US Coronavirus: Some States See Higher Number Of Covid-19 Cases While Others Relax Restrictions

“Things will get worse before they get better,” President-elect Joe Biden said of the winter wave.

He recognized that there will be stumbling blocks and that the steps may take time, even months, before the nation is in the place it should be. But as Biden’s team and state governments plan and administer their vaccine deployments, the number of Covid-19 cases continues to rise every day.

Johns Hopkins University reported 19,218 new coronavirus cases and 3,286 new deaths in the United States on Saturday. More than 395,000 people have died since the start of the pandemic.

There were 126,139 hospitalizations for Covid-19 reported in the United States on Saturday – a slight drop from the record high 10 days ago. There have been more than 100,000 Covid-19-related hospitalizations in the United States in the past 46 consecutive days.
A recent coronavirus projection from the University of Washington estimates more than 566,000 deaths as of May 1 in the United States. The university’s Institute for Health Measurement and Evaluation (IHME) said that figure could be lowered by the thousands with universal mask requirements.

The North Dakota mask’s term will expire on Monday. In a statement Friday, Governor Doug Burgum cited an 80% drop in active cases since an outbreak in mid-November.

“Our caseload and hospital capacity have improved dramatically in North Dakota over the past two months, and with three new tools we didn’t have last fall – vaccines, rapid tests and effective treatments – we can see the light at the end. of the tunnel, ”Burgum said.

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“However, this fight is not over, and we need all North Dakotans to continue to exercise their personal responsibility, follow protocols and continue to wear masks where physical distance is not possible. . The day will come when we can take off our masks and throw them away, with confidence, but only if we do what is necessary now to keep ourselves, our families and communities safe. “

In Illinois, three areas of the state are adopting less restrictive lockdowns.

“I’m happy to report today that the majority of areas in Illinois are doing well,” Governor JB Pritzker said Friday.

The state will soon see the return of group fitness classes, “low risk youth and recreational sports” and the reopening of museums, the governor said.

LA County exceeds 1 million infections

The recent optimism seen in places like North Dakota, which at one point experienced the nation’s worst outbreak, has yet to be matched everywhere.

Los Angeles County, the most populous county in the United States, has become the first to report more than one million cases of coronavirus, according to the county’s public health department.

At least 13,741 residents have died from Covid-19 since the start of the pandemic, according to the county health department.

LA County has over 1 million coronavirus cases

“It’s surreal. It feels like waking up to a nightmare every day,” said David Ortiz, of the LA Fire Department, speaking with CNN’s Paul Vercammen on Saturday about the county’s prevention efforts, who include a new vaccination center at Dodger Stadium.

“It’s hard to imagine that many people die, each of them is a story, it’s a family,” he said.

Michael Diaz, an emergency medical technician in Los Angeles, told CNN’s Brianna Keilar, “I’ve never seen anything like it.”

Diaz said the pandemic has pushed the boundaries for first responders, healthcare workers and the system.

Deciding whether or not to transport a critically ill patient is not an easy one, “but now it gets to the point if someone has coronavirus in particular, we just give them 20 minutes and if they are not viable after 20 minutes. minutes, we ‘you make a rough decision,’ he said.

After Los Angeles, Cook County in Illinois and Maricopa County in Arizona have the second and third highest infection totals in the county, respectively. The two counties have had more than 400,000 cases, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Federal official blames ‘restrictive’ governors for slow vaccine rollout

The latest CDC figures show 12.2 million vaccines have been administered in the United States. More than 10.5 million people received their first injections, while 1.6 million completed their vaccination cycle with a second dose.

These numbers fall short of previous distribution targets set by Operation Warp Speed. The blame game between state governors and the federal government continued this week as it was revealed that there was no federal stockpile of vaccines.

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar cited the timing of the vaccine’s approval and the approach of some governors to distribute it for the delays.

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“We said we would have doses available for 20 million people that might be available, and of course that was a projection based on estimates of when the FDA would approve,” Azar told NBC’s Lester Holt on Friday. . “The FDA ended up approving it later – near Christmas. You have a natural scale.”

“We have had governors who have been too prescriptive and restrictive in the groups of people to whom they are trying to get vaccines distributed,” he added.

In the meantime, states are stepping up immunizations with the supplies they have.

New York City announced on Saturday that although 7 million New Yorkers are now eligible for the coronavirus vaccine, the state is only expected to receive 250,000 doses next week.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy on Friday called on the federal government to provide his state with more vaccines. “It’s more and more obvious that we are ready, but the federal authorities are not,” Murphy said.

Christina Maxouris, Melissa Alonso, Paul Vercammen, Cheri Mossburg, Stella Chan, Jessica Firger, Sarah Mucha, Alta Spells, Evan Simko-Bednarski and Hollie Silverman contributed to this report.

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