The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Unvaccinated should get priority for an effective early covid-19 treatment, some officials say

People walk through the flags of the “In America: Remember” public art installation, which commemorates all the Americans who have died because of covid-19, near the Washington Monument on Sept. 19, 2021, in Washington. (Al Drago/Getty Images)
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Faced with a new federal push to conserve a highly effective covid-19 treatment, some officials are urging health-care providers to put the unvaccinated first.

Demand for once-obscure monoclonal antibodies has skyrocketed as federal authorities and particularly Republicans such as Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis promote the treatment’s success at preventing mild or moderate covid-19 cases from escalating to hospitalization. The Biden administration moved last week to take over distribution of the therapy, drawing an outcry in Southern states that have used the treatments heavily and will probably have to cut back. The recommendation to prioritize the unvaccinated — who are far more likely to be hospitalized — comes after intense backlash to the idea of penalizing the unvaccinated while rationing hospital care.

Here’s what to know

  • The U.N. General Assembly’s general debate kicked off today with a speech from Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, whose unvaccinated status has been the cause of much hand-wringing among U.N. and New York officials.
  • The Biden administration alerted Texas that it was opening a civil rights investigation into Gov. Greg Abbott’s (R) ban on school mask mandates, pressing its fight with Republican governors over their pandemic policies.
  • A man in Germany has been arrested in the fatal shooting of a gas station worker trying to enforce mask mandates.
  • A second shot of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine boosts protection against symptomatic and severe covid-19, the drug company announced early Tuesday.

Coronavirus: What you need to know

The latest: The CDC has loosened many of its recommendations for battling the coronavirus, a strategic shift that puts more of the onus on individuals, rather than on schools, businesses and other institutions, to limit viral spread.

Variants: BA.5 is the most recent omicron subvariant, and it’s quickly become the dominant strain in the U.S. Here’s what to know about it, and why vaccines may only offer limited protection.

Vaccines: Vaccines: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone age 12 and older get an updated coronavirus booster shot designed to target both the original virus and the omicron variant circulating now. You’re eligible for the shot if it has been at least two months since your initial vaccine or your last booster. An initial vaccine series for children under 5, meanwhile, became available this summer. Here’s what to know about how vaccine efficacy could be affected by your prior infections and booster history.

Guidance: CDC guidelines have been confusing — if you get covid, here’s how to tell when you’re no longer contagious. We’ve also created a guide to help you decide when to keep wearing face coverings.

Where do things stand? See the latest coronavirus numbers in the U.S. and across the world. The omicron variant is behind much of the recent spread.

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