On Monday, the attending Physician of the U.S. Capitol, Dr. Brian Monahan, said the U.S. Congress is suffering an unprecedented surge in coronavirus infections, with the weekly positive rate at Congressional test location to 13% from one percent in late November.
Dr. Brian Monahan told staff and legislators in a 3rd JAN letter, most COVID-19 cases on the U.S. Capitol Hill have been emerging among the immunized, with the highly transmissible Omicron variant amounting to 61 percent and the more virulent Delta variant 38 percent, based on a limited sample as of 15th December.
Brian Monahan, attending physician of the Capitol, says people need to wear N95 or KN95 masks in the Capitol complex.
There are different rules in the House and Senate. The enforcement of the House’s mask mandate is spotty at best. pic.twitter.com/9uY44m8OGr
— Jake Sherman (@JakeSherman) January 3, 2022
According to a Reuters count, the rise comes as the number of new coronavirus infections in America has doubled in the last week to an average of 0.418M a day.
Though Dr. Monahan didn’t call for any amendments in current mask mandates at the U.S. Capitol, he advised staff and members to use medical-grade face-masks rather than cloth ones. Moreover, Monahan advised congressional offices, agencies, and committees to instantly review operations and adopt a ‘maximal telework posture’ to cut in-person meetings and in-office goings-on.
65% of the Coronavirus Cases at the U.S. Capitol Were Symptomatic
In spite of the increasing COVID case figures at the U.S. Capitol, it’s not likely the place where legislators and staff members are becoming infected, according to the attending physician. He said that while several infections could be detected through employment places testing, the most common risk of acquiring COVID-19 infection is the activities of the individuals outside the workplaces, like attendance at receptions, festivities, entertainment sites, family get-togethers, travel and packed indoor situations.
Furthermore, Monahan noted that breakthrough cases among the inoculated on the Capitol haven’t led to hospital admissions, severe complications, or unfortunate fatalities, a fact he said illustrated the importance of immunizations.
According to the letter, nearly 65 percent of the infections at Capitol Hill have been symptomatic. And in other cases, those testing COVID-19 positive haven’t shown any symptoms.
U.S. FDA Authorizes Coronavirus Booster Shots for Americans Ages 12-15-years
On Monday, the US federal health agency, Food and Drug Administration (FDA), granted approval for the use of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine booster dose for 12-to-15-year-olds and narrowed the interval for booster dose-eligibility from 6 to 5 months. Moreover, the FDA approved a third dose for 5-11-year-olds who have a weakened immune system.
NEW: Boosters for 12-15 year olds get approval from the FDA for Pfizer vaccine.
5 month spacing from second shot recommended.
— Andy Slavitt 🇺🇸💉 (@ASlavitt) January 3, 2022
The director of the US FDA’s “Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research,” Peter Marks, said that based on the federal health agency’s assessment of presently available data, a booster shot of the currently authorized jabs might help provide better protection against both the highly infectious Omicron and Delta variants.
An advisory panel to the U.S. CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) is due to meet on Wednesday, 5 January 2022, to discuss the changes, according to the CDC’s website.
So far, 62 percent of the eligible Americans are considered fully inoculated, with one-third of them also having gotten a booster shot. In making its decision, the Food and Drug Administration said it reviewed real-world evidence from the State of Israel, including safety data from over 6300 individuals aged 12-15-years who got an additional shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech’s jab at least 5-months following completion of the initial vaccination.
Based on data from the U.K. and South Africa, according to the U.S. CDC, two doses of the messenger-RNA vaccine are nearly 35 percent effective against Omicron-infection, but a booster shot increases the effectiveness to around 75 percent.