Michigan will lift all indoor capacity restrictions and mask requirements next week, 10 days ahead of schedule amid vaccinations and the drop in COVID-19 infections, Governor Gretchen Whitmer said Thursday.
“Today is a day we have all been looking forward to as we can safely resume our normal daily activities and put this pandemic behind us,” Whitmer said in a press release.
Just a few months ago, the state was considered the worst COVID-19 hotspot in the country. In mid-April, the number of hospitalizations among children was at an all-time high – an alarming viral situation researchers blamed on the British variant when it first emerged in the state.
Now, Michigan’s seven-day case rate has fallen to 18.4 per 100,000 people, according to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s a drop of 96.7% from 551.8 per 100,000 people on April 14.
Ditto with New York. After restrictions open Tuesday in the state, the New York Yankees will resume 100% of their capacity at Yankee Stadium starting in Friday night’s series opener against the Oakland Athletics.
And California regulators have approved revised pandemic rules that end mask requirements for fully vaccinated workers, giving them the same freedoms they have when not at work, freedoms granted this week.
But COVID-19 vaccination rates continue to slow in the United States, CDC data shows.
In the past week, only six states reported giving the first doses at a rate of at least a quarter of their peak rate. Six other states reported giving the first doses at a rate less than a tenth of their peak rate.
Also in the news:
►Ohio will end its declaration of COVID-19 emergency on Friday, Governor Mike DeWine said on Thursday. Ohioans continue to die from COVID-19, DeWine said, but cases and hospitalizations have continued to decline. However, most state health orders expired on June 2.
►The US Open tennis tournament will allow a 100% spectator capacity throughout its two weeks in 2021. This comes a year after spectators were banned from the Grand Slam event in New York in due to the coronavirus pandemic.
►The UK has recorded more than 10,000 daily coronavirus infections for the first time in almost four months, likely the result of the spread of the more contagious delta variant. The variant accounts for around 95% of all new cases in the UK.
Today’s numbers: The United States has more than 33.5 million confirmed cases of the coronavirus and at least 600,900 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Global totals: Over 177.36 million cases and over 3.84 million deaths. More than 147.7 million Americans have been fully immunized, or 44.5% of the population, according to the CDC.
What we read: As the Delta variant of COVID-19 passed through India last month, there was a lot of concern, but little answer on what would happen when it arrived in the United States. Read the full story.
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COVID-19 outbreak in Afghanistan hits U.S. Embassy, causing lockdown
A dangerous increase in COVID-19 cases in Afghanistan has gripped the United States Embassy in Kabul, forcing an immediate lockdown and the creation of temporary COVID-19 services on site to treat oxygen-dependent patients , according to an internal memo.
“COVID-19 is increasing in the mission. 114 of our colleagues now have COVID and are isolated; one died and several were evacuated, ”reads the notice from Shane Pierce, an embassy health worker. His memo indicates that the intensive care units of a US military hospital “are at full capacity”, hence the need to set up temporary units on site for personnel requiring oxygen.
Ned Price, chief spokesperson for the State Department, noted that the increase in the number of cases coincides with “an intense third wave of COIVD-19 cases” across Afghanistan. Infection rates have increased by 2,400% in Afghanistan over the past month, according to the International Federation of the Red Cross. Read more.
– Deirdre Shesgreen
As COVID-19 crisis recedes, some seek 9/11 commission
With more than 600,000 Americans dead from COVID-19 and questions still raging about the origin of the virus and the government’s response, a push is underway in Capitol Hill and beyond for a full investigation of the crisis by a national commission like this one that looked at September 11.
It is not known whether such an investigation will ever happen, although a team of privately sponsored public health experts is already paving the way for one.
Many fear that politics will hamper any investigation, as happened when Republicans spoke out against a commission to investigate the Jan.6 attack on Capitol Hill by supporters of President Donald Trump. Others fear that the desire of many to just move on will thwart a review.
“I think we have to get into the weeds, look at the details to see what happened,” said Sabila Khan of Jersey City, New Jersey, whose father, Shafqat Rasul Khan, has died of COVID-19 . “If this happens again, our loved ones have died in vain. “
Contribute: The Associated Press.