A truck convoy that left California bound for the nation’s capital to protest COVID-19 mandates and other concerns has abandoned due to lack of interest from truckers.
“The California launch had good fan attendance, but only 5 trucks were with us upon arrival in Vegas,” Freedom Convoy USA organizers said on the group’s Facebook page on Saturday. “There are 2 other convoys that have massive turnouts.”
Organizers encouraged truckers who had expressed an interest in joining their ranks to join other convoys bound for Washington, DC, to voice similar concerns. The Freedom Convoy had left Los Angeles on Friday, planning to reach Washington on Tuesday.
Now organizers are asking any truckers who wanted to join them to join the people’s convoy that left California earlier last week or the Texas convoy that tried to organize a departure in about a week. The group said it has $6,500 that will be distributed to truckers arriving in Maryland and DC
Last week, a protest convoy from Pennsylvania bound for the Capital Beltway collapsed amid fears of arrest before getting bogged down in rush-hour traffic.
The Pentagon has authorized the use of up to 700 unarmed National Guard members and dozens of vehicles to ensure roads and highways remain open during protests.
Also in the news:
► Nearly half of the 500 million free COVID-19 tests the Biden administration recently made available to the public remain unclaimed as virus cases plummet and people feel less urgency to hate.
►The Rhode Island Convention Center’s COVID-19 vaccination site closed on Saturday. The state is focused on managing the virus rather than eliminating it.
►Boston is appealing a judge’s order blocking its COVID-19 vaccination warrant on certain categories of firefighters and police officers.
►Hong Kong will no longer require all children who test positive for COVID to be separated from their families and isolated in a hospital after an outcry from families, Reuters reported. In some cases, even toddlers have been taken from their homes.
📈 The numbers of the day: The United States has had more than 78.9 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 948,200 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Global totals: Over 434.5 million cases and 5.9 million deaths. More than 215.4 million Americans — 64.9% — are fully immunized, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
📘 What we read: After a few false starts, organizations — from banks to nonprofits to hospitals — are once again gearing up to bring their employees back to work. They bring with them anxiety, questions and even fear.
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Chicago schools will continue to require masks
Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker’s decision to drop the statewide school mandate effective Monday won’t change anything in Chicago, the nation’s fourth-largest public school system with 350,000 students. The move by Pritzker, a Democrat, to follow the example of a growing number of governors from both parties comes as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updates its guidelines for communities where COVID-19 is loosening its grip. The agency says masks may not be needed in nearly two-thirds of U.S. counties, citing easing pressure on health care systems as new cases plummet.
In a letter to parents and students, the district said masks will remain a requirement in its 650 schools. School buildings are not like other indoor environments, the letter states.
“We all look forward to the day when masks are no longer needed in schools,” the letter reads. “We plan to work with our labor and public health partners on how best to maintain a safe learning environment for all.”
Mental health issues among teenage girls have increased during the pandemic
Mental health issues for teenage girls such as eating disorders, depression and tics have increased during the pandemic compared to 2019, according to a study published by the CDC. ER visits in 2020 increased for girls aged 12 to 17 for tics and eating disorders, according to the study. In 2021, teenage girls visited the emergency room more often for problems related to depression, diet, tics and obsessive-compulsive disorder. And in the first month of 2022, there was an increase in visits for anxiety, trauma and stress-related disorders, eating, tics and obsessive-compulsive disorders.
Overall, pediatric emergency department visits have declined over the years of the pandemic. Mental health-related visits also declined overall for children under 18 during the pandemic, underscoring the need for specific outreach efforts with adolescent girls, the study found.
Most Americans are in areas where they can throw masks indoors, but most Floridians are not.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the majority of Americans can remove their masks indoors — but that’s not the case for most Floridians. About 70% of Americans live in counties that the CDC classifies as places with “low” or “medium” COVID-19 pressure on health care systems, so there is no need to require the wearing of a mask indoors and in schools, the federal agency says.
The same is true for only 44% of Floridians. Only 25 of Florida’s 67 counties fall into the “low” or “medium” categories, which put more emphasis on COVID hospitalizations than case counts. Florida has recorded at least 25,390 new infections over the past week, state health officials reported Friday, the lowest seven-day sum since Dec. 17. The state also recorded 888 new deaths last week, the first time since Jan. 21 when the seven The rise in the statewide death toll was less than 1,000.
– Chris Persaud, Palm Beach Post
Contributor: The Associated Press