The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has added mental-health conditions to the list of maladies that make a person more likely to become severely ill if infected with COVID-19.
The move makes millions more Americans eligible for booster shots of vaccine. The agency said the change was made on Oct. 14 and adds patients with depression, schizophrenia and other disorders to the list, which already includes people over the age of 65, those with weakened immune systems or those that are at high risk of contracting the virus through their daily work.
About one in five American adults experience some form of mental health issue every year, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Research published in The Lancet Psychiatry last year said data from 69 million individuals found a diagnosis of COVID was increased in patients with a history of psychiatric illness.
The news comes as the U.S. continues to average about 1,400 COVID deaths a day, according to a New York Times tracker, most of those in people who are unvaccinated. Yet the CDC’s vaccine tracker remains stubbornly static at 191 million people, or 57.6% of the overall population, still well below the 70% experts say is needed to fully stop the spread.
CDC data shows more people are getting booster shots every day than primary shots. So far, 15.4 million people have had a booster.
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And while cases and hospitalizations are falling across the U.S. hot spots remain and new ones are emerging as winter pushes people back indoors. There are less than half the number of cases being detected on a daily basis than there were at the start of September, when the highly transmissible delta variant was still exacting a toll.
But the World Health Organization has started to closely track a subvariant of delta, called AY.4.2 to determine whether it is more transmissible than the original delta, or whether it is more resistant to the human antibodies that fight the virus.
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The state of Florida has sued President Joe Biden’s administration over its coronavirus vaccine mandate for federal contractors, opening yet another battleground between Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis and the White House, the Associated Press reported.
The lawsuit, announced by DeSantis at a news conference, alleges the president doesn’t have the authority to issue the rule and that it violates procurement law.