COVID questions: what happens to unused vaccines, why vax rates are low in some places, and what to do with masks
Here’s a look at some COVID-19 news for today, March 3.
An overstock of vaccines
As demand for COVID-19 vaccines collapses in many areas of the U.S., states are scrambling to use stockpiles of doses before they expire and have to be added to the millions that have already gone to waste.
From some of the least vaccinated states, like Indiana and North Dakota, to some of the most vaccinated states, like New Jersey and Vermont, public health departments are shuffling doses around in the hopes of finding providers that can use them.
State health departments told The Associated Press they have tracked millions of doses that went to waste, including ones that expired, were in a multi-dose vial that couldn’t be used completely or had to be tossed for some other reason.
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Why are vax rates low in some countries?
Why are COVID-19 vaccination rates still low in some countries?
Most countries with low vaccination rates are in Africa. As of late February, 13 countries in Africa have fully vaccinated less than 5% of their populations, according to Phionah Atuhebwe, an officer for the World Health Organization’s regional office for Africa.
Other countries with extremely low vaccination rates include Yemen, Syria, Haiti and Papua New Guinea.
What should you do with your mask?
Mask mandates may be lifting in many parts of the United States, but don’t ditch your face coverings just yet.
Last week, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention unveiled new mask guidelines that varied depending on your Covid-19 community level. If you live in a low- or medium-risk area, masks are not always needed, but if you live in a high-risk area, masks are recommended in most situations.
The levels change depending on a variety of factors such as the number of new Covid cases and hospital admissions, so check your county’s status periodically to stay up to date.
What about American unemployment?
Fewer Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week reflecting a low number of layoffs across the economy.
Jobless claims fell by 18,000 to 215,000 for the week ending February 26, from 233,000 the previous week, the Labor Department reported Thursday.
The four-week average for claims, which compensates for weekly volatility, fell by 6,000 to 230,500.
In total, 1,476,000 Americans were collecting jobless aid the week that ended Feb. 12, a small uptick of 2,000 from the previous week’s revised number, which was its lowest level since March 14, 1970.
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Take a look at other big COVID news from today: