Coronavirus update: Pandemic paychecks got bigger, a warning to the unvaccinated

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A study suggests that state lotteries did little to increase vaccinations

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

Total‌ ‌U.S.‌ ‌confirmed‌ ‌cases:‌ 33,724,923 (33,718,538)‌

Total‌ ‌U.S.‌ ‌deaths:‌ 605,582 (605,526)

Total‌ ‌global‌ ‌cases:‌ 184,285,579 (183,895134)

Total‌ ‌global‌ ‌deaths:‌ 3,987,062 (3,980,012)‌

Pandemic boosted many workers’ pay

When the COVID-19 shut down the economy in March 2020, millions of Americans lost their jobs. But many of those who kept working received bigger paychecks, especially frontline and essential workers.

An analysis by the Wall Street Journal found that the median pay at around one-third of S&P 500 companies changed by around 5%. At 184 firms, pay rose by more than 5%. It decreased by more than 5% at 125 companies.

The report says pay appears to still be rising in 2021 thanks to a reopening economy and a tight labor market. Wages are gaining the fastest in typically low-wage frontline jobs.

CDC says Delta variant poses serious threat to the unvaccinated

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has stepped up its campaign to persuade Americans to get vaccinated, warning that the Delta variant of the virus poses a particular threat.

CDC data shows that the Delta variant is about 50% more contagious than the Alpha strain. Scientists now believe the Delta strain also produces more severe symptoms. CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky says preliminary data collected over the last six months showed that 99.5% of people who died from virus symptoms were not vaccinated.

“It is clear that communities where people remain unvaccinated are communities that remain vulnerable,” Walensky said at a White House briefing.

Study: Lottery did little to boost Ohio vaccinations

With great fanfare, the state of Ohio launched its Vax-A-Million lottery, awarding cash prizes to state residents who got a vaccination. It was designed to encourage more people to roll up their sleeves, and some other states followed its example.

According to a study by researchers at Boston University, it didn’t really work. They analyzed Ohio's vaccination data one month before and one month after the state announced the lottery. They found no significant change in Ohio's vaccination rate that could be linked to the lottery.

There was a slight increase in the number of people who were vaccinated, but that was linked to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) approval of the vaccine for adolescents.

Around the nation

  • New York: Officials in New York City have begun moving the city’s homeless population out of hotels, where they have been housed for the last 16 months. The hotels had been converted into emergency shelters to help prevent the spread of the virus.

  • Massachusetts: Being fully vaccinated provides a high level of protection from COVID-19, but state health officials say they’ve counted 4,000 fully vaccinated residents who have tested positive for the virus. That’s about one out of every 1,000 vaccinated people.

  • Tennessee: A number of doctors across the state are speaking out and urging their fellow citizens to get vaccinated. The physicians have gone public as cases of the Delta strain have increased rapidly over the last two weeks. Dr. Jason Martin, a critical care physician in Nashville, said Tennessee ranks very low in its vaccination rate.

  • Iowa: When the fall school term begins, students will either return to the classroom or be homeschooled. Under new Iowa Department of Education rules, no public or private school in Iowa will be required to offer remote learning.

  • Nevada: Cases of the virus have spiked, prompting Gov. Steve Sisolak to ask for federal help in combating it. State health officials say the Delta variant has become the most common form of the virus detected in tests in recent weeks.

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