3 To Know: CDC reporting changes, FDA authorizes boosters for children 5 to 11; more
1. The CDC will stop reporting daily COVID cases and deaths in favor of weekly surveillance
The U.S. may have reached another milestone in the pandemic, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says it will stop reporting daily COVID-19 cases and deaths in favor of weekly surveillance, similar to the flu.
The agency touted the move as a change that will smooth out COVID-19 reporting work across the nation and free up resources. The switch will be official Oct. 20.
Experts say the shift to weekly reporting is largely a byproduct of decades of underfunding public health systems, and worry pulling resources away from COVID-19 surveillance could delay pandemic efforts and send the wrong message to the public.
“It could definitely be interpreted as we’re changing the way we interact with this pandemic,” said Jodie Guest, professor and vice chair of the department of epidemiology at Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health. “But this is more about workforce issues and the burden on states to routinely update data: They’re underfunded and understaffed.” – Adrianna Rodriguez/USA Today
2. FDA authorizes COVID-19 boosters for children ages 5 to 11
Children ages 5 to 11 are now eligible to receive a COVID-19 booster.
The Food and Drug Administration authorized the boosters Wednesday morning from both Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna. Approval from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is expected to quickly follow.
The vaccines should quickly become available at area pharmacies and pediatricians' offices.
As with adult boosters, the new shot for kids is aimed at both the original virus that causes COVID-19 and the omicron BA.4 and BA.5 variants.
Children are less likely than adults to become severely ill and die from COVID-19 infections or to suffer from long COVID.
But that risk isn't zero. Because COVID-19 vaccines have been found to be extremely safe, pediatricians strongly recommend that nearly all children receive the two-dose primary series as well as a booster.
“Since children have gone back to school in person and people are resuming pre-pandemic behaviors and activities, there is the potential for increased risk of exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19," said Dr. Peter Marks, who heads the FDA's vaccine division, in a statement. “We encourage parents to consider primary vaccination for children and follow up with an updated booster dose when eligible.” – Karen Weintraub/USA Today
3. You can earn Delta Air Lines miles with your Starbucks order
Your morning latte might just help you save money on your next flight.
Delta Air Lines and Starbucks are announced a new partnership on Wednesday for their U.S. customers to earn rewards at both companies if they’re enrolled in their loyalty programs, Delta SkyMiles and Starbucks Rewards, according to a press release.
"Delta and Starbucks are like-minded companies that strive to create moments of connection and give their members more of what they love, and this new partnership gives members of both loyalty programs exactly that – new experiences, valuable new benefits and more ways to earn," Starbucks spokesperson Megan Adams said.
People can link up their accounts to earn one mile per dollar spent on eligible Starbucks purchases. On days when people have a scheduled flight with the airline and decide to snag a pumpkin spice latte or another item, they will earn double Stars at participating locations. (For what it's worth, 150 Stars will get you a "handcrafted drink, hot breakfast or parfait.")
The partnership is part of a larger Starbucks program called Starbucks Reward Together, where the coffee company is teaming up with "the world's leading brands' loyalty programs." The aim is "to increase awareness and drive growth of Starbucks Rewards as well as attract new members by offering valuable benefits and making it easier for customers to join," the release said. – Kathleen Wong/USA Today