COVID-19 tally as compiled by Johns Hopkins University. (Previous numbers in parentheses.)
Total U.S. confirmed cases: 80,060,491 (80,019,456)
Total U.S. deaths: 979,907 (978,693)
Total global cases: 487,118,192 (484,496,268)
Total global deaths: 6,140,023 (6,128,712)
COVID-19 outbreaks in China likely to make supply chain issues worse
The coronavirus is raging across China, causing officials to order a lockdown this week in Shanghai, the country’s largest city. Elsewhere, the virus has caused factories all across China to close for days at a time.
Economists say American consumers are probably going to feel the fallout from that, as the supply of finished goods from China will be limited, at least for the short-term future.
At Goldman Sachs, analysts tell the Wall Street Journal that the regions of China that are suffering the worst COVID-19 outbreaks supply about 30% of the country’s goods.
CDC drops cruise line risk advisory
In another sign that the COVID-19 pandemic may be passing in the rearview mirror, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has dropped its risk advisory for people who want to go on a cruise. Previously, the CDC urged consumers to avoid cruises.
The update was posted on the CDC website to remove its “cruise ship travel notice.” Late last year, as the Omicron variant was spreading around the world, the health agency increased its cruise ship travel warning. The cruise line industry hailed the latest move.
"Today's decision by the CDC to altogether remove the Travel Health Notice for cruising recognizes the effective public health measures in place on cruise ships and begins to level the playing field, between cruise and similarly situated venues on land, for the first time since March 2020,” the Cruise Lines International Association said in a statement.
Researchers find protective effects of ivermectin are ‘unclear’
Ivermectin, an existing antiviral drug used by some people to prevent or treat COVID-19, has finally been subjected to a clinical trial. Researchers writing in the New England Journal of Medicine say its effects “are unclear.”
The researchers conducted a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, adaptive platform trial involving adults with COVID-19 symptoms who were recruited from 12 public health clinics in Brazil. Patients who had symptoms for up to 7 days and had at least one risk factor for disease progression were randomly assigned to receive ivermectin once daily for 3 days or a placebo.
“Treatment with ivermectin did not result in a lower incidence of medical admission to a hospital due to progression of COVID-19 or of prolonged emergency department observation among outpatients with an early diagnosis of COVID-19,” the authors wrote.
Around the nation
Vermont: State residents will not be required to make appointments to access services at COVID-19 clinics starting Friday. Vermont Commissioner of Health Dr. Mark Levine says all clinics will change to walk-in status for both vaccinations and testing.
Georgia: While mask mandates are expiring just about everywhere, Georgia Republicans are trying to make sure they don’t return. Gov. Brian Kemp has signed legislation that allows parents to opt out of school mask mandates for the next five years.
Minnesota: The state government is trying to make it easier for residents to access free, at-home COVID-19 tests. Residents can order two test kits per home, for a total of four tests, at this website. The website includes information on at-home rapid testing and a video demonstration.
Pennsylvania: Mifflin County, Pa., is a small rural county, but it has one of the nation’s highest death rates from COVID-19. “It was pure hell,” Mifflin County Coroner Daniel Lynch told the Philadelphia Inquirer. “I have been a coroner since 1996 and never got calls from nurses reporting deaths crying on the phone or facilities reporting two or three deaths at one time.”
Missouri: Gov. Mike Parson has announced an end to the state’s emergency status regarding the pandemic. Going forward, he said the state will treat the situation as an endemic. “Over the past two years, we have learned a lot that will help us respond to future outbreaks and challenges that may come our way,” Parson said at a news conference.