US records 60,000 COVID-19 deaths in January

Late last week America's pandemic death toll reached 900,000—with 60,000 deaths recorded in January alone—and 100,000 deaths logged since Dec 13.

January's death toll doubled November's, the month before Omicron became the dominant variant in the country. According to NBC News, Tennessee, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania have the most deaths when adjusted for population.

"After nearly two years, I know that the emotional, physical, and psychological weight of this pandemic has been incredibly difficult to bear," President Biden said in a statement released late last week.

Though the surge of Omicron cases is decreasing across the country, hospitalizations and deaths are expected to remain high throughout the month.

The United States reported 47,298 new COVID-19 cases yesterday and 358 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 tracker. The US has confirmed 902,626 COVID-19 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic.

School mask mandate to be lifted in NJ

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy announced today he will end the state's school mask mandate in the coming weeks.

"Effective March 7, the statewide mask mandate in schools will be lifted. Balancing public health with getting back to some semblance of normalcy is not easy. But we can responsibly take this step due to declining COVID numbers and growth in vaccinations," Murphy said in a tweet.

The Democratic governor said the move was not a sign the state had defeated the virus, but rather an attempt to responsibly live with it. Neighboring Pennsylvania has also lifted a school mask mandate, and Delaware will end school mask mandates on Mar 31.

Cases in Northeast are dropping significantly: New York officials reported a 3.5% statewide infection rate yesterday, the lowest since Omicron was named a variant of concern.

The Northeast is the most highly vaccinated region in the country. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention COVID Data Tracker shows that 64.1% of Americans are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, 75.6% have received at least one dose of vaccine, and 42.2% of vaccinated Americans have received a booster dose.

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