While You Were Sleeping: Coronavirus updates for January 26

Coronavirus

Indiana business leaders react to Biden’s executive order to update workplace pandemic safety guidelines. Indiana businesses are keeping a close eye on President Joe Biden’s executive order on workplace safety.

It requires the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration to revise pandemic guidelines for companies in two weeks.

Overall, the Indiana Chamber of Commerce said it agrees with the decision to take another look at workplace pandemic guidelines.

“It doesn’t benefit anyone if the workers get sick,” said Greg Ellis, the vice president of federal affairs at the Indiana Chamber of Commerce. “They increase healthcare cost which could increase healthcare insurance premiums for the employers, the lost productivity.”

President Biden ordered OSHA to base these updated rules on science.

First US case of Brazilian COVID-19 variant found in Minnesota. Minnesota health officials confirmed Monday that a mutation of COVID-19 from Brazil was found for the first time in the United Sates.

The case involves a patient who recently returned to Minnesota after traveling in Brazil, according to a news release from the Minnesota Department of Health.

The unidentified Twin Cities resident started feeling ill during the first week of January and underwent testing Jan. 9.

Minnesota health officials said the variant, known as the Brazil P.1, was found thanks to the department’s variant surveillance program. Each week the program collects 50 random samples from local laboratories and for use in their “whole genome sequencing” program, which helps categorize the different variants and gives “a more accurate picture of what specific forms of COVID-19 are circulating in Minnesota.”

COVID-19 numbers decrease as more focus put on containing new strains. Coronavirus deaths and cases per day in the U.S. dropped markedly over the past couple of weeks but are still running at alarmingly high levels, and the effort to snuff out COVID-19 is becoming an ever more urgent race between the vaccine and the mutating virus.

The government’s top infectious-disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, said the improvement in numbers around the country appears to reflect a “natural peaking and then plateauing” after a holiday surge, rather than the arrival of the vaccine in mid-December.

The U.S. is recording just under 3,100 deaths a day on average, down from more than 3,350 less than two weeks ago. New cases are averaging about 170,000 a day after peaking at almost 250,000 on Jan. 11. The number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients has fallen to about 110,000 from a high of 132,000 on Jan. 7.

States that have been hot spots in recent weeks such as California and Arizona have shown similar improvements during the same period.

Biden restricts travel from 26 European countries. Five days into the job, President Joe Biden is trying to deal with the strains of COVID-19 and fix problems with the vaccine’s rollout.

In order to slow the spread of the coronavirus, the Biden Administration is restricting travel from 26 western European countries as well as Ireland, the UK, Brazil and South Africa.

“It took a long time to get here,” Biden said. “It’s going to take a long time to beat it.”

All international travelers, including US citizens, must also show proof of a negative COVID-19 test within 3 days of entering the US. This comes amidst worries that the new strains of the virus could be more deadly and the vaccine not as efficient against them.

“Right now, the vaccines seem to be able to work against them,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci. “We need to be prepared to upgrade and maybe even a boost later on, or as a bivalent vaccine.”

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