COVID-19 tally as compiled by Johns Hopkins University. (Previous numbers in parentheses.)
Total U.S. confirmed cases: 82,476,893 (82,437,716)
Total U.S. deaths: 999,607 (999,270)
Total global cases: 521,567,640 (521,213,114)
Total global deaths: 6,264,186 (6,263,478)
Airline industry faces pilot shortage
The pandemic is blamed for what has been called “the great resignation,” and it's being felt especially in the airline industry. Airlines say they have fewer pilots than before COVID-19’s arrival. and it could affect summer flight schedules.
Industry insiders say COVID-19 reduced and slowed the training of new pilots. They also point to a wave of early retirements when airlines slashed flights in the early days of the pandemic.
Airline executives say the easiest and fastest remedy would be to raise the mandatory retirement age from 65 to 67 or older.
Children’s activity fell below federal guidelines during the pandemic
A new study conducted at the University of Bristol shows how much of an effect early COVID-19 lockdowns had on children’s health. Researchers say children’s physical activity levels were significantly lower by the time the COVID-19 pandemic public lockdown restrictions were lifted.
The researchers found that little more than a third of children – 36% – were meeting the recommended physical activity guidelines by the end of 2021. Specifically, children between the ages of 10 and 11 were active for just 56 minutes during weekdays from April 2021, to December 2021.
“These findings highlight a greater need to work with children, families, schools, and communities to maximize the opportunities for children to be physically active, as we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic,” said senior author Russ Jago.
Drake University puts the masks back on for graduation
Iowa is one of the states where new cases of COVID-19 have spiked in recent days. So when it came time for commencement exercises at Drake University, it reinstated its mask mandate for graduates and members of the audience.
Cases have also risen recently on the Drake University campus, adding motivation for the university to ask people attending the event to mask up.
"We all want to be healthy and get together and do whatever it takes to get through all of this," said Ron Waldbilling, a relative of one of the graduates.
Around the nation
Ohio: Cases are rising in Northeast Ohio, but wearing a mask in public is now voluntary. Dr. Claudia Hoyen, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at University Hospitals, has noticed that not many people are wearing one. "People are done with it (the pandemic). You hope that if they're done with it, they've been vaccinated," she said.
Kansas: Gov. Laura Kelly has vetoed a bill passed by the state legislature that would have barred any government agency from issuing a mask mandate for any public health reason. In her veto message, Kelly said the bill “significantly limits any government entity’s response to any infectious disease outbreak.”
New York: In the last week, all of New York state except for one county has been classified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as a “high risk” area for COVID-19. The Bronx is the only region of New York that still carries a “low risk of transmission.”
Missouri: The state legislature has passed a bill that is aimed at restrictions on hospital visitors. The measure would prevent hospitals from keeping family members away from hospitalized loved ones, even during a pandemic.
Utah: Gov. Spenser Cox has tested positive for COVID-19, prompting the Utah Health Department to issue a reminder that vaccinations provide the best protection. “Most people who are infected with COVID-19 have mild symptoms, especially if they are up-to-date with their COVID-19 vaccinations. The vaccines have been shown to be safe and effective, and provide protection against serious disease,” the agency said.