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Coronavirus update: New infections are declining in the U.S.

Seniors appear eager to get a booster shot

COVID-19 concept with U.S. flag and Statue of Liberty
Photo (c) Delpixart - Getty Images
Coronavirus‌ ‌(COVID-19)‌ ‌tally‌ ‌as‌ ‌‌compiled‌‌ ‌by‌ ‌Johns‌ ‌Hopkins‌ ‌University.‌ ‌(Previous‌ ‌numbers‌ ‌in‌ ‌parentheses.)‌

Total‌ ‌U.S.‌ ‌confirmed‌ ‌cases:‌ 44,175,158 (44,096,019)‌

Total‌ ‌U.S.‌ ‌deaths:‌ 710,530 (708,434)

Total‌ ‌global‌ ‌cases:‌ 236,940,594 (236,742,215)

Total‌ ‌global‌ ‌deaths:‌ 4,837,772 (4,832,862)‌

COVID-19 cases are in decline

The number of new COVID-19 infections is falling nationwide, with the biggest decreases occurring in states that were ravaged by the virus over the summer. An analysis of Johns Hopkins University data published by Becker's Hospital Review shows that new daily infections fell this week by 6.22%.

There has been a marked improvement in southern states, where the virus surged in July and August. Daily case rates are down 50% in both Florida and Mississippi. When it comes to hospitalizations, Louisiana has shown the most improvement. COVID-19 hospitalization rates in the state are down 43% in two weeks.

While much of the nation has improved, virus hotspots have emerged in the northern tier of states, including Montana, Idaho, and Michigan's Upper Peninsula. The Midwest has the highest average case number per capita, reporting 38 cases per 100,000 people as of Oct. 6.

More people are getting boosters than are getting vaccinated

Some Americans may be reluctant to be vaccinated against COVID-19, but people who are already vaccinated can’t wait to get a booster. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that 2.6 million Americans got the Pfizer booster shot this week, more than those getting a first or second shot.

Older Americans appear to be the most eager to get the booster. There have been 6.4 million boosters administered so far, and 4 million have gone to seniors.

The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is the only one being used for boosters, but Johnson & Johnson this week applied to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to begin giving booster shots. Moderna has yet to file data for its vaccine booster.

Economy produced fewer jobs than expected last month

The Labor Department reports that the economy produced 194,000 jobs last month, which was fewer than economists expected and less than the number of positions created in August. At the same time, the nation’s unemployment rate fell to 4.8%, the lowest level since the start of the pandemic.

In September, 13.2% of people with jobs continued to telework because of the coronavirus pandemic, little changed from the prior month. That doesn’t include people who worked virtually for other reasons.

Two sectors hit hard by the pandemic continued to slowly recover. Employment in leisure and hospitality increased by 74,000 in September. Employment in food services and drinking places changed little for the second consecutive month. 

Around the nation

  • Missouri: A Springfield TV reporter says she has been fired for refusing to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Linda Simmons, a 14-year veteran at KY3, said she applied for a religious exemption to Gray Television’s vaccination mandate, but it was denied. 

  • Maryland: Police have charged Jeffrey Allen Burnham with murdering three people, including his brother who was a Baltimore pharmacist. According to court documents, Burnham reportedly believed his brother was “killing people” by administering the COVID-19 vaccine.

  • Ohio: If most other states have had the same experience as Ohio, the reopening of schools in August may have fed COVID-19’s latest surge. The state health department reports that half of Ohio’s schools have reported cases of the virus so far during the school year. Children under 12 are currently not eligible for vaccination.

  • Minnesota: Severe cases of the coronavirus are rising in Minnesota. Health officials report that nearly 900 people are in hospitals being treated for COVID-19. Of those, 234 require intensive care, the largest number so far this year.

  • Oregon: A judge has rejected an appeal by 33 Oregon State Police troopers asking for a temporary injunction to stop a vaccination mandate. The judge ruled that Gov. Kate Brown acted within her authority when she required all state employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Oct. 18.

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