Connect with us


Coronavirus Briefing: What Happened Today

Tulips are blooming, vaccinations are kicking in and the C.D.C. said it was OK to jog without a mask. Americans are cautiously entering a new, hopeful phase of the pandemic.

Buoyed by a sense that the coronavirus is waning, more people are hugging friends, venturing into restaurants and returning to their prepandemic routines.

In Michigan, the worst Covid-19 hot spot in the U.S., hospitalizations are finally falling. On some recent days, entire states, including Wisconsin and West Virginia, have reported zero new coronavirus deaths. New York and Chicago are planning to reopen.

Although public health experts remain cautious, they’re also starting to exhale. Doctors still expect significant local and regional surges in the coming weeks, but say they do not think they will be as widespread or reach past peaks.

“We’re clearly turning the corner,” said Dr. Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota.

The country has its speedy vaccination campaign to thank. More than half of American adults — 148 million people — have received at least one dose, which makes them less likely to contract or transmit the virus. Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the director of the C.D.C., recently put it this way: “We are not out of the woods yet, but we could be very close.”

But vaccination rates also bring a dose of realism. The pace is slowing, and experts now say they believe that herd immunity in the U.S. may not be attainable. States where vaccinations are falling behind — particularly in the South — could be especially prone to outbreaks.

More transmissible variants of the virus are also spreading, threatening the progress. The virus is surging in India, Brazil and other countries still scrambling for vaccines. If new, vaccine-resistant variants take hold, it could spell disaster for everybody.

A brighter summer? A new C.D.C. paper said that the pandemic in the U.S. could be under control by this summer, if the vast majority of people get vaccinated and take precautions, The Washington Post reports.

Covid has savaged nursing homes in the U.S. during the pandemic, killing 132,000 residents and slowing admissions. Today, the 14,000 skilled nursing facilities in the U.S. have on average a vacancy rate of slightly more than 25 percent.

The deaths of so many residents — often while loved ones were barred from seeing them — deepened anxiety and guilt among many families planning the next phase of care for an aging relative. Experts say rethinking the purpose of nursing homes is long overdue.

New technology has made it easier to monitor someone at home, and some families are realizing that their relatives may not need nursing home care. Still, home care costs can be prohibitive, and in some places, paid home care is capped for those who rely on Medicaid.

But even as some of the worst of the experiences in nursing homes fade, Liz Barlowe, the former president of the Aging Life Care Association, said she had sensed a shift in views on long-term care among families. The crisis laid bare how poorly equipped many facilities were to handle a pandemic, she said, and underscored that the industry needs to make fundamental changes to restore the confidence of the country.

We recently told you about languishing, a feeling of burnout or aimlessness. But we’d like to know: What’s making you flourish?

Perhaps it’s a television series, a new hobby or spending more time with family and friends. Are you trying to get back to “normal,” or have you found pleasure in your pandemic ways? Tell us.

Send us an email to Please include your name, where you’re from, what’s bringing you joy — and why. We may use your response in an upcoming newsletter.

  • Millions of doses of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine produced by Emergent BioSolutions have been held back in Europe, South Africa and Canada as a precaution.

  • A new survey shows that many parents in the U.S. are hesitant to vaccinate their children.

  • Germany’s health minister said that the authorities would drop prioritization and age limits for adults willing to take the AstraZeneca vaccine.

  • Olympic athletes and officials will be offered doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine before arriving in Japan this summer, but vaccines are not required.

  • Asians are the most vaccinated group in New York City, even though many face language barriers and a fear of violence. Here’s how they did it.

See how the vaccine rollout is going in your county and state.

I’ve been in a period of major transformation. Since the pandemic began, I’ve lost 45 pounds and radically transformed my diet and health. I realized my body wouldn’t be healthy enough to cope very well with getting sick with Covid. Along with transforming my body and my health, I’ve transformed my house, my business, my finances, and even my thinking. I’ve gotten rid of multiple lifelong bad habits, including a sugar addiction I assumed I’d have forever. I’m purging all that is unhealthy for me. I hope to be done with “The Great Overhaul” by the time the world is fully opened up. I’m already well on my way. And for that, I am deeply grateful.

— Jamie Piper, San Diego

Let us know how you’re dealing with the pandemic. Send us a response here, and we may feature it in an upcoming newsletter.

Sign up here to get the briefing by email.

Email your thoughts to

Copyright © 2020 AMSNBC News