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COVID-19 updates: California’s indoor mask mandate to expire Feb. 15


(NEW YORK) — As the COVID-19 pandemic has swept the globe, more than 5.7 million people have died from the disease worldwide, including over 904,000 Americans, according to real-time data compiled by Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Systems Science and Engineering.

About 64.1% of the population in the United States is fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Here’s how the news developed Monday. All times Eastern:

Feb 07, 10:29 pm
California governor says indoor mask mandate will expire Feb. 15

California’s indoor mask mandate will expire Feb. 15, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced on Twitter Monday.

He said the state’s COVID-19 case rate has decreased by 65% since their omicron peak, and hospitalizations have stabilized.

“Our statewide indoor mask requirement will expire on 2/15. Unvaccinated people will still need to wear masks indoors. Get vaccinated. Get boosted,” he wrote.

Feb 07, 4:56 pm
Cases among kids continue to drop but are still ‘extremely high’

After the U.S. reported an unprecedented number of new pediatric COVID-19 infections last month, updated data released on Monday shows new cases among children have dropped for the second week in a row.

Nearly 632,000 kids tested positive for COVID-19 last week, a huge drop from the peak level of 1,150,000 reported the week ending Jan. 20, according to a new report by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association.

However, the organizations warn that pediatric cases remain “extremely high” and are still double the level seen in the summer delta surge.

AAP and CHA noted there is an “urgent” need to collect more age-specific data to assess the severity of illness related to new variants as well as potential longer-term effects.

ABC News’ Arielle Mitropoulos

Feb 07, 4:34 pm
Connecticut to end statewide school mask mandate

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont announced Monday that he recommends ending the statewide mask mandate as of Feb. 28.

Beginning in March, the decision on masks in schools will go to superintendents and mayors based on the individual needs of towns, he said.

This comes hours after New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said his requirement to wear face masks in schools will end on March 7.

The CDC said it continues to recommend masks for all students 2 and older, regardless of vaccination status.

Feb 07, 2:50 pm
White House has contracted 569 million free tests so far

President Joe Biden’s administration has so far contracted for about 569 million at-home rapid tests as it works to fulfill Biden’s pledge for 1 billion free tests nationwide, a White House official told ABC News.

According to an ABC News analysis, the testing company iHealth is supplying the government with the most tests toward this goal, with a contract to deliver 354 million tests. Other companies supplying tests include Roche, Abbott and Siemens.

White House officials said about 60 million households have placed orders for tests so far through, amounting to a total of 240 million tests (each household can order four).

The U.S. Postal Service said Friday that it has shipped out tests to “tens of millions” of those households.

ABC News’ Cheyenne Haslett, Ben Gittleson, Lucien Bruggeman

Feb 07, 11:54 am
New Jersey governor to end mask mandate for schools

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy announced Monday that the state’s requirement to wear face masks in schools will end on March 7.

“Balancing public health with getting back to some semblance of normalcy is not easy. But we can responsibly take this step due to declining COVID numbers and growth in vaccinations,” Murphy tweeted.

Murphy, a Democrat, has imposed some of the strictest pandemic-related mandates in the country. New Jersey, an early hot spot for COVID-19 cases, has lost more than 31,000 residents to the virus.

This move follows a decision last month by Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, also a Democrat, to rescind his state’s mask mandate for schools.

Meanwhile, the Democratic governors of New York and Connecticut have said that they are reevaluating school mask mandates set to expire later this month.

Feb 07, 11:47 am
All states reporting declining or stable new case rates

After months of rising cases due to the omicron surge, every state in the U.S. is now reporting declining or stable new case rates, according to federal data.

Less than one month ago, the U.S. was averaging more than 800,000 new cases per day. Now that average has plummeted to just over 313,000 new cases per day — a 61% drop since the nation’s peak in mid-January and a 56% drop in the last two weeks.

Even so, the U.S. still reported nearly 2.2 million new COVID-19 cases last week; the nation’s daily case average remains higher than during any other wave of the pandemic.

Hospitalizations are also falling. About 14,000 Americans are being admitted to the hospital with COVID-19 each day — down by more than 23% in the last week, according to federal data.

Deaths, however, remain very high, with 16,800 Americans dying from COVID-19 over the last week. Deaths are a lagging indicator and usually take a few weeks to dip after the country sees a decline in cases and hospitalizations.

Feb 07, 9:42 am
Delaware to end universal indoor mask mandate

Delaware will lift its universal mask mandate on Friday morning after an improvement in cases and hospitalizations, Gov. John Carney said.

“We’re in a much better place than we were several weeks ago,” Carney said in a statement Monday. “I want to be clear about this point – COVID is still circulating in our communities. And the virus still poses a risk of serious illness, particularly among those who are not up to date on their vaccinations. But we have the tools to keep ourselves and each other safe.”

The mask requirement for Delaware schools was extended and is now set to expire on March 31.

Feb 07, 5:48 am
Ottawa declares state of emergency over trucker-led protests

Canada’s capital declared a state of emergency on Sunday because of trucker-led protests against COVID-19 vaccine mandates and other pandemic-related restrictions.

The move by Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson “reflects the serious danger and threat to the safety and security of residents posed by the ongoing demonstrations and highlights the need for support from other jurisdictions and levels of government,” according to a statement from the city.

“It also provides greater flexibility within the municipal administration to enable the City of Ottawa to manage business continuity for essential services for its residents and enables a more flexible procurement process, which could help purchase equipment required by frontline workers and first responders,” the city said.

Seven people were arrested in Ottawa on Sunday due to enforcement measures around the demonstration, according to a press release from the Ottawa Police Service.

“There are over 60 criminal investigations so far related to the demonstration,” police said. “They are primarily for mischief, thefts, hate crimes and property damage.”

Sunday marked the 10th straight day of the so-called “freedom convoy” protests, which began with truckers critical of a new rule that they must be vaccinated against COVID-19 to cross the United States-Canada border. The demonstrations have since grown into broader challenges to pandemic-related public health measures and opposition to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Thousands of protesters have occupied the streets of Ottawa and other cities across Canada in support of the movement, paralyzing the capital’s city center with traffic jams, nonstop noise and complaints of harassment. Protesters have said they won’t leave until all COVID-19 vaccine mandates and restrictions are lifted nationwide. They are also calling for the removal of Trudeau’s government, even though most of the public health measures were put in place by provincial governments.

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