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Coronavirus update: U.S. hits vaccination milestone, Johnson & Johnson vaccine may be back soon

Researchers want to begin a controversial COVID-19 trial

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

Total U.S. confirmed cases: 31,672,240 (31,636,941)

Total U.S. deaths: 567,233 (566,970)

Total global cases: 141,544,240 (140,858,072)

Total global deaths: 3,022,288 (3,013,280)

CDC says half of all adults have had at least one shot

The U.S. has reached a coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination milestone. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that half of all adults have received at least one dose of a vaccine.

Across the country, most states have opened vaccination eligibility today to all adults, at the request of President Biden. That comes at an opportune time since the rate of infection has begun to rise among the unvaccinated.

CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said fewer than 6,000 fully vaccinated people have been infected with the virus in so-called “breakthrough” cases. However, none of them got seriously ill or died from the virus. 

Fauci: Johnson & Johnson vaccine could be back this week

Dr. Anthony Fauci, President Biden’s chief COVID-19 medical adviser, predicts that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine could resume distribution by Friday. The vaccine has been on pause since last week when health officials began investigating six reports of recipients suffering blood clots.

“I would think that we’re not gonna go beyond Friday, in the extension of this pause,” said Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), on ABC’s “This Week.”

A CDC advisory committee met last week to review vaccine data but did not issue a recommendation because it said it needed more information. Out of more than 7 million people, six women who received the vaccine formed blood clots in the brain and one died.

Scientists plan to reinfect COVID-19 survivors

Researchers at Oxford University are embarking on an experiment that is not without some controversy in the medical community. They plan to reinfect a group of people who have recovered from COVID-19.

The objective is to see how much immunity is provided by the previous exposure. Scientists say there is a lot to be gained from this kind of trial since it will provide insight into the degree to which a previous illness provides future protection.

To conduct the trial, more than 60 volunteers between the ages of 18 and 30 will be quarantined inside Oxford University Hospitals, with test subjects rotating in about every three weeks. The study is being funded, in part, by the British government.

Poll: 56% say COVID-19 is here to stay

After more than a year, it might not be surprising if people thought this pandemic is never going to end. In fact, a lot of consumers actually do feel that way.

A survey by Healthinsurance.com found that 56% of respondents agreed that “COVID-19 is never going away.” Another 91% said they would miss some aspects of pandemic life when things return to “normal.”

There was a slight increase from last April in the number of people who said they are able to pay their monthly bills, but the survey found saving for an emergency hasn't improved. Forty-six percent said they don't have enough money saved to cover medical costs should they come down with an illness like COVID-19. 

Petco suggests employers welcome dogs back to the office

Has your employer started making plans to reopen the office? Well, guess what? Your dog has gotten accustomed to having you around all day. Not only are you in for an adjustment, so is your best friend.

Petco Health and Wellness Company is urging employers to consider adopting a pet-friendly workplace policy, in addition to other post-pandemic changes. The company suggests that such a policy could be good for everyone.

"At Petco, we've experienced the benefits of working with and around pets all day for decades," said Ron Coughlin, Petco's CEO. "The past year of quarantining and working from home has brought more pets into American families than ever before and significantly deepened the bonds we share with them. We want to see those bonds continue and ensure these pets remain an integral part of our families well into the future.” 

Around the nation

  • New York: A year after people began leaving apartments in New York City in search of larger homes, many apartments in the city are still vacant. More than 50% of unrented apartments in Manhattan are being kept off the market to keep rents from falling even more, according to UrbanDigs data.

  • Missouri: New cases of the virus are declining in Missouri while they rise in nearby states. Missouri health officials announced 254 new COVID-19 cases but no additional virus deaths on Sunday.

  • Oregon: Some residents and business owners are not happy with Oregon’s move to make the mask mandate “permanent.” Officials say it’s only a technical requirement to keep the mandate from expiring until health officials say it’s safe.

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