New cases in the US have fallen to rates not seen in more than 11 months and have sparked optimism that vaccination campaigns are curbing both serious COVID-19 cases and the spread of the virus.
Hospital stays and deaths fell steadily last week. Hugs and exposed crowds returned to the White House, a carnival-style parade that marched through Alabama’s port city of Mobile, and states that have adhered to pandemic restrictions ready to drop it. The seven-day average for new cases fell below 30,000 a day, a number that has not been seen in 11 months. The average number of deaths over the past seven days also fell to 552.
All numbers have fallen dramatically since the pandemic hit new highs in January. However, experts warn that the pandemic is not over yet.
“My biggest concern is new strains of the virus and the need to remain vigilant over the coming months,” said Dr. Philip J. Landrigan, Boston College Public Health Specialist.
Also in the news:
►John Coates, vice president of the International Olympic Committee, says the Tokyo Olympics would be held this summer even if a state of emergency is in place. According to surveys, around 80% of Japanese people would like the Olympics to be postponed or canceled.
►The coronavirus restrictions remaining in England may be lifted in June after an official study found the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines were effective in protecting against the variant first identified in India, British health officials said on Sunday.
►Essential caregivers were locked out of nursing homes during COVID-19. Lawyers from New York to California don’t want it to happen again.
► An experienced climbing guide said a coronavirus outbreak on Mount Everest infected at least 100 climbers and support staff. This is the first comprehensive estimate among official Nepalese rejections of a COVID-19 cluster on the highest peak in the world.
►Health officials say the most common variant of COVID-19 in circulation in Los Angeles County is a variant discovered in the UK. Previously, two California variants were predominant.
📈 Today’s numbers: The United States has more than 33 million confirmed coronavirus cases and nearly 590,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. The global total: more than 166 million cases and more than 3.4 million deaths. More than 357 million vaccine doses have been distributed and more than 283 million administered in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than 129 million Americans have been fully vaccinated – 39% of the population.
📘 What we read: One in 14 migrant workers in a Wisconsin food factory dies of COVID: How missteps sparked a deadly outbreak.
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Multi-generation households are booming during the pandemic
While the number of Americans living in multi-generation family households has continued to rise in recent years, the pandemic appears to have further accelerated the trend. Prior to March 2020 – when COVID-19 cases began to rise and the economy began to falter – around 11% to 12% of primary residence buyers were buying multigenerational homes each year. However, in the first three months of the pandemic, that number rose to 15%, according to an analysis by the National Realtors Association.
John L. Graham, Professor Emeritus at the University of California at Irvine and co-author of “All in the Family: A Practical Guide to Successful Multigenerational Living,” says growth in multigenerational households is a cultural shift back to the earlier things and that the arrangement is mutually beneficial.
“Grandparents and grandchildren should be close together,” he said.
– Swapna Venugopal Ramaswamy
The former UK COVID advisor describes “terrible decisions” in tweets
The chief of the UK’s Health Security Agency on Sunday denied claims that the UK’s early plan to fight COVID-19 was to spread the infection across the country so herd immunity could take hold and end the pandemic before vaccines are available.
Dr. Jenny Harries told the BBC that such a plan was “never on the agenda”. After Dominic Cummings, a former top advisor to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, tweeted that the government recognized the herd immunity plan was going to create a “disaster”, he changed course and instead tried to moderate the spread through lockdowns. Johnson has issued three bans; The UK has one of the world’s highest death tolls from COVID-19 and its economy is in big trouble.
Loss of smell affects up to 80% of those infected
As the pandemic progresses, more and more information is accumulating about the loss of smell, which affects 70% to 80% of people who contract COVID-19. This seems to be particularly common in people with mild illnesses. For most, the condition only lasts a few days or a few weeks. But the loss can take up to a third months, said Dr. Evan Reiter, an ear, nose and throat specialist with the Virginia Commonwealth University Health System in Richmond. It can even be permanent. Now a new understanding is emerging about what causes odor loss with COVID and how it could ultimately be treated. Read more here.
“You don’t think it’s that important until you have it,” said Reiter.
– Karen Weintraub
NBA tells head coaches they can do without masks in games
Just in time for the playoffs, the NBA announced their head coaches on Saturday that they might work without a mask during games if they were fully vaccinated. Assistant coaches and players must still wear masks in the bench area. Head coaches can do without masks after the introduction before the game until half time and again after half time until the game is over.
The memo, sent just hours before the kick-off between Miami and Milwaukee on Saturday morning and received by The Associated Press, also states that head coaches wear masks before the start of the third quarter and during halftime, during the warm-up and shootaround need after the game. When opposing coaches meet briefly on the pitch after a game, masks are recommended.
The updated policy is in line with trends in the NBA during the pandemic: those who are vaccinated simply have more freedom than those who are not.
Immunizations in Ohio rose after the news from Vax-a-Million
The number of people in Ohio aged 16 and over who received their first COVID-19 vaccine rose 33% in the week following the announcement of the million dollar incentive lottery, although analysis shows vaccination rates are way behind those in March and March lag behind for most of April. In the week following the lottery announcement on May 12, 119,394 people aged 16 and over received either the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in one dose or the first vaccine in Pfizer or Moderna in two doses, according to the Ohio Department of Health.
This is an increase of almost 30,000 compared to the 89,464 people of the same age group who received a first shot during the seven-day period from May 6 to May 12. This emerges from an analysis of the state data by The Associated Press. The analysis did not include vaccination numbers for children aged 12-15 who were not eligible for the vaccine until the day the lottery was announced.
However, according to the Ohio Capital Journal, an Ohio legislature wants to cancel the whole thing. Republican MP Jena Powell is drafting laws that would prevent the state from running an vaccination lottery program. The bill proposes that the funds used for these drawings be redirected to either child mental health initiatives or grants to support small businesses.