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COVID-19 hospitalizations tumble among US senior citizens; plus more virus news

COVID-19 hospitalizations tumble among US senior citizens; plus more virus news

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COVID-19 hospitalizations among older Americans have plunged more than 70% since the start of the year, and deaths among them appear to have tumbled as well, dramatic evidence the vaccination campaign is working.

Now the trick is to get more of the nation's younger people to roll up their sleeves.

The drop-off in severe cases among Americans 65 and older is especially encouraging because senior citizens have accounted for about 8 out of 10 deaths from the virus since it hit the U.S., where the toll stands at about 570,000

COVID-19 deaths among people of all ages in the U.S. have plummeted to about 700 per day on average, compared with a peak of over 3,400 in mid-January.

“What you’re seeing there is exactly what we hoped and wanted to see: As really high rates of vaccinations happen, hospitalizations and death rates come down," said Jodie Guest, a public health researcher at Emory University.

In other developments:

  • The “pause” of Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine last week is just the latest crisis-messaging challenge for officials during the pandemic. Confronted with rare cases of blood clots potentially linked to the shots, U.S. health officials faced a delicate task: how to suspend the shots without setting off alarm.
  • The number of Americans applying for unemployment aid fell last week to 547,000, the lowest point since the pandemic struck and an encouraging sign that layoffs are slowing on the strength of an improving job market.
  • Two of the nation’s largest university systems say they intend to require COVID-19 vaccinations for all students, faculty and staff on University of California and California State University campuses this fall.
  • Dutch caretaker Prime Minister Mark Rutte is defending his decision to ease his country’s lockdown next week even after the Netherlands recorded the highest daily increase since January.
  • Ontario Premier Doug Ford is apologizing for a failed attempt to ban playgrounds and allow police to stop and question people who were not in their homes. The measures had created a backlash from police forces, health officials and the public.
  • The director of the hit French TV medical drama “Hippocrate,” a former doctor himself, was so moved by the urgency of the coronavirus pandemic that he couldn’t just stand back. So he put his scrubs back on.

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