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Coronavirus update: U.S. cases are suddenly surging, Norwegian Cruise Lines sues Florida

Food-insecure consumers became more insecure during the pandemic, study finds

Photo (c) Silvio Ariente - Getty Images
Coronavirus‌ ‌(COVID-19)‌ ‌tally‌ ‌as‌ ‌‌compiled‌‌ ‌by‌ ‌Johns‌ ‌Hopkins‌ ‌University.‌ ‌(Previous‌ ‌numbers‌ ‌in‌ ‌parentheses.)‌ 

Total‌ ‌U.S.‌ ‌confirmed‌ ‌cases:‌ 33,921,025 (33,895,607)‌

Total‌ ‌U.S.‌ ‌deaths:‌ 607,863 (607,523)

Total‌ ‌global‌ ‌cases:‌ 188,015,773 (187,512,171)

Total‌ ‌global‌ ‌deaths:‌ 4,052,630 (4,043,963)‌

U.S. sees a surge in new cases

Life has seemed almost normal in recent weeks, at least for Americans who are fully vaccinated. But for those who have chosen not to get a vaccine, the threat is still very real. In the last week, U.S. cases of the coronavirus have surged.

The seven-day average of newly confirmed cases has climbed to about 23,300 a day, almost double the average from a week ago. Health officials attribute the sudden rise to the Delta variant spreading among people who are not vaccinated.

“Hospitalizations, ICU admissions, and deaths all lag behind new cases, so we expect those to continue to get worse, substantially worse over the next two to three weeks,” said Dr. Andrew T. Pavia, chief of pediatric infectious diseases at the University of Utah School of Medicine, on a call with other health professionals.

Cruise line sues Florida over vaccine passport ban

Norwegian Cruise Lines has filed a lawsuit against the state of Florida, seeking to overturn its law prohibiting businesses from requiring customers to show proof of vaccination against COVID-19. The company says requiring all persons aboard its ships to be vaccinated is necessary to prevent outbreaks of the virus.

"The State of Florida has indicated that it is otherwise preventing (Norwegian) from safely and soundly resuming passenger cruise operations from Miami, Florida, ... in the way that this cruise line has determined will be best for all concerned -- with the benefit of documentation confirming that all of its passengers and crew have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19," the suit said.

In a statement to the media, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ office called requiring proof of vaccination “discrimination.” “Therefore, Norwegian faces a $5,000 fine from whom they demand a vaccination status," the statement said.

Study finds food insecurity increased during the pandemic

It’s been well documented how the pandemic changed consumers’ food-buying behavior. Online ordering and curbside pickup grew exponentially.

Researchers at the University of Connecticut have completed a study showing the pandemic’s effects were not uniform. Food insecure consumers behaved differently in ways that increased their insecurity.

The study found that food-secure individuals tended to spend more per trip to stockpile food, reduce the potential for COVID-19 exposure, and prepare for food shortages. But food-insecure individuals could not prepare in the same way because they had much more constrained budgets and resources. Although food-insecure people made fewer grocery shopping trips due to concerns about contracting COVID-19, they did not increase spending per trip.

Around the nation

  • California: Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed a $100 billion budget measure containing cash payments to help families recover from the economic impact of the pandemic. “California is roaring back from this pandemic because we have your back,” Newsom said. “It’s in that spirit that we’ve used California’s historic surplus to make historic investments.”

  • Virginia: Gov. Ralph Northam has proposed $353 million in federal funding to help the state’s small businesses and industries recover from the coronavirus pandemic. Northam went to Virginia Beach to announce his initial spending plan for the $4.3 billion in federal funds the state received as part of President Biden’s American Rescue Plan.

  • Iowa: There was no Iowa State Fair in 2020 because of the coronavirus, but food vendors plan to make up for lost time this year. The Des Moines Register reports that 63 new foods will make their fairground debut in just under a month.

  • Connecticut: The General Assembly meets today in special session and is expected to extend Gov. Ned Lamont’s emergency powers. Lamont signed a declaration this week renewing the public health and civil preparedness emergencies that were enacted to enable the state to provide an adequate response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. 

  • Mississippi: State health officials are expressing growing concern because the surge in cases has begun to threaten children. Seven children have been hospitalized with COVID-19, and two of them are reportedly on life support.

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