PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Pennsylvania reached a grim milestone Tuesday, reporting 30,000 deaths related to COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic. While infection rates in 45 other states have either dropped or leveled off, the Keystone State is still considered a hot spot for the virus.
Pennsylvania officials boast of good vaccination rates, but still, the commonwealth has more new cases of COVID every day than almost every other state.READ MORE: 16-Year-Old Ahjaon Jackson Shot, Killed While Coming Home From Work With Twin Sister, Philadelphia Police Say
The colors on the state map have lightened, indicating COVID cases have dropped, but Pennsylvania is still averaging 4,000 to 5,000 new cases per day. It’s considered a hot spot, along with just a handful of other states, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Gov. Tom Wolf was in York on Tuesday, focused on a new pharmaceutical manufacturing facility.
“We needed vaccines, and what the country needed was a place to actually get those vaccines,” Wolf said. “Somebody who could manufacture those vaccines. Well, bioTechnique can do that.”
Nationally, overall numbers are trending down. The focus now is on boosters and upcoming U.S. Food and Drug Administration actions.READ MORE: Doctor Accused Of Hoarding Dead Kittens In Her Freezer
More than 7 million Americans have already received a Pfizer booster and now an FDA advisory panel is preparing to consider whether to approve boosters for the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines.
Among the questions being considered, Moderna says 50 micrograms — half of what was in the original two doses — should be enough for its booster. For timing, Johnson & Johnson has submitted data for options at two months or six months after the original vaccination.
The FDA is expected to take up an even broader vaccine consideration.
“I think the FDA will look at this, can you mix and match? Can you start with J & J and finish with either Moderna or Pfizer? The mix and match issues are also on the table,” Dr. William Schaffner said.
In Pennsylvania, about 70% of residents over the age of 18 are fully vaccinated, but the health department says breakthrough cases are increasing. About 26% of people hospitalized with COVID were vaccinated.MORE NEWS: Philadelphia Police Searching For Shafeeq Lewis, Accused Of Fatally Shooting 13-Year-Old Boy On Way To School
Doctors say most of the people hospitalized with breakthrough cases have other health issues. For most people, the vaccines are working to prevent serious cases.