Further complicating things, the most up-to-date numbers include testing figures from only 11 states, according to the report. Only 23 states and New York City reported hospitalizations and 43 states — along with New York City, Puerto Rico and Guam — reported mortality rates. Florida stopped reporting child hospitalizations in late June and Iowa stopped updating child testing data shortly after. And in Nebraska, the COVID-19 dashboard has been unavailable since the end of June.
Parts of the country are considering reimplementing protective measures as cases climb. With the start of the school year just around the corner, the same organization that conducted the report is recommending that students over the age of 2 and all staff — vaccinated or not — mask up.
With cases running rampant across his state, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson is caught in a bind. The governor is still not in favor of a statewide mandate, but he wants the law banning state and local mask mandates overturned to give schools the opportunity to implement mask mandates.
“In hindsight, I wish that it had not become law,” Hutchinson said at a news conference Tuesday. “But it is the law, and the only chance we have is either to amend it or for the courts to say that it has an unconstitutional foundation.”
To date, the coronavirus has claimed the lives of more than 612,000 people. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently walked back its previous message that most vaccinated persons could engage in nearly all activities mask-free. It is now recommending that everyone, regardless of vaccine status, return to wearing masks indoors in areas where transmission rates are high.