US vaccine distribution; variant cases up; Colorado riot

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Monday relaxed guidelines for fully vaccinated individuals, stating that they can visit other vaccinated individuals indoors without wearing masks or physical distance.

You can also visit unvaccinated individuals from a single household who have a low risk of severe COVID-19 illness indoors – without a mask or physical distancing. Fully vaccinated individuals do not need to be quarantined or tested after known exposure if they are asymptomatic. Nevertheless, they must take precautionary measures in public, e.g. B. wearing a well-fitting mask and physically distancing and avoiding medium-sized and large face-to-face gatherings.

“COVID-19 continues to take a tremendous toll on our nation,” said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky at a White House COVID-19 Response Team press conference. “Science and public health protection must guide us as we begin to resume activities.”

Also in the news:

►The U.S. vaccination rate has risen to an average of 2.2 million doses per day, announced Jeff Zients, White House coronavirus response coordinator.

►The U.S. House is expected to finalize the Biden administration’s $ 1.9 trillion stimulus plan on Tuesday. It could go to Biden’s desk that day to get his signature, and stimulus checks could be done soon after.

►Colorado health officials advise anyone who has participated in a violent Boulder Party riot to quarantine for at least 10 days and get tested for COVID-19. The event became so violent that a car was turned over and a police SWAT team used tear gas to break up the crowd.

► New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says her country will now only use the Pfizer vaccine to vaccinate its people. She says the decision was based on the effectiveness of the Pfizer vaccine.

►Israel began vaccinating Palestinians working in the country and in its West Bank settlements on Monday. Over 3.7 million Israelis – more than 40% – received two doses of the vaccine, but Israel had provided few vaccines to Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

►Germany is trying to ramp up use of the AstraZeneca vaccine after authorities last week gave the green light to give it to people aged 65 and over. Germany’s vaccination campaign has lagged behind the UK and the US.

📈 Today’s numbers: In the United States, over 28.9 million coronavirus cases and nearly 525,000 deaths have been confirmed, according to Johns Hopkins University. The global total: more than 116.9 million cases and 2.59 million deaths. More than 116.3 million vaccine doses have been distributed and 90.3 million administered in the United States, according to the CDC.

📘 What we read: Public health experts criticized Texas, Mississippi, and other states for tossing mask mandates aside. They also warn of another threat to the country’s highly competitive gains against COVID-19: the number of Americans being tested for coronavirus has fallen significantly since January. Read the full story.

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 to get updates for your inbox and join our Facebook group.

Spring Break in Florida: Crowds, College Kids, and Coronavirus Concerns

There is optimism when spring ushers in warmer weather – and the spring break. Florida is full: The Disney theme parks in Orlando are fully booked Monday through Thursday. In Fort Lauderdale, many college students stroll the Strip, many without a mask, ignoring social distancing. At least one hot spot there, however, is the pumping of the brakes.

The outdoor event space, The Wharf, with live music, food and drink announced on social media that guests with ID outside of the state must be at least 23 years old during the spring break. The Wharf says it operates at reduced capacity and that masks must always be worn when walking through public areas and when not eating or drinking.

In Miami Beach, Mayor Dan Gelber is determined to avoid another outbreak of virus cases in his city. Gelber issued a stern warning for night owls: “Don’t be stupid. Don’t come here if you think this is an environment where anything is possible. We will arrest you and it will ruin your time here.”

Have more Americans been vaccinated than infected?

The number of Americans who are now fully vaccinated against COVID-19 has exceeded the number of reported cases of the virus since the pandemic began more than a year ago.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, just over 30 million people have been fully vaccinated, 9.2% of the population. The Johns Hopkins data dashboard has 29 million nationwide reported cases of the virus. However, experts warn that reported cases could represent a fraction of the actual infections.

Adults with Down syndrome are at high risk – but many cannot get vaccinated

Recent studies show that adults with Down syndrome, especially those aged 40 and over, are three to ten times more likely to die from COVID-19 than the general population. The results confirmed what many had already suspected – that those with the genetic disorder who were already prone to breathing problems, heart disease and other risk factors for the coronavirus were more prone to the harmful effects of the virus. However, the priority of Down syndrome for the vaccine varies from state to state.

“It is clear that they should be brought to the top of the line,” said Minnesota Republican Senator Bill Ingebrigtsen, lead author of a letter signed by bipartisan lawmakers last month urging health officials to give priority to adults with the disease . “I cannot stress enough how dangerous it could be for these people if they do not get the vaccine.”

– Marc Ramirez

Biden witnesses vaccinations at the Veterans Affairs Center in Washington

President Joe Biden and Veterans Affairs Secretary Denis McDonough will be visiting the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Washington DC today to witness vaccine delivery there. The center offers vaccines by appointment to veterans who qualify as frontline workers, are 65 years of age or older, are homeless or live in group accommodation, are on a transplant list or have cancer, and are receiving IV chemotherapy at the medical center. The VA has delivered more than 1.5 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines in over 250 locations since the beginning of its campaign to vaccinate millions of veterans enrolled in its system on Dec. 14.

According to CDC data, cases of variants in the US have doubled since February 18

The US added a record of 380 new cases of coronavirus variants on Sunday, continuing a trend where the country has doubled its known total number of such coronavirus infections since February 18. Different versions of the virus that causes COVID-19 are spreading quickly despite the pace, and the number of new infections has generally fallen nationwide.

The variants can spread more easily, dodging some treatments and immunities, or both, making them a threat even as more Americans are vaccinated. There are 3,133 known cases of variants in the US, up from 2,753 on Thursday, the Centers for Disease Control said on Sunday.

Most of the known variant cases in America are B.1.1.7, which were first seen in the UK with 3,037. Vaccines have been shown to be effective, but the variant is believed to be at least 50% more infectious than the original strain, so rapid and widespread vaccination is essential.

– Mike Stucka

Michigan makes homeless people eligible for COVID vaccines

Homeless people will be able to get COVID-19 vaccines in Michigan starting Monday.

“Our vulnerable populations are a high priority for us right now,” said Linda Vail, Ingham County’s health officer, according to the Lansing State Journal. “This opens the door to ensure that the population is vaccinated and we continue to have no outbreaks in emergency shelters.”

The news comes as infection rates drop and vaccination campaigns increase. Governor Gretchen Whitmer recently announced further easing of state coronavirus restrictions, easing capacity restrictions in restaurants and other businesses and enabling larger indoor and outdoor gatherings.

Arkansas governor Asa Hutchinson plans to end the mask mandate in April

Arkansas governor Asa Hutchinson said Sunday he would end a mask mandate next month if the state’s test positivity rate or hospital stays are low. Hutchinson on Friday lifted most of the security restrictions imposed on companies to curb the transmission of the coronavirus. He said it was time to rely on “common sense and good judgment” against mandates that cripple businesses.

Last week, President Joe Biden dismissed the decision of some Republican governors to end masked mandates as “Neanderthal thinking”. White House press secretary Jen Psaki defended the comment as “a reflection of his frustration” with Americans who refused to follow public health guidelines.

Hutchinson does not agree. “Just give us our freedom back and void some of our mandates,” he said. “This is not a caveman, this is common sense.”

Featuring: Ken Alltucker, USA TODAY; The Associated Press

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