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Vaccine Safety for Kids 6 Months and Up
Last week, Pfizer and BioNTech announced that in a Phase 3 trial in adolescents 12 to 15 years of age, “the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine demonstrated 100% efficacy and robust antibody responses, exceeding those recorded earlier in vaccinated participants aged 16 to 25 years old, and was well tolerated.”
“We share the urgency to expand the authorization of our vaccine to use in younger populations and are encouraged by the clinical trial data from adolescents between the ages of 12 and 15,” said Albert Bourla, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Pfizer. “We plan to submit these data to FDA as a proposed amendment to our Emergency Use Authorization in the coming weeks and to other regulators around the world, with the hope of starting to vaccinate this age group before the start of the next school year.”
Pfizer and BioNTech are also beginning a study to further evaluate the safety, tolerability, and immunogenicity of their vaccine in children 6 months to 11 years of age. The study is broken into three age groups: children 5 to 11 years, 2 to 5 years, and 6 months to 2 years. The 5- to 11-year-old cohort started dosing last week and the companies plan to initiate the 2- to 5-year-old cohort this week.
Risk of Community Spread
The charts in the above box show that new cases are continuing to rise in suburban Cook County, Chicago, and Illinois.
For total cases in the last seven days per 100,000 people, the Illinois Department of Pubic Health says that more than 100 cases indicates a risk of “substantial spread.” The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that more than 100 cases indicates a risk of “high transmission.” [1, 2 and 3]
For test positivity in the last seven days, IDPH uses a target of 5%. The CDC says between 5% and 7.9% represents a “moderate” risk of transmission. [1, 2 and 3]
Evanston – COVID
The City reported 17 new COVID-19 cases of Evanston residents today, up from nine yesterday.
The average number of new cases per day in the last seven days is 13.6, down slightly from the seven-day average of 13.9 on March 31.
In the last seven days, there was a total of 95 new COVID-19 cases of Evanstonians. The 95 new cases equate to about 128 new cases per 100,000 people in the seven-day period.
Evanston’s case positivity rate for the last seven days is 1.3%.
There has been a total of 4,284 COVID-19 cases of Evanston residents during the pandemic, 196 of which are active.
No Evanstonian has died due to COVID-19 since March 4. The number of deaths due to COVID-19 remains at 114.
Impact of Northwestern University. Northwestern University has posted data on its website reporting that between March 29 and April 4 there were 83 new confirmed COVID-19 cases of NU faculty, staff, and students. If the faculty, staff, or students reside in Evanston, they are included in the City’s numbers. The number reported by NU, though, includes people who live outside of Evanston. 
Illinois – COVID
In the State, there were 3,790 new COVID-19 cases reported today, up from 2,931 yesterday.
Statewide, the average number of new cases per day in the last seven days is 2,982. The seven-day average one week ago on March 31 was 2,411, so today’s number is up by 24%.
Today’s (April 7) seven-day average is up from a low this year of 1,513 on March 15. An accompanying chart shows the trend.
In the seven days ending April 7, the number of new cases per 100,000 people in the State was 165, up from 133 one week ago.
The seven-day case positivity rate for the State today is 4.1% and the test positivity rate is 4.6%.
On a Statewide basis, the number of hospitalizations due to COVID-19 was 1,710 as of midnight on April 6. This is up from 1,112 on March 15.
The number of patients using ICU beds is 353, up from 227 on March 15. The number of patients on ventilators is 142 up from 95 on March 15.
On a Statewide basis, there were 28 deaths due to COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, which brings the total to 21,423.
For the last seven days, the numbers of deaths in the State are 25, 24, 11, 14, 11, 13, and 28 today. The seven-day average is 18.
Variants in Illinois
IDPH is reporting a total of 600 confirmed cases of COVID-19 variants in the State. Of those 471 are the variant first discovered in the UK.
Vaccinations in the State
A total of 8,423,845 doses of vaccine have been delivered to providers in Illinois, including Chicago and long-term care facilities. IDPH is currently reporting that a total of 6,552,982 doses of vaccines have been administered.
