With coronavirus cases declining and 50% of U.S. adults fully vaccinated, Memorial Day weekend should determine whether the United States can avoid the spikes in infections and hospitalizations that have occurred during and after. winter holidays before vaccines are widely available.
More than 37 million people are expected to travel 80 kilometers or more from their homes between Thursday and Monday – a 60% jump from last year, but still 6 million fewer people than the pre-pandemic weekend of the Memorial Day in 2019, according to AAA.
“If you are vaccinated, you are protected and you can enjoy your Memorial Day,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Rochelle Walensky said Wednesday. “If you are not vaccinated, our advice has not changed for you. You remain at risk of infection. You should always mask yourself and take other precautions.”
Walensky’s comments come after the CDC’s mask guidelines were revised to say fully vaccinated Americans can shed masks and the need for social distancing outdoors and in most indoor environments.
A recent American Psychological Association survey found that 49% of Americans aren’t sure how to adjust to in-person interactions after the pandemic is over. Likewise, 46% said they did not feel comfortable going back to their pre-pandemic life.
“Getting back to normal isn’t a quick jump; it’s gradual,” Jenny Englerth of Family First Health told the York Daily Record, which is part of the USA TODAY Network.
The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington predicted last week that deaths and cases of the virus would continue to drop until mid-summer.
Also in the news:
► Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas told ABC on Friday that the United States was examining “very closely” the possibility of using vaccine passports for international travel. However, authorities should ensure that any passport system “is accessible to everyone and that no one is deprived of their rights,” Mayorkas said.
►CVS is offering a chance to win a trip to the Super Bowl, a vacation to Bermuda, or cash prizes to attract more customers for COVID-19 vaccinations. Kroger is also offering customers, workers or individuals who get vaccinated the chance to win $ 1 million or free groceries for one year.
►Mexico has granted emergency use authorization for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, according to the country’s drug regulatory authorities.
►A little over 50 days before the start of the Olympics, Japan extended its COVID-19 state of emergency in Tokyo and other regions on Friday for an additional 20 days. The Games have already been delayed for a year, but concerns about variations and the slow rollout of vaccines in Japan have raised fears of a possible cancellation.
►The University of Oxford is launching an effort to bring together academic, industry and government experts from around the world to use lessons learned from COVID-19 in the fight against future pandemics.
►A Tennessee woman faces reckless endangerment charges after walking through a vaccination clinic shouting “No vaccine,” the Blount County Sheriff’s Office said.
The numbers of the day: The United States has more than 33.2 million confirmed cases of the coronavirus and 593,600 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Global totals: over 169.1 million cases and 3.51 million deaths. More than 132.7 million Americans have been fully immunized, or 40% of the population.
What we read: Numerous studies carried out since last March have shown a peak of depression in young adults of college age and an increase in refills of antidepressants.
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CDC relaxes orientation for summer camps
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated their guidelines for summer camps on Friday, saying camps where everyone is fully vaccinated can safely open at full capacity and without masks or physical distancing. For those who are not fully immunized, including children over 2 years of age, mask wearing and physical distancing are still “strongly encouraged” indoors and in crowded outdoor locations.
“Although fully vaccinated people do not need to wear masks, camp programs should support campers or staff who choose to wear a mask,” according to the guidelines. “Camps may also choose to continue to require masks for campers and staff who are vaccinated and not fully vaccinated. “
After:Thousands of summer camp counselors unable to come to US due to COVID-19 visa delays
The new guidelines urged camps to use several prevention strategies, including testing, health checks and hand washing to limit the spread of COVID-19. Camps where not everyone is fully vaccinated could also group campers into cohorts that stay together throughout the day and move away to minimize exposure, the guidelines suggest.
Previous agency guidelines released in April called on campers and staff to wear masks at all times, even outdoors, and to physically distance themselves. The new recommendations align more closely with CDC guidelines released on May 14, according to which fully vaccinated people do not need to wear masks or physical distancing except when required by other state orders or local.
Joe Biden and Ralph Northam Celebrate Virginia’s Progress on COVID-19
President Joe Biden appeared at a climbing facility in Alexandria, Virginia alongside Governor Ralph Northam on Friday to tout the state’s progress in fighting the coronavirus.
Northam said more than half of adults in Virginia were fully vaccinated and the number of cases had been declining for weeks. Overnight, Northam lifted all social distancing and capacity limits two weeks earlier than originally planned.
He thanked the Virginians who got vaccinated and Biden for his support.
“We are closer to a normal life than we have been in the past 14 months,” Northam said.
“We’re further along in this fight than anyone thought possible,” Biden added. “We’re not just saving lives, we’re getting our lives back. “
The president also urged Virginians and Americans to keep getting vaccinated in order to meet his goal of getting 70% of adults vaccinated by July 4.
Another drug may join the list of COVID treatments authorized by the FDA
Biopharmaceutical company Humanigen has submitted its drug Lenzilumab to the Food and Drug Administration for authorization for emergency use to treat hospital patients with COVID-19, the company said on Friday.
If approved, the drug will join a growing list of FDA-approved treatments for COVID-19. Lenzilumab focuses on preventing and treating an overactive immune response commonly known as a “cytokine storm”, which causes the immune system to destroy healthy and diseased tissue.
In a phase 3 study, the drug improved the likelihood of ventilation without ventilation by 54% in newly hospitalized patients. Survival improved by 92% in patients who also took certain steroids and remdesivir.
“There is a need for inpatients who require supplemental oxygen,” said Dr Cameron Durrant, Managing Director of Humanigen. “Treatments can save lives; despite the vaccinations, infections and major advances in the disease will continue. “
– Adrianna Rodriguez
COVID cases on the rise in some ICE detention centers
Several immigration detention centers in the United States are experiencing new peaks in COVID-19 cases.
U.S. immigration and customs officials attribute the spikes to newly arrived immigrants transferred to ICE detention centers from border patrol facilities near the border with Mexico, where there has been an influx of migrants and asylum seekers.
However, many critics claim that the failure of immigration and customs services under the Biden administration to routinely administer vaccines to detainees has resulted in an increase in new cases.
Medical experts fear that recent outbreaks in some ICE detention centers not only endanger the health of detainees and staff, but may spread to surrounding communities at a time when more states are relaxing the rules. COVID-19 safety precautions.
“It is absolutely outrageous that there are still outbreaks of COVID-19 in migrant detention six months after vaccine approval and given that there was a surplus of unused vaccine in the United States,” said Eunice Cho, Senior Counsel with the American Civil Liberties Union’s National Prison Project.
– Daniel Gonzalez, Arizona Republic and Maria Clark, The American South
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California to Offer $ 116.5 Million in Prizes for COVID Vaccine
California is jumping on the cash prize trend for those vaccinated in hopes the incentive will boost its capped vaccination rate.
Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Thursday that the state is offering the country’s biggest vaccine price – $ 116.5 million – to get millions more vaccinated before the state reopens next month.
“All of this in an effort to inspire and build momentum,” Newsom said.
Ten vaccinated residents aged 12 and over will have the chance to win $ 1.5 million each, and another 30 will win $ 50,000 each on June 4 and 11. Anyone 12 years and older who has received at least one injection will be eligible, even if they have already received their shot.
The state is also offering $ 50 prepaid or grocery gift cards to the next 2 million Californians who start and finish their immunizations, starting Thursday.
California is not the first state to offer vaccine lotteries or cash incentives for vaccinations. Learn more about the other states here.
Contribute: The Associated Press.