Coronavirus update: South had the highest COVID-19 death rate

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A lawmaker is seeking more ‘long COVID’ research

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

Total‌ ‌U.S.‌ ‌confirmed‌ ‌cases:‌ 81,257,934 (81,189,980)

Total‌ ‌U.S.‌ ‌deaths:‌ 993,198 (992,740)

Total‌ ‌global‌ ‌cases:‌ 512,541,971 (511,905,205)

Total ‌global‌ ‌deaths:‌ 6,232,189 (6,229,497)‌

CDC says the South had the highest COVID-19 death rate

A new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that the South experienced the highest COVID-19 death rate, suffering the highest percentage of avoidable deaths.

The study shows that starting in the summer of 2020, southern states began recording deaths from the virus at a faster rate than other regions of the country. Researchers attribute the increased deaths to fewer mitigation measures in most southern states.

The study concludes that 62% of avoidable COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. during the pandemic occurred in the South.

Senator calls for research into ‘long COVID’

Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), the 2016 Democratic vice presidential candidate, is calling for more research into the causes and treatment of what’s known as ‘long COVID,’ which is characterized by the persistence of some symptoms after a patient has recovered from COVID-19. Kaine is very familiar with the condition since he has suffered from it for more than a year.

"I feel like, you drop an Alka-Seltzer in the water and watch it fizz," Kaine told CBS News. "It kind of feels like that; like a fizzing or buzzing nonstop... I can feel it in the tip of my forehead right now. I can feel it in the tops of my legs."

Kaine was one of the first national leaders to be diagnosed with the virus, testing positive in the summer of 2020. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) estimates that 23 million Americans may be suffering from long COVID.

Actor Kenneth Tsang dies of COVID-19

Actor Kenneth Tsang has died while in a quarantine hotel in Hong Kong, according to Chinese media. Reports said Tsang was observing seven days of isolation in the hotel after returning from Singapore.

An action movie star, Tsang was best known for his roles in “Die Another Day” and "The Killer." In 2001, he starred in "Rush Hour 2" along with Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker. Tsang was 87.

Around the nation

  • New Jersey: Department of Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli defended her agency in testimony before the State Assembly Budget Committee after lawmakers took aim at the state’s COVID-19 response. The sparring took place when Persichilli appeared before the committee to discuss next year’s budget request.

  • Pennsylvania: A new report suggests that the pandemic delivered a blow to education in the state. The report identified a sharp decline in Pennsylvania’s pre-kindergarten enrollment, with approximately 8,000 fewer children participating in 2020-21 compared to 2019-20 in programs for three- and four-year-olds.

  • Utah: Wastewater analysis shows that COVID-19 cases are rising across the state. “They’re not super concerning yet but the overall trajectory that we seem to be on doesn’t seem to be particularly great,” said Nathan LaCross, manager of the state health department’s wastewater surveillance program.

  • Vermont: Vermont is seeing a rise in new COVID-19 cases, but most are not severe. There have been four deaths so far this week, and state health officials report that most deaths lately have been among the very elderly and/or people with underlying health conditions. No one under 60 has died due to COVID-19 in Vermont in over two months. 

  • Delaware: Gov. John Carney has extended Delaware’s public health emergency for another 30 days. Carney said the extended order will allow medical providers in the state to continue COVID-19 vaccination and testing programs. It also enables ongoing staffing flexibility at hospitals and long-term care facilities.

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