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More virus rules fall as CDC suggests better times ahead

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The nation’s top health officials said Wednesday that the United States is getting closer to the point where COVID-19 is no longer a “permanent crisis” as more cities, businesses and sports venues began to lift pandemic restrictions across the country.

The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr Rochelle Walensky, said at a press conference at the White House that the government is contemplating changing mask guidelines in the coming weeks. Noting the recent drop in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths, she admitted “people are very eager” for health officials to relax face covering rules and other measures introduced. designed to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

“We all have the same goal – to reach a point where COVID-19 no longer disrupts our daily lives, a time when it will not be a continuous crisis – but is something that we can prevent, protect, and treat,” says Walensky.

With the omicron variant waning and Americans eager to weather the virus, government and business leaders went ahead of the CDC in ending virus measures last week, including ordering employees return to the office, eliminating the duty of wearing masks and no longer requiring proof of vaccines to enter restaurants, bars, and sports and entertainment arenas.

Efforts were strengthened every day.

Philadelphia officials on Wednesday said the city’s vaccine rule for restaurants was immediately lifted, although the indoor mask requirement has remained in place for now. At Disney World, vaccinated guests will no longer have to wear masks at the Florida theme park starting Thursday. Professional sports teams including the Utah Jazz and the Washington Wizards and Capitals have stopped asking for proof of vaccines to fans.

The most populous county in Washington – where Seattle is located – announced Wednesday that it will no longer require COVID vaccination tests to enter restaurants, bars, theaters and gyms starting January 1. March.

Health Commissioner Cheryl Bettigole said Philadelphia’s average daily case count has dropped to 189 cases per day in the city of more than 1.5 million people. Bettigole said the rate of infection in Philadelphia increased more sharply than elsewhere in the state or country, prompting the deregulation of vaccines for restaurants and other businesses to be announced in mid-December or later. should be easier.

“Our goal has always been to be as restrictive as possible while still being safe,” she said.

In Provincetown, Massachusetts, a seaside town became a COVID hotspot With an early outbreak of delta variant last summer, officials on Tuesday lifted the mandatory mask wearing and vaccine requirement for indoor spaces like restaurants and bars. Town Manager Alex Morse said the community of about 3,000 people recorded no active cases last week among residents of Provincetown – something that has not happened since the increase followed the celebrations. July 4 of last year.

“We are learning to live with and minimize the impact of the virus on our community,” Morse said.

According to data from Johns Hopkins University, the number of COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations fell sharply in seven days, with the seven-day average for daily new cases down from about 453,000 two weeks. previously to 136,000 cases on Tuesday. Hospitalization rates were at about the same level as September, when the US was emerging from an increase in delta variation. Nearly 65% ​​of Americans are fully vaccinated.

“As a result of all these advances and the tools that are now available, we are moving to a time when COVID is not a crisis but something we can protect and treat,” Jeff Zient , said the White House coronavirus response coordinator.

Walensky said the CDC “will be releasing relevant guidance soon and recommending precautionary measures where they are most needed to protect public health and our hospitals.” She suggested that any change would take into account measures of community transmission, as well as hospitalization rates or other measures of whether people infected are becoming severe. They will also consider the available bed space in the hospital.

Several states with indoor mask regulations announced last week that they would be lifted in the coming weeks, also citing promising numbers.

Two music festivals that draw thousands of people to the California desert town of Indio in April and May, Coachella and Stagecoach, also said this week that there will be no mandated vaccinations, masks or testing under local guide. Coachella also notes that that could change with COVID conditions.

In Philadelphia, Bettigole said the vaccination mandate has helped drive a “huge increase” in childhood immunizations, pushing the city ahead of the national average for the first dose in children as young as 10 years old. 5 to 11. More than 53% of Philadelphia residents in that age group she received her first dose, compared with nearly 30% nationally, she said.

Not all businesses plan to change course immediately. Philadelphia managing partner Greg “Spoonie” Rand said Irish sports bar and restaurant O’Neals will continue to ask to see customers’ vaccination cards now, said managing partner Greg “Spoonie” Rand, even though the city is deregulating vaccines.

“Customers are more compliant and employees are happier as we continue to make vaccine cards inside,” he said. He thinks vaccinated people will be wary of coming if pubs stop checking cards.

Walensky said the CDC wants to “give people a break from things like wearing masks” when circumstances improve, although it could be covered up if things go bad. She also said there would be cases where people should continue to wear masks even as precautions ease. Examples include when individuals develop symptoms of COVID-19 or within 10 days of being diagnosed with the disease.

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https://www.winknews.com/2022/02/17/more-virus-rules-fall-as-cdc-hints-at-better-times-ahead/ More virus rules fall as CDC suggests better times ahead

Tom Vazquez

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