COVID-19 tally as compiled by Johns Hopkins University. (Previous numbers in parentheses.)
Total U.S. confirmed cases: 84,550,392 (84,449,947)
Total U.S. deaths: 1,008,063 (1,007,717)
Total global cases: 531,040,445 (530,832,620)
Total global deaths: 6,296,853 (6,295,090)
Boosted Americans at risk of breakthrough cases
Government health officials have urged all eligible Americans who are vaccinated against COVID-19 to get a booster shot. But a new study appears to suggest that people who get the booster shot are more likely to suffer a “breakthrough” coronavirus infection.
The federal study found that the rate of breakthrough COVID-19 infections in April was worse in boosted Americans when compared to those who were only fully vaccinated. At the same time, the rates of deaths and hospitalizations remained lowest among people who had been boosted.
In an interview with CBS News, John Moore, a professor of microbiology and immunology at Weill Cornell Medical College, said the Omicron variant and its subvariants seem to be able to easily break through antibody protection and cause infections. However, these cases are mostly mild among the boosted population.
The economy added 390,000 jobs in May
Evidence continues to show that the job market is continuing to get stronger as the COVID-19 pandemic fades into the rearview mirror. The Labor Department reports that the U.S. economy added 390,000 jobs last month and that the unemployment rate remained steady at 3.6%, only slightly higher than before the pandemic.
Travel and leisure businesses saw the strongest job growth in May. Employment in leisure and hospitality increased by 84,000, with about half of those jobs being created at bars and restaurants. However, employment in the industry is still down nearly 8% when compared to before the pandemic.
Hiring also accelerated in the transportation and warehousing sector, which may be a positive sign for the supply chain. A shortage of truck drivers and warehouse workers during the pandemic has made it harder for stores to keep shelves fully stocked.
Feds adopt test-to-treat strategy to contain the virus
When someone tests positive for COVID-19, days may pass before they receive any kind of treatment for the virus. The U.S. government has adopted a test-to-treat strategy that is designed to treat infected Americans immediately.
The government has set up the first test-to-treat clinic in Providence, R.I., where people can go to be tested; if the test is positive, they receive immediate treatment with an antiviral drug. White House COVID-19 Coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha appeared virtually with Rhode Island Gov. Dan McKee to kick off the program, which will be duplicated in other states.
“I think it is an innovative idea that Dr. Jha and his team have looked at and Rhode Island is so fortunate to be leading the nation in this effort with vaccines and boosters also being available at these sites,” McKee said.
Around the nation
New York: New York City’s streets weren’t deserted during the pandemic just because of lockdowns. It turns out that a lot of people moved out of the city and the state. Information tracked by the federal government suggests that, while the rate of decline is slowing, more people are continuing to leave or die than are being born or moving into the Big Apple, resulting in a declining population.
West Virginia: While older people are most vulnerable to death from COVID-19, the virus can also kill young people. The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) reports that a 15-year-old girl from Raleigh County has become the youngest coronavirus-related death so far.
South Dakota: New cases resulting from Omicron subvariants have often been fairly mild, but that’s not the case in South Dakota. State health officials report that severe cases resulting in hospitalizations surged over the last week, rising 73%. At the same time, there were no new deaths.
Virginia: The state health department reports that 582 COVID-19 patients across the state were hospitalized as of Thursday with confirmed or test-pending cases of COVID-19. That’s down slightly from 588 on Wednesday.
Alaska: The Alaska Housing Finance Corporation has announced that nearly 11,000 Alaska households that have been economically impacted by COVID-19 will receive some form of financial aid through the federal Homeowner Assistance program. The program aims to prevent mortgage delinquencies that can turn into foreclosures.