California’s four-tier Blueprint for a Safer Economy has guided the state through the pandemic. However, it possibly is unnecessary after June 15. To eradicate this measure, California must have a sufficient vaccine supply for residents 16 years and older, and low hospitalization rates must additionally be shown.
What We Know:
- Governor Gavin Newsom made this statement on Tuesday. The state will lift most capacity limits for businesses and recreational activities. Larger indoor events like conventions must have testing and vaccination verification requirements, according to Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly. On April 15, citizens 16 and older will be eligible to start obtaining the COVID-19 vaccine. Officials hope that the two months’ preparation will give people time to receive their two dosages and undergo the two-week immunization period.
- The four-tier system consists of different levels: purple, red, orange, and yellow. NBC Los Angeles explains the details of the blueprint and what’s accessible at each point. When California released these stages, 94 percent of counties were under purple, the most restrictive tier. Inyo and Merced counties are now the only ones in purple, as of Monday.
- By the end of April, California should administer 30 million coronavirus vaccines. As a result, it will allow the state to partially inoculate a majority of the 32 million people who will become eligible to take the vaccine next week. Currently, 7.5 million Californians are fully vaccinated, while 6 million are partly inoculated. The new movement means will permit inhabitants to perform some everyday activities, but Newsom still urges the public to perform “common-sense” health safety measures like masks and vaccinations.
- Although government officials like Newsom and Ghaly are optimistic about reopening in June, the Associated Press says a few discrepancies were in their announcement. For example, the figures could not say how they would assess lifting restrictions. They also did not mention what counts as a good trajectory. Apparently, Newsom and Ghaly struggled to explain the changes “without adding caveats.”
- In terms of discussing vaccinations and hospitalization rates, state officials refused to give a must-hit goal for shots. They also did not explain what they meant by “stable and low” hospitalization numbers. The AP states that Newsom is facing a possible recall election backed by those criticizing his handling the pandemic. Kevin Faulconer, a Republican and former San Diego mayor, did not like that Newsom decided to reopen the state after millions of Californians signed a recall petition. Faulconer intends on replacing Newsom as governor as well.
- California is not the only state that is easing up on limitations. States like Texas, Arizona, South Carolina, and Alabama have been relaxing their stances on masks and ending business capacity limits. Texas opened the Texas Rangers’ opening game against the Toronto Blue Jays to the public fully; 38,000 fans filled the Globe Life Field and sat side-by-side. CNBC explains each states’ declarations in full detail.
The announcement comes more than a year after California shut down due to the pandemic. The country’s most populated state was extremely affected by the coronavirus. More than 58,000 California locals have died from COVID-19 since 2020.
Otters in Georgia Aquarium Test Positive for COVID-19
Seven geriatric Asian small-clawed otters at the Georgia Aquarium showed mild COVID-19 symptoms like sneezing, runny noses, lethargy, and coughing. They are currently being cared for off-exhibit.
What We Know:
- The popular tourist location released a statement on Facebook and their website on Sunday about the situation. In the announcement, the Georgia Aquarium noted that the animals caught the virus from an asymptomatic staff member. This is despite “following all recommended health and safety protocols.” The institution tested all staff members and is certain a guest did not give the coronavirus to the otters because of the acrylic barrier that separates them.
- The group’s clinical signs helped leaders make the decision to test the animals. In addition, medical officials at the establishment consulted with the state veterinarian’s office and the Department of Health (DOH).
- The Georgia Aquarium announced vets and animal care team members would continue monitoring the otters on their website. After they no longer show symptoms, executives will determine if they can return to the display.
“We are providing supportive care as needed so they can eat, rest and recover,” said Dr. Tonya Clauss, vice president of animal and environmental health at Georgia Aquarium.
- According to the announcement, information on COVID-19’s impact on otter species is unknown. However, based on other zoological facility animals and the otters’ health status, the organization believes the animals will not have any long-term effects. The document also directs readers to visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) websites, as well as their own Animal Guide, for more information. People at the aquarium are hopeful the otters will recover quickly.
- Although these are the first coronavirus cases at the Georgia Aquarium, other animals have contracted the disease. In December, three snow leopards tested positive at the Louisville Zoo. Thousands of mink died at fur farms across Utah and Wisconsin after a series of outbreaks, CNN reports. Further, a small number of dogs and cats have gotten the disease throughout the pandemic as well.
Scientists are experimenting with a possible COVID-19 vaccine for animals. In February, the San Diego Zoo gave four orangutans and five bonobos two doses each of an experimental vaccine developed by a veterinary pharmaceutical company. Recently, Russia registered the world’s first COVID-19 vaccine for carnivorous animals. A report by CNN from March 31 declared mass production on the vaccine would start as early as April. These experiments may bring all animals protection soon.
High Number of Babies and Children are Dying of COVID-19 in Brazil
Approximately 1,300 babies in Brazil have died since the beginning of the pandemic. This statistic defies overwhelming evidence that COVID-19 rarely kills children.
