California Governor Gavin Newsom said on Friday he plans to maintain the state’s declaration of emergency, but California’s long-awaited reopening is still slated for June 15.
Newsom cites the continued spread of COVID-19 variants, as well as gaps in vaccination rates, to justify maintaining the declaration of a state of emergency.
“This disease has not been extinguished. It has not disappeared; it does not take the summer months,” Newsom said.
Newsom initially declared a state of emergency in March 2020, a power granted to it by the California Emergency Services Act. Crisis intervention laws have also enabled Newsom to issue at least 58 decrees, amending or suspending existing laws.
While Newsom has the power to formally end the state of emergency, the California legislature can also end it by passing a concurrent resolution, an effort that was unsuccessfully attempted by Senate Republicans to the state on several occasions.
Also in the news:
►The Walmart chain of stores announced Friday that it will close for the second year in a row on Thanksgiving Day, as a “thank you to employees for their work during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
►One-third of the 559,000 jobs added to the US economy in May were in restaurants and bars, an encouraging sign for hard-hit leisure and hospitality workers.
►From June 9, vaccinated American tourists will be able to visit France without quarantine, provided they present a negative PCR test on arrival.
►As vacationers are expected to flock to the island this summer, unvaccinated travelers to Maui will no longer be tested for COVID-19 upon arrival.
►Health experts urge parents to vaccinate their teens against COVID-19 after report shows increase in hospitalization rates.
► “Mission: Impossible 7” has again stopped production due to positive COVID-19 tests.
📈 Today’s numbers: The United States has more than 33.3 million confirmed cases of the coronavirus and more than 597,000 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Global totals: Over 172.6 million cases and over 3.7 million deaths. More than 137.4 million Americans have been fully immunized, or 41.4% of the population, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
📘 What we read: As the 2021 Summer Olympics approach, all eyes are on the host nation, Japan, as it battles the increase in COVID-19 cases and deaths in recent months.
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New York to eliminate indoor mask rule for schools and camp
New York plans to eliminate its indoor mask rule for schools and camps on Monday regardless of COVID-19 vaccination status.
Current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for K-12 schools recommend requiring “consistent and correct use of properly fitted face masks with proper filtration by all students, teachers and staff.”
But for youth camps, CDC “strongly encourages wearing masks indoors for people who are not fully vaccinated” and says “people don’t need to wear masks” outdoors , regardless of their vaccination status.
In a letter to CDC chief Friday, Dr Howard Zucker, state health commissioner, said the state would encourage the use of indoor masks by unvaccinated students, campers and staff . But for consistency, the state would not require indoor masks in schools or camps.
Virtual tours may be here to stay, after COVID-19
As the COVID-19 crisis abates and life returns to normal in the United States, healthcare industry leaders and patient advocates are pushing Congress and the Biden administration to preserve the expansion of telehealth fueled by the pandemic that has transformed the way millions of Americans see the doctor.
The vast effort spans across the country’s diverse healthcare system, bringing together consumer groups with health insurers, Medicaid officials, physician organizations and telehealth providers.
And this represents an emerging consensus that many services that once required an office visit can be delivered easily and securely – and often more efficiently – via video chat, phone call, or even email.
“We have seen that telehealth is an amazing tool,” said David Holmberg, managing director of Pittsburgh-based Highmark, a multi-state insurer that also operates a large medical system. “It’s convenient for the patient, and it’s convenient for the doctor. … Now we have to make it sustainable and sustainable.
Last fall, a coalition of patient groups – including the American Heart Association, Arthritis Foundation, Susan G. Komen and the advocacy arm of the American Cancer Society – welcomed the expansion of telehealth, noting that technology “can and should be used to increase patient access to care.
– Noam N. Levey, Kaiser Health News
Florida Governor DeSantis slams CDC over requirements for vaccinated cruise ships
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, in a press release on Thursday, blasted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for its cruise ship policies, calling the organization a “bureaucratic virus against scientific governance” and accusing it to “discriminate against children”.
The governor’s fiery missive comes as Florida cruise passengers adhere to the federal public health agency’s requirement to return to the high seas with vaccinated passengers. But DeSantis signed an executive order banning so-called vaccine passports, and a new Florida law enshrined the ban in state law.
Cruise lines are gearing up for “test sail” cruises later this month. Bahamas Paradise welcomed its Grand Classica ship to the Port of Palm Beach on Thursday. The ship will have a “test” navigation with fewer than 50 passengers on June 25, and then, if approved, full cruises will begin on July 2.
“It is high time to end the CDC’s desperate attempt to extend its journey of power over America,” he wrote. Read more.
– Wendy Rhodes, Palm Beach Station
Heart reaction probed as possible rare link to vaccine in adolescents
Health officials are trying to determine whether the heart inflammation that can occur with many types of infections could also be a rare side effect in adolescents and young adults after the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
An article on seven American teens in several states, published online Friday in Pediatrics, is among the latest reports of heart inflammation discovered after COVID-19 vaccination, although a link to the vaccine has not been proven.
The teens received Pfizer injections in April or May and developed chest pain within days. Heart imaging tests have shown a type of inflammation in the heart muscle called myocarditis.
None were seriously ill. All were healthy enough to be sent home after two to six days in hospital and “are doing quite well,” said Dr Preeti Jaggi, infectious disease specialist at Emory University and co-author of the report. .
The CDC reported on Friday that COVID-19-related hospitalizations among children aged 12 to 17 fell early this year but rose again in March and April. Possible reasons include the spread of new virus variants, more children returning to school, or the relaxation of mask and social distancing rules, agency researchers said.
A Pediatrics editorial said the cases of heart inflammation deserved further investigation, but added that “the benefits of vaccination against this deadly and highly transmissible disease clearly outweigh the potential risks.”
– The Associated Press
Celebrities share immunization stories
Celebrities are presenting their first-hand accounts of receiving the COVID-19 vaccine in a bid to dispel skepticism as vaccination efforts roll out across the world.
Ellen DeGeneres shared an Instagram video of herself receiving her second dose of Moderna at the CVS Pharmacy on June 4. DeGeneres admitted that she was not “afraid” of the vaccine itself, but was “a little afraid of it after the fact.” The talk show host didn’t even know she’d been stung: “Ah, you’ve already done that?”
DeGeneres, 63, announced on December 10 that she had tested positive for the novel coronavirus but that she “was feeling fine right now.” She has fully recovered, although she experiences “excruciating back pain”.
Duchess Kate Middleton announced on Twitter that she received her first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on May 28, just over a week after her husband Prince William.
“Yesterday I received my first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at the Science Museum in London. I am extremely grateful to everyone playing a role in the deployment – thank you for all you do,” she wrote. Read more.
Contribution: The Associated Press