PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — COVID-19 cases have doubled in the past two weeks, but a game changer could be on the horizon with treatments easier to access and a brand new option for young children.
COVID-19 cases are going up again in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware, between 69% to 74% over the past two weeks. More significantly, hospitalizations are also increasing in Pennsylvania (13%), New Jersey (21%) and Delaware (9%). There is now a renewed focus on treatment options.READ MORE: Philadelphia School District Students, Staff To Resume Masking As COVID Cases Continue To Rise In City
Paxlovid can reduce hospitalizations and deaths from COVID by 90% and now, the White House wants to make it easier for Americans to get.
“Treatments are really the next phase of this pandemic,” said Dr. Ashish Jha, the White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator.
Currently, the free anti-viral treatment is available at about 20,000 sites around the country. The Biden administration wants to double that within weeks, by allowing pharmacies to order it directly from the federal government.
“The notion they can go to a pharmacy, test and within 30 minutes start a pill to fight the virus, is really powerful,” Jha said. “And I think it’s what’s going to get us out of the COVID-19 pandemic we’re in now and allow us to live with the virus.”
Paxlovid is only FDA authorized for use by those 12 and older who have a high risk of developing severe COVID. That’s about 60% of the adult population, including anyone with obesity, heart disease, or diabetes.READ MORE: West Philly Double Shooting Leaves 30-Year-Old Man Dead, Teen Hospitalized: Police
To be effective Paxlovid needs to be started quickly. It worked for Ashley Ballou Bonnema, who has cystic fibrosis.
“Within the first 24 hours, I really felt a difference,” she said.
With COVID cases increasing significantly among children recently, the FDA also approved the antiviral drug Remdesivir for children as young as 28 days old. It’s the first treatment to be cleared for use in young children who are hospitalized with COVID or at high risk.
With more treatment options becoming available to a wider segment of the population, the government has a one-stop test-to-treat website called covid.gov for information about information, assessments and prescriptions.
“We’ve got to be ready if mother nature throws another curveball at us,” Jha said.MORE NEWS: Police Investigating Series Of Gunpoint Robberies In Center City, West Philadelphia
Also Tuesday, the CDC says half of American adults and 75% of children have COVID-19 antibodies from previous infections, not vaccines. Researchers believe most of those cases happened during the winter surge.