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Coronavirus update: U.S. cases are surging again

Experts worry about spring break crowds

COVID-19 U.S. concept
Photo (c) Peter Zelei Images - Getty Images
COVID-19 ‌tally‌ ‌as‌ ‌‌compiled‌‌ ‌by‌ ‌Johns‌ ‌Hopkins‌ ‌University.‌ ‌(Previous‌ ‌numbers‌ ‌in‌ ‌parentheses.)‌

Total‌ ‌U.S.‌ ‌confirmed‌ ‌cases:‌ 79,564,757 (79,517,492)

Total‌ ‌U.S.‌ ‌deaths:‌ 965,203 (965,002)

Total‌ ‌global‌ ‌cases:‌ 460,209,648 (456,908,767)

Total ‌global‌ ‌deaths:‌ 6,047,784 (6,041,077)‌

U.S. cases surged on Monday

The number of new COVID-19 cases reported in the U.S. has been dropping each day for weeks, but that trend suddenly reversed itself this week. The COVID-19 Tracking Project at Johns Hopkins University reported 55,480 new cases on Monday, about 18,000 more than the same date last year. 

There were only 6,382 new cases reported in the U.S. Sunday. The sharp increase comes as a number of countries around the world – including China and France – have suffered new outbreaks.

Health experts attribute the rise in new cases, which appear to have less severe symptoms, to a new and highly contagious subvariant of the Omicron variant.

Spring break crowds may feed COVID-19 surge

Florida beaches were packed last week, with spring break crowds soaking up the sunshine and enjoying the first maskless holiday in two years. But some health experts think the celebration may be premature.

“Right now my message would be that COVID is not gone,” Dr. Jill Roberts, associate professor at the University of South Florida (USF) College of Public Health, told WFTS-TV in Tampa. 

Roberts says the January surge in Omicron cases is probably responsible for the recent decline in new infections, but she said the virus is still around. She also noted that there has been some significant transmission recently in Florida.

CDC may lose tracking tool

As emergency power declarations approach their end, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says it may lose access to important data that helps it to track COVID-19. The emergency powers are scheduled to end as the U.S. marks the second year of the pandemic.

"Data related to COVID-19 test results and hospitalizations are currently available because of the public health emergency declaration. When that declaration lapses, so does CDC's access to this important information," the CDC said in a statement to CBS News.

CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said her agency only has been assigned the task of compiling COVID-19 data. It does not have the power to collect the data except under the emergency declaration.

Around the nation

  • Virginia: Hospitalizations for COVID-19 treatment have dropped across the state. The Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association (VHHA) reported that there were 457 patients in hospitals who are either positive or whose test results are pending at the start of the week, down from 691 the previous week.

  • Alaska: While new cases of the virus are dropping sharply in most areas, they are on the rise in Alaska. State health officials have reported over 500 new cases of COVID-19 over a three-day period. The alert level for the state remains set on “high.”

  • Michigan: The slowdown in new COVID-19 cases isn’t happening as quickly as in other states. Health officials report that there were 25 outbreaks across the state last week, including a K-12 cluster that led to 46 students testing positive for the coronavirus.

  • Louisiana: Louisiana is lifting its COVID-19 restrictions almost two years after they were put in place to contain the pandemic. “And while [the order] changed to reflect the ebb and flow of the pandemic, it has remained in effect since then,” Gov. John Bell Edwards wrote on Twitter. “This Wednesday, the order expires. And after 24 months, I will not be renewing it.”

  • Hawaii: Hawaii is dropping many of its COVID-19 restrictions, but some experts warn that the pandemic could rebound just as it has in some other countries. “I am concerned about the fact that we’ll have this period where we may have a lot of people unmasked and potentially more COVID spreading in the community,” said Dr. Tim Brown, a Honolulu epidemiologist.

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