Ohio zoo, museum news; pools in Kentucky; coronavirus vaccine and more
The Enquirer’s Alex Coolidge talks about what the future of grocery shopping looks like post-pandemic.
Massive protests across the country over death of George Floyd have health officials worried about a potential increase of coronavirus cases.
Public health experts said it will take two to three weeks to figure out if the George Floyd demonstrations happening across the U.S. will mean a bump in coronavirus cases. And, they note it would be hard to definitively tie them an increase, USA TODAY reported.
In addition, many states loosening restrictions and many places saw large Memorial Day weekend crowds.
The coronavirus isn’t going away anytime soon. Worldwide, there have been more than 6.5 million confirmed cases and the United States is inching closer to 2 million, according to the Johns Hopkins University dashboard.
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Lawmakers want to make to-go alcoholic drinks permanent
Amid the novel coronavirus, Ohio broke the seal on allowing to-go alcoholic beverages from margaritas to adult Capri Suns.
House Bill 669 would allow Ohioans to purchase delivery and carryout alcoholic beverages even after Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine lifts the emergency order on the novel coronavirus.
In early April, DeWine allowed bars and restaurants to serve two alcoholic drinks per meal as a way to help businesses struggling with the closure of in-person seating. The proposed legislation would have no limit on beverages.
The bill would allow delivery services, such as DoorDash and Grubhub, to bring boozy beverages to Ohioans’ homes if the services register with the Ohio Division of Liquor Control.
Zoo, museum details Thursday
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said he will have an update for outdoor and indoor entertainment facilities like zoos and museums on Thursday.
The Cincinnati Museum Center laid off 50 full-time staff and 125 part-time staff who had previously been furloughed because of a financial shortfall caused by the coronavirus closures.
The Cincinnati Zoo’s leaders have been eager to reopen.
DeWine said he would have “good news” for them Thursday.
“The advantage of a zoo is it’s primarily outside. When you get inside, it’s a little more problematic, but in most of these cases, they have worked out a way that appears it’s going to work.”
More coronavirus testing in Ohio isn’t turning up higher rate of positive cases
Increased testing for the coronavirus in Ohio is not finding a higher rate of people infected with COVID-19.
In fact, 94% of people have tested negative in the past 40 days, leading state officials and medical experts to say they are encouraged by Ohio’s fight against the pandemic.
But they warn that it’s too soon to celebrate and return to the way life was before the disease spread around the world.
“We can’t let our guard down,” said Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, chief medical officer for OhioHealth. “The bigger picture for me is a positive and I am encouraged by the numbers. But as we return to common life, we must continue being responsible and do the things we have been doing with social distancing and personal hygiene that helped get us to this point.”
Thousands of Kentucky unemployment claims unresolved
While the majority of the more than 800,000 Kentuckians who have filed for unemployment benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic have received payment, there are still tens of thousands whose claims are unresolved.
Over a 10-week period since mid-March, about 844,000 people in Kentucky — or two in five Kentucky workers — have filed for unemployment.
There are still just under 10,000 March claims and about 30,000 April claims that are unresolved.
Efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus led to many businesses temporarily closing their doors, leaving many without work. Even as businesses start to reopen, economic futures are uncertain, and the threat of subsequent waves of the virus looms.
The hundreds of thousands of Kentuckians who have joined the unemployment rolls have overwhelmed an outdated system that has been unable to keep up with all filers.
COVID-19 disproportionately impacts black people in Kentucky
The virus has disproportionately impacted black people in Kentucky.
Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said 17.29% of those who have died to date were black, while just over 8% of Kentuckians are black.
“We were seeing that because of inequalities that have lasted hundreds of years and absolutely exist in out health care system that we were losing almost twice as many black and African Americans to this virus as they represent in our population,” Beshear said. “It’s not OK.”
Beshear said he hopes to later this week announce plans to “do something about it.”
Kentucky Kingdom, pools can reopen on June 29, Beshear says
In his Thursday press briefing, Beshear announced that Kentucky Kingdom will be able to reopen on June 29.
“It will look very different. It is a very extensive proposal,” Beshear said. “We appreciate the operators working on that with us.”
Beshear also announced that pools will be able to reopen on June 29, but in a limited capacity. The state’s guidelines on pool limitations haven’t been released yet.
Federal data suggests Indiana is undercounting COVID-19 nursing home deaths
Federal data released this week suggests Indiana has been undercounting COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes.
At least 1,141 nursing home residents have died from the coronavirus in Indiana, according to new data released Monday by the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicare Services.
That’s nearly 200 more than the state reported the same day.
“We are currently looking into these differences and trying to figure out how we get closer to the real number,” said Dr. Daniel Rusyniak, chief medical officer for the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration.
The discrepancy could stem from a difference in how the data has been reported in Indiana.
A coronavirus vaccine could require 2 shots
A vaccine against the coronavirus may not be as simple as one jab and you’re immune.
There’s a high likelihood an eventual vaccine will require a two-dose series, a month or so apart, with the possibility of a booster several years later, adding to the complexity and cost of administration and distribution.
Much remains unknown about SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Even as physicians scramble to understand the natural history of the disease, scientists around the world are working to find vaccines to protect humanity against the virus. Only now are some of the broad outlines of what immunizations might look like becoming clear.
The two doses are likely to be required because SARS-CoV-2 is a newly emerged virus that no one has developed antibodies against. Also, with many potential vaccines being created using new systems it’s believed two doses will be required for full immunity.
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