The number of coronavirus cases is rising again as vaccinations continue to ramp up throughout the United States.
In Delaware, the last time people were testing positive for COVID-19 at a rate as high as they are now was Feb. 11. Michigan has the most COVID-19 cases per capita of any state in the country, and on Saturday reported the highest case total in the state since early December. In Florida, the actual tally of variants ravaging the state is likely two or three times higher than what’s reported, said the director of the state-run Palm Beach County health department.
But even as infections rise, the number of shots in arms is steadily increasing as well.
Nearly 40% of Arizonans have received at least one vaccine dose and almost 20% of Wisconsinites are fully vaccinated. Saturday, the U.S. reported more than four million vaccine doses in a single day for the first time, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Meanwhile, 12 states are opening vaccine eligibility to all adults Monday: Alabama, Florida, Idaho, Iowa, Kentucky, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Michigan, South Dakota, Tennessee and Wisconsin are all dropping restrictions for adults 16 years or older.
Also in the news:
►The Nationals and Atlanta Braves are still waiting to find out whether Major League Baseball will allow their upcoming series to proceed as scheduled, while Washington deals with a coronavirus outbreak that could prevent 11 players from participating.
►Health officials are investigating whether anyone in Indianapolis was exposed by any Alabama residents after news reports of an NCAA fan dying of complications of COVID-19.
►Two nurses in Bolivia are in jail after being accused of stealing 500 COVID-19 vaccines in a small town on the border with Brazil.
►After going more than a month with a handful of players at a maximum out in accordance with the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol, the league is now facing a new challenge: the growing number of Vancouver Canucks players being put on the list.
►Hundreds of Special Olympics athletes with intellectual disabilities received their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine Saturday at a facility in Hawaii.
📈 Today’s numbers: The U.S. has more than 30.7 million confirmed coronavirus cases and 555,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The global totals: More than 131 million cases and 2.85 million deaths. At least 204 million vaccine doses have been distributed in the U.S. and 165 million have been administered, according to the CDC.
📘 What we’re reading: COVID-19 vaccines may reduce transmission, experts say. Here’s why vaccinated Americans should still wear masks in public.
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Vaccine passports are latest flash point in COVID politics
Vaccine passports being developed to verify COVID-19 immunization status and allow inoculated people to more freely travel, shop and dine have become the latest flash point in America’s perpetual political wars, with Republicans portraying them as a heavy-handed intrusion into personal freedom and private health choices.
They currently exist in only one state – a limited government partnership in New York with a private company – but that hasn’t stopped some lawmakers in a handful of states from rushing out legislative proposals to ban their use.
Vaccine passports are typically an app with a code that verifies whether someone has been vaccinated or recently tested negative for COVID-19. They are in use in Israel and under development in parts of Europe, seen as a way to safely help rebuild the pandemic- devastated travel industry.
But lawmakers around the country are already taking a stand against the idea. Republican senators in Pennsylvania are drawing up legislation that would prohibit vaccine passports, also known as health certificates or travel passes, from being used to bar people from routine activities.
– Associated Press
Pope pleads for equity in vaccine rollout in pandemic Easter message
Pope Francis gave his Easter message at Mass inside St. Peter’s Basilica before a gathering of about 200, rather than the traditional speech on the balcony overlooking a square packed with thousands.
But the speech was streamed across multiple platforms, and at one point, 9,000 people were watching on Vatican News’ English-language Facebook page alone, Vatican News reported.
The pandemic was front and center in the pope’s address as Francis denounced armed conflicts in Africa, the Mideast, Latin America, Asia and Eastern Europe amid the global health crisis and pleaded for equity of care.
“The pandemic is still spreading, while the social and economic crisis remains severe, especially for the poor. Nevertheless – and this is scandalous – armed conflicts have not ended, and military arsenals are being strengthened,” Francis said. “That is today’s scandal.”
– Susan Miller
US vaccine rollout envied in Canada
More than 30% of Americans have received at least one vaccine dose compared to about 12% of Canadians, according to public health statistics from both nations.
“The good news for Americans has prompted a slew of jealousy, and criticism from Canadians asking why our provinces are so far behind,” the Toronto Star writes.
Conservative Canadian parliament member Michelle Rempel Garner took note on Twitter of the U.S. push to open up vaccination appointments to all adults. She also noted that the Oakland Zoo plans on vaccinating some of its most at-risk animals this summer.
“Most Americans aged 16 and over will have access to a vaccine in the next week or two,” she tweeted. “In Canada, that milestone is far away. In fact, these zoo animals in the United States might have access to a vaccine before many Canadian adults will.”
Social media users were quick to point out that on one recent day the U.S. administered about 4 millions shots while Canada performed about 72,000 jabs.
Contributing: Associated Press
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: COVID cases updates: US infections rise; vaccine eligibility opens