COVID-19 tally as compiled by Johns Hopkins University. (Previous numbers in parentheses.)
Total U.S. confirmed cases: 80,746,966 (80,688,517)
Total U.S. deaths: 989,481 (988,946)
Total global cases: 506,282,194 (505,103,302)
Total global deaths: 6,205,279 (6,200,525)
Travel mask mandate ruling may be appealed
In an about-face, the Biden administration says it will probably appeal a judge’s ruling that overturned the COVID-19-related mask mandates on planes and other forms of public transportation. Previously, the administration said it would let the ruling stand.
“The Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) disagree with the district court’s decision and will appeal,” the DOJ said in a statement, “subject to CDC’s conclusion that the order remains necessary for public health.”
A federal judge in Tampa had ruled that the CDC lacked proper authority to extend the mask mandate for travel. The judge said the agency failed to explain its reasons and that it did not seek public comment, as required by federal rules.
Do masks contribute to air rage incidents?
When a federal judge struck down the travel mask mandate, airline passengers and the airlines themselves celebrated. Some blame the requirement to wear a mask on commercial aircraft for an increase in violence aboard aircraft over the last two years.
According to Statista, the vast majority of violent encounters aboard aircraft involved passengers who objected to the rule requiring a mask. It was flight attendants who often suffered the assault when they enforced the rule.
In an interview with ABC News last year, Federal Aviation Administrator Steve Dickson said a typical year sees about 100 such incidents. He said it was clear the number had increased since the start of the pandemic.
Study links COVID-19 pneumonia with dementia risk
Researchers at the University of Missouri School of Medicine and MU Health Care say their study shows that patients hospitalized with COVID-19 pneumonia have a higher risk of developing dementia than those with other types of pneumonia.
The research team assembled data from 1.4 billion medical encounters prior to July 31, 2021. They selected patients who were hospitalized with pneumonia for more than 24 hours. Among 10,403 patients with COVID-19 pneumonia, 312 (3%) developed new onset dementia after recovering, compared to 263 (2.5%) of the 10,403 patients with other types of pneumonia diagnosed with dementia.
“The risk of new onset dementia was more common in COVID-19 pneumonia patients over the age of 70 in our study,” said lead researcher Dr. Adnan I. Qureshi, a professor of clinical neurology at the MU School of Medicine. “The type of dementia seen in survivors of COVID-19 infection mainly affects memory, ability to perform everyday tasks and self-regulation. Language and awareness of time and location remained relatively preserved.”
Around the nation
New Jersey: The New Jersey Department of Health reports that two new “stealth Omicron” subvariants have been detected in the state. Officials confirmed 80 cases this week of Omicron subvariants BA.2.12 and BA.2.12.1, which previously had been confined to New York.
California: A truckers’ convoy rolled into Sacramento this week to protest a number of COVID-19-related issues. The truckers are demanding that the state legislature kill a number of pandemic-related bills that were recently introduced. They also want the U.S. to end the state of emergency declared at the beginning of the pandemic.
Wisconsin: A report from the nonpartisan Wisconsin Policy Forum says the state received less pandemic financial aid than most other states. The report found that, unlike most other states, Wisconsin used its funds to support the state’s economy.
Utah: The masks have come off and things are getting back to normal, but the virus is still out there. Even so, a new poll shows that around 75% of Utah residents are not worried about getting infected. However, only 22% said their lives are completely back to normal.
Tennessee: Business owners in Tennessee say they are feeling the effects of the latest COVID-19 lockdown in Shanghai, China’s largest port. Andy Borchers, professor and associate dean at Lipscomb University's College of Business, said delays in receiving goods from China have prompted local businesses to seek shorter supply chains.