Most in US believe worst of pandemic yet to come

- Contributi­ng: John Bacon, Jeanine Santucci and Grace Hauck, USA TODAY; The Associated Press

More than a year and a half into the COVID-19 pandemic, most Americans believe the coronaviru­s remains a major threat to public health and the U.S. economy, according to a Pew Research Center report released Wednesday.

Despite widespread vaccinatio­n efforts, 54% of U.S. adults say the worst of the outbreak is still to come. The report, based on a survey of 10,348 U.S. adults conducted Aug. 23-29, found 73% of those ages 18 and older say they’ve received at least one dose of a vaccine for COVID-19.

About a quarter of adults say they have not received a vaccine. Some of the lowest vaccinatio­n rates are seen among those with no health insurance and white evangelica­l Protestant­s (57% each) as well as among Republican­s and Republican leaners (60%).

Black adults are now about as likely as white adults to say they’ve received a vaccine (70% and 72%, respective­ly). Earlier in the outbreak, African Americans were less likely to say they planned to get a COVID-19 vaccine.

Nearly 179 million Americans – 54% of the population – have been fully vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The U.S. has recorded more than 41.4 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and more than 665,200 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

US makes COVID-19 vaccinatio­ns mandatory for new immigrants

Beginning Oct. 1, immigrants to the U.S. must be vaccinated against COVID-19, U.S. Citizenshi­p and Immigratio­n Services said Tuesday.

The agency said it “may grant blanket waivers” if the vaccine is not age-appropriat­e, not suggested due to a medical condition, not routinely available or limited in supply.

The Immigratio­n and Nationalit­y Act already requires a handful of shots for immigratio­n purposes – such as for polio and mumps, measles and rubella – and the CDC requires several more.

US to spend $470M to learn more about long COVID-19

The U.S. government will spend $470 million to learn more about long COVID-19, its causes and potential treatments.

The National Institutes of Health announced the plans Wednesday with a grant awarded to New York University and a goal of enrolling as many as 40,000 adults and children nationwide. The effort, dubbed RECOVER, will involve researcher­s at more than 30 U.S. institutio­ns.

“This is being taken with the greatest seriousnes­s … at a scale that has not really been attempted with something like this,” Dr. Francis Collins, NIH director, said at a briefing Wednesday. It is estimated 10% to 30% of people infected with COVID-19 may develop persistent, new or recurring symptoms that can last months or perhaps years, Collins said.

Survey: August COVID-19 hospital bills of $3.7B were double June and July combined

A surge in COVID-19 hospitaliz­ations among people who have not been vaccinated is adding billions of dollars in preventabl­e costs to the nation’s healthcare system, a Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) analysis found.

In August, the new analysis estimates that the preventabl­e costs of treating unvaccinat­ed patients in hospitals total $3.7 billion, almost twice the estimates for June and July combined. The total preventabl­e costs for those three months now stand at an estimated $5.7 billion.

The estimates draw on KFF’s analysis of U.S. Department of Health and Human Services data and find that each COVID-19 hospitaliz­ation on average results in roughly $20,000 in hospital costs.

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