COVID Omicron News: Positivity rate continues to drop in Tri-State

COVID-19 Live Updates, News and Information
NEW YORK (WABC) -- The COVID positivity rate continues to drop in the Tri-State.

In New Jersey, the positivity rate is now just over 3%. Cases are down 86% from a month ago.

In Connecticut, the positivity rate is 2.9%.

In New York, the daily positivity has fallen below 2%.

Approximately 2,500 people are still hospitalized, but that's the lowest number since before Thanksgiving.

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

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



Queen still has mild COVID symptoms, cancels online meetings
Queen Elizabeth II has canceled scheduled online engagements because she is still experiencing mild cold-like symptoms after testing positive for COVID-19. Buckingham Palace said on Tuesday that the 95-year-old monarch "has decided not to undertake her planned virtual engagements today, but will continue with light duties." Elizabeth has been fully vaccinated and received a booster shot, but officials confirmed on Sunday that the queen had tested positive for COVID-19. She reached the milestone of 70 years on the throne on Feb. 6, the anniversary of the 1952 death of her father, King George VI. Both the queen's eldest son, Prince Charles, 73, and her 74-year-old daughter-in-law, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, contracted COVID-19 earlier this month.

Hong Kong orders mandatory COVID-19 tests for all residents
Hong Kong's leader says the city will test its entire population for COVID-19 in March as it grapples with its worst outbreak driven by the omicron variant. Hong Kong has reported about 5,000 new daily infections since Feb. 15, with the number threatening to overwhelm its healthcare system. Since the current surge began at the beginning of the year, the city has recorded nearly 54,000 cases and 145 deaths. The order for citywide testing comes after mainland Chinese authorities dispatched health workers and medical resources last week to help contain the outbreak in the semi-autonomous Chinese city.

Fox News' Cavuto returns to work after bout with COVID-19
Fox News host Neil Cavuto has returned to work after surviving a bout of COVID-19 and pneumonia that he says included time in an intensive care unit and some "touch-and-go" periods. Cavuto, who hosts the 4 p.m. Eastern hour on Fox News Channel and a two-hour program at noon on the Fox Business Network, was back on the air Monday after being off since the week of Jan. 10. Cavuto, 63, is a cancer survivor who has multiple sclerosis and said he was vulnerable to the coronavirus despite being vaccinated. It was his second case of COVID-19.

"It really was touch-and-go," Cavuto said. "Some of you who've wanted to put me out of my misery darn near got what you wished for."

EU advises further relaxing travel rules for foreigners
European Union member countries agree they should further facilitate tourist travel into the 27-nation bloc for people who are vaccinated against the coronavirus or have recovered from COVID-19. The European Council is recommending that EU nations next month lift all testing and quarantine requirements for people who received vaccines authorized in the EU or approved by the World Health Organization. The non-binding guidance approved on Tuesday would apply to individuals who received the last dose of their primary vaccination series at least 14 days and no more than 270 days before arrival, or who have received a booster dose. People who recovered from COVID-19 within 180 days of travel also would be eligible.

Key organizer of Ottawa COVID protests denied bail
A Canadian judge has denied bail to one of the leading organizers behind protests against COVID-19 restrictions and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Ontario Court Justice Julie Bourgeois says she believes there is a substantial likelihood Tamara Lich would reoffend if released. Lich has been a key organizer of the protest that paralyzed the streets around Parliament Hill for more than three weeks. The trucker protest grew until it closed a handful of Canada-U.S. border posts and shut down key parts of the capital. It has since ended.

COVID now mostly killing unvaccinated, seemingly healthy middle aged Americans, data shows
When the recent COVID-19 wave fueled by the omicron variant hit the U.S., no one expected it would lead to the number of deaths it did. As of Wednesday, the nation is reporting 2,200 new COVID daily deaths on average. While this is lower than the 3,400-peak seen last winter, it's still three times higher than the number of average fatalities recorded two months ago.

Additionally, last winter, vaccines had only just started to roll out, children were not yet eligible and the conversation surrounding boosters was far off. With around 60% of Americans fully vaccinated during the most recent wave, daily deaths from omicron are still relatively high, which begs the question: Who is dying of COVID-19 when there is such strong vaccination coverage?

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.

When am I contagious if infected with omicron?
When am I contagious if infected with omicron? It's not yet clear, but some early data suggests people might become contagious sooner than with earlier variants - possibly within a day after infection. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says people with the coronavirus are most infectious in the few days before and after symptoms develop. But that window of time might happen earlier with omicron, according to some outside experts. That's because omicron appears to cause symptoms faster than previous variants - about three days after infection, on average, according to preliminary studies. Based on previous data, that means people with omicron could start becoming contagious as soon as a day after infection.

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