Coronavirus update: Pandemic population drop rebounds

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A judge has overturned the federal transportation mask mandate

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

Total‌ ‌U.S.‌ ‌confirmed‌ ‌cases:‌ 80,698,111 (80,635,953)

Total‌ ‌U.S.‌ ‌deaths:‌ 989,137 (988,663)

Total‌ ‌global‌ ‌cases:‌ 505,383,274 (504,650,389)

Total ‌global‌ ‌deaths:‌ 6,201,549 (6,198,926)‌

The baby bust is over, report finds

The COVID-19 decline in births is over, according to a United Nations report analyzed by the Financial Times. The so-called “baby bust” reached its peak in late 2020 with a drop in births, and the report credits financial stimulus for the population turnaround.

“The short-term decline in births observed in many countries is consistent with other historical crises . . . but in the case of Covid-19, these declines have been more shortlived,” the authors wrote.

Between the end of 2020 and the first half of 2021, nine months after the first lockdowns, the analysis of the report showed that countries ranging from China to France experienced their lowest number of births on record. Italy had fewer births in 2021 than at any time since 1861.

Judge overturns transportation mask mandate

The Biden administration’s plan to continue the transportation mask mandate for another two weeks beyond its expiration date has hit a roadblock. U.S. District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle in Tampa has ruled that the government overstepped its bounds and has effectively ended the mandate.

From now on, consumers traveling by air, rail, or by car will not be required to wear a mask. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said it would not appeal the judge’s decision.

In making her ruling, Mizelle said the CDC did not explain its reason for the extension. She also found that the agency did not allow for public comment, a violation of federal rules.

Report finds red states fared better than blue states

Almost from the beginning, the COVID-19 pandemic has been entangled in partisan politics. A new report by the Committee to Unleash Prosperity attempts to break down the divide even more and is likely to be a source of political dispute.

The report evaluated how states balanced the health of their citizens with other policies and determined that nine of the 10 states that fared the best were led by Republican governors. In addition to economic impact, the report also looked at which states had the highest death toll from the virus.

According to the analysis, Utah fared the best in all categories. It was followed by Nebraska, Vermont, Montana, South Dakota, Florida, New Hampshire, Maine, and Arkansas. 

Around the nation

  • Connecticut: State health officials report that cases of COVID-19 are on the rise across Connecticut. There were 4,758 cases reported last week, a 31.5% increase from the previous week. The official case tally shows that Connecticut ranked ninth among the states where coronavirus cases were spreading the fastest on a per-person basis.

  • South Dakota: Positive results from COVID-19 tests are rising quickly in South Dakota. The positivity rate last week was 33.5%, the highest in the nation. Despite that, health officials say actual cases of the virus remain quite low in comparison to January.

  • Colorado: A national COVID-19 tracker pegs Colorado as a hotspot for COVID-19, with a one-week increase of 1,323 new cases. But state health department officials say the numbers are misleading because they are out of date. The real number, they say, is less than 500.

  • Minnesota: Doctors say two sets of COVID-19 numbers are moving in opposite directions. On one hand, new cases of the coronavirus are increasing across the state. At the same time, they say the number of people being treated in intensive care units (ICU) is at a pandemic low.

  • Arkansas: Clinical trials have shown that Pfizer's Paxlovid reduced the risks of death and hospitalizations by 88%, but pharmacists in Arkansas say the pills are hard to come by. The Arkansas Pharmacists Association reports that just one in seven drug stores in the state has the medication.

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