Coronavirus update: Mu variant in 49 states, cases rise 300%

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The NFL hopes to tackle COVID-19

Coronavirus‌ ‌(COVID-19)‌ ‌tally‌ ‌as‌ ‌‌compiled‌‌ ‌by‌ ‌Johns‌ ‌Hopkins‌ ‌University.‌ ‌(Previous‌ ‌numbers‌ ‌in‌ ‌parentheses.)‌

Total‌ ‌U.S.‌ ‌confirmed‌ ‌cases:‌ 40,290,187 (40,028,975)‌

Total‌ ‌U.S.‌ ‌deaths:‌ 650,838 (649,134)

Total‌ ‌global‌ ‌cases:‌ 222,112,738 (221,314,774)

Total‌ ‌global‌ ‌deaths:‌ 4,590,004 (4,579,064)‌

The Mu variant has spread across the country

The Mu variant of the coronavirus, first identified in Columbia in January, has spread across the U.S. and is reportedly present in 49 states and the District of Columbia. California has seen the most cases of the new variant.

“The identification of variants like Mu, and the spreading of variants across the globe, highlights the need for L.A. County residents to continue to take measures to protect themselves and others,” said Dr. Barbara Ferrer, director of LA County Public Health.

The Mu variant is reportedly more transmissible than the Delta variant, which has spread much faster than the original strain. For that reason, the World Health Organization has called Mu a “variant of interest.”

U.S. COVID-19 cases are up 300%

The U.S. was on the road to recovery three months ago. Then the Delta variant showed up. Now, an analysis of daily case reporting by Johns Hopkins University shows that U.S. cases of the virus are more than 300% higher than a year ago.

The surge has occurred despite millions of Americans receiving the vaccine. Health officials say the Delta variant has been the biggest difference between this year and last, with even vaccinated people testing positive but not getting that sick.

People who haven’t been vaccinated, or who have underlying conditions, have the worst outcomes. Government health data shows that hospitalization rates are up 157% compared with Labor Day weekend 2020. 

NFL hopes to make it through a COVID-19 season

The National Football League’s 2021 season kicks off tomorrow night when the defending champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers take on the Dallas Cowboys. The start of the season coincides with the latest surge of COVID-19 cases, causing increased concern among league officials.

About 93% of players are vaccinated, along with 99% of coaches and staff. Even so, there have been cases reported on several teams during the preseason. Unvaccinated quarterback Cam Newton was infected for a second time shortly before he was cut by the New England Patriots.

Some teams are taking extra precautions. The Seattle Seahawks became the third NFL team to require proof of vaccination to attend its home games. The New Orleans Saints and Las Vegas Raiders also have vaccination mandates.

Around the nation

  • Kentucky: State health officials report that there were more than 30,000 new cases of COVID-19 last week. Gov. Andy Beshear says last week’s case total was the highest of the pandemic so far.
  • Minnesota: State legislators agree that frontline workers who served during the pandemic should be rewarded with $250 million. They just can’t agree on how the money should be paid. A working group missed a Labor Day deadline for reaching a deal. Lawmakers said they will keep working to reach a unanimous agreement.
  • Arizona: Attorney General Mark Brnovich says the city of Tucson's COVID-19 vaccine mandate for public employees violates state law and runs counter to the Governor’s executive order. Tucson has issued a requirement that city employees must be vaccinated against the virus.
  • Missouri: State health officials had some encouraging news this week. Hospitalizations have fallen below 1,500 a day, the first time that’s happened since mid-July. The vaccination rate has also increased, with 80,019 doses of vaccines being administered in the last seven days.
  • Mississippi: The state’s top Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs and state epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers report that Mississippi's COVID-19 numbers appear to be stabilizing. Dobbs posted a graph on Twitter this week that shows a decline in the "Seven Day Moving Average" for confirmed COVID-19 hospital admissions and cases from May 7 to Sept. 6.

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