The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported on Tuesday that the country had more than 2,500 cases of the coronavirus variants that can spread more easily and avoid certain treatments and immunities.
More than 100 new cases of B.1.1.7 first seen in the UK have been reported just since Sunday, bringing the national total to 2,506. Illinois has reported 27 new cases to reach 69; Maryland reported another 21 to reach 89; and Georgia reported another 18 to reach 137.
South Carolina reported a significant increase in its B.1.351 variant count first seen in South Africa, reporting nine more cases to 30. Georgia reported its first case, while Maryland and Virginia also reported one new case each. The country now has 65 known cases.
The United States has 11 known cases of the P.1 variant first observed in Brazil.
The country now has 2,581 cases of known variants, up from 546 cases a month earlier.
Florida, with about 1 in 15 Americans, has about 1 in 4 of the country’s B.1.1.7 cases and half of the country’s P.1 cases. Michigan now ranks # 2 for variant cases, although most are linked to a prison outbreak.
– Mike Stucka
Also in the news:
►The federal government has passed the 100 million vaccine dose mark, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced on Tuesday.
►The variant of the coronavirus first identified in Brazil has appeared in Oregon, the first known case on the west coast, medical authorities said on Tuesday. There have been 10 more cases of the P.1 variant reported in the United States, with five in Florida, two in Minnesota and one each in Oklahoma, Alaska and Maryland, according to the CDC.
►A new report from Geneva-based Insecurity Insight and the University of California, the Berkeley Center for Human Rights has identified more than 1,100 threats or acts of violence against health workers and health facilities last year. Researchers found that around 400 of these attacks were linked to COVID-19.
📈 Today’s numbers: The United States has more than 28.7 million confirmed cases of coronavirus and 516,400 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Global totals: over 114.72 million cases and 2.54 million deaths. More than 102.3 million doses of the vaccine have been distributed in the United States and about 78.6 million have been administered, according to the CDC.
📘 What we read: More COVID-19 Variants Emerge Closer to Home: What to Know About Those Discovered in Brazil, New York, California.
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Joe Biden’s $ 1.9 billion stimulus package could be presented to the Senate today
The Senate could debate President Joe Biden’s $ 1.9 trillion stimulus package as early as Wednesday, and Democrats are hoping for a Senate vote on Friday. That would give the House a few days to approve any changes before Biden signs off later in the month.
The Biden administration will likely need all 50 Democratic senators to pass the legislation. Some moderate Democrats led by Joe Manchin of West Virginia want to lower the threshold for $ 1,400 checks, calling for help “those who need help most.”
The measure would also provide hundreds of billions of dollars to schools and colleges, COVID-19 vaccines and tests, transit systems, tenants and small businesses. Child care, tax breaks for families with children, and help for states to expand Medicaid coverage for low-income residents would also receive funding.
Texas, Mississippi governors challenge health officials, end mask warrants
Defying warnings from federal health officials about the need to remain vigilant against the coronavirus, the Republican governors of Texas and Mississippi said on Tuesday they were lifting COVID-19 restrictions, including mask warrants.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has said he is set to “open Texas 100%” and will issue a new executive order to take effect on March 10, canceling most of his previous orders, including restrictions on business occupancy and July 2 mask order.
“Texas is in a much better position now than when I issued my last Executive Order in October,” Abbott said, referring to his order allowing bars to reopen under certain conditions. Cases rose after he eased trade restrictions in the fall.
Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves tweeted Tuesday that, effective the next day, all county mask warrants would be lifted and businesses allowed to operate at full capacity.
“Our hospitalizations and the number of cases have dropped, and the vaccine is being distributed quickly. It’s time!” Said Reeves.
COVID-19 Can Affect Immune System In Complex Ways, Research Finds
In some patients with COVID-19, scientists say unprepared immune cells appear to respond to the coronavirus with a devastating release of chemicals, inflicting damage that can last long after the threat has been eliminated.
“If you have a brand new virus and the virus is gaining ground, the immune system can go into an ‘all hands on deck’ response,” said Dr Nina Luning Prak, co-author of a January study on COVID-19 and the immune system. “Things that are normally watched closely are relaxed. The body can say, “Who cares. Give me all you got. “
As all viruses find ways to escape the body’s defenses, a growing area of research suggests that the coronavirus imbalances the immune system more deeply than previously thought.
– Liz Szabo, Kaiser Health News
Contribute: The Associated Press