COVID-19 tally as compiled by Johns Hopkins University. (Previous numbers in parentheses.)
Total U.S. confirmed cases: 82,330,411 (82,227,408)
Total U.S. deaths: 999,138 (999,009)
Total global cases: 520,227,679 (519,604,066)
Total global deaths: 6,260,880 (6,258,885)
The reprieve may be over, experts say
There’s no question that cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. dropped sharply in March. At one point, the U.S. was 13th in the world in the seven-day average of new cases. Now it's back up to second behind Germany.
The medical information publication STAT suggests that the reprieve the U.S. enjoyed is ending because new cases caused by subvariants of Omicron are spreading quickly. Despite the increase in new cases, the death and hospitalization rate has remained the same.
Meanwhile, the official COVID-19 death toll tracked by Johns Hopkins University remains just below the 1 million mark.
COVID-19 summit receives pledges of financial aid
World leaders gathered virtually Thursday for the 2nd Global COVID-19 Summit, and the White House says the participating governments made major new policy and financial commitments to make vaccines available to those at the highest risk, to expand access to tests and treatments, and to prevent future health crises.
“Financially, leaders committed to provide $3.2 billion in new funding – additional to previous 2022 pledges, while acknowledging the need is still great,” the White House said in a statement. “This includes nearly $2.5 billion for COVID-19 and related response activities and $712 million in new commitments toward a new pandemic preparedness and global health security fund at the World Bank.”
Summit participants committed to double down on their collective efforts to control COVID-19 by directing their efforts to increase protections for high-risk populations.
Americans hit the bottle early in the pandemic, study finds
Adult alcohol consumption patterns changed during the pandemic, with a new study in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research finding that Americans drank more during the first 42 weeks.
The study said it is unknown if the pattern persisted after that initial period. It attributes the initial binge to stress, reduced health care access, economic distress, and the sudden availability of alcohol delivery services.
In the aggregate sample, the average past-week drinking days increased from 1.17 in March to 1.48-to-1.55 in the next month. Those numbers gradually dropped throughout the year and ranged from 1.2 to 1.33 during the last four months of the study period.
Around the nation
New Hampshire: New cases of the coronavirus are spreading across the Northeast, and New Hampshire is bearing the brunt of the outbreak. Reported active cases in the state hit 4,000 for the first time since mid-February. Hospitalizations also increased, rising above 100.
Iowa: A state court judge has ruled that a hospital administrator who refused the COVID-19 vaccine, refused to be screened for the virus, and refused to wear a mask is not entitled to collect jobless benefits after being fired. Joshua Braunschweig had been employed by Buena Vista Regional Medical Center in Storm Lake.
Michigan: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has placed nearly all of Southeastern Michigan in the “high risk of transmission” category. Cases have risen in Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Washtenaw, Livingston, and St. Clair counties in recent days.
Oregon: State health officials say they expect a significant increase in COVID-19 cases over the next few weeks, but they also expect most of those cases to be mild. At-risk people should continue to mask up, but one official says they "want people to be gathering" and "doing the things that are important to them."
Louisiana: Schoolchildren will have to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to attend school in the fall. In the state legislature, the Senate Health and Welfare committee rejected a House resolution on Wednesday to repeal a state rule requiring COVID-19 vaccines for students.