States Hit Hard Early In Pandemic Now Leading Renewed Covid Case Spikes
Variants, infections among younger people and covid fatigue are blamed for the alarming rises in states like Michigan, Florida, New York and Pennsylvania. And a new study indicates that virus transmission in schools may be higher than thought.
The Wall Street Journal:
Old U.S. Covid-19 Hot Spots Are The New Hot Spots
The recent rise in Covid-19 cases in the U.S. has largely been driven by a handful of states, many of them the same places that first emerged as hot spots a year ago. Through Monday, about 75% of the previous week’s new cases in the U.S. came from Michigan, Florida, New York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Covid-19 cases and the rate of new cases per 100,000 people are resurging in several states that, for long stretches, had kept the pathogen relatively at bay. Outside of the period from Thanksgiving to New Year’s, Michigan, Pennsylvania and New Jersey haven’t seen levels this high during the pandemic. And outside of that same holiday period, New York hasn’t had this many new cases since spring, and Florida not since the summer. (Umlauf and Ulick, 4/20)
Study Shows COVID-19 Case Rates In Schools Higher Than Previously Believed
A Nebraska study on asymptomatic COVID-19 cases in schools has found that infection rates may be higher than previously believed. OPS PROTECTS, an Omaha Public School district program in a partnership with the University of Nebraska Medical Center, found that infection rates in schools involved in the first phase of the pilot program were two-and-a-half times higher for staff and nearly six times higher for students than what was being reported through routine self-initiated tests and reporting. (Deliso, 4/20)
Michigan Was Warned About UK COVID-19 Variant, But Many Ignored It
A deadlier coronavirus variant that had first ravaged Britain was now here — in metro Detroit, at the University of Michigan, a state prison in Ionia and rural counties in the Thumb region — with doctors, nurses and public health officials fully aware. And yet Michiganders — from state prison employees to small business owners and local officials to parents of high school athletes — ignored medical experts' repeated warnings about the highly infectious variant. They rebuffed stay-in-place recommendations, allowed crowded events to occur and turned a blind eye to defiant behavior, according to thousands of internal health department emails and contact tracing notes from across the state and interviews with those in charge. (Baldas, Chatterjee, Kravitz and Fortis, 4/20)
Some Illinois Hospitals Are Filling Up COVID-19 Cases Surge
A number of hospitals in northwest and central Illinois are filling up — and at least one ran out of intensive care unit beds — amid the latest COVID-19 surge. Recent spikes in cases have been seen across the state, including in the Chicago area where ICU bed availability is also down, though not as severely. Even as some coronavirus metrics in Illinois have improved slightly this week, certain hospitals are continuing to feel squeezed. (Schencker, 4/20)
In other covid news —
San Francisco Chronicle:
Low-Wage Workers In California Say COVID Protocols Are Lacking On The Job
Single mom Aracely Nava said she was constantly afraid of virus contagion while she continued to work at a San Francisco fast-food restaurant during the pandemic. “All the time people were coming in from the street without masks,” she said in Spanish through an interpreter. “They never put anyone by the door counting the number of people who came in to maintain a certain number. A manager was allowed to work for over a week (while) really sick with flu symptoms.” (Said, 4/21)
Lack Of National COVID Testing Strategy Drives Confusion
The United States still lacks a comprehensive COVID-19 testing strategy more than a year into the pandemic, as the spread of variants and increasing case counts threaten to undermine the effects of the vaccine rollout. Some public health experts say the rise in new cases underscores the importance of a single, adaptable strategy as states lift restrictions amid spreading variants. (Clason, 4/20)
Orange County Pauses Planned Loosening Of COVID Restrictions
Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings has paused his planned loosening of coronavirus safety precautions. Demings says the decision is based on a combination of three concerning trends. He says Orange County continues to see an increase in its coronavirus test positivity. The 14-day average is 7.6 percent, the highest in more than two months. Then there’s the Johnson & Johnson vaccine pause and a slowdown in demand for vaccinations. Finally, Demings says hospitalizations are edging upward. (Byrnes, 4/20)
Censorship Or Misinformation? DeSantis And YouTube Spar Over Covid Roundtable Takedown.
In early April, YouTube took down a video featuring Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and a group of controversial scientists at a March 18 coronavirus roundtable. The online video platform, owned by Google, cited as its rationale that the video contained false statements about the efficacy of children’s mask-wearing. The decision has drawn public blowback on social media and from DeSantis himself. (Knight, 4/21)
Ted Nugent Tests Positive For COVID After Calling Pandemic A 'Hoax'
Ted Nugent has tested positive for COVID-19, after referring to the pandemic as a "hoax" on several occasions. The staunch Trump supporter, 72, took to Facebook Live on Monday to reveal he was diagnosed earlier that day, while perpetuating anti-vaccine conspiracy theories and racist language toward the AAPI community. ... He referred to his symptoms as a "clusterf—", detailing the "stuffed-up head" and "body aches" he's experienced. "My God, what a pain in the ass," Nugent continued. "I literally can hardly crawl out of bed the last few days. But I did, I crawled." (Garner, 4/20)