New guidance might come soon for people who have been fully vaccinated for Covid-19, Fauci says

As of now, even if you have been fully vaccinated for...

Posted: Feb 8, 2021 9:38 AM
Updated: Feb 9, 2021 2:15 AM

As of now, even if you have been fully vaccinated for Covid-19, the advice from health officials is to keep wearing your mask, keep social distancing and keep away from get-togethers.

But Dr. Anthony Fauci said Monday there might be new guidance coming soon.

Fauci, the White House pandemic adviser, was speaking at a meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science when 91-year-old Esther Cohen asked him when she and her friends -- who all have received both vaccine shots -- can safely resume their mah-jongg games.

Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said there is no CDC guidance on what to do when groups of people who have received both vaccine doses want to get together. Current CDC advice is to keep wearing a face covering and staying 6 feet from others when possible.

'But I believe that's going to change,' Fauci said. 'We're talking about this at the level of the CDC.'

Vaccinations began in the United States on December 14. More than 9.5 million people have been fully vaccinated with two doses of a Covid-19 vaccine, according to CDC data updated Monday.

The two US-authorized vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech prevent symptomatic infections in most but not all cases. And it is still unclear whether they stop asymptomatic infection.

If you are asymptomatic, you would still test positive for Covid-19, and even if you are vaccinated, you could still spread the virus. That's why the guidance now is that even the vaccinated still need to wear masks. A person could be an asymptomatic carrier and have the virus in their nasal passageways, so when they are breathing or speaking or sneezing they could still pass the novel coronavirus on to others.

Fauci said that he and his daughter, who have both been fully vaccinated, still follow the standard social distancing and quarantine guidelines before seeing each other.

'I'm doubly vaccinated. My daughter is doubly vaccinated. The last time she tried to come home, she had to go quarantine for 14 days and get tested,' he said. 'It was a big, big deal to finally see my daughter in the same room. I think that's going to have to change.'

'What's the reason to get vaccinated in the first place, if you don't want to get to normal?' he said.

US ramping up Covid-19 genome sequencing to track variants, CDC director says

The US has ramped up its genome sequencing efforts in the hunt for coronavirus variants, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said Monday.

'Over the last three weeks or so we've increased our sequencing about tenfold,' Walensky said during a White House briefing. 'So as we look more, we certainly anticipate we might find more' variants.

The US effort in genetic sequencing lags far behind many other developed nations. One analysis ranked the US 33rd in the world for sequences per 1,000 cases of Covid-19.

Scientists search for coronavirus mutations by taking samples of the virus from patients' nasal swabs and analyzing their genetic sequences.

Mutations are changes in the genetic code of a virus that occur naturally over time when an animal or person is infected -- and such mutations can lead to the emergence of new variants.

'We anticipate that we're probably going to be sequencing up to three to four more than we are already sequencing,' Walensky said.

'I think once we have more sequencing that's happening, we'll have a better idea as to how many variants there are and what proportion are out there.'

Walensky said during the briefing that she was 'reluctant' to provide an estimate of how many coronavirus variant cases there could be based on the current data. She also warned that variants could reverse encouraging declines in Covid-19 statistics.

Walensky said an average of 119,900 new cases were reported between January 31 and February 6 -- a drop of nearly 20% from the prior week. New Covid-19 hospitalizations dropped about 17% from the week prior, she said.

'The continued proliferation of variants remains of great concern and is a threat that could reverse the recent positive trends we are seeing,' she said.

Right now 699 variant cases have been confirmed across 34 states -- 690 of the variant first discovered in the United Kingdom, she said.

Experts say the highly contagious UK variant will likely soon become dominant in the US, and a new study found significant community transmission may already be occurring.

On Sunday, the US surpassed 27 million reported infections and more than 464,000 have died, according to Johns Hopkins University data. More than 32.3 million Americans have so far received at least their first dose of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, according to CDC data, as officials work to increase vaccinations across the country.

And a third vaccine could be on its way to the US market soon: Johnson & Johnson asked the Food and Drug Administration for an emergency use authorization of its vaccine last week.

Decline in nursing home cases could be related to vaccinations

New Covid-19 cases among nursing home residents and staff have dropped more than 50% in about four weeks, according to a CNN analysis of the latest data published by the US Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

The data captured cases reported between the week ending December 20 and the week ending January 24.

A separate analysis by the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living found that cases have dropped twice as fast in those nursing homes that vaccinated residents and staff.

The AHCA/NCAL analysis, published last week, assessed 797 facilities that held vaccination clinics in the federal Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care Program between December 18 and 27 and 1,709 facilities in the same set of counties that did not have a clinic in that time.

'The decline in new cases three weeks after the first dose, compared to facilities having vaccine clinics later, is encouraging and signals that the vaccine may decrease the spread of COVID, a finding not shown in the trials,' said Dr. David Gifford, chief medical officer for AHCA/NCAL.

Gifford said additional data is needed to verify the reason behind the decrease.

'If verified with additional data, this could expedite the reopening of long term care facilities to visitors, which is vital to residents' health and well-being,' he said.

Race to get people immunized

With the potential for more infectious variants to become dominant, officials are trying to get more people vaccinated quickly.

