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Coronavirus update: COVID-19 soars in Florida, more jurisdictions bring back masks

A study suggests that Gen X got hit hardest in the pandemic workplace

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

Total‌ ‌U.S.‌ ‌confirmed‌ ‌cases:‌ 34,453,851 (34,406,626)‌

Total‌ ‌U.S.‌ ‌deaths:‌ 610,912 (610,586)

Total‌ ‌global‌ ‌cases:‌ 194,354,288 (193,646,727)

Total‌ ‌global‌ ‌deaths:‌ 4,163,220 (4,151,233)‌

Florida is America’s new COVID-19 hotspot

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that Florida leads all states with the most new cases of COVID-19. Health officials say hospitalizations in some parts of the state are now growing faster than at the height of the pandemic.

Serious cases are also increasing. Florida recorded 319 deaths last week, the most of any state. Deaths per 100,000 population rank it fourth in the nation.

Health experts cite a perfect storm of factors as the Delta variant spreads. The state has a large number of unvaccinated residents, mitigation policies such as mask requirements have been relaxed, and the hot weather is keeping many people indoors.

More jurisdictions bring back mask mandates

With the Delta variant spreading across the U.S., more counties and cities are bringing back mask mandates. St. Louis, Mo., is the latest to do so, joining Los Angeles as the two largest cities to require all people, vaccinated or not, to mask up in public.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, President Biden’s health adviser, says the CDC is considering whether to make a mask mandate a national policy to deal with millions of unvaccinated Americans and the rapid spread of the Delta variant. Meanwhile, Fauci suggested that vaccinated people mask up voluntarily.

“If you want to go the extra mile of safety even though you’re vaccinated when you’re indoors, particularly in crowded places, you might want to consider wearing a mask,” Fauci said.

Gen X may be the pandemic’s biggest employment casualty

A study by Generation, a non-profit employment group, suggests that out of all the generations affected by the coronavirus pandemic, Gen X may have suffered the most damage in the workplace. Its members, between the ages of 45 and 60, have suffered some of the highest job losses and face the most obstacles in getting back to work.

“Employers view age 45-plus job candidates as having weaker skills relative to younger candidates, despite age 45-plus employees at the same company having equal or better on-the-job performance to their younger job peers,” the authors wrote

But when the researchers drilled deeper, they said they found hiring managers are generally pleased with their Gen X employees. The same hiring managers who expressed concerns about midcareer candidates acknowledged that 87% of their age 45-plus hires perform on the job as well as or better than younger employees. 

Around the nation

  • New Jersey: Throughout much of last year, many parents pushed officials to reopen classrooms. But a group of New Jersey parents is asking Gov. Phil Murphy to reverse course on plans to send kids back to school in the fall. They ask that virtual learning become a permanent option at public schools in the state.

  • Ohio: Gov. Mike DeWine has not yet said whether he will call for children to wear masks when they return to school this fall. However, the governor suggested over the weekend that his decision will come soon, perhaps as early as today.

  • New Mexico: Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham lifted COVID-19 restrictions in the state earlier this month. But in light of the recent spike in cases, she is reportedly having second thoughts. A spokesperson for the governor said health officials are concerned about recent virus trends.

  • Alaska: Much of the state remains on high alert after a significant rise in coronavirus cases over the last two weeks. At the end of last week, Alaska reported 447 infections, two deaths, and a continued rise in hospitalizations.  

  • Arkansas: Gov. Asa Hutchinson says he has no regrets about signing a bill to prohibit mask mandates in the state. In an interview with CNN, Hutchinson said it was the will of the General Assembly and that cases of the virus had fallen sharply at the time. However, they have spiked in recent weeks.

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