COVID Live Updates: Vaccine, mask mandates ease across US as cases drop

COVID-19 Live Updates, News and Information

ByEyewitness News via WABC logo
Friday, March 4, 2022
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COVID vaccine and mask mandates are easing up across the country.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- COVID restrictions are easing across the country, including in New York City and New Jersey.

Los Angeles is lifting its indoor mask mandate on Friday and its school mask mandate ends on Monday, March 14.

Hawaii is changing its travel restrictions. Starting on March 26, domestic visitors no longer have to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test.

The state's mask mandate remains in effect.

RELATED: What are the symptoms of the COVID omicron variant?

Here are more of today's COVID-19 headlines:

Murphy lifting NJ daycare, school mask mandate

Gov. Phil Murphy announced Friday that the statewide school and daycare mask mandate and the statewide Public Health Emergency would be lifted, effective Monday, March 7.

Mayor Adams suspends Key2NYC, school mask requirements

Mayor Eric Adams announced Friday that NYC's Key2NYC and public school mask requirements are suspended as of Monday. New York State dropped its school mask mandate on Wednesday, but students in New York City public schools have still been required to wear them. Mayor Adams said he made both decisions after looking at the latest COVID transmission numbers.

Women's History Month: Sandra Lindsay, 1st in US to get vaccine, helps native Jamaica fight COVID

Northwell Health critical care nurse Sandra Lindsay made history when she was the first person in the United States to get the COVID-19 vaccine on December of 2020.

Her journey that included a trip to the White House to be honored by President Joe Biden also took her back to her native country of Jamaica, where the healthcare system was swamped by the coronavirus.

Florida governor scolds group of students for wearing masks

A visibly annoyed Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis admonished a group of students for wearing face masks at an indoor news conference Wednesday, saying it was time to stop what he called "this COVID theater."

DeSantis, a fierce opponent of virus mask and vaccine mandates, approached the students and asked them to remove their masks as they awaited the Republican governor at the news conference at the University of South Florida in Tampa.

"You do not have to wear those masks. I mean, please take them off. Honestly, it's not doing anything. We've got to stop with this COVID theater. So if you wanna wear it, fine, but this is ridiculous," he said, letting out an audible sigh and shaking his head.

As vaccine demand falls, states are left with huge stockpile

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 like temperature issues or broken vials.

Nearly 1.5 million doses in Michigan, 1.45 million in North Carolina, 1 million in Illinois and almost 725,000 doses in Washington couldn't be used.

Why are COVID vaccination rates still low in some countries?

Experts say there are several reasons why COVID-19 vaccination rates are still low in some countries, in addition to limited supplies. Other challenges now include unpredictable deliveries, weak health care systems and vaccine hesitancy.

Many countries with low vaccination rates are in Africa. Other places include Yemen, Syria and Haiti. For most of last year, developing nations were plagued by a lack of supplies. Other setbacks have emerged including poor infrastructure to distribute the shots and a lack of materials like syringes.

Vaccine hesitancy has also contributed to low uptake.

New CDC maps on COVID community levels

The CDC released new maps on the basis for the federal government's guidance on mask-wearing and other safety precautions for your local communities.

Graphics not displaying correctly? Click here to open the map in a new window, and click here to open the table in a new window.

How many times can I reuse my N95 mask?

How many times can I reuse my N95 mask? It depends, but you should be able to use N95s and KN95s a few times. The U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention says health care workers can wear an N95 mask up to five times. But experts say how often the average person can safely wear one will vary depending on how it's used. Using the same mask to run to the grocery store, for example, is very different than wearing it all day at work.

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