According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are close to 27 million confirmed Covid-19 cases and 438,035 Covid-related deaths in the U.S., the highest worldwide as of February 1 at 4:00 p.m. EST.
According to the Congressional Budget Office (C.B.O.), the U.S.’s gross domestic product (G.D.P.) is expected to grow 3.7 percent in the fourth quarter of 2021 and another 2.4 percent in 2022. The contraction in G.D.P. due to the virus will likely quicken China’s pace to overtake the U.S. as the world’s largest economy in the coming years. The C.B.O. estimated the unemployment rate would fall to 5.3 percent by the end of 2021, compared to that of 6.8 percent in 2020, but would not reach the pre-pandemic rate until 2024.
The Los Angeles Dodgers stadium, one of the largest Covid-19 vaccination sites in the country, temporarily shut down on January 30 after the protest of about 50 anti-vaxxers took place. Protestors put up signs reading “Covid=SCAM,” “END THE LOCKDOWN,” and “Take off your mask,” attempting to dissuade people from receiving vaccination treatments. The event frustrated hundreds of motorists waiting in line, especially for those who took weeks to book an appointment. There were no physical violence or arrests. On January 31, the police detained hundreds of anti-lockdown protesters in Brussels, Belgium. Similarly, Austria experienced riots in its capital, Vienna, throughout the past few days and banned planned protests by the far-right Freedom Party. Regardless, approximately 5,000 protesters, including some neo-Nazis, showed up to express their anger towards social restrictions and mask-wearing policies. The police arrested ten protesters, and four officers were injured during the altercation.
The Biden administration encountered difficulties finding the location of 20 million vaccine doses that had been distributed to states as of January 31, which inspired a new relief proposal from the Republican party. Ten Republican senators unveiled a $600 billion Covid-19 relief package to counter President Joe Biden’s unprecedented $1.9 trillion plan on January 31. The counterproposal includes $160 billion for vaccination development, distribution, testing, and direct payments for families in need of economic assistance. President Biden conducted a meeting with the senators on February 1, which included talks on whether to revise and compromise the relief package in hopes of winning votes from both political parties or to continue with his current plan with only the support of the Democratic party.
The rapid development of Covid-19 vaccines is racing to outrun the spreading of the viral variants. As of January 31, the U.S. had averaged more than 1.3 million administered doses over the past week. President Biden suggested that the nation would soon reach around 1.5 million doses a day. However, according to Dr. Peter Hotez, a vaccine scientist and pediatrician at Baylor College of Medicine, Covid-19 variants remain the primary challenge to minimize the pandemic’s continued growth.
Indiana reported more than 1,800 additional cases in schools across the state on February 1 alone. According to the State Department of Health update, Indiana now has a total of 36,808 statewide cases since the start of the school year. In Queens, New York, Saint Francis Preparatory School suspended its in-person classes until February 8 after having 18 new cases in January. K-12 schools in Alabama experienced an increase of 264 new statewide cases last week, according to an update from the Alabama Department of Public Health. The state announces that it will allow teachers and elders over the age of 65 to receive vaccination treatments starting February 8.
Massachusetts Covid-19 Updates
As of February 1, there are 57,920 new confirmed Covid-19 cases over the past few weeks in Massachusetts, bringing the total to 524,025, according to the state’s Department of Public Health and Worldometers. Massachusetts has the 16th most confirmed cases by state in the U.S., with California, Texas, and Florida remaining as the top three states. According to Governor Charlie Baker on January 26, Phase 2 of vaccine distribution begins on February 1 in Massachusetts, meaning that residents over the age of 75 are allowed to make vaccination appointments. The state opened its second mass vaccination site at Fenway Park and is expected to vaccinate around 500 people per day. In Andover, MA, there are 113 active cases, 2020 cumulative cases, and 110 reported deaths, as of February 1.