Idaho State Police on Sunday investigated a protest in the state of Citol in Boise, in which a large number of Idahoans burned masks to protest against Coronavirus’ public health recommendations, which they regard as restrictions on freedom.
Health experts say masks are important tools against a disease that has killed nearly 525,000 Americans, including nearly 2,000 in Idaho. Gov. Brad Little, a Republican, has never ordered a mandate across the state, but seven counties and 11 cities have them in place.
State police say the protest on Saturday drew approx. 100 people to the Citol steps. Videos posted on social media showed adults encouraging children to throw masks into the fire.
“During the incident, an open fire was ignited in a barrel,” police said in a statement. “Those involved in the event were informed both before and during the event that open fire is not permitted for Citol reasons. The incident is under review.”
Republican lawmakers in Idaho have enacted legislation to ban mask mandates across the state. Visitors to Citol are asked to wear masks, but they are not required and few Republican lawmakers wear them. Little, however, wore a mask to sign unrelated legislation Friday.
Also in the news:
►A vaccination site in the Miami suburb of Florida City was overwhelmed Sunday after it attracted so few eligible people who have started inoculating an adult to avoid spilling vaccine. Word spread and police had to reassure the audience as the place again enforced state rules: 65 and older; medical workers and police officers, teachers and firefighters over the age of 50; and younger people with a medical message saying the virus would endanger their lives.
► Philadelphia 76ers’ Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons were ruled out of Sunday’s All-Star Game, the NBA said in a statement. Their personal barber tested positive for COVID-19, according to a person with knowledge of the situation who requested anonymity due to the sensitivity of the situation.
►Schools across the UK reopen to all students on Monday, part of what Prime Minister Boris Johnson described as a plan to get the country “starting to get closer to a sense of normality.”
►Italian Health Minister Roberto Speranza said on state television that all Italians wishing to be vaccinated will be able to do so by the end of the summer.
►The Dalai Lama, the 85-year-old Tibetan spiritual leader, has received the first shot of the coronavirus vaccine at a hospital in the northern Indian hill town of Dharmsala.
Tal Today’s numbers: The United States has nearly 29 million confirmed cases of coronavirus and more than 524,900 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Total sums: More than 116.7 million cases and 2.59 million deaths. More than 116 million vaccine doses have been distributed in the United States, and more than 90 million have been administered, According to the CDC.
📘 What we read: COVID-19 waged a crisis in domestic violence. Now the stimulus bill can help women and children leave addicts.
Variation cases continued to spread rapidly across the United States
The United States added a record 380 new cases of coronavirus variant on Sunday and continued a trend that has seen the country double its known number of such coronavirus infections since 18 February. Different versions of the virus that cause COVID-19 are spreading rapidly, although the rate of new infections has generally been declining nationwide.
The variants can spread more easily, evading some treatments and immunities or both, leaving them a threat, even when more Americans are vaccinated. The United States has 3,133 known variant cases compared to the 2,753 reported Thursday. said the Center for Disease Control on Sunday.
Most of America’s known variant cases are of B.1.1.7, which was first seen in the UK with 3,037. Vaccines have been shown to be effective against it, but the variant is considered at least 50% more contagious than the original strain, making rapid, widespread vaccination crucial.
– Mike Stucka
Rising demand for Russian vaccine as skepticism subsides
The early questions about Sputnik V, the Russian COVID-19 vaccine presented by President Vladimir Putin, have been replaced by admiration and growing demand as countries try to protect their citizens against coronavirus in the face of vaccine shortages.
Slovakia received 200,000 doses of Sputnik V on March 1, although the European Medicines Agency, the European Union’s drug regulator, only began reviewing its use on Thursday in a rapid trial. The president of the hard-hit Czech Republic said he was writing directly to Putin to get a supply. Millions of doses are expected by countries in Latin America, Africa, the former Soviet Union and the Middle East in a wave of Russian vaccine diplomacy.
The initial skepticism towards the Russian vaccine, which was largely driven by inadequate testing, has been rejected after a report in the respected British medical journal The Lancet said that large-scale testing showed that it was safe and had an efficacy of 91%.
Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson plans to end mask mandate in ril
Architect Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Sunday that he will complete a mask mandate next month if the state’s test positivity rate or hospitalizations are low. Hutchinson on Friday lifted most of the security restrictions imposed on companies to restrict the transmission of coronavirus. He said it was time to “rely on common sense and good judgment” versus mandates that are crippling companies.
Last week, President Joe Biden rejected a decision by some Republican governors to end mask mandates as “Neanderthal thinking.” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki defended the comment as a “reflection of his frustration” over Americans refusing to follow public health guidelines. Hutchinson does not agree.
“Just give us back our freedom and lift some of our mandates,” he said. “It’s not cavemen who think it’s common sense.”
Students struggle to learn to read behind masks, screens
It can be too many children falls behind in reading during the pandemic, say teachers and experts. The U.S. TODAY network visited a handful of classrooms in different states to see how schools advertise at a time when teachers’ axiom that students learn to read in early classes so they can read to learn for the rest of their lives becomes tested. Lost time when schools closed, inconsistent schedules since then, the limitations of teaching over video conferencing or even in person with masks and social distance – these hand signs hurt children who learn to read more than children in second grade, said Anjenette Holmes, professor at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s Picard Center for Child Development & Lifelong Learning.
“Learning to read is so challenging,” said Laura Taylor, a professor of educational studies at Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee. “It’s a long process that takes years.”
– Leigh Guidry, Mandy McLaren, Laura Testino, Isabel Lohman and Gabriela Szymanowska
Senators thank Georgia after the Senate passed the COVID-19 aid package
After more than 24 hours of debate, the democratically controlled Senate was on Saturday passed President Joe Biden’s $ 1.9 trillion COVID-19 aid package. Georgia Sens.Jon Ossoff and Rhael Warnock – two Democrats elected in the Jan. 5 runoffs in what was once considered a Republican stronghold – spoke hours after the 50-49 vote that fell along party lines, saying the package probably never would have come to pass without their disrupted victories In November. Ossoff said: “We want to crush COVID-19, recover financially, safely reopen our schools and get our daily lives back – and we do it thanks to Georgia’s voters.”
GOP Senator John Barrasso of Wyoming was not so hot on the bill, describing it Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press” as a “wish list of liberal spending largely filled with pork.”
The bill would provide millions of Americans with $ 1,400 direct payments, billions of dollars for vaccine distribution and funds to reopen schools and colleges. It also expands federal unemployment benefit of $ 300 per week to the end of August, down from a $ 400 expansion in the original bill.
California counties will not have the Blue Shields vaccine program
Counties across California are increasingly asking to opt out of the state’s centralized vaccination program run by Blue Shield, further complicating Gavin Newsom’s plan to smooth out what has been a confusing and incoherent rollout of coronavirus vaccines. None of the state’s 58 counties have signed contracts with the insurance giant, even as the state went ahead with plans to bring 10 counties in the inner parts of central and southern California under Blue Shield supervision from this week, reported the Los Angeles Times on Saturday.
The state is in the process of switching to a vaccine point and delivery system administered by Blue Shield, which is expected to be completed by March 31st. The decision announced in February to outsource functions to Blue Shield, which had previously been managed by government officials at 1 p.m. The state and local levels were designed to ensure that vaccines are distributed equally and reach low-income communities that are disproportionately affected by the pandemic.
Study: Intellectual disability second largest risk factor for COVID-19 death
People with intellectual disabilities have a “significantly increased risk” of dying from COVID-19, according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine on Friday. Researchers at Jefferson Health in Philadelphia reviewed data on nearly 65 million patients – including nearly 130,000 with a registered diagnosis of intellectual disability – across 547 health organizations and found that having an intellectual disability was the strongest independent risk factor for presenting a COVID. 19 diagnosis and the strongest independent risk factor, apart from age, for COVID-19 mortality.
People with intellectual disabilities may be at greater risk for COVID-19 exposure for a variety of reasons, researchers say, such as the inability to social distance due to regular contact with support staff or sensory problems that make it difficult to wear face masks. The pandemic has also made it harder for people with intellectual disabilities to receive health care, the researchers said.
Contributions: Sarah Elbeshbishi, Matthew Brown and Grace Hauck, USA TODAY;