Northeast States Deploy Soldiers and Home Tests in COVID Battle

(Sourced from American Military News) – New York is requiring masks in all indoor places across the state. Massachusetts is sending free home COVID-19 test kits to its poorest areas. Maine has activated its National Guard to help hospitals.

In the U.S. Northeast, officials are trying every tactic to control a winter surge that has emergency rooms overflowing and infection rates soaring.

Admissions of patients with COVID-19 climbed 14.4% across the nation in the week ended Dec. 9, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The rate was more than double — 33.5% — in New England.

The surge is happening in some of the nation’s most vaccinated states. In Massachusetts, where 88% of the population has had at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, the state will send out more than 2 million rapid antigen tests to the poorest communities, Governor Charlie Baker said Monday.

A New York state mask mandate for all indoor public places takes effect Monday. That includes restaurants, stores, houses of worship and office buildings that don’t have vaccine requirements for entry. The order is directed at areas outside New York City, which already has tough restrictions and the state’s lowest COVID-19 rates. As of Dec. 11, New York City’s positive-test rate was 2.7%, while western New York’s was 9.5%.

“These temporary measures will help us get through the holiday season safely,” Governor Kathy Hochul said. “I share everyone’s frustration that we have gotten to this point, especially with the vaccine at our disposal.”

Since the nation’s Thanksgiving holiday Nov. 25, New York state’s seven-day average case rate has increased 43% and hospitalizations have increased 29%. While the percentage of New Yorkers fully vaccinated continues to increase — gaining 2 percentage points from Thanksgiving weekend — the pace isn’t fast enough to curb the spread of the virus, Hochul said.

New York City is going further than other jurisdictions in imposing a vaccine mandate on private-sector workers starting Dec. 27.

“You’re seeing the trend lines with cases going up, hospitalizations going up, so we need to attack on all fronts,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a briefing Monday. “We can see the handwriting on the wall” as shutdowns are happening in Europe, he said. Read Full Article >

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