The pace of vaccinations across the United States has picked up, according to the CDC. In the past seven days, an average of more than 1.5 million people have received vaccine shots each day.

Many communities have increased the number of places people can get shots. In Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced a plan to vaccinate seniors who are veterans of the 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion in their homes.

'We are inspired by folks that have been willing to stand up and fight for freedom,' DeSantis said.

The move expands the state's program to vaccinate homebound seniors, which began recently with Holocaust survivors.

'We're not going to rest until every senior that wants a shot gets a shot,' DeSantis said.

What it will take to reopen schools

Mitigation measures will play an especially key role in helping schools safely reopen, an expert said Sunday, as the CDC is expected to soon release guidelines on how schools can open during the pandemic.

Dr. Scott Gottlieb, former FDA commissioner, told CBS that when it comes to reopening schools, 'the prerequisite is putting in place mitigation steps ... '

He noted that when people wore masks and stayed socially distant, there was 'very little transmission within the classroom.'

And while it would be good to prioritize teachers for vaccines, he said, 'I don't think it's necessarily a prerequisite. I think schools have demonstrated that they can open safely if they've taken precautions in the classroom.'

About 62,000 New York City middle school students who opted for in-person learning will be returning to the classroom February 25, according Danielle Filson, a spokeswoman for the city's education department. Teachers and staff will return the day before to prepare.

Those teachers returning to the classroom are being prioritized for vaccine access at city hubs from February 12 to 21 and over midwinter recess, said Education Chancellor Richard Carranza.

First sitting member of Congress dies after contracting Covid-19

US Rep. Ron Wright has died after contracting coronavirus and being hospitalized, his congressional office said Monday.

The 67-year-old Texas Republican is the first sitting member of Congress to die after contracting Covid-19. In December, Rep.-elect Luke Letlow died after being diagnosed with the disease.

The statement from Wright's office on Monday noted that the congressman has also battled cancer. Wright had represented Texas's 6th Congressional District since January 2019.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 294994

Reported Deaths: 6681
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto19660230
Hinds18785386
Harrison16679278
Rankin12675264
Jackson12575226
Lee9683160
Madison9448199
Jones7945146
Forrest7204136
Lauderdale6833226
Lowndes6021137
Lamar587680
Lafayette5730113
Washington5218130
Bolivar4608123
Oktibbeha440993
Panola430394
Pearl River4159130
Warren4126114
Pontotoc408769
Marshall403192
Monroe3988126
Union395174
Neshoba3800168
Lincoln3539102
Hancock346974
Leflore3374118
Sunflower318386
Tate302474
Pike300095
Scott293670
Alcorn291761
Itawamba289675
Yazoo288762
Tippah278565
Copiah277757
Coahoma277568
Simpson274778
Prentiss269758
Wayne253741
Marion252578
Leake252471
Covington248879
Grenada247377
Adams234277
George231745
Newton229452
Winston221675
Jasper213245
Tishomingo212165
Attala206569
Chickasaw201151
Holmes181870
Clay179150
Stone172429
Tallahatchie170539
Clarke169371
Calhoun157828
Smith152731
Yalobusha144836
Greene127633
Walthall124140
Noxubee122829
Montgomery122238
Perry121634
Lawrence120221
Carroll118125
Amite111333
Webster110630
Jefferson Davis101731
Tunica99023
Claiborne98429
Benton93324
Humphreys92827
Kemper90123
Quitman77114
Franklin76019
Choctaw69516
Wilkinson62426
Jefferson62327
Sharkey48817
Issaquena1676
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 493252

Reported Deaths: 9929
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson709861374
Mobile36108725
Madison32405455
Tuscaloosa24110410
Montgomery22565500
Shelby21929215
Baldwin19732283
Lee14961153
Morgan13659251
Calhoun13275286
Etowah13176319
Marshall11261209
Houston10086261
Elmore9376185
Limestone9359134
Cullman8891181
St. Clair8822223
Lauderdale8603211
DeKalb8446175
Talladega7517163
Walker6518255
Jackson6492102
Autauga626491
Blount6097127
Colbert6001118
Coffee5245102
Dale4640107
Russell404730
Franklin399177
Covington3957106
Chilton3870100
Escambia377472
Tallapoosa3585142
Clarke343650
Chambers3410110
Dallas3403141
Pike293372
Lawrence282984
Marion281895
Winston246767
Bibb245060
Geneva239670
Marengo235855
Pickens224654
Barbour211551
Hale209768
Fayette200256
Butler196166
Henry182441
Cherokee177038
Monroe166139
Randolph163640
Washington156535
Clay144354
Crenshaw144354
Macon142043
Cleburne137739
Lamar132833
Lowndes131051
Wilcox121825
Bullock116936
Conecuh106724
Perry105527
Sumter98331
Coosa88823
Greene87632
Choctaw55023
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Partly Cloudy
47° wxIcon
Hi: 55° Lo: 45°
Feels Like: 45°
Columbus
Cloudy
46° wxIcon
Hi: 60° Lo: 47°
Feels Like: 41°
Oxford
Partly Cloudy
41° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 37°
Starkville
Cloudy
45° wxIcon
Hi: 58° Lo: 45°
Feels Like: 41°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather