The country’s largest state will reopen on Tuesday, ending a series of 15-month restrictions to stem the COVID-19 pandemic.
California is ranked 41st among the states with the fastest spreading coronavirus per person, according to a USA TODAY Network analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University. With 11.87% of the country’s population, California recorded 6.19% of the country’s cases last week.
The Golden State is in a markedly different place than it was in December when it was declared by many to be the epicenter of the pandemic. California has broken single-day hospitalizations and case counts for several days in a row. Deaths topped 30,000, then 45,000 the following month, and many southern California funeral homes were overwhelmed by the outbreak.
Last week, California recorded 792 to 1,136 new infections each day, up from a peak of nearly 54,000 in December. In Los Angeles County, which in January lifted air quality restrictions so crematoriums can burn bodies, the number of cases reported on Monday was 135.
“It’s a new day,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said at a press conference Monday, ahead of the state’s reopening. “This state is not about to recover, it is about, as has been noted, to roar back.”
This is in part due to the number of vaccinations in the state. California has administered 40 million vaccines, inoculating 72% of adults with at least one dose.
But COVID-19 is still a threat, no matter how successful the state – and the rest of the country – may have had. The state is not close to collective immunity, with demand decreasing even with incentives.
Speaking to reporters on Monday after the NATO summit in Brussels, President Joe Biden opened his remarks by referring to the fact that while the average of coronavirus cases and deaths “drops dramatically” in the United States – United, “there are still too many lives lost”, what he called “a real tragedy.
“We still have work to do to defeat this virus, and now is not the time to let our guard down,” Biden said.
Also in the news:
►The University of California will require students, staff and faculty to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 this fall, the latest in a myriad of colleges to require a vaccine to go to campus.
►The United States will send an overnight shipment of 1.35 million COVID vaccines to Mexico after Vice President Kamala Harris pledged excess shipment to the southern neighbor last week.
►A new study has found that about a third of Americans planning to retire now say COVID has delayed their retirement.
►Hawaii says a vaccinated Oahu resident who traveled to Nevada last month tested positive for the delta variant of COVID-19. Hawaii’s health director Dr Libby Char said this was a “very rare” case in which a COVID-19 vaccine did not prevent infection.
►Vermont Gov. Phil Scott announced on Monday that the state has passed 80% and is lifting all remaining COVID-19 restrictions in the state.
►British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has confirmed that the next planned easing of coronavirus restrictions in England will be delayed for four weeks until July 19 due to the spread of the delta variant.
►Two nurses in Iowa were fired Monday after administering up to six times the appropriate dose of COVID-19 vaccine to dozens of inmates at Fort Madison Prison in April, a maximum security prison for men.
►More than 50 million people experienced food insecurity during the pandemic, up from 35 million in 2019, according to the nonprofit Feeding America, the largest national organization fighting hunger.
►A COVID-19 vaccine made by Novavax of Gaithersburg, Md., Is more than 90% effective at preventing infections and completely protecting trial participants from serious illness, according to a company study.
The numbers of the day: The United States has more than 33.47 million confirmed cases of the coronavirus and at least 599,900 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Global totals: Over 176.2 million cases and over 3.8 million deaths. More than 144.9 million Americans have been fully immunized, or 43.7% of the population, according to the CDC.
What we read: Effective COVID-19 vaccines developed in less than a year. But half a century after the country declared war on cancer, and 40 years after the first reported case of HIV / AIDS, there is no way left to prevent the disease or many others. Read the full story.
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Cashier shot dead after dispute over masks at supermarket in Georgia
One person was killed and three others were injured Monday in a shootout at a supermarket in Georgia after an argument over wearing face masks, authorities said.
The alleged shooter began an argument with a cashier at the Big Bear supermarket in Decatur, Georgia, over his face mask, Dekalb County Sheriff Melody Maddox said at a press conference Monday. The shooter has been identified by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation as Victor Lee Tucker Jr., 30, of Palmetto, Georgia.
The agency said preliminary information indicates that Tucker then left the store without making a purchase. He returned shortly after, pulling out a handgun and shooting the cashier. She later died of her injuries, Maddox said.
A deputy, who worked as a security guard and retired from active duty, attempted to intervene in the shooting, Maddox said. The deputy and Tucker exchanged gunshots, and both were injured in the shooting. Both were transported to local hospitals.
Another cashier was injured in the store but was treated on site.
Global cases drop for seven straight weeks, WHO director says
The head of the World Health Organization said the number of new reported coronavirus cases has now declined in the past seven weeks, the longest period of decline since the start of the pandemic.
At a press briefing on Monday, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus welcomed the drop, but said very uneven access to coronavirus vaccines threatened further progress.
“The virus is moving faster than the global distribution (of the vaccine),” Tedros said. He called on political leaders to pledge to vaccinate at least 70% of the world’s population by next year’s G7 meeting.
Contribute: The Associated Press.