The much-touted, steady decline in new coronavirus infections and hospital stays seems to have stalled. Experts are now trying to determine if a new surge is underway.
In the seven-day period ending Thursday, 17 states had rising case numbers in the past seven days. In the seven-day period ending Friday, 21 states have been on the up in the past seven days.
In the week through Saturday, there were new cases in 23 states from the previous week.
However, some governors and mayors, encouraged by the steady decline and pressured by small business owners struggling to survive, are easing restrictions. New Orleans allows meetings of up to 75 people indoors and 150 people outdoors. Massachusetts is canceling an order on Monday requiring all businesses, including restaurants, to close by 9:30 p.m.
Dr. Anthony Fauci says easing restrictions may be premature.
“It’s really risky to say, ‘It’s over. We’re on our way out. Let’s pull back, ” Fauci said on Sunday on CNN State of the Union.
Also in the news:
►Israel on Sunday announced plans to vaccinate tens of thousands of Palestinians who work in Israel and its West Bank settlements. Israel has been criticized internationally for not sharing its vaccine supply with Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip.
►The Senate becomes the focus of President Joe Biden’s $ 1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package after House approved it on Saturday. The move would provide $ 1,400 in stimulus payments to millions of Americans, increase vaccine distribution, and extend unemployment benefits through the summer.
►The federal government agreed to buy 100,000 doses of a COVID-19 treatment from Eli Lilly, the company said on Friday. The drug bamlanivimab is a monoclonal antibody, which means that it mimics one of the natural antibodies the immune system uses to fight the virus. The FDA approved the drug late last year.
►The US gave the most vaccines in one day on Friday: almost 2.4 million shots were fired, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
📈Today’s numbers: The US has more than 28.5 million confirmed coronavirus cases and 512,000 deaths. according to the Johns Hopkins University. The global total: more than 113.9 million cases and 2.52 million deaths. In the United States, more than 96.4 million vaccine doses have been distributed and about 75.2 million administered. according to CDC.
📘What we read: Has COVID-19 already? You may not need this second vaccine.
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 for updates in your inbox and Join our Facebook group.
Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city, began a week-long lockdown on Sunday after a new coronavirus case of unknown origin was found. Two weeks earlier, the city of 1.7 million people was locked down for three days after new cases of the contagious variant were found, first uncovered in the UK. They resulted in 12 new infections.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Saturday the last patient had had symptoms since the beginning of the week and could have infected others. The rest of New Zealand will also have increased restrictions, albeit less.
“We are in the unfortunate but necessary position to protect the Aucklanders again,” said Ardern of the imposition of the ban, which requires residents to leave their homes only for important work and purchases.
New Zealand, with a population of 5 million, was one of the great success stories of the pandemic. It took a rigorous approach and largely knocked out the coronavirus. The country has had fewer than 2,400 infections and 26 deaths.
Pope Francis’ upcoming trip to Iraq raises alarm bells with infectious disease experts pointing out the surge in cases in this country, the fragile health system and the crowds the Pope will attract. The vaccinated Francis will be the first Pope to visit the birthplace of the Biblical Patriarch Abraham. The trip from March 5th to 8th is intended to give the Iraqi Christians, a small, oppressed minority in the predominantly Muslim population, a spiritual boost.
“It’s a perfect storm to generate a lot of cases that you can’t handle,” said Dr. Bharat Pankhania, an infectious disease control expert at the University of Exeter College of Medicine.
Across the country, Arab Americans and their supporters fear alarming rates of COVID-19 infections and deaths in their communities. However, there is little data to support these concerns, since Most are classified as “white” by the federal government. The nation’s 3.7 million Arab-Americans cannot identify as such in the census and other forms of government. As a result, official health data can be difficult to obtain as experts and community leaders are forced to rely on patchwork data, often self-compiled.
“We are told that we are white when in reality we are being deprived of correct and accurate statistical information,” said Hasibe Rashid of the New York City planning department. “We are expected to adapt to something we disagree with, and worse, to something that society does not see us. We don’t live the life of a white privilege. “
– Marc Ramirez
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved a third COVID-19 vaccine for public use on Saturday. As expected, Acting Commissioner Janet Woodcock granted emergency use authorization for a Vaccine developed by Janssen Pharmaceuticals, a division of Johnson & Johnson.
About 4 million doses of the new vaccine are expected to be available next week, a total of 20 million in March and another 80 million by the end of June. Because the vaccine only requires one dose, it helps protect 100 million people and works faster than the two-dose vaccines.
After a year of struggling to increase testing, communities across the country are seeing a drop in demand, testing sites closings, or even attempts to return supplies. US testing peaked on Jan. 15 when the country was running an average of more than 2 million tests a day. Since then, the average number of daily tests has decreased by more than 28%. Drop mirrors have been in decline for all major virus actions since January, including new cases, hospitalizations, and deaths.
Officials say these encouraging trends, along with harsh winter weather, the end of the vacation travel season, pandemic fatigue, and a growing focus on vaccinations, are diminishing interest in testing. However, testing remains important in tracking and containing the outbreak.
“We need to use tests to continue the downward trend,” said Dr. Jonathan Quick of the Rockefeller Foundation, who advised Biden officials. “We have to have it there to catch the waves of variation.”
On Monday, school bells will ring for the youngest students in Las Vegas, where the country’s fifth largest school district will bring children back to the classroom with a “hybrid” schedule for preschoolers to third graders during the coronavirus pandemic.
Moving to a region hit hard both physically and economically by COVID-19 makes Clark County’s sprawling school district, with 315,000 students, the youngest of the largest in the U.S. to resume in-person but straightforward teaching.
Featuring: Mike Stucka, USA TODAY; The Associated Press