced the ability of the covid-19 virus to cause more illness and more suffering,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said Tuesday. “This new virus forced many of our families to accept death as a result of many of our loved ones, but now, this should not be the case.”

The benefits of vaccination outweigh the risk of myocarditis

Some fears surrounding vaccination against the virus involve reports of heart inflammation, but CDC researchers say the benefits of the vaccines far outweigh the risks.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) hopes to add a warning about the risk of myocarditis and pericarditis to the fact sheets for covid-19 mRNA vaccines, an FDA official said Wednesday.

Myocarditis is the result of inflammation of the heart muscle, and pericarditis is inflammation of the tissue that surrounds the heart.

For every 1 million second-dose vaccines, there may be dozens of cases of myocarditis, CDC researchers told the agency’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) during a virtual meeting Wednesday.

On the other hand, for every million second-dose vaccinations, 5,700 cases of covid-19, 215 hospitalizations, 71 admissions to intensive care units and two deaths would be avoided, data show. It is estimated that there may be 56 to 69 cases of myocarditis.

People who experience myocarditis after receiving the vaccine often recover quickly, Dr. Matthew Oster, a pediatric cardiologist, told the committee.

Although reduced cardiac function can occur in someone with myocarditis, “the good news so far is that that function tends to recover quite quickly” in post-vaccination cases, said Oster, a member of the covid-19 Vaccine Working Group. from the CDC.

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He stressed that, in most cases, “there is usually a quick resolution,” but long-term data is still needed.

Following the committee’s discussion, an unusual alliance of health and government agencies and groups signed a joint statement endorsing vaccination.

“As doctors, nurses, public health and healthcare professionals and, for many of us parents, we understand the great interest that many Americans have in the safety of covid-19 vaccines, especially for the very young,” says Long list of medical groups in a joint statement. “The facts are clear: this is an extremely rare side effect, and only a very small number of people will experience it after vaccination.”

CDC looks at covid-19 infections to decide on boosters

With the variants increasing as the virus continues to spread, some experts have worried that there will come a time when current vaccines will no longer be able to combat the variants that have been developed. Researchers say vaccine boosters could be the answer.

“We, on an interagency basis, are planning to put in a booster vaccine,” Walensky said during the Milken Future of Health Summit on Wednesday. “Because, honestly, we want to make sure that if we see more diseases, we have a mechanism, we are completely ready to fight them.”

Researchers at the CDC are closely monitoring the data to consider whether booster doses of the covid-19 vaccine may be necessary in the future, especially for groups at risk.

These include residents of long-term care facilities, adults 65 and older, healthcare personnel, and immunosuppressed patients.

The information that would help researchers decide whether the boosters are needed and who would receive them could come in part from an increase in so-called breakthrough cases, federal vaccine advisers said.

“We really, really need to wait for more data,” ACIP member Dr. Sharon Frey said at Wednesday’s meeting. “I think the only thing we can do right now is, if we start to see an increase in reinfections in people, or new infections in people who have been vaccinated, that is our clue that we must act quickly.”

– CNN’s Deidre McPhillips, Jacqueline Howard, Maggie Fox, Jamie Gumbrecht and Naomi Thomas contributed to this report.

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