America’s numbers of new cases ticked down slightly for the first time since Christmas, a U.S. TODAY analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University shows.
The country reported 5.23 million cases in the week ending Tuesday, down from 5.28 million cases in the seven-day period ending Monday. The previous inventory probably included tests postponed to that week from a long holiday weekend.
The number of cases in the United States has increased by 34% from a week ago, and on Tuesday, 47 states reported more cases than a week earlier; 21 states set records for cases in one week; 48 states reported more COVID-19 patients in hospital beds; and 41 states reported more COVID-19 patients in intensive care units, data from Johns Hopkins and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services show.
Still, there are encouraging signs. Boston has been a hot spot, but it told Dr. Mark Siedner of Massachusetts General Hospital CBS in Boston there are early signs that the city has “turned a corner.” One of these signs is a wastewater detection system – virus particles found in wastewater are no longer contagious but can still be measured and can reflect trends among people contributing to wastewater.
“The wastewater data is in and the news is good,” tweeted Bill Hanage, an associate professor at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health. The data “provide solid evidence that, more importantly, cannot be reduced to depleted test capacity or other factors.”
– Mike Stucka
Also in the news:
►Unvaccinated Virginians became infected four times the number of fully vaccinated nationals during the two-week period ending Jan. 1, state health officials said. The hospitalization and death rates were also about four times higher.
►Consumer price index jumped 7% last year, the fastest pace since 1982, the Department of Labor said Wednesday. Covid-driven shortage of workers and bottlenecks in the supply chain were blamed.
►West Virginia Governor Jim Justice has tested positive for COVID-19 and is “experiencing moderate symptoms,” the governor tweeted Tuesday night. Gov. Justice is fully vaccinated and boosted.
►Researchers see signs that COVID-19’s alarming omicron wave may have peaked in the UK. The variant has proven so wildly contagious that it may already be running out of people to infect.
►USA faces its worst anemia in more than a decade, mainly due to a drop in blood supply due to the pandemic, said the American Red Cross.
📈Today’s figures: The United States has recorded more than 62 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and more than 842,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. Global totals: More than 313.9 million cases and nearly 5.5 million deaths. More than 207 million Americans – 62.6% – are fully vaccinated, according to Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
📘What we read: Omicron hit the U.S. hard and fast in the past month, but modeling from several universities shows the wave of infections may have reached its peak – and hospitalizations and deaths should follow.
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Deficiency is becoming more prevalent – but the next thing is everyone’s guess
Lack of grocery stores across the country has become more acute in recent weeks as omicron continues to spread and winter storms have piled up for supply chain struggles and labor shortages. The shortage, which is reported nationally, is widespread and affects products and meat as well as packaged goods such as cereals. Curt Covington, senior director of institutional credit at AgAmerica, told USA TODAY that trends in specific food shortages are intermittent and varied.
“Shortage depends on the product, the store and the region of the country,” Covington said. “Shortages can be driven by supply chain problems, consumer behavior or environmental factors, so it’s hard to pinpoint what will be affected next.”
Researchers in Texas in the state of Washington are also seeing declines in the recent rise
Wastewater followers are not alone ifor predict a decrease in the omicron rise. Modeling from several universities also shows that the wave of infections may have reached its peak – and hospitalizations and deaths should follow. COVID-19 infections peaked on Jan. 6, according to researchers at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington’s School of Medicine. It is close to estimates from the University of Texas, Austin COVID-19 Modeling Consortium, which places the peak somewhere between January 9th and 13th.
“It’s a range between the most pessimistic and optimistic scenarios,” said Lauren Ancel Meyers, director of the consortium.
Because hospitalizations delay infections by about two weeks, the University of Washington team estimated that the daily U.S. hospital count, including random admissions with COVID-19, will peak on January 25th. Read more here.
– Elizabeth way
The White House will provide millions of tests to schools
The White House on Wednesday announced plans to send an additional 5 million rapid tests to schools each month at no cost, as some districts are struggling to return to personal learning amid a record-breaking increase in COVID-19 infection. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will work with states to submit requests to school districts in need of further rapid testing. Once the first requests are submitted, the first shipments will be delivered later in the month, according to a fact sheet provided by the White House.
The Department of Health and Human Services will also expand the laboratory capacity to support up to 5 million additional PCR tests per month. Schools can access the additional PCR tests by submitting requests to three federally funded regional providers offering test materials, supplies and laboratory results through four regional hubs.
Oregon DOJ, Better Business Bureau investigating Center for COVID Control
The Oregon Department of Justice and the Better Business Bureau have launched studies by an Illinois-based company operating COVID-19 test sites across the nation.
The Oregon Department of Justice opened a civil investigation Center for COVID Control this week for violations of the Unfair Trade Practices Act, spokeswoman Kristina Edmunson said.
The company operates test sites across the country – some like “pop-ups” running out of sheds and mobile storage devices. Many Americans have rushed to the sites amid a wave of COVID-19 cases driven by the omicron variant and a national shortage of tests. But dozens of people nationwide have reached out to the United States TODAY and expressed concern about the company.
Many said they discovered the sites by searching for nearby testing opportunities on Google and were surprised at how the sites were run. Some said they received their test results later than promised or not at all.
At least two people filed complaints about the Center for COVID Control Testing Sites with the Oregon Department of Justice in October. USA TODAY reported last week. The individuals expressed concern about the security and legitimacy of the sites and claimed that the sites offer “fake tests”. One said they got a test labeled as expired in June 2021.
– Grace Hauck, USA TODAY
The FDA extends the expiration date of COVID-19 tests in Florida by 3 months
Federal regulators has approved an extension of three months on COVID-19 test kits which technically expired months ago.
This means that nearly 1 million COVID-19 tests that the federal government considered expired will now be made available to Floridians who have struggled to find tests.
Florida Agriculture Commissioner and Governor-designate Nikki Fried reportedly in late December that Governor Ron DeSantis stockpiled COVID-19 tests that were “set to expire immediately,” despite the high demand for such tests as omicron increased.
During a news conference with DeSanti on Thursday in West Palm Beach, Florida, Kevin Guthrie, director of the state’s emergency management department, confirmed that Florida had between 800,000 and 1 million COVID-19 tests, which expired 26-30. December.
According to Guthrie, they had originally expired in September, but the state received a three-month extension on these test kits from the manufacturer and the federal regulators.
– Frank Gluck, Fort Myers News-Press
Starring: Associated Press
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