Coronavirus update: Senate agrees to more COVID-19 spending

Photo (c) Sergii Zyskо - Getty Images

Researchers say there won’t be an official end to the pandemic

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

Total‌ ‌U.S.‌ ‌confirmed‌ ‌cases:‌ 80,181,869 (80,155,446)

Total‌ ‌U.S.‌ ‌deaths:‌ 982,161 (982,566) (revised lower)

Total‌ ‌global‌ ‌cases:‌ 492,743,552 (491,572,015)

Total ‌global‌ ‌deaths:‌ 6,156,480 (6,153,616)‌

Congress considers more COVID-19 spending

The U.S. Senate has approved $10 billion in new spending that the White House requested to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. The money was about half of what the administration requested.

"This $10 billion COVID package will give the federal government and our citizens the tools we need to continue our economic recovery, keep schools open and keep American families safe," said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.)

Administration officials say the funds will be spent to meet domestic needs for vaccines, tests, and therapeutic drug treatments. An additional $5 billion in international aid was cut in order to reach a compromise.

Don’t expect an ‘all clear’ announcement, researchers say

Americans who are waiting for someone in authority to say that the pandemic is over probably won’t get that announcement, researchers say. Their study predicts that cases and deaths will eventually rise again, but they conclude that there isn’t really a way to prevent the next surge.

“There is likely no amount of additional waiting time in any state after which removing [Covid-19 restrictions] will not lead to a rise in morbidity and mortality,” the authors wrote.

Cases, hospitalizations, and deaths have all trended lower in the U.S. since the end of January, but they have risen sharply in many other nations, including China. The U.S. 28-day total of cases has fallen to the 13th-highest in the world, with South Korea, Germany, Vietnam, and France in the lead.

Study traces source of extra pandemic pounds

Scientists report that more Americans tipped the scales toward obesity during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic than in the previous year. Their study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine presents evidence and explains behavior changes that led to widespread weight gain in 2020.

“Previous studies present evidence that intra-pandemic changes in risky dietary and other health-related behaviors likely contributed to the rapid rise in body weight during this period,” said lead investigator Brandon J. Restrepo.

The study found that adults who put on weight during the first year of the pandemic reported drinking more and consuming more snacks while getting less exercise.

Around the nation

  • Kentucky: For the first time since the start of the pandemic, every one of Kentucky’s 120 counties is out of the red zone, the way the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) measures areas of high risk of transmission. Six counties remain in the yellow zone, which denotes medium risk. All others are in the green.

  • Arizona: Arizona has joined two other states in a lawsuit against President Biden that seeks to block the lifting of a ban on asylum-seekers at the U.S-Mexico border that is based on public health policy. Because of the ban, border agents have turned away migrants because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • New Jersey: Gov. Phil Murphy has tested positive for COVID-19. Officials in the governor’s office said the governor is asymptomatic and feeling well. However, he has decided to cancel all events and isolate himself for five days.

  • Maine: Many states are logging fewer hospitalizations as cases decline, but Maine is one of the states where hospitalizations are rising. The Maine CDC says 104 people are in the hospital with the virus, up 11 from Sunday. Twenty-eight people are in the ICU, up from nine on Sunday.

  • West Virginia: Active COVID-19 cases have fallen to their lowest point since early in the pandemic, but health officials are urging residents not to be complacent. “COVID-19 has hurt far too many West Virginia families,” said Bill Crouch, the state’s top health official. “I urge everyone to schedule a COVID-19 vaccine and booster shot as soon as possible.”

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