As COVID-19 hospitalizations fall in Northeast, they are rising fast in some states in South

U.S. cases are averaging more than 100,000 a day, but hospitalizations are starting to stabilize in northern states that were recent hot spots after a spike caused by omicron and its subvariants.

The U.S. is averaging 100,892 cases a day, down 7% from two weeks ago, according to a New York Times tracker. The country is averaging 28,970 hospitalizations a day, up 16% from two weeks ago. The daily death toll has fallen to 267 on average, down 14% from two weeks ago.

Hospitalizations are becoming a better metric to measure the state of the pandemic as so much testing is happening at home and the data are not being collected.

Hospitalizations are down more than 40% in Vermont in the past two weeks, and have fallen more than 20% in Massachusetts and about 10% in Maine, Connecticut and New York, the Times reported.

Every other region is seeing a rise, however, especially the southern states of Alabama and Louisiana, where hospitalizations have risen by at least 70% from two weeks ago.

There was backlash on Twitter over the weekend about Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’s threat to fine the Special Olympics $27.5 million for mandating that participants be vaccinated against COVID.

The nonprofit dropped the mandate to avoid the fine. The Games are being held from June 5 to June 12 in Orlando. Florida law bars businesses from requiring documentation of a COVID-19 vaccination, as the Associated Press reported.

DeSantis has built a political brand around opposition to vaccine mandates and other public health measures intended to arrest the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Other Orlando news (March 2022): Disney CEO says he told Florida governor of concerns over ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill

From the archives (March 2022): Florida’s DeSantis scolds students for wearing masks: ‘We’ve got to stop with this COVID theater’

And (February 2022): Florida’s new coronavirus guidance: ‘Buck the CDC’

Coronavirus Update: MarketWatch’s daily roundup has been curating and reporting all the latest developments every weekday since the coronavirus pandemic began

Other COVID-19 news you should know about:

• Health officials in Hong Kong are warning that COVID infections are rising again and have surpassed 500 a day with the increase understood to be coming from outbreaks at bars in a popular entertainment district, the South China Morning Post reported. The city counted 515 new cases on Sunday, the most since April 23. Dr. Chuang Shuk-Kwan, head of the communicable disease branch of the Centre for Health Protection, said the relaxation of social-distancing measures was partly to blame.

• Residents in a city in Inner Mongolia are being asked to stay at home after reports of a new outbreak of COVID cases, the South China Morning Post reported separately. The move comes as Shanghai and Beijing are relaxing lockdowns and other restrictions. The National Health Commission reported 16 new local cases in Inner Mongolia, the third straight day or more than 10 community cases.

Shanghai residents took selfies outside and toasted with champagne as the city emerged from a Covid-19 lockdown that lasted more than two months. But there are economic challenges ahead as China shows no signs of easing its zero-covid strategy. Photo: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg News

• Privacy advocates are urging New York Gov. Kathy Hochul to affix her signature on a bill that would protect sensitive information gathered from people being vaccinated against COVID-19, the AP reported. Advocates say the unfettered sharing of information could be misused by a raft of entities, including law enforcement who the New York Civil Liberties Union suggests could use that data in criminal proceedings.

• Two hotel companies offered updates Monday that showed the travel sector continuing its recovery from pandemic lows. Hyatt Hotels

said a strong Memorial Day weekend has helped produce in May the strongest monthly comparable revenue per available room (RevPAR) performance since November of pre-pandemic 2019. The hotel operator said comparable systemwide RevPAR was about $127 in May, up 2% from April and 6% below the May 2019 level, as Memorial Day weekend RevPAR was 24% above Memorial Day weekend of 2019. Park Hotels & Resorts Inc.
meanwhile, a lodging REIT, raised second-quarter guidance citing “robust” leisure demand that has led to increasing occupancy rates.

If you’ve had Covid before, why can you get it again? WSJ’s Daniela Hernandez explains what the possibility of reinfections means for the future of public-health policy and the Covid-19 pandemic. Illustration: David Fang

Here’s what the numbers say

The global tally of confirmed cases of COVID-19 topped 532 million on Monday, while the death toll rose above 6.29 million, according to data aggregated by Johns Hopkins University.

The U.S. leads the world with 84.7 million cases and 1,008,593 fatalities.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s tracker shows that 221.5 million people living in the U.S. are fully vaccinated, equal to 66.7% of the total population. But just 103.9 million have had a first booster, equal to 46.9% of the vaccinated population.

Just 14.7 million of the people aged 50 and over who are eligible for a second booster have had one, equal to 23.4% of those who had a first booster.

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