As instances and hospitalizations rise, most adults need vaccine

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The majority of adults in the US say they have either been vaccinated against COVID-19 or intend to do so as soon as possible, and that number continues to rise.

According to a new survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation, an impartial health foundation, that number stands at 61% of those polled, while the proportion of those who said they would wait has shrunk to 17%.

All 50 states have now announced that they will open coronavirus vaccinations to all adults. More than a dozen have already lifted restrictions.

The new developments are due to the fact that the average daily reported cases increased by 10% compared to a week earlier, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than 30 million COVID-19 cases have been reported since the beginning of last year. Hospital stays and deaths, which typically lag a few weeks behind cases, have also risen after a decline and plateau that began in early January.

Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the CDC’s director, said in a White House briefing with the media on Monday she was concerned about what the next few weeks might bring.

“Right now I’m scared,” she said in what she called the off-script moment of openness.

And as COVID-19 cases resurface across the country, federal officials and epidemiologists fear we could hit another tipping point, which could lead to a fourth significant increase in infections, hospitalizations and deaths. Read more here.

Also in the news:

►Chicago announced the opening of a new vaccination facility for union workers eligible to be shot under the current restrictions.

►The US reported that half of all seniors have now been vaccinated. “Vaccination milestone,” tweeted Andy Slavitt, White House chief COVID advisor. “50% of all seniors are now fully vaccinated.”

►MGM Resorts International is bringing the coronavirus vaccine to employees at its casinos on the Las Vegas Strip.

►A variant of coronavirus first identified in the UK was found in the Navajo Nation.

►The University of Connecticut soccer team has abandoned its spring practices due to positive COVID-19 test results and subsequent contact tracing logs, the Hartford Courant reported. The Huskies were one of the few FBS teams that canceled the 2020-21 season.

📈 Today’s numbers: In the United States, over 30.39 million cases of coronavirus and more than 550,900 deaths have been confirmed, according to Johns Hopkins University. The total worldwide: 128.15 million cases and 2.8 million deaths. More than 189.45 million vaccine doses have been distributed and 147.6 million administered in the United States, according to the CDC.

📘 What we read: Those who experimented with gender identity behind masks and screens during the pandemic may return to work soon as vaccine adoption rises and stores reopen. But will the workplaces be ready to offer employees who now identify differently a tolerant and safe environment? Read the full story.

USA TODAY is tracking COVID-19 news. Please keep updating this page for the latest updates. Want more? Sign up for our Coronavirus Watch newsletter to get updates for your inbox and join our Facebook group.

US surpasses 12K known COVID variant cases

The United States has reported more known coronavirus variants in the past week – just under 4,300 – than it did in mid-March, according to a USA TODAY analysis of the CDC data.

Tuesday evening’s balance sheet reflected more than 1,000 new cases since Sunday’s report. There are now 12,053 known cases of variants in the U.S. that can spread COVID-19 more easily, evade some treatments and immunities, or both.

In California alone, 289 new variants were reported on Tuesday, making 865 known cases. Most of these are from B.1.1.7, a variant first seen in the UK. But the number of cases in California also exploded from seven known cases on Sunday to 33 known cases on Tuesday. P.1 was first seen in Brazil.

Massachusetts reported 266 new cases, bringing the total to 732.

Some states that didn’t have much of a known variant problem suddenly have much bigger problems. West Virginia jumped from just three known variants on Sunday to 53 on Tuesday, while Nevada jumped from 11 cases on Sunday to 63 cases on Tuesday. Idaho jumped from 18 to 32.

Ohio reported the first two cases of the B.1.351 variant that first appeared in South Africa.

– Mike Stucka

The nations challenge the WHO report on the creation of coronaviruses

The U.S. and a dozen other countries issued a rare joint statement Tuesday calling into question the validity of a World Health Organization study into the origins of the coronavirus, which was first discovered in Wuhan, China and now 2.8 million worldwide Killed people.

“We support a transparent and independent analysis and assessment of the causes of the COVID-19 pandemic that is free from disruption and inappropriate influence. In this regard, we share concerns about the recent WHO-convened study in China, ”said the statement made by the US State Department in coordination with a number of other governments, including Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom .

The statement included strong support for WHO and did not directly accuse China of interfering with the scientific investigation. However, it was said that health professionals were late in investigating the virus’ origin and that even if they were granted access, they were denied “full original data and samples”.

“The WHO’s mission is critical to promoting global health and health security,” the statement said. “Scientific missions like this should be able to do their job under conditions that provide independent and objective advice and knowledge.”

WHO Director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has also highlighted China’s lack of cooperation.

“I don’t think that assessment was extensive enough,” he said. “More data and studies will be needed to draw more robust conclusions.”

– Deirdre Shesgreen

Contributor: The Associated Press