Coronavirus update: U.S. death toll exceeds 900,000

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COVID-19 is disrupting the Winter Olympics

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

Total‌ ‌U.S.‌ ‌confirmed‌ ‌cases:‌ 76,513,221 (76,458,453)

Total‌ ‌U.S.‌ ‌deaths:‌ 902,650 (901,866)

Total‌ ‌global‌ ‌cases:‌ 395,952,252 (393,694,501)

Total ‌global‌ ‌deaths:‌ 5,742,302 (5,735,852)‌

U.S. death toll passes another milestone

Over the weekend, the U.S. death toll from the coronavirus passed the 900,000 mark, according to records kept by Johns Hopkins University. The number of confirmed U.S. cases in the last two years now exceeds 76 million.

But the last few days have also seen some good news. State health officials in New York reported a sharp drop in the percentage of positive test results. In fact, the state's 3.52% positivity rate is the lowest since the Omicron variant appeared in November.

Former U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb, appearing on CBS’ Face The Nation Sunday, said he expects schools will begin to resume normal operations soon. “We can start to lean forward and take a little bit more risk and try to at least make sure that students in schools have some semblance of normalcy for this spring term,” he said.

COVID-19 could alter some Olympic outcomes

American men’s figure skater Vincent Zhou is one of the favorites in that category, but he tested positive for COVID-19 on Sunday, putting his status at the games in doubt. He was scheduled to begin competing Monday night at the Winter Olympics in Beijing. 

Zhou is undergoing additional testing in the hopes of posting a negative result. U.S. Skating said in a statement that if the results are negative, Zhou will be able to compete in the men’s short program.

According to Reuters, many Olympic athletes are complaining about isolation conditions and protocols in Beijing. They're also complaining about the food, their mental health, testing, and confusing procedures around being allowed to leave.

Hospitalization increases risk of COVID-19 death, study finds

People who get COVID-19 but manage to stay out of a hospital have a much smaller risk of death from the virus, according to a new study. Researchers at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine say hospitalization is usually a sign that the patient is highly vulnerable to the effects of the virus.

In fact, the study found that the highest risk of death after a COVID-19 hospitalization was among patients with dementia. They found the risk of death from any cause is four to five times greater for people who are hospitalized with COVID-19 than the general population.

The study also found that people who are hospitalized with COVID-19 have a significant chance of being hospitalized again. Compared to the general population, they are more than twice as likely to require another round of hospital treatment.

Around the nation

  • Iowa: The Filipino-American Society of Iowa has conducted a vaccine clinic to offer vaccine assistance to the state’s Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. Interpreters helped answer questions and provide information about COVID-19 vaccines.

  • California: California is among a handful of states that are considering financial support for people who miss work because of COVID-19 now that federal benefits have expired. The state legislature may vote this week on a temporary paid leave proposal pushed by Gov. Gavin Newsom.

  • Missouri: Washington University in St. Louis has developed an app that answers the question, “Have I been exposed to COVID-19?” The app, called MO/Notify, is available for Apple and Android users. 

  • New Jersey: Gov. Phil Murphy is poised to lift the state’s requirement that students and staff wear masks while in school, according to the New York Times. Murphy reimposed the mandate at the start of the school year in response to an increase in COVID-19 cases caused by the Delta variant.

  • Michigan: State officials say they have received hundreds of reports from people who say they were fired from their jobs after testing positive for COVID-19 and quarantining for the recommended length of time. A Michigan law states that employees cannot be disciplined for coronavirus-related absences.

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