More than a dozen states have adjusted their mask wearing rules accordingly CDC updated its guidelines, saying fully vaccinated Americans could throw away masks outside and inside in many situations.
The new guidelines introduced by Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is an important step towards a return to normal for a nation ravaged and at times divided by a pandemic that has lasted more than a year.
“Anyone who is fully vaccinated can participate in indoor and outdoor activities, large and small, without wearing a mask or physically distancing themselves,” Walensky told the pandemic. ”
Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, Ohio, Virginia, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Kentucky, Washington, Maine, Vermont, Connecticut, North Carolina, Kansas, Colorado and Rhode Island announced plans to comply with CDC guidelines either immediately or in the coming weeks.
“If you get vaccinated, the CDC says it’s safe to take that mask off. So go out there and get the shot.” Andy Beshear, the governor of Kentucky, said. “Let’s defeat this pandemic once and for all.”
Meanwhile, New Jersey and Hawaii have joined a handful of states that said they won’t relax the requirements for residents just yet. Governor Phil Murphy said Friday It could be weeks for the Garden State to follow the latest guidelines from the CDC.
David Ige, Governor of Hawaii, said: “We cannot tell who is vaccinated and who is not. The best measure to limit damage is to have everyone wear a mask. “
Also in the news:
►Trader Joes, Walmart and Costco Customers who are fully vaccinated are not required to wear a mask, but none require proof of vaccination. Another major large retailers and restaurant chains, like Starbucks, Target, CVS, and Kroger, are maintaining their mask requirements for now, but said they will re-evaluate the guidelines.
►In a letter in the Science journal, 18 infectious disease experts, immunologists and epidemiologists joined a Worldwide call for more information on the earliest days of the COVID-19 outbreak. It is still unclear how it came about, and the lack of information feeds conspiracy theories and prevents scientists and policymakers from taking steps to prevent the next deadly pandemic, the experts said.
►Many unvaccinated U.S. Latinos want a shot but are concerned about losing work hours, paying for the vaccine, or facing immigration problems, according to a survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation. It was also found that 47% of Hispanic adults received at least one dose. That’s less than 60% for white adults and 51% for blacks.
►Japan extended its state of emergency while Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga reiterated its determination to hold the Olympics in just over two months. “Infections escalate extremely quickly in populated areas,” said Suga.
►Washington is on track to fully reopen its economy by June 30, and a full reopening could come even sooner if 70% or more of residents over 16 years of age have received at least one dose of vaccine by then, Governor Jay said Inslee on Thursday.
►Coronavirus cases in the US are lowest since September and deaths lowest since April 2020, averaging 600 per day. However, some experts still fear that the emergence of variants could disrupt this dynamic and cause a further surge, especially as the virus continues to rage in other parts of the world.
📈 Today’s numbers: The US has more than 32.8 million confirmed coronavirus cases and 585,000 deaths. according to the Johns Hopkins University. The global total: more than 161.3 million cases and 3.3 million deaths. More than 341 million vaccine doses have been distributed and more than 268 million administered in the United States, according to the CDC. More than 120 million Americans have been fully vaccinated – 36% of the population.
📘 What we read: The CDC’s new mask guidelines are great for some but confusing for others. Experts say this hurts the agency’s credibility.
Aishwarya Tandon knew her grandmother, feverish and breathless, had COVID-19. But no hospital would admit her without already having a positive coronavirus test, which was difficult to come by.
“We basically just went door-to-door to hospitals and no one helped us,” said Tandon, 28. “There were literally no leads. You had to really plead with people.”
How India is wavering from a new variant and a second wave of COVID-19, its health system is overwhelmed. And so are the citizens who grapple with the physical, mental and emotional onslaught of care and loss.
The nearly 1.4 billion inhabitants reported more than 400,000 new cases several times a day during the month, which shattered global records. Health professionals estimate that actual infection numbers could be ten times higher than official reports.
Some have reported skyrocketing prices for life-saving – and lifelong – medical needs. A black market in medicine and medical supplies has been reported and many people are turning to home remedies in Jharkhand, a mainly rural state in East India. Crematoria were also overwhelmed.
Another important topic: testing. According to Dr. Nilesh Thackeray have been “stigmatized” COVID-19 patients in some locations by villagers and some have lost their jobs due to infection. “Nobody wants to be tested in such an anxious atmosphere,” said Thackeray. Read more here.
– Sanket Jain and Grace Hauck
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Thursday expressed concern about an increase in the UK’s variant of coronavirus, first identified in India, after a closely monitored study of infections in England found it to be increasing – right before the next major loosening of lockdown restrictions.
“It’s a variant of the concern we’re concerned about,” said Johnson. “We want to make sure that we are now taking all the regulatory and prudent steps we can take. So there are meetings today to consider exactly what we need to do. There are a number of things we could do, we don’t rule anything out. “
Johnson’s comments have sparked speculation that the government will increase vaccinations in addition to testing in areas where the virus is becoming more common.
In the USA, the variant accounts for 3% of cases, but according to the CDC it is gaining traction. The variant has spread in 44 countries around the world.
On Monday, the World Health Organization described the new version of the virus as a “worrying variant” as the variant is devastating rural India.
The head of the country’s second largest teachers’ union on Thursday called for the K-12 schools to fully reopen this fallEfforts to convince some families to return to class may require the zeal of a political campaign.
The announcement by Randi Weingarten, president of the 1.7 million member American Federation of Teacherssignals a postponement after local unions in some municipalities fiercely opposed the reopening while pushing for better protective measures for teachers.
“Given the current circumstances, nothing should stand in the way of the full reopening of our public schools this fall and keeping them open,” said Weingarten. “We’re all there.”
The National Educational Association, the country’s largest national teachers’ union, issued a statement Thursday in support of school buildings being opened to students for face-to-face tuition in the fall.
According to the government, a minority of schools – around 12% – only offered distance learning from March onwards. But many families, especially those with color, have continued virtual learning even after schools have reopened to face-to-face learning.
Most of the schools considered reopened, about one in three allowed students to attend only a few days a week on a hybrid schedule, the data shows.
– Erin Richards and Alia Wong
The U.S. healthcare system has been brought into the spotlight by the coronavirus pandemic, a poll released Thursday found Many Americans are not happy with the performance. According to the survey conducted by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health in February and March, ratings of the country’s public health system fell from 43% in 2009 to 34% in 2021. Overall, positive ratings for the CDC fell from 59% in 2009 to 54% in 2021.
“How the public views public health is incredibly important,” said Dr. Robert Blendon, co-director of the survey at Harvard. “When it comes to trusting health information, which is at the heart of public health, they are far more likely to trust clinical doctors and nurses than public health institutions and agencies.”
– Adrianna Rodriguez
Contributor: Associated Press