On Tuesdays, MinnPost provides weekly updates that cover COVID-19 developments in Minnesota from the previous Wednesday to present.
This week in COVID-19 news
The big news of the last week was booster shots. The state began giving booster shots to Minnesotans who qualify for an additional dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
People who received doses of the Pfizer vaccine and whose second doses were administered at least six months ago are recommended to get a booster if they’re at least 65, live in long-term care, or are 50 to 64 with some underlying health conditions.
People who received doses of the Pfizer vaccine and whose second doses were administered at least six months ago may get a booster if: they’re between age 18 and 49 and are at high risk of COVID-19 complications because of specific underlying medical conditions, or if they’re age 18 to 64 and are at-risk of getting COVID-19 because of their workplace or living situation, such as frontline medical workers, school and child care workers and first responders.
President Joe Biden, who is 78, got his booster vaccine on Monday. Data on boosters for the Johnson & Johnson and Moderna vaccines are still being evaluated. More information on boosters can be found here.
Pfizer and BioNTech said Tuesday they’d submitted data showing their COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective for kids as young as 5 to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Pfizer and BioNTech are expected to request approval for vaccines in this age group in the coming weeks.
Hall of Fame basketball player Kareem Abdul-Jabbar urged vaccine holdouts in the world of sports to get vaccinated and urged others to do the same in a piece published on Substack: “Athletes and other celebrities have a public platform to help alleviate this crisis and to save lives. To not take on that responsibility harms the sports and entertainment industries, the community, and the country. Those who claim they need to do ‘more research’ are simply announcing they have done no research, because the overwhelming consensus of immunologists and other medical experts is that the vaccine is effective and safe,” he wrote.
Data from the Minnesota Department of Health show the state added 15,767 new COVID-19 cases in the seven days between Sept. 22 and Sept. 28, for an average of 2,252 new cases per day. That’s down from a 2,374 new case daily average the week prior. At the height of the pandemic in late November of 2020, Minnesota averaged more than 7,000 new cases per day.
The most recent seven-day case positivity average — or the average share of positive cases out of total COVID-19 tests — is 6.6 percent, down from 7.1 percent the week prior. You can find the seven-day case positivity average here.
As of Aug. 29, Minnesota has reported 28,047 COVID-19 cases among fully vaccinated Minnesotans. That represents 0.890 percent of nearly 3.15 million people who had been fully vaccinated in late August. Of the 23,330 people with known breakthrough cases, 1,495 were hospitalized and 160 died.
Deaths and hospitalizations
Minnesota added 98 new COVID-19 deaths in the last week, up from 96 the week prior. (Deaths did not necessarily occur in the week in which they were reported because deaths are not always reported and confirmed immediately.)
As of Tuesday, 196 people are in intensive care with COVID-19, while 591 are hospitalized and not in intensive care. Last Tuesday, 208 were in intensive care and 540 were hospitalized and not in intensive care. More information on Minnesota’s current hospitalizations here.
The most recent data show 61 percent of Minnesotans, (3.4 million people), had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, while 58 percent of Minnesotans (3.2 million people) had completed the vaccine series. A week ago, 60.4 percent of Minnesotans had received at least one dose and 57.1 had completed the vaccine series. More data on the state’s vaccination efforts can be found here.
This week on MinnPost
- The number of schools in Minnesota with confirmed COVID-19 cases has tripled twice in the last two weeks. What’s going on?
- Why you should be wary of comparisons of the death tolls from the 1918 flu pandemic and COVID-19
- Why getting drought relief to Minnesota farmers may hinge on the state health commissioner’s job status
- MinnPost’s COVID-19 dashboard
What we’re reading
- Study: Pregnant women who got Pfizer, Moderna vaccines passed protection to babies, Star Tribune.
- We Did the Research: Masks Work, and You Should Choose a High Quality Mask if Possible, New York Times Opinion.
- Tridemic? Minnesota doctors worry about flu season on top of pandemic, Star Tribune.
- Karl-Anthony Towns Opens Up About His Season of Grief, Sports Illustrated.