“I know I’m trying to be funny now, but I’m dead serious about the vaccine,” she told the camera. “I think we all want to get back to normal, whatever that is, and that would be a great shot in the arm, wouldn’t it?”
But as this joyful video was shared on Parton’s Twitter account on Tuesday, several US states went against the advice of health experts by lifting mask mandates and loosening other restrictions put in place to stop the spread of Covid-19.
After the number of new coronavirus cases in the United States declined from unprecedented highs recently, the downturn appears to have stagnated at a high level, and seven-day average case levels are as high as they were last summer. “We should not ease up, allow indoor dining, big groups … getting rid of mask mandates. We have to hold on for another two or three months in this condition,” Dr. Zeke Emanuel, who was a member of Biden’s Transition Covid-19 Advisory Board, told CNN.
The new Covid-19 variants that are sweeping across the globe are often not just more infectious, they could also make vaccines less effective. That means that states like Texas and Mississippi, which were slow to adopt steps like mask wearing, are not just risking their own citizens but all other Americans too.
YOU ASKED. WE ANSWERED
Q: Do mask mandates work?
A: Mask mandates can work, according to research released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in February, which found that fewer people ended up in hospital with Covid-19 in places where state and local governments required mask use.
The team, from the CDC and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, noted that the study did not control for other factors that could have affected hospitalization rates. But it said its findings support community mask wearing to reduce Covid-19 transmission and hospitalization, noting that the practice likely has a direct effect on coronavirus-related illness and death.
WHAT’S IMPORTANT TODAY
US will have enough vaccines for all adults before June, says Biden
The variant first reported in Brazil may be 2.2 times more transmissible
Europe’s unified vaccine strategy is falling apart as countries look to Israel, China and Russia for help
Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz announced Monday that he intends to work with Israel and Denmark on future vaccine production and cooperation around developing further shots to combat variants. Other EU nations have turned to Russia and China to plug the gaps in vaccine supply through unilateral procurements.
ON OUR RADAR
- With Australians still unable to travel abroad due to pandemic restrictions, flag carrier Qantas is launching a series of “Mystery Flights” to encourage domestic travel.
- Dozens of rural areas in the US have no pharmacy that can distribute vaccines, which risks prolonging the pandemic in the hard-hit regions.
- Mammograms are picking up swelling due to the Covid-19 vaccine and causing unnecessary fear, radiologists say.
- Covid-19 and the seemingly unending sense of uncertainty that came with it have stripped us of much of the control we had pre-pandemic.
Why kids are reaching a pandemic wall
Young people around the world appear to be hitting a breaking point that developmental psychologists are calling the “pandemic wall.”
As we near the anniversary of the outbreak and associated social distancing measures, kids and parents alike are mourning how our lives used to be. It doesn’t even matter how dramatically kids’ lives have changed, experts say. The fact that disruption has become normalized is traumatizing enough.
“No hugs or high-fives, and no cheering, only clapping.” — Selina Wang, CNN International Correspondent