COVID Updates for Travel Nurses: July 13, 2022
BA.5 is taking over —and the White House is preparing an action strategy against this highly-contagious subvariant.
The talk of the town right now is that the U.S. has officially been taken over by Omicron subvariant BA.5—it’s the dominant strain in the country, making up well over 54% of new COVID cases. In fact, the White House’s COVID task force briefed President Biden on the new subvariant, urging the administration to set up a clear plan for combating the virus, as it is both highly contagious and evades both vaccine-induced and natural immunities. (The strategy, in case you’re wondering, isn’t really that different than other variants: get boosted if you’re at risk and wear a mask if you’re in an area with high transmission.)
Unfortunately, according to the task force’s doctors, even people who have had COVID-19 as recently as a few months ago are at a very high risk of getting re-infected. And if you’ve been to any summer barbecues lately, you may have noticed this very phenomenon happening: so-called summer “colds” are all over right now.
According to the CDC, the country is inching back up in high-risk numbers—currently, just over 20% of the country is considered “high risk” for community transmission, while our update last week saw that number hovering around 19%. Here’s more on what’s happening with the virus in the U.S. now and what COVID travel nurse jobs are available.
What’s happening with COVID-19 right now
The number of officially reported COVID cases continues to hover around 100K per day (although remember — that number is probably low compared to the actual number of infections, as fewer people get “official” tests or even get tested at all), but hospitalizations have been steadily increasing over the past few weeks.
Here are the stats from the CDC we have right now:
- To date, the U.S. has seen a total of 88,424,802 cases of COVID
- The CDC’s death toll from COVID has reached over 1 million cases, at 1,016,293
- The U.S. is currently averaging about 106,549 cases per day (an increase from last week)
- Deaths have decreased slightly from a high two weeks ago with an average of 273 COVID-related deaths per day
What’s happening in hospitals right now
There are about 5K COVID-related hospitalizations occurring daily right now—that number did rise, as it tends to do, after the 4th of July, which brought increased gatherings and travel. Hospitalizations are still occurring at higher rates among those who are not vaccinated, as well as adults over the age of 65. According to the NYT, about 33,000 people total in the U.S. are in the hospital with COVID, with only 4,000 of those in the ICU.
Travel nursing opportunities may be increased again with any rise in cases and hospitalizations, as well as the summer months when many healthcare workers may take time off. If you are looking for a COVID-specific travel nursing job, here are some of the current travel nursing positions available with weekly rates listed.
Current COVID-19 travel nursing jobs for July 13, 2022
All of the following positions are MICU/SICU/ICU roles, which are most commonly COVID units:
- Alabama: $2.5K/week
- California: $4.2K/week
- Florida: $3.9K/week
- Indiana: $2.4K/week
- Kansas: $2.2K/week
- Louisiana: $2.5K/week
- Massachusetts: $4.7K/week
- Michigan: $3.8K/week
- Missouri: $4K/week
- New Jersey: $4.5K/week
- New Mexico: $2.5K/week
- New York: $4.9K/week
- Ohio: $2.8K/week
- Oklahoma: $2.5K/week
- Oregon: $2.9K/week
- Pennsylvania: $3.3K/week
- Rhode Island: $3.1K/week
- West Virginia: $4K/week
- Wyoming: $3.3K/week
What’s happening with the vaccine
The CDC is now officially recommending that all people 6 months of age and older receive an initial COVID-19 vaccination series, with additional recommendations for booster shots.
Moderna has also developed a revised vaccine, the bivalent booster vaccine candidate, mRNA-1273.214, which better fights the Omicron variant and potentially other variants—the revised vaccine will most likely be offered as a booster vaccine in the fall. The bivalent vaccine targets two different strains of a virus and has the potential to provide broad immunity to COVID-19 as new variants develop because it uses mRNA to target specific mutations in a protein that appear across both older and emerging COVID-19 variants. However, it’s very possible that even with the revised vaccine, a new subvariant could take over, rendering even that version less effective.
To add to the COVID vaccine round-up, the FDA has supported Novavax, a fourth COVID vaccine. Novavax works like traditional vaccines by introducing a small fragment of the actual coronavirus into the body—but in this case, the fragment has been built by a lab. Full approval is expected soon and the U.S. has already placed an order for 3.2 million doses of Novavax once it is officially approved. The hope is that adults who are leery of using mRNA vaccines will instead be willing to get the Novavax, since it uses a traditional method of vaccination.
The FDA has also suggested that COVID vaccines may be recommended annually, much like the vaccines for influenza and pneumonia. Researchers are also in the process of testing a blood test that can measure someone’s immunity to COVID-19, whether through vaccines or infection. Ideally, the test could help guide someone to decide what steps they should take to protect themselves in the future from COVID.
Additionally, researchers are working on developing an inhaled COVID vaccine that would be shelf-stable for up to 3 months. And last but not least, there is talk of introducing a universal vaccine that can offer some protection as new variants and subvariants continue to crop up.
According to the CDC, 222.3 million people in the U.S. have now been fully vaccinated. Vaccination rates have definitely slowed from earlier in the pandemic, but here’s how the current vaccine numbers stack up:
- 78.4% of the population has received at least one dose
- 67% of the population is fully vaccinated
- 106.6 million people have received a first booster dose
- 18.7 million people have received a second booster dose
The CDC recommends that kids between the ages of 5 and 12 receive 1 booster dose, while people aged 12 and over should receive a series of two booster shots to protect against severe complications from COVID-19 infection.
Here are the recommendations from the CDC regarding boosters:
|If your first vaccine was:||Get this booster:||When:|
|Pfizer-BioNTech||Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna for your first booster if you’re over 18; Pfizer-BioNTech for children between 6 months and 17. ||5 months after your first vaccine series; 3 months if you’re severely immunocompromised. |
If you’re getting a second booster, get it 4 months after your first. (Second boosters are not recommended for kids under 11.)
|Moderna||Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna.||5 months after your first vaccine series; 3 months if you’re severely immunocompromised. |
If you’re getting a second booster (recommended for age 50+ and anyone severely immunocompromised), get it 4 months after your first. (Second boosters are not recommended for kids under 11.)
|J&J/Janssen||Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna|
You can also get a second mRNA-only booster if you’re over 50.
|2 months after your first vaccine.|
If you’re getting a second booster (age 50+ or severely immunocompromised), get it 4 months after your first.