90,000 more US deaths forecast; world’s herd immunity

By June 1, more than 90,000 more Americans are likely to die from COVID-19 causes, according to a leading forecasting institute. The forecast assumes the U.S. expects more than 500,000 deaths in the next two days, and Dr. Anthony Fauci says it is “possible” that Americans will still wear masks in 2022.

The University of Washington’s Institute of Health Metrics and Assessment (IHME) also warns that the world could never reach herd immunity.

IHME estimates 589,197 Americans will have died by the end of May. The good news is that the institute believes the death toll could drop to less than 500 a day by then, and that the number could be even lower if Americans are vigilant about wearing masks. In the United States, an average of 2,000 people currently die every day.

More than 75% of Americans say they wear masks in public. To get the lower death toll, the percentage should be around 95%, according to IHME.

The Institute notes that some public health politicians and politicians have argued that vaccinating 70% to 80% of the world’s population could effectively stop further transmission. But even nations fortunate enough to have adequate supplies of vaccines may never achieve herd immunity. If so, COVID-19 could become a seasonal affliction that occurs every year.

“While it is possible to achieve herd immunity by next winter, it is becoming increasingly unlikely that we will and, given that, we must all change our expectations,” says IHME.

Also in the news:

►Britain will announce its plan to lift one of the strictest COVID-19 lockdowns in the world on Monday. American health authorities will look closely. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention believe that by April B.1.1.7, the more communicable COVID-19 variant originally identified in the UK is likely to be the dominant one within US borders.

Nationally, enrollment at community colleges fell by 10% from autumn 2019 to autumn 2020, according to the National Student Clearinghouse.

► It’s been 10 months since Abby Adair Reinhard’s father died of COVID-19. The Rochester, New York woman, whose chronicle of his death attracted nationwide empathy, is still struggling with the loss.

► Fifteen athletes who were scheduled to play sports at U.S. colleges as international freshmen during the 2020-21 academic year are suing the Department of Homeland Security and ICE over a policy preventing students from coming to the U.S. when their schools are in place do not offer personal courses.

► Public health officials in Alaska, where vaccine distribution has set a gold standard, said 3,000 doses of the coronavirus vaccine will arrive later than expected due to a winter storm that has devastated the continental United States

📈 Today’s numbers: There are more than 28 million confirmed coronavirus cases and 497,000 deaths in the US, according to Johns Hopkins University. The global total: More than 111 million cases and 2.46 million deaths. According to the CDC, more than 78.1 million vaccine doses have been distributed and about 59.5 million administered in the United States.

📘 What we read: “The time has to be” to invest in coronavirus vaccines and treatments for future pandemics, experts warn

500,000 deaths later, we’ve had enough – but healthcare workers remain vigilant.

Many Americans are tired of wearing masks, desperate to return to normal and numb to the relentless stream of brutal numbers like the 500,000 COVID-19 deaths that will soon surpass the US. The health workers don’t want to hear about it. They have worked endless hours in the midst of constant death and suffering, giving up their free time and exposing themselves to the disease, exhausting it with no real clue as to when the pandemic will subside.

“There’s definitely a noticeable fatigue on the side of healthcare workers who are tired of COVID and people who disregard public health guidelines, get sick, and expect us to postpone another vacation or postpone something else” said Dr. Eric Cioe- Peña, an ambulance doctor who now runs a COVID field hospital in Staten Island, New York.

– Jorge L. Ortiz

Fauci: “Normality” until the end of the year, but maybe even in 2022 with masks

Accelerating vaccine distribution and continuing to wear masks and social distancing will be key factors in containing the “historic” pandemic, Fauci, the Biden administration’s senior health advisor, said Sunday. Speaking on CNN’s State of the Union, Fauci said the country could “move closer to normal” by the end of the year, but Americans may have to wear masks by 2022.

“With the vast majority of the population vaccinated, I would like to say, ‘We have to take the masks off,” said Fauci. “The better we can get vaccines into people’s arms … that becomes another important tool be against the prevention of “spikes”.

Hawaii extends the virus test window to 96 hours before departure

The Hawaii Department of Health has temporarily extended the window. Incoming travelers must have a negative coronavirus test. The state said travelers can now take their pre-boarding coronavirus test up to 96 hours before their flight instead of 72 hours due to winter storms that have devastated the continental US

The test still has to be carried out by a state-approved provider. The extension will be in effect through Sunday, Hawaii News Now reported.

Could Your Apple Watch, Fitbit Help Slow Down The Pandemic?

Growing evidence suggests that a smartwatch or Fitbit could warn wearers of a possible COVID-19 infection if they test positive. Wearables like the Apple Watch, the Samsung Galaxy Smartwatch, Fitbit and other devices can record heart and oxygen data as well as sleep and activity values. Researchers are investigating whether a body’s health data could point to an impending COVID-19 infection.

COVID-19 infection may not be imminent for a person whose heart or activity data suggests a possible infection. However, the increased likelihood – and the ability to alert the patient to testing and possibly quarantine – could be an important tool in preventing and tracking the spread of the disease, researchers say. When demonstrated, such results can lead to remote medical alerts for other possible viruses, flu, and undue stress.

– Mike Snider

The entire school board resigns after mocking the parents on the live stream

The president and all three other members of a California school board resigned after mocking parents in a livestream meeting about reopening the school, which they believed was private. Greg Hetrick, superintendent of Oakley Union Elementary School District in Costa County, announced that board members had submitted their resignation in a letter to the school community on Friday, calling it an “unfortunate situation.” The video of Wednesday night’s meeting was shared on social media and appears to capture board members mocking parents who wrote letters to petition the board to reopen schools amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“They want to choose us because they want their babysitters back,” said CEO Lisa Brizendine.

The board members also use explosives and laugh at parents who use medical marijuana. Towards the end of the recording, the board members appear shocked to receive a message indicating that the livestream is public. In a statement, the board members expressed their “sincere apologies” and said they “deeply regret the comments made at the meeting”.

Contributor: The Associated Press

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