More than 90,000 more Americans are likely to die from COVID-19-related causes by June 1, according to a leading forecasting institute. The projection comes as the United States expects to exceed 500,000 deaths in the next two days.
The University of Washington’s Institute for Health Measurement and Evaluation (IMHE) also warns that the world may never achieve herd immunity.
IMHE predicts that 589,197 Americans will be dead by the end of May. The good news is that the institute projects that deaths could drop to less than 500 a day by then, with the number even lower if Americans are vigilant about wearing masks. The United States currently has an average of 2,000 deaths per day.
More than 75% of Americans now report wearing masks in public. To achieve the lowest death numbers, the percentage should be around 95%, according to the IHME.
The institute notes that some political and public health leaders have argued that vaccinating 70 to 80 percent of the world’s population could effectively end another transmission. But even countries lucky enough to procure sufficient quantities of the vaccine may never achieve herd immunity, in which case COVID-19 could become a seasonal illness that occurs every year.
“While it is possible to achieve collective immunity by next winter, it seems increasingly unlikely that we will, and in light of this we all need to change our expectations,” says IHME.
►On Monday, the British leader will unveil his plan to untie one of the toughest COVID-19 lockdowns in the world. U.S. public health officials will follow closely as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that by April B.1.1.7, the most transmissible variant of COVID-19 originally identified in Great Britain, will probably be the most dominant within the American borders.
► Nationally, community college enrollment fell 10% from fall 2019 to fall 2020, according to the National Student Clearinghouse.
► It has been 10 months since Abby Adair Reinhard’s father died of COVID-19. La Rochester, New York, a woman whose chronicle of her death captured national empathy, still grapples with the loss.
► Fifteen athletes who were supposed to participate in sports at U.S. colleges as international freshmen in the 2020-2021 academic year are suing the Department of Homeland Security and ICE over a policy that prevents students come to the United States if their schools do not offer in-person classes.
►Public health officials in Alaska, where vaccine distribution has set a gold standard, said 3,000 doses of the coronavirus vaccine would arrive later than expected due to a winter storm that ravaged the area continental United States.
📈 Today’s numbers: The United States has more than 28.0 million confirmed cases of coronavirus and 496,000 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Global totals: over 110.9 million cases and 2.45 million deaths. More than 78.1 million doses of the vaccine have been distributed in the United States and about 59.5 million have been administered, according to the CDC.
📘 What we read: After early confusion, experts say it’s always better to use leftover shots rather than throw them. “Don’t waste the vaccine!”
Hawaii extends virus testing window before travel to 96 hours
The Hawaii Department of Health has temporarily extended the window for inbound travelers to take a negative coronavirus test. The state said travelers can now take their pre-boarding coronavirus test for up to 96 hours before their flight instead of 72 hours due to winter storms that ravaged the continental United States.
Testing should always be performed by a state approved supplier. The extension will be in effect until Sunday, Hawaii News Now reported.
Could Your Apple Watch, Fitbit Help Slow The Pandemic?
Growing evidence suggests that a smartwatch or Fitbit could help warn wearers of a potential COVID-19 infection before a positive test result. Wearable devices like the Apple Watch, Samsung Galaxy smartwatch, Fitbit, and other devices can collect heart and oxygen data, as well as sleep and activity levels. Researchers are investigating whether a body’s health data could signal an impending COVID-19 infection.
COVID-19 infection may not be imminent for a person whose heart or activity data suggests a potential infection. But the increased likelihood – and the ability to alert the patient to be tested and possibly quarantined – could provide a vital tool in preventing the spread of the disease and tracking it, the researchers say. Such findings, if proven, could lead to remote medical alerts for other viruses, flu, and excessive stress.
– Mike Snider
Entire school board quits after mocking parents on live broadcast
The president and three other members of a California school board resigned after mocking the parents during a live meeting about the reopening of the school they appeared to think was private. Greg Hetrick, superintendent of the Oakley Union Elementary School District in Costa County, announced that council members tendered their resignations in a letter to the school community on Friday, calling it an “unfortunate situation.” Video of Wednesday night’s meeting has circulated on social media and appears to capture board members mocking parents who wrote letters asking the board to reopen schools amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“They want to come after us because they want their babysitters to come back,” said board chair Lisa Brizendine.
Board members also use profanity and laugh at parents who use medical marijuana. Towards the end of the recording, council members seem shocked to receive a message alerting them that the livestream is public. In a statement, the council members expressed their “sincere apologies” and said they “deeply regret the comments that were made at the meeting.”
Contribute: The Associated Press