What We Know:
- Last year, Jessika Ricarte noticed something was off about her one-year-old son, Lucas. First, he lost his appetite. After his godmother, a nurse, suggested he had a sore throat, he developed a fever. The appetite loss and fever transformed into fatigue and labored breathing. Jessika took Lucas to the hospital and asked for a COVID test. Although an oximeter indicated that Lucas’ blood oxygen levels were at 86%, the doctor would not administer a test. Lucas was not feverish at the time, and the medical professional stated COVID-19 was rare in children. He sent Jessika home with antibiotics, but it did not help her son.
- The symptoms reduced, but Lucas’ tiredness did not. Weeks went by and his condition kept getting more aggressive. Jessika returned to the local hospital, where they finally tested her son. Lucas tested positive. Officials transferred Lucas to a pediatric intensive unit in Sobral, over two hours away. Lucas received a diagnosis of multi-system inflammatory syndrome (MIS). Despite a month’s treatment and multiple attempts to save his life, Lucas ultimately lost his battle with the coronavirus. Dr. Manuela Monte, the pediatric doctor who attended Lucas, said she was shocked by the severity of his condition, as he did not have any risk factors.
- While the Health Ministry reports that 800 children under 9-years-old have died of COVID-19, experts say the death toll is higher. This might be from a lack of widespread testing, little contact tracing efforts, and vaccine shortages. University of São Paolo epidemiologist Dr. Fatima Marinho estimates that 2,060 children under 9, including 1,302 babies, have died. The senior adviser to the international non-governmental Vital Strategies says she based her prediction on the number of deaths from an unspecified acute respiratory syndrome throughout the pandemic.
- Marinho debunked the misconception that children are not at-risk for COVID-19. She told BBC that there have been 10 times more deaths from the unexplained disease over the past year. They are low-risk for the coronavirus, but the scale of the epidemic increases the chance of younger people becoming ill. Additionally, she saw a rise in MIS cases among children. NBC says the newly identified and serious health condition is associated with the virus that causes coronavirus infections. MIS affects children up to six weeks after they are contaminated.
- Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) declared on Thursday the Brazilian government’s “failed response” led to thousands of avoidable deaths. MSF President Dr. Christos ChrIstou shamed President Jair Bolsonaro for his lack of prioritizing throughout the pandemic. The right-wing leader dislikes lockdowns and holds large events without wearing a mask. It was not until March that he began to consider vaccines as an option.
“Each week there is a grim new record of deaths and infections — the hospitals are overflowing, and yet there is still no coordinated centralized response,” said Christou.
- Christou expects the situation to worsen during the next weeks if nothing changes. He reprimanded the country for refusing to “adapt evidence-based public health measures.” According to Christou, Brazil needs a fast, science-based, and well-coordinated reset. Doing so will prevent deaths and the destruction of the “once prestigious Brazilian health system.”
- MSF warned of an unfolding “humanitarian catastrophe.” The high number of cases has damaged hospitals. Many are faced with basic medicine and oxygen supply shortages. Sao Paolo’s health secretary Jean Carlo Gorinchteyn said Brazil’s situation was dire in its most populous state. Officials warned that more than 640 hospitals could possibly collapse. Gorinchteyn further asked for the government’s support. He adds it is not only necessary for Sao Paolo, but also for the entire country.
Since the beginning of the COVID-19, Brazil’s record of cases stands at more than 13.5 million cases. 365,444 citizens have died from the disease, as shown in data from John Hopkins University from April 15. Just last week, more than a quarter of COVID deaths came from Brazil; it is the country with the second-highest number of deaths behind the United States of America. An increase in COVID-19 tests can protect many more Brazilian children from being like Lucas.
Michigan Infections Spike, Unfilled Vaccine Appointments Rise
Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer recently explained that the recent surge in coronavirus cases is partly the result of a Michigan Supreme Court ruling that struck down a key law she used to fight the pandemic.
What We Know:
- In October, the Michigan Supreme Court deemed the Emergency Powers of Governors Act of 1945 as unconstitutional. The legislation was Whitmer’s main tool that allowed her to issue emergency orders to address the pandemic. Whitmer has stated her new strategy in combatting the surge has been by massively increasing and “urging,” not ordering, people to wear masks. In recent months, Whitmer has voluntarily eased coronavirus restrictions despite rising case numbers.
- Whitmer reassured her community on Sunday that Michigan still has “strong measures to keep people safe.” All Michigan residents 16 and up are eligible to be vaccinated as of April 5th. Average daily infections in Michigan are now five times the amount they were six weeks ago. New data from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services show this dramatic surge is due to cases spiking among children and teenagers.
- Since February 19th, average daily COVID-19 cases among children under 10 jumped 230%. The second-highest increase in infections is in the 10 to 19 age group, which saw cases rise 227%. According to data from the American Academy of Pediatrics, more than 64,000 new cases in children were reported nationwide between March 18th and March 25th.
- 40% of new outbreaks have come from either K-12 schools or youth programs. The rise in cases can be linked to the reopening of schools and youth sports. Some children are developing a condition called multi-system inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C) after COVID-19 infection. It is a rare condition that may affect the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes, or gastrointestinal organs.
Officials are confident that the research on COVID-19 vaccines for children is making progress despite the rise in pediatric cases and their contribution to community spread.
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