Virus has killed at least 121 children, teens; 'pre-COVID' life won't return before 2022, WHO expert says — 6 updates

Globally, 29,616,346 COVID-19 infections and 935,929 related deaths have been reported, as of 8:30 a.m. CDT Sept. 16.

Six updates:

1. At least 121 Americans under age 21 have died of COVID-19 complications between Feb. 12 and July 31, a new CDC report found. Nearly half of all deaths involved people ages 18-20. Forty-five percent of victims were Latinx, 29 percent were Black, 14 percent were white and 4 percent were American Indian or Alaska Native. Of the 121 children and young adults who died, 75 percent had an existing medical condition. Thirty-three percent of deaths occurred outside the hospital.

2. HHS spokesperson Michael Caputo apologized to staff for comments he made on Facebook Live this weekend and hinted that he may be leaving his role soon, five sources familiar with the matter told Politico. Mr. Caputo called an emergency team meeting Sept. 15 and said his remarks on the social media platform — including one unproven claim that the CDC is harboring a "resistance unit" — reflected poorly on HHS' communications team. The office has been in the spotlight this week after Politico released an investigative report in which sources claimed HHS aides tried to screen or edit CDC's scientific reports for health professionals. Mr. Caputo cited physical health issues and the toll of dealing with death threats against his family as the reason for his behavior. If Mr. Caputo chooses to step down, the move would likely complicate the White House's efforts to promote a potential COVID-19 vaccine this fall, Politico said.

3. People of color are experiencing higher rates of COVID-19 infection, hospitalization and death than white Americans, according to an analysis from the Epic Health Research Network and the Kaiser Family Foundation. The analysis is based on Epic EHR data for about 50 million patients from 399 hospitals in 21 states. The death rate for Hispanic and Black patients was more than twice as high as the death rate for white patients. The infection rate for Hispanic patients was over three times that of white patients and two times higher for Black patients. Testing rates did not greatly differ based on race or ethnicity, but people of color were more likely to receive a positive result when they were tested and to need a higher level of care at the time of testing. 

4. Normal "pre-COVID" life won't return before 2022, said the World Health Organization's chief science officer, according to The Washington Post. Chief Scientist Dr. Soumya Swaminathan said Sept. 15 that the most realistic timeline places the rollout of a vaccine in mid-2021, according to the South China Morning Post. Even once that occurs, immunizing a significant portion of the world's population to achieve herd immunity will take time, and masking and social distancing will be necessary for quite a while, Dr. Swaminathan concluded.

5. Texas is the second state to report more than 700,000 COVID-19 cases, according to data collected by The New York Times. California is the only other state to reach the milestone. 

6. Gauss and Cellex have partnered to launch the first at-home COVID-19 rapid antigen test and mobile app. The test by computer vision developer Gauss and biotechnology company Cellex still needs to receive emergency authorization from the FDA. In April, Cellex was the first company to receive an FDA Emergency Use Authorization for rapid COVID-19 antibody testing. When paired with Gauss' AI-powered application, users will be able to perform and interpret the test with a phone in both at-home and point-of-care settings.

Snapshot of COVID-19 in the U.S.

Cases: 6,606,859
Deaths: 195,961
Recovered: 2,495,127

Counts reflect data available as of 8:30 a.m. CDT Sept. 16.

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