Covid-19 Live Updates: Sharp Rise in New Cases in Upper Midwest

Author : ka128141
Publish Date : 2021-04-08 12:50:51


Covid-19 Live Updates: Sharp Rise in New Cases in Upper Midwest

States including Illinois, Michigan and Minnesota have reported significant increases in cases and hospitalizations. Health officials say that a fourth surge of cases could hit the United States despite the vaccination push.

Here’s what you need to know:
Is the U.S. heading for a new wave? The Upper Midwest may offer a hint.
More countries pause AstraZeneca vaccine use amid warnings on rare blood clots.
A dwindling need for office space could trounce building owners and cities even after the pandemic.
The French Open is postponed, and other news from around the world.
New Zealand will suspend travel from India, the biggest coronavirus hot spot.
A top official warned last year of problems at the Baltimore vaccine plant where millions of doses were ruined.
Piñata makers in Mexico take a hit as parties come to a standstill.
Is the U.S. heading for a new wave? The Upper Midwest may offer a hint.

 

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New Yorkers in Union Square Park during a lunch hour last month. Amid spots of pre-pandemic normalcy, there are signs of possible problems ahead.
New Yorkers in Union Square Park during a lunch hour last month. Amid spots of pre-pandemic normalcy, there are signs of possible problems ahead.Credit...Mary Altaffer/Associated Press
As states lift restrictions and coronavirus variants spread, scientists and federal health officials have warned that a fourth surge of cases could arise in the United States even as the nation’s vaccination campaign gathers speed. The seeds of such a surge may now be sprouting in the Upper Midwest and the Northeast.

Michigan is in tough shape. New cases and hospitalizations there have more than doubled in the last two weeks, and the six metro areas in the United States with the greatest number of new cases relative to their population are all in Michigan.

Several other states in the Upper Midwest, including Minnesota and Illinois, have also reported significant increases in new cases and hospitalizations. And in the Northeast, New York and New Jersey have continued to see elevated case counts.

Illinois is seeing a spike in cases as well. The daily average for new cases there has jumped about 56 percent in the past two weeks, to about 2,832 a day. Hospitalizations have risen about 28 percent from two weeks ago. Wisconsin and North Dakota have also seen their average case counts jump 50 percent or more in the last two weeks.

While new cases, hospitalizations and deaths nationwide have declined from their peaks in January, new infections have increased after plateauing.

Further progress in reducing new cases has stalled, hospitalizations have leveled off and deaths remain near an average of about 800 a day, according to a New York Times database. The average number of new cases had reached nearly 65,000 a day as of Tuesday, up 19 percent from two weeks ago.

Scientists are particularly concerned about the rising prevalence of variants, which they say could draw out the pandemic. On Wednesday, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that a highly infectious variant first identified in Britain had become the most common source of new infections in the United States.

That variant, B.1.1.7, has been found to be most prevalent in California, Colorado, Florida, Massachusetts, Michigan and Minnesota, according to the C.D.C.

Until recently, the variant’s rise was somewhat camouflaged by falling rates of infection over all, lulling Americans into a false sense of security and leading to prematurely relaxed restrictions, researchers say.

The C.D.C.’s efforts to track down variants have substantially improved in recent weeks and will continue to expand, in large part because of the $1.75 billion in funds for genomic sequencing in the stimulus package. By contrast, Britain, with a more centralized health care system, began a highly touted sequencing program last year that allowed it to track the spread of the B.1.1.7 variant.

On Wednesday, Michigan’s troubles drew attention at a White House news conference on the pandemic.

The C.D.C. director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, said that a team from her agency was in the state working to assess outbreaks in correctional facilities and to improve testing among participants in youth sports.

And Andy Slavitt, a senior health policy adviser to President Biden, said the administration had not ruled out sending extra vaccine doses to Michigan. He said he was in direct touch with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and her aides about what federal assistance might be helpful.

“Nothing is off the table in those conversations,” he said.

Other states, including Minnesota, could soon follow Michigan’s path.

Minnesota is averaging 1,826 new cases a day, according to the Times database. It surpassed 2,000 new confirmed cases on April 1, a daily figure not seen since early January. Hospitalizations have also climbed about 41 percent from two weeks earlier. Minnesota’s health department has attributed recent outbreaks in schools to the variant.

Dr. Ruth Lynfield, a state epidemiologist, said there had been a notable rise in cases in people ages 10 to 19, who accounted for about one in six new cases from mid-February to the end of March, compared with just one in nine over a similar period in October and November.

“It’s a race of vaccine against variants,” Dr. Lynfield said. “People really need to work hard and be patient, and continue to wear masks and continue to socially distance.”

— Madeleine Ngo and Sheryl Gay Stolberg
Tracking the Coronavirus ›
United States
On Apr. 7    14-day change
New cases    73,200    +14%    
New deaths    2,564*    –31%    
*Includes many deaths from unspecified days
World
On Apr. 7    14-day change
541,602    +13%    
13,890    +11%    
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More countries pause AstraZeneca vaccine use amid warnings on rare blood clots.

Administering the AstraZeneca vaccine at a sports arena in San Juan, Philippines, last month.
Administering the AstraZeneca vaccine at a sports arena in San Juan, Philippines, last month.Credit...Ezra Acayan/Getty Images
A day after European regulators described a “possible link” between AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine and rare blood clots, the drug faced increasing hurdles on Thursday as countries around the world move to restrict its use in younger people. The decisions are the latest setback for AstraZeneca, the world’s most widely used coronavirus vaccine.

Although European regulators said that the vaccine’s benefits outweighed the risks for most people, several countries are now using the AstraZeneca shot only on older people who are most at risk of dying from the coronavirus. The Philippines said that it would temporarily stop administering the vaccine to people age 60 and under.

South Korean officials said that they would decide this weekend whether to resume administering the shot to people 60 and younger after a panel of experts reviewed the information on blood clots on Thursday.

Late Wednesday, Belgium said that it would temporarily halt use of the vaccine in people under 56, and that younger people will be offered alternative vaccines — measures that the country’s health ministry said would be reviewed in four weeks. Others, including Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Denmark and Norway, have suspended use of the vaccine altogether until more information about the clotting risk is available.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison of Australia said at a news conference late Thursday that the country had changed its guidance on the AstraZeneca vaccine for younger people out of an abundance of caution. It now recommends that adults under 50 be given an alternative vaccine.

“We expect that this will require some changes to the arrangements we have as part of the vaccination rollout,” Mr. Morrison said during the briefing. Public health experts and the prime minister were clear that the decision was based on weighing the very low risks of complications from the vaccine against the risk of the coronavirus.

“Our purpose here tonight is to reassure Australians — to reassure them that we’ve been very clear about what the very low level of risk is here,” Mr. Morrison said.

In the Philippines, Rolando Enrique Domingo, the director general of the country’s Food and Drug Administration, said that there had been no local reports of blood clots, but that the government was taking a precautionary step after the European Medicines Agency’s decision to list clots as a rare side effect of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

In the meantime, he said, inoculations using the Chinese-produced Sinovac vaccine will continue.

“We await results of the review being done by our local experts, as well as the officia



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