Thursday, December 2

the risks of travel and spring break

(CNN) — US health officials say the way come the Americans in the coming weeks could help determine how the covid-19 pandemic continues to unfold.

While the numbers of infections have dropped, experts warn still they are too tall to reduce security measures. And while current COVID-19 trends may be encouraging, the virus variants circulating in the US could help boost another increment soon, according to some projections.

Among the top concerns of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is travel.

“We are very concerned about transmissible variants,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky told CNN late last week. “Many of them have been through our travel corridors, so now we are being more cautious about traveling.”

The director indicated that every time travel numbers increase, there tends to be an increase in cases of covid-19, as was the case with important holidays such as July 4, Labor Day and the holiday season. of winter.

“There are roughly the same number of trips now as on Thanksgiving,” he said.

With the spring break to begin, air travel sets records during the pandemic. TSA figures show that more than 1.3 million people were screened at airports on Friday, the highest number since March 15, 2020.

Florida, a popular spring break destination, already has crowded beaches.

“We see too much activity on spring break,” Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber told CNN on Saturday morning. “We have a problem because too many people come here, there is a problem when too many people come here to relax.”

“We are concerned,” said the mayor. “It is very difficult”.

In Orlando, Mayor Buddy Dyer urged visitors to implement safety precautions against COVID-19.

“We have come a long way as a community to stop the spread of the virus,” wrote Dyer on Twitter. “As you enjoy our city and our wonderful weather this weekend, continue to take precautions against the pandemic.”

Keep your mask on. Find out why

And it’s not just the crowds that make experts nervous. It is the relaxation of the restrictions due to covid-19 that have now entered into force in states across the country.

“I think we are relaxing a little too soon. Because we are talking about the orders to wear face masks, “Dr. Leana Wen, an emergency physician, told CNN on Saturday. “I understand the reopening of businesses, I want our businesses and our schools, our churches and other institutions to reopen. We can do it if we keep the mandates of the masks.

Texans are no longer obligated to usar masks across the state. Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves, also announced earlier this month he would lift all county mask mandates. Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon reported that the state will remove the statewide requirement for masks and allow bars, restaurants, theaters and gyms to resume normal operations starting Tuesday.

In Oklahoma, Gov. Kevin Stitt announced Thursday that he will remove any restrictions on events or residents and will waive the mask requirement in state buildings.

However, citing concerns about variant B.1.1.7 that was first detected in the UK and is now spreading in the US, one expert said now is the “wrong time” to remove the mask mandates. .

“If ever there was a time to put on the mask, this is it,” National Institutes of Health Director Dr. Francis Collins told MSNBC on Saturday. “Every piece of data shows that the use of masks reduces infections, reduces deaths. We still see 50,000 to 60,000 cases a day today… now is the time. ‘

Expanded eligibility in some states starting Monday

It will be crucial follow safety precautions as the U.S. works to increase its vaccination figures.

So far, more than 68.8 million Americans have received at least one dose of the covid-19 vaccine, while more than 36.9 million are fully vaccinated, according to CDC data.

But the US still faces big challenges such as “limited supply of vaccines, constant vacillation about vaccines, and the rise of myths and misinformation,” according to Walensky.

In an effort to increase vaccination numbers, state leaders across the country announced expanded requirements for vaccine eligibility.

In Alaska, people who live or work in the state who are 16 years of age or older can get the vaccine. Pfizer’s covid-19 vaccine is the only one available for use in people 16 years of age and older, while Moderna and Johnson & Johnson’s vaccines can only be used in people 18 years of age or older.

The eligibility of Rhode Island it was expanded Friday for residents ages 60 to 64, as well as people ages 16 to 64 with certain underlying health conditions.

In Georgia, residents 55 and older and people with disabilities and certain medical conditions will be eligible for the vaccine starting Monday.

As well from MondayKentucky residents age 16 and older with any medical or behavioral health conditions that the CDC says could be at increased risk for serious illness from COVID-19 will also be eligible for the vaccine. Health officials indicated that smoking will not be in the conditions covered in the state.

Meanwhile in California, people with certain high-risk illnesses or disabilities will also be eligible to receive a vaccination on Monday.

“The national supply of the vaccine remains limited, so appointments for the approximately 4.4 million Californians with these conditions or disabilities will not be immediately available to all who are eligible,” state health officials said.

The dangerous side effects of a pandemic

With the help from vaccines, the light to end of tunnel of the pandemic becomes brighter. But it has been a devastating year with far-reaching consequences.

On the one hand, childhood vaccinations against other infectious diseases have dropped “worryingly”, Walensky said during a briefing at the White House on Friday.

“Early vaccination during childhood is essential because it helps provide immunity before children are exposed to life-threatening diseases,” Walensky said. “During the pandemic, we have seen substantial reductions in pediatrician visits, and because of this, CDC orders for childhood vaccines were reduced by approximately 11 million doses, a substantial and historic decrease.”

As leaders work to get students back to school, “we certainly don’t want to encounter other preventable infectious outbreaks, such as measles and mumps,” Walensky said.

“When planning your child’s safe return to child care programs or school, check with your child’s doctor to make sure they are up to date on their immunizations,” she added.

Dr. Anthony Fauci assured that he is also concerned about the mental health cost that the pandemic has had on the nation.

“That is why I want to leave the virological aspect of this pandemic behind as quickly as possible, because the long-term ravages of this are so multifaceted,” he told CBS on Thursday.

An expert told CNN on Saturday that it would be helpful for the US to prepare for a possible increase in mental health care needs by increasing access to mental health services.

“We know that 75% of adults here in America feel stressed, overwhelmed, anxious and depressed,” said Riana Elyse Anderson, assistant professor of health behavior and health education at the University of Michigan.

“We have to be willing to heal.”

CNN’s Lauren Mascarenhas, Naomi Thomas, Melissa Alonso, Rebekah Riess, Jacqueline Howard, Pete Muntean, and Greg Wallace contributed to this report.

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