Wearing masks could save 66,000 Americans lives by April, expert says
President elect Joe Biden said Tuesday “masking, vaccinations, opening schools,” are the top three goals of the first 100 days of his administration.
One researcher called Biden’s mask commitment a “very wise and smart decision,” but urged Americans to not wait until the Jan. 20 Inauguration Day.
If, starting now, 95 percent of Americans wore masks in public, at least 66,000 lives could be saved by April, said Ali Mokdad, a professor at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington. Mokdad has been tracking the impact of the virus based on mask mandates around the country.
Biden said he planned to sign an executive order to mandate mask use in places such as federal buildings and during interstate travel on planes, trains and buses.
Dr. Michael Mina, an epidemiologist at the Harvard T.H. School of Public Health, is skeptical how well Biden’s plea for Americans to wear masks for the first 100 days he’s in office — until April 30 — will land in parts of the country that have resisted them.
But, “if there’s very consistent messaging, if Biden can work very closely with the governors of all 50 states and if we can get people on board, then I think it can be an extraordinarily powerful way to help limit spread,” said Mina.
McConnell urges Congress to ‘pass the things that we agree on’ for Covid relief
Maine teen dies by suicide after struggling to cope with pandemic, father says
A father in Maine wants to shed some light on how the coronavirus pandemic may be affecting the mental health of young people after his 16-year-old son died by suicide on Friday.
Jay Smith, of Brunswick, said his son, Spencer Smith, was having trouble coping with how much life has changed over the past several months.
“We knew he was upset because he was no longer able to participate in his school activities, football. We never guessed it was this bad,” Smith said in a phone interview on Tuesday. “Looking back now we could see little things that we should have caught but we didn’t realize his mental health was deteriorating as bad.”
Florida healthcare worker discharged after nine months in hospital battling Covid-19
A healthcare worker was released from a south Florida hospital today after battling Covid-19 for nine months.
Rosa Felipe, 41, contracted the coronavirus in March, Jackson Health System told NBC News. Due to underlying health conditions such as asthma and diabetes, Felipe was hospitalized at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, where she has been an electroencephalograph for 15 years.
She became very sick and was intubated, spending two months she spent in the intensive care unit. Felipe also underwent dialysis and extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, a treatment that replaces the function of the heart and lungs. Her fingertips on her right hand turned black due to lack of oxygenation and she will likely lose those them, the hospital said.
Felipe was briefly discharged in June to a rehabilitation facility, but was rushed back to the emergency room after becoming septic from a bleeding ulcer. After recovering from this setback, the mother of two boys spent six difficult months undergoing various therapies to relearn everyday tasks like dressing herself and walking.
In a press conference Tuesday afternoon, Felipe thanked her caregivers and reminded the public of the seriousness of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The only thing I can tell you is that this is real. Coronavirus is real. The effects are real. But what’s more real is the love that I have received here,” Felipe said. “I don’t think I would have gotten this far if it wasn’t for this rehabilitation center.”
As of Tuesday, Florida has reported more than one million cases and more than 19,000 deaths from Covid-19. It is just one of three U.S. states that has reported more than one million cases, according to the CDC.
Michigan governor lowers flags to honor 10,000 lives lost to coronavirus
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer ordered Tuesday that U.S. and Michigan flags within the State Capitol Complex and all public buildings and grounds be lowered to half-staff for 10 days to honor the 10,000 lives in the state claimed by the coronavirus pandemic.
“Our nation is grieving alongside each of the families who have an empty seat at the dinner table each night or who will be missing family members during the holiday season,” Whitmer said in a statement. “Right now, we need to listen to our scientists and medical professionals who are asking us to double down on wearing masks and maintaining physical distancing to prevent an unnecessarily greater loss of life.”
“With a vaccine on the horizon, there is light at the end of the tunnel, but we each need to do our part until then. We will get through this together,” she added.
The statement said more than one out of every 1,000 Michiganders have lost their lives to the virus, which has infected more than 410,000 people in the state and killed 10,138.
Four lions at Spanish zoo test positive for Covid-19
Three females named Zala, Nima and Run Run and Kiumbe, a male, were tested after keepers noticed they showed slight symptoms of coronavirus.
Two staff at the zoo also tested positive for coronavirus, the authorities said, after the outbreak was first detected last month.
Washington state announces three-week extension of coronavirus restrictions
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee announced Tuesday that the state’s broad coronavirus restrictions around restaurants, gyms and indoor gatherings will be extended another three weeks through the new year.
Inslee said during a news conference Tuesday that state restrictions put in place in mid-November will be extended to Jan. 4. They were set to expire Dec. 14.
“We are seeing some signs the current restrictions are working. But our hospitals are still on the brink. Therefore, I am extending existing restrictions for three weeks – ending January 4th,” Inslee said in a post on Twitter. “It is a dangerous time in Washington. We need to buckle down through the holidays.”
Inslee added he was also making an additional $50 million in business grants available for businesses impacted by the restrictions.
In November, Inslee announced the sweeping restrictions, including shutting down indoor dining at restaurants and bars and limiting outdoor service to parties of five, closing gyms, fitness centers and movie theaters, and prohibiting indoor gatherings with people outside your household unless the participants have quarantined and tested negative.
100M shots in the first 100 days: Biden unveils Covid priorities, introduces health team
President-elect Joe Biden on Tuesday promised that his administration would oversee the injection of 100 million shots into the arms of Americans within his first 100 days as president and vowed to reopen a “majority” of schools across the nation in the same timeframe.
Biden, who spoke from Wilmington, Del., at an event in which he also announced the top members of his health care team, promised that educators, along with health care workers and residents of long-term care facilities, would be among the targets for the first round of Covid-19 vaccinations.
Biden again said he would call on Americans to wear masks for the first 100 days of his administration.
“Masking, vaccinations, opening schools,” Biden said. “These are the three key goals of my first 100 days.”
Wyoming governor signs statewide mask mandate
Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon signed an executive order Monday mandating mask use in certain situations statewide. The order requires residents to wear a face covering while inside businesses or government buildings, when visiting health care facilities and when using public transportation.
The mandate goes into effect Wednesday until Jan. 8th, 2021, unless extended.