While You Were Sleeping: Coronavirus updates for May 17

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INDIANAPOLIS — There were several developments in the coronavirus pandemic you may have missed overnight.

Here’s a look:

Masks in schools. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends schools stick to implementing COVID-19 health guidelines through the end of this school year.

That means students and staff members should continue to wear masks and socially distance themselves from one another, the CDC said.

The organization said the decision to keep the guidelines going in schools is based on the fact that not all kids are eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine at this time and that schools still need time to change policies.

This recommendation comes as the CDC eased its mask-wearing guidance for fully vaccinated people Thursday, saying there’s no need for them to continue wearing masks in most settings. The Pfizer vaccine has also been approved for those as young as 12.

Pandemic and parents. New research shows working from home is impacting the mental well-being of parents in two very different ways.

A new study from McKinsey & Co. consulting firm found dads are taking to the remote lifestyle much more than moms. The research shows 71% of fathers say working from home is helping to improve their mental health, while only 41% of mothers reported the same.

According to the report, moms are more than three times as likely to pick up most of the housework and childcare during the pandemic compared with dads.

“That’s certainly an alarming discrepancy between the two. When you think about just the added workflow that was required on households in the last year, it’s been a year unlike any other,” said Dr. Justin Ross, a Clinical Psychologist at UCHealth.

Ross said this includes the amount of information each parent must know, the to-do lists and planning and thinking that contributes to making sure the household runs effectively.

“If that load isn’t being evenly divided and it’s taking on by one person, not only does it impact the physicality of the day to day, but there’s this huge burden on cognitive load as well,” Ross said.

Research has found that 1 in 4 working women surveyed in North America were considering downshifting their careers or leaving the workforce entirely. For working moms, especially those with small children, the number was 1 in 3.

Another vaccine. Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline’s potential COVID-19 vaccine triggered strong immune responses in all adult age groups in preliminary trials after an earlier setback, boosting optimism the shot may join the fight against the pandemic this year.

After two doses of the vaccine candidate, participants showed neutralizing antibodies in line with those found in people who had recovered from the disease, according to results of the Phase 2 trial released Monday. The drugmakers said they plan to begin late-stage trials and production in the coming weeks and hope to win regulatory approval for the vaccine before the end of 2021.

Regulators have already authorized a number of COVID-19 vaccines, though experts say more are needed as public health authorities around the world race to vaccinate their residents amid a pandemic that has already killed more than 3.3 million people and caused economic havoc.

The Sanofi-GSK vaccine was an important part of the European Union’s vaccination strategy, and had notably been championed by French President Emmanuel Macron’s government. But researchers had to reformulate it after early testing produced an inadequate immune response in older people.

Glimmers of hope in India. In the last week, the number of new cases plunged by nearly 70% in India’s financial capital of Mumbai, home to 22 million people. After a peak of 11,000 daily cases, the city is now seeing fewer than 2,000 a day.

The turnaround represents a glimmer of hope for India, still in the clutches of a devastating coronavirus surge that has raised public anger at the government.

A well-enforced lockdown and vigilant authorities are being credited for Mumbai’s burgeoning success. Even the capital of New Delhi is seeing whispers of improvement as infections slacken after weeks of tragedy and desperation playing out in overcrowded hospitals and crematoriums and on the streets.

With over 24 million confirmed cases and 270,000 deaths, India’s caseload is the second highest after the U.S. But experts believe that the country’s steeply rising curve may finally be flattening — even if the plateau is a high one, with an average of 340,000 confirmed daily cases last week. On Monday, infections continued to decline as cases dipped below 300,000 for the first time in weeks.

It is still too early to say things are improving, with Mumbai and New Delhi representing only a sliver of the overall situation.

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