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Once the delta variant took hold in the United States, pregnant individuals and their fetuses or babies faced increased risks from coronavirus infections, according to two new reports released Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

One report found that 15 pregnant patients died of covid-related causes between March 2020 and early October, including nine who died after delta became the most prominent strain. All but one of the women who died had underlying health conditions, and none had been fully vaccinated. The second report found that the risk of stillbirth increased about fourfold for women with covid-19 as delta surged.

The reports’ authors emphasize the importance of preventive measures including vaccination, which the CDC recommends for pregnant people. Only about 30 percent of pregnant Americans are vaccinated, a rate far lower than the population as a whole.

Here’s what to know

  • A panel of experts recommended the CDC expand eligibility for booster shots to include all fully vaccinated adults, simplifying federal guidance that had confounded some consumers. CDC Director Rochelle Walensky is expected to sign off on the recommendation as early as Friday evening.
  • In the face of rising cases across the continent, the European Union’s regulator backed an anti-viral pill for coronavirus patients ahead of the drug’s formal approval. Early data shows that the drug reduced the risk of severe infection, hospitalization and death in patients who took the pill shortly after developing covid-19 symptoms.
  • Parents can expect vaccines for children younger than 5 as early as next spring, Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in an interview with Business Insider this week.