Rockford, Illinois News

Latest wave of COVID-19 cases not same as first

(ROCKFORD ADVOCATE) – The current spike in COVID-19 cases in several American states is not taking the shape of the first wave that hit the U.S. earlier this year, according to doctors.

Officials at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center say the majority of cases they are seeing are young people, not the vulnerable population that was ravaged by coronavirus during the first four months of the pandemic.

“Our testing data indicates these cases are largely linked to younger people who contracted the virus while traveling or while socializing without masks or proper distance,” Dr. Graham Snyder, UPMC Medical Director of Infection Prevention, said at a news conference Thursday.

The findings further indicate that while the country is seeing more daily cases–more than 63,000 Thursday, the number of severe cases is is significantly lower than when the virus was sweeping through elderly and medically vulnerable populations.

In Allegheny County Thursday, there were 158 new cases, 12 hospitalizations and no deaths.

Vaccine

The University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, in April, announced it has created a potential coronavirus vaccine, one that would be administered through a patch on the skin. The vaccine has shown positive effects in mice and is believed to be doable in humans.

“We had previous experience on SARS-CoV in 2003 and MERS-CoV in 2014. These two viruses, which are closely related to SARS-CoV-2, teach us that a particular protein, called a spike protein, is important for inducing immunity against the virus. We knew exactly where to fight this new virus,” said co-senior author Andrea Gambotto, M.D., associate professor of surgery at the Pitt School of Medicine. “That’s why it’s important to fund vaccine research. You never know where the next pandemic will come from.”

Human trials are pending FDA approval.

As of this report, there have been 3.2 million cases of coronavirus disease, including 136, 136 deaths in the United States, with New York the hardest hit. New York has seen more than 425,000 cases and 32,343 COVID-19-related fatalities, according to numbers released by local and state health officials.

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