The United States is projected to reach herd immunity against the CCP virus by the end of summer or early fall, Dr. Anthony Fauci said on Wednesday, adding that people can begin to change their behaviors as more and more people get vaccinated.
“We don’t want to get too hung up on reaching this, this end game of herd immunity, because every day that you put 2 million to 3 million vaccinations into people makes society be more and more protected. So you don’t have to wait until you get full herd immunity to get a really profound effect on what you could do,” said Fauci, the longtime director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a top adviser to President Joe Biden, during a White House COVID-19 briefing.
Almost 33 million Americans have received full COVID-19 vaccinations as of March 10, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Another 62.4 million have received one of two required doses of either Moderna’s or Pfizer’s vaccine.
Texas Lifts Mask Mandate as Pandemic Sees Downward Trend
Texas on Wednesday lifted its statewide mask mandate enacted in mid-2020 while also loosening several other restrictions on businesses meant to control the spread of the CCP virus.
Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, announced last week in an executive order the State of Texas is working toward removing restrictions on businesses and have them operate again at full capacity.
The loosening of restrictions was announced as Texas is seeing a downward trend on patients infected with COVID-19, the disease caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, as well as hospitalizations going down to levels not seen in months.
WV’s Justice Announces 168 Unreported Deaths
West Virginia’s governor on Wednesday announced 168 deaths involving COVID-19 that have previously gone unreported.
Officials learned that 70 facilities across the state had not reported all of the COVID-related deaths at their facilities, Gov. Jim Justice said during a press conference.
That included people who died at their homes and died in hospitals.
Puerto Rico Reopens Public Schools
Public schools across Puerto Rico reopened Wednesday for the first time in nearly a year despite the pandemic, with officials reporting scarce attendance amid COVID-19 concerns, the disease caused by the CCP virus.
Of the island’s 858 public schools, 95 were authorized to reopen because they were located in a municipality with a low number of CCP virus cases and also met a list of requirements issued by Puerto Rico’s Health Department. Among them was the Ramón Marín Solá primary school in Guaynabo, where parents adjusted their children’s masks before hugging them goodbye.
UK Variant Has Significantly Higher Death Rate, Study Finds
A highly infectious variant of the CCP virus that has spread around the world since it was first discovered in Britain late last year is between 30 percent and 100 percent more deadly than previous dominant variants, researchers said on Wednesday.
In a study that compared death rates among people in Britain infected with the new SARS-CoV-2 variant—known as B.1.1.7—against those infected with other variants of the COVID-19-causing virus, scientists said the new variant’s mortality rate was “significantly higher.”
England’s $32 Billion Test and Trace System Not Making Big Difference: Lawmakers
England’s $32 billion test and trace system has not made a significant impact on the CCP virus pandemic and failed its key goals despite its “unimaginable” cost, a British parliamentary committee said on Wednesday.
“Despite the unimaginable resources thrown at this project, test and trace cannot point to a measurable difference to the progress of the pandemic,” said Meg Hillier, chair of the British parliament’s Public Accounts Committee and an opposition Labour party lawmaker.
“The promise on which this huge expense was justified—avoiding another lockdown—has been broken, twice.”
Maryland to Ease Restrictions This Week
Maryland will ease restrictions on restaurants and other businesses this week, Gov. Larry Hogan said, citing improving COVID-19 health metrics and increasing vaccinations.
Starting Friday at 5 p.m., capacity limits will be lifted on outdoor and indoor dining at restaurants and bars, though customers will still need to be seated and distanced, the governor said. Capacity limits also will be lifted for retail businesses, religious facilities, personal services like hair and nail salons, and indoor recreation establishments like casinos and bowling alleys.
Saskatchewan Lifts Home Gathering Ban, Worship Capacity Rises
Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe says his province is on its way out of the COVID-19 pandemic as his government lifted a ban on household visits and told places of worship that they can hold larger services, just in time for Easter.
Starting on Tuesday, Saskatchewan residents can have up to 10 people inside their homes, though the province’s top doctor said they should be from the same two or three households.
Zachary Stieber, Lorenz Duchamps, The Canadian Press, Reuters, and The Associated Press contributed to this report.