"Mask mandates for TSA employees and travelers are coming back."
Radio show host Alex Jones claimed that a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) source told him mask mandates would return for federal airport employees and agency staff in September and for travelers starting in October. In response, TSA's Press Secretary said that TSA managers did not receive such instructions. Jones also claimed that COVID lockdowns would resume in December. CDC stated that the lockdown claim is false.
Rates of RSV cases are rising in the Southeastern U.S. RSV cases typically appear in the fall and peak in the winter, but seasonal trends have been unpredictable since 2020. It is too soon to know if the pre-2020 patterns will return. A new RSV immunization for infants, and vaccine for older adults and pregnant people, is now available and could help protect against hospitalizations from RSV this year.
"Long waits at Medicaid call center may be leading to drop in coverage."
Amid declining Medicaid coverage nationwide, 16 states, including Missouri, were cautioned by federal Medicaid officials about lengthy Medicaid Call Center wait times discouraging coverage renewals. Data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services identify Missouri with the lengthiest wait times at 48 minutes. Among the 16 states, the average wait is 25 minutes with a 29% hang-up rate. The increased wait times significantly surpass the less than 3-minute wait and less than 6% hang-up rate seen in other states.
COVID-19 hospitalizations increased by 21.6% since July 12, per CDC's August 12 report. The emergence of the new BA.2.86 variant prompted some areas to reintroduce mask mandates. Masking and updated booster shots are crucial precautions to lower serious COVID-19 outcomes, especially for individuals with higher risk of severe illness.
The latest COVID variants are EG.5 (Eris) and BA.2.86 (Pirola). EG.5 is the most common variant right now, accounting for about 20% of current COVID cases (CDC). It can be detected with existing COVID tests (including self-tests), does not cause more severe sickness than past variants, and existing COVID treatments work against it. Scientists are still learning about BA.2.86, and about how well the next COVID vaccine will protect against both new variants.
"Vaccinated people are more likely to be sick with the new COVID variant than unvaccinated people."
This is FALSE. A social media post incorrectly interpreted a CDC article about how the new COVID variant BA.2.86 (or Pirola) is predicted to spread in the population. The CDC article DID NOT claim that vaccinated people are more at risk for the new variant than unvaccinated people. It stated that the virus is mutating and even people who are already vaccinated can get sick with the new variant. The COVID vaccines continue to protect from severe sickness, hospitalization, and death.
On September 11, 2023 the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved updated COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that everyone over 6 months old get the updated vaccine, which will be available at no cost to most Americans. The vaccines provide protection against severe illness and hospitalization from COVID-19.