1/ On Feb. 12, the CDC issued a “K-12 School Operational Strategy.” As part of that strategy, the report says, “CDC recommends the use of two measures of community burden to determine the level of risk of transmission: 1) the total number of new cases per 100,000 persons in the past 7 days; and 2) the percentage of nucleic acid amplification tests (NAATs), including RT-PCR tests that are positive during the last 7 days. The two measures of community burden should be used to assess the incidence and spread of SARS-CoV-2 in the surrounding community (e.g., county) and not in the schools themselves.” The CDC provides a chart to assess whether the risk of transmission is low, moderate, substantial, or high. The CDC recommends different types of mitigations depending on the risk level. If the two indicators suggest different levels of risk, the mitigations recommended in the higher level of risk should be implemented, says CDC. The table below, reprinted from CDC’s report, provides CDC’s Indicators and Thresholds for Community Transmission of COVID-219.
2/ Number of Cases per 100,000 Population. On July 1, a network of research, policy and public health experts convened by Harvard’s Global Health Institute and Edmond J. Safra Center published a Key Metrics for COVID Suppression framework that provides guidance to policy makers and the public on how to target and suppress COVID-19 more effectively across the nation. The targets for new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people are as follows (these are converted from cases per day to cases per week): a) less than 7 cases: “on track for containment;” b) 7 to 63 cases: “community spread,” rigorous test and trace program advised; c) 70 to 168 cases: “accelerated spread,” stay-at-home orders and/or rigorous test and trace programs advised; and d) 169+: ”tipping point,” stay-at-home orders necessary. The article is available here: https://globalepidemics.org/key-metrics-for-covid-suppression/
IDPH provides these categories and ratings: 1) “minimal” – fewer than 50 cases per 100,000 in a week; 2) “moderate” – between 50 and 100 cases per week; and 3) “substantial” more than 100 cases per 100,000 in a week. In its Metrics for School Determination of Community Spread, IDPH says the “target” is 50 cases per week per 100,000 people.
3/ The Test Positivity Rate. In addition, on May 26, Johns Hopkins University & Medicine Coronavirus Resource Center said on its website that “the World Health Organization (WHO) advised governments [on May 15] that before reopening, rates of positivity in testing (i.e., out of all tests conducted, how many came back positive for COVID-19) should remain at 5% or lower for at least 14 days.” Link: https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/testing/testing-positivity
The Harvard Global Health Institute (HGHI) says, “A network of research, policy, and public health organizations convened by Harvard and MIT called the TTSI Collaborative has agreed on a 3% test positive rate or below as a key indicator of progress towards suppression level testing.”
IDPH says the test positivity target is 5% or less. IDPH provides these categories and ratings: 1) “Minimal” – test positivity rate is equal to or less than 5%: 2) “Moderate” – test positivity rate is between 5% and 8%; and 3) “Substantial” – test positivity rate is over 8%. In its Metrics for School Determination of Community Spread, IDPH says the target is 5%.
4/ Calculations. The RoundTable calculates the number of cases per 100,000 using case data provided by IDPH and assuming that the population of Suburban Cook County is 2.469 million, that the population of Chicago is 2.710 million, and that the population of Illinois is 12.671 million.
5/ Northwestern University COVID-19 Cases. Ike C. Ogbo, Director of Evanston’s Health & Human Services Department, told the RoundTable that the COVID-19 cases reported by the City include cases of faculty, staff, and students attending Northwestern University who live in Evanston. The RoundTable asked the City in an FOIA Request to provide the number of NU students who tested positive for COVID-19 and who live in Evanston. The City refused to provide the data. On Oct. 26, the RoundTable appealed the City’s decision to the Public Access Counselor of the Attorney General’s Office. On Nov. 13, the City filed a response claiming it does not have any records showing the number of NU students who tested positive for COVID-19 and who live in Evanston.
The RoundTable has asked Northwestern University on several occasions to provide information breaking out the number of new COVID-19 cases of its faculty, staff and students by residency in Evanston. NU did not respond.