COVID-19 cases rise slightly across US

Friends drinking with masks down
Friends drinking with masks down

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Across the United States, COVID-19 cases rose slightly this past week, while deaths and hospitalizations continued to drop.

Yesterday the country recorded 4,574 new COVID-19 cases and 105 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 tracker. In total the country has confirmed 33,469,661 cases and 599,924 deaths. This week, milestone 600,000 deaths will likely be met.

New daily COVID-19 cases rose by 1.3% in the past week, according to the Washington Post, with new daily deaths falling by 21.8% and COVID-related hospitalizations falling by 10.6%. Among reported tests, the positivity rate was 2%.

States note increases, but report less often

At least eight states are recording rising 7-day averages for infection rates over the past 2 weeks, including Alabama, Arkansas, Hawaii, Missouri, Nevada, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming. Of those states, only Hawaii has a vaccination rate of 43% or more, which matches the average across the country.

The slight increase in virus activity comes as most states are reopening fully, and many states are now choosing to report new cases less frequently than they did 1 year ago.

At least 24 states have scaled back how often they report COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths, NPR reports. Some states have stopped reporting data over the weekends, while Florida and Oklahoma are reporting data only once a week. Public health experts worry that cutting back on daily reporting could leave states in the dark about new outbreaks.

In related news, governors across the country are debating how and when to drop emergency power declarations that have been in place for more than a year. According to the Associated Press, emergency orders are set to expire before Jul 4 in roughly half of states.

Currently six states have seen emergency orders expire. Republican governors have voiced their support for letting emergency declarations end as cases drops, but democratic leaders say COVID-19 variants and wavering vaccination rates are reasons to keep such orders in place.

Americans comfortable in restaurants, workplaces

Summer is almost here, and most Americans plan to return to normal, pre-pandemic activities.

A new CBS News/YouGov poll shows that more than 70% of Americans are comfortable going into the workplace, eating at restaurants, and gathering with friends. But the poll also shows that non-vaccinated people are just as comfortable doing these things as vaccinated people.

Half of all Americans said they were comfortable getting on an airplane, and 45% said they would attend a large event, an increase of 17 and 18 percentage points, respectively, compared with 3 months ago. Americans who have said they will not get vaccinated are more comfortable with going to large social events, bars, and restaurants than those who are fully vaccinated.

The nation is split on vaccine mandates, with 56% saying they should be allowed for employers, compared with 44% who say they should not be allowed.

Minority vaccination rates differ

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention COVID Data Tracker shows 374,398,105 COVID-19 vaccine doses have been delivered in the United States and 309,322,545 have been administered, with 143,921,222 Americans fully vaccinated.

Across the country, states are making every effort to meet President Joe Biden's Jul 4 goal of having 70% of adults with at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose, but new analysis from Kaiser Health News shows that Black and Hispanic Americans will not meet that goal and are lagging behind white and Asian Americans when it comes to vaccination rates.

The analysis, which included Americans ages 12 and up (Biden's goal is for 18 and up), shows that at the current pace of vaccination, by Jul 4 Asian people are the only group estimated to exceed a 70% vaccination rate. White people (66%) and Hispanic people (63%) will just meet the goal, and only about half (51%) of Black people will have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose.

The analysis projects that it will be the end of July before 70% of Hispanics have at least one dose, and by September, Black Americans will still have not met that goal. White Americans should meet the 70% goal by Aug 2.

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