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Coronavirus update: Are mask mandates returning? Questions about Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine

Homebuyers are moving farther from the office because of the pandemic

Photo (c) sestovic - Getty Images
Coronavirus‌ ‌(COVID-19)‌ ‌tally‌ ‌as‌ ‌‌compiled‌‌ ‌by‌ ‌Johns‌ ‌Hopkins‌ ‌University.‌ ‌(Previous‌ ‌numbers‌ ‌in‌ ‌parentheses.)‌ 

Total‌ ‌U.S.‌ ‌confirmed‌ ‌cases:‌ 34,183,702 (34,137,733)‌

Total‌ ‌U.S.‌ ‌deaths:‌ 609,585 (609,316)

Total‌ ‌global‌ ‌cases:‌ 191,687,762 (191,099,159)

Total‌ ‌global‌ ‌deaths:‌ 4,122,219 (4,099,677)‌

Experts say Delta variant may bring back mask mandates

We’re starting to see it all across the country. Los Angeles County is requiring everyone to mask up indoors whether they’re vaccinated or not. Dozens of other jurisdictions are considering similar action as the Delta variant spreads across the U.S.

Even some vaccinated people are testing positive for the virus, although their cases are rarely serious. Dr. Gregory Poland of the Mayo Clinic, one of the nation’s leading experts on vaccines, says he hasn’t stopped wearing a mask. As for unvaccinated people, Poland says the Delta variant will find them sooner or later.

“I think there is no question we are going to see a surge,” he said. “In a crowded scenario, I am in a mask, indoors or outdoors.”

Johnson & Johnson vaccine’s Delta effectiveness questioned

At a time when cases of COVID-19 are increasing around the country, a new study questions one vaccine’s effectiveness against the spreading Delta variant.

Researchers at New York University (NYU) have completed a study that found Johnson & Johnson’s single-shot COVID-19 vaccine is much less effective against the Delta variant than the mRNA vaccines produced by Pfizer and Moderna.

The researchers say the 13 million people who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine may need a booster shot to increase protection. Johnson & Johnson, meanwhile, said it stands behind its previous research showing that its vaccine does protect against the Delta variant.

Homebuyers moving farther from the office

Millions of people have been working from home since March 2020, and that’s had an impact on the housing market. Not only have home buyers sought more space, but Zillow reports that they are choosing homes that are farther away from the office, adding to commuting time.

The Zillow analysis shows that in the Boston metro, May sales of homes at least 70 minutes away from the office grew by more than 30%. Nicole Bachaud, an economic data analyst at Zillow, told the Wall Street Journal that remote work during the pandemic has been the game-changer.

The open question among real estate executives is whether this trend will last beyond the pandemic or will result in a significant turnover in the job market as people seek jobs closer to their new homes.

Around the nation

  • New Hampshire: State health officials are voicing concerns about the number of people hospitalized with the virus. In the last week, the state’s hospitals reported 10 patients. Those numbers are low, but officials note that the hospitals went months without seeing any COVID-19 patients.

  • New Jersey: Gov. Phil Murphy is pleading with state residents to get vaccinated, pointing to a sudden rise in cases among the unvaccinated. In an interview with CNBC, Murphy threatened to impose mask restrictions again if cases keep rising.

  • California: Six more counties have urged all citizens, whether vaccinated or not, to wear masks while indoors in public spaces. Santa Barbara, Monterey, Napa, San Benito, Santa Cruz, and Ventura are now among the 17 counties that have recommended masks. Statewide, coronavirus hospitalizations more than doubled in the last month.

  • Florida: Part of the reason behind the rise in COVID-19 cases is due to infections in children, who have not yet been eligible to receive the vaccine. "In children, less than 12 years of age, it was an 87% increase, and in those children who are 12 to 19 years of age, it was an 84% increase," said Dr. Jason Salemi, associate professor of epidemiology at the University of South Florida College of Public Health.

  • Missouri: Missouri continues to wrestle with a spike in COVID-19 cases among unvaccinated residents. Laclede, Phelps, and Pulaski counties have been added to the state’s hotspot list as a result of an outbreak along the I-44 corridor.

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