49 states have announced plans to drop their indoor mask mandates as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations steadily fall across the country. The only restraint is Hawaii.
The island state has taken strong measures against coronavirus since the beginning of the pandemic and still requires U.S. travelers outside the state to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test to avoid a mandatory quarantine.
Over 75% of Hawaiians have received two doses of a COVID vaccine – 10% higher than the national rate – according to the Hawaii Department of Healthand coronavirus cases have dropped by as much as 64% between February 5 and February 18.
Hawaii’s rapid drop in COVID cases reflects nationwide statistics: Reported U.S. cases on Saturday exceeded nearly 100,000, a sharp drop from about 800,850 five weeks ago, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
Despite encouraging COVID case trends, Hawaii has not yet followed in the footsteps of the other states in the country. That’s what Governor David Ige said ABC 4a local television station, Thursday, said it is working with the state Department of Health to “determine when the time is right” for Hawaii to lift its indoor mask mandate.
“Hawaii ranks second last in the nation when it comes to COVID deaths, in part because of the requirement for indoor masks and other measures that have proven successful in protecting our community from this potentially deadly virus,” Ige said in a statement to the news station. “We base our decisions on science, with health and safety in our society as a top priority.”
Also in the news:
►The enforcement of New York’s COVID-19 booster-shot mandate for medical staff, which was due to take effect on Monday, will be delayed for at least three months due to concerns that it would trigger staff shortages, said government officials.
►Queen Elizabeth II has tested positive for COVID-19 and is experiencing mild cold-like symptoms, This was announced by Buckingham Palace on Sunday.
►A group of American truck drivers protesting against COVID-19 vaccine mandates, called the People’s Convoy, has said it will begin a protest across the country February 23 begins in California and ends in Washington, DC
📈Today’s figures: The United States has recorded more than 78.4 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and more than 935,000 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Global totals: More than 424 million cases and over 5.8 million deaths. More than 214 million Americans – 64.7% – are fully vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
📘 What we read: How bad is it to be in the intensive care unit with COVID-19? It’s far more miserable than people can imagine, experts tell USA TODAY. Read the full story.
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Experts say delaying COVID vaccines for children was the right thing to do
Many parents of young children were disappointed when the Food and Drug Administration this month decided to postpone consideration of COVID-19 vaccines for children under 5 years of age.
Experts say the decision was the right one. The FDA will not have enough data before the spring to assess whether a vaccine is safe and effective for young children, half a dozen public health professionals, infectious disease specialists and epidemiologists told USA TODAY.
But parent activists say the move prompted them to question the agency’s sincerity in giving pictures to the youngest children, wondering if unreleased data was hiding anything, and longing even more for the day they can stop worrying. about the health of their children and families.
“I think people really forget the kids here,” said Fatima Khan, co-founder of Protect Their Future, an advocacy group promoting COVID-19 vaccination for children. “This affects our children and how people can live their daily lives.”
Vaccines and medications are typically tested on adults first, then older children and then, when it is clearly safe, on younger ones, which is why it has been so long since the adult vaccinations began.
– Karen Weintraub, USA TODAY
Starring: Associated Press