• February 3, 2023

Texas cancels mask mandate; Senate stimulus debate

The Senate is expected to begin the debate on President Joe Bidens on Wednesday $ 1.9 trillion COVID-19 stimulus package under a schedule that could begin rolling out stimulus checks worth $ 1,400 within two weeks.

The bill also includes funding from state and local governments, family tax credits, and major unemployment controls.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., said Tuesday that Democrats are “on track” to pass the bill by March 14, when the current federal unemployment benefit hike expires.

“I expect a warm debate. I expect some late nights on the floor,” said Schumer.

Far from Washington’s political bypass Dolly Parton was vaccinated in Tennessee, months after donating $ 1 million to vaccination efforts. The steady decline in hospital stays led Texas and Mississippi to drop all mask mandates. The governors also cited the accelerated pace of vaccine adoption – although a USA TODAY investigation shows that some states find the federal government’s rollout tracker cumbersome and of little value.

Also in the news:

►New York State is testing a high-tech Excelsior Pass that attendees can use to confirm vaccinations or recent COVID-19 negative tests, and gain access to events in theaters and arenas.

►The federal government has exceeded the 100 million mark vaccine doses distributed, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced on Tuesday.

►The variant of the coronavirus identified for the first time in Brazil occurred in Oregon, the first known case on the west coast, the medical authorities said on Tuesday. In the United States, another 10 cases of the P.1 variant have been reported: five in Florida, two in Minnesota, and one each in Oklahoma, Alaska and Maryland, according to the CDC.

A new report Geneva-based Insecurity Insight and the University of California identified more than 1,100 threats or acts of violence against health care workers and facilities at the Berkeley Human Rights Center last year. The researchers found that around 400 of these attacks were related to COVID-19.

📈 Today’s numbers: The US has more than 28.7 million confirmed coronavirus cases and 516,000 deaths. according to the Johns Hopkins University. The global total: more than 114.8 million cases and 2.55 million deaths. In the United States, more than 102.3 million vaccine doses have been distributed and about 78.6 million administered. according to CDC.

📘 What we read: More COVID-19 variants are popping up closer to home: What you should know about those discovered in Brazil, New York, California.

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.

Dolly Parton, who helped fund the vaccine, is receiving a dose of her own medicine.

Exhale, country music lovers. Dolly Parton received a dose of the COVID-19 vaccination. The country music legend, who funded the Moderna vaccine with a $ 1 million donation to Vanderbilt researchers, received her shot on Tuesday in Nashville, Tennessee, via Instagram post. Her headline is simply, “Dolly is getting a dose of her own medicine.”

In a video released Tuesday, Parton, 75, encouraged viewers to get vaccinated because “the sooner we feel better, the sooner we will get back to normal.”

The Fed’s high-tech vaccine tracker is too complicated for many states

Operation Warp Speed ​​spent $ 16 million on Tiberius, a high-tech system designed to track vaccine shipments and make local decisions about where to send them. Tiberius – a tyrannical, capricious Roman emperor and the middle name of Star Trek’s Captain James T. Kirk – would enable “granular planning” down to the doctor’s office and provide a “zip code for zip code view of priority population groups” and “relieve” the public health officials said the federal government.

But for many states Tiberius turned out to be either so irrelevant or too complicated. This has contributed to a patchy vaccine rollout where access is more dependent on where you live and how well you are on the internet.

Even if local officials chose to use Tiberius, “they would give us data they received from us,” said Dr. Bela Matyas, assistant director of public health for Solano County, California. “The local health authorities have a huge amount of data and know their communities well.

– Aleszu Bajak and David Heath

Sinister variants have gained a foothold in the United States

The country has more than 2,500 cases of coronavirus variants that can spread more easily and dodge some treatments that worked for the original virus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Tuesday.

More than 100 new cases of the B.1.1.7 variant, first seen in the UK, have only been reported since Sunday, bringing the nation’s total to 2,506. The number of known US cases of the B.1.351 variant that first occurred in South Africa has risen to 65. In the USA, 11 cases of the P.1 variant are known that first appeared in Brazil.

– Mike Stucka

Texas, Mississippi governors defy health officials and end mask mandates

Republican governors of Texas and Mississippi defied warnings from federal health officials about the need to remain vigilant against the coronavirus and said Tuesday they are lifting COVID-19 restrictions, including mask mandates.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott said he will “100% open Texas” and issue an executive order that will go into effect March 10th that will cancel most of his previous orders, including business occupancy restrictions and the statewide mask order of May 2 . July.

Mississippi governor Tate Reeves tweeted Tuesday that as of Wednesday, all mask mandates in the county would be lifted and companies would be allowed to operate at full capacity. Hospital admissions and case numbers have fallen, and the vaccine is being distributed quickly. He said, “We’re getting out of the business of telling people what they can and can’t do.”

COVID-19 can affect the immune system in complex ways, research shows

In some COVID-19 patients, unprepared immune cells appear to respond to the coronavirus with a devastating release of chemicals that cause damage that can last long after the threat is cleared.

“If you have a brand new virus and the virus wins, the immune system may be responsive to everyone’s hands on deck,” said Dr. Nina Luning Prak, co-author of a January study on COVID-19 and the immune system. “Things that are normally kept tightly under control are relaxed. The body can say, ‘Who cares? Give me all you got ‘”

While all viruses find ways to evade the body’s defenses, a growing field of research suggests this The coronavirus dissolves the immune system deeper than previously realized.

– Liz Szabo, Kaiser Health News

Featuring: Nicholas Wu and Ledyard King, USA TODAY, The Associated Press

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