Knox County Schools Close for Remainder of Week, Cite Illness-Related Staffing Issues

Knox County Schools (KCS) will close for the remainder of the week due to illness-related staffing shortages, according to a release from the district.

The closure, likely connected to the rise in coronavirus cases in the state, will grant students and staff members two days off, in addition to the weekend. 

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Williamson County Schools Post Highest COVID Numbers Since August, Approximately 600 Students Absent

Williamson County Schools on Tuesday posted the highest number of students who tested positive for the coronavirus since August. 

In total, 590 students were absent because they were infected with the virus, in addition to approximately 200 staff members across the district.

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Vanderbilt University Postpones Start of Semester, Cites Surge in COVID Cases

Vanderbilt University announced on Thursday that the beginning of the semester will be delayed, due to the rise in positive coronavirus cases.

According to a statement from the university, the new timeline directs students to begin class on January 18. Originally, the semester’s classes began on January 10.

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Michigan State University to Begin Semester with Virtual Classes Due to Spike in COVID Cases

Michigan State University (MSU) will begin the semester with remote learning for the first three weeks, according to a press release issued by the university on Friday.

Citing the rise in coronavirus cases throughout the state, MSU officials elected to delay the return to campus for most students, which was originally scheduled for January 10. 

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Richmond City Health Department Contradicts Northam Claim That COVID Tests are ‘Widely Available’

The Richmond City Health Department on Thursday seemingly contradicted a claim made by Virginia Governor Ralph Northam that coronavirus tests are widely available throughout the state.

In a statement addressing the statewide rise in positive COVID-19 cases, Northam contended that individuals would be able to easily obtain a PCR test. 

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Virginia Beach School Board Votes to Continue Mask Mandate

A resolution brought before the Virginia Beach City School Board to make masks optional for students in the district failed in an 8 to 3 vote.

If passed, the measure would have allowed each child’s parent or guardian to make a decision to wear the mask each day.

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Florida’s COVID Numbers Continue to Decline, Reports Lowest Daily Cases per Capita in U.S.

Florida’s positive coronavirus cases have continued to decline over recent weeks, allowing the state to report the lowest number of cases per capita in the country.

According to data compiled by The New York Times, the state has an average of 1,393 cases per day, as of Friday. The average represents approximately six cases per 100,000.

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Senator Marsha Blackburn Argues That Mask Mandates Are About ‘Power,’ Not Science

In an impassioned speech on the floor of the U.S. Senate, Senator Blackburn on Thursday argued that the implementation of new mask mandates are connected to a push for power, not “following the science.”

“We are going to continue to have COVID-19 in our presence. We know that, but we also know that what is happening today is not necessarily about masks. This is about continuing to perpetrate these lockdowns. We’ve had a series of lockdowns…[and the left was] pulling back on freedom, giving power to the government, and lessening the ability for individual choices,” Blackburn said while addressing her colleagues.

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Daily COVID-19 Cases Are the Lowest They’ve Been Since the Pandemic Began

Daily coronavirus cases are at their lowest point since the pandemic began in March 2020.

The United States averaged approximately 16,500 daily cases this past week, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, a 30% decline from the week prior. Daily cases declined in 48 states, while Arizona and Washington state both recorded increases of less than 5%.

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Study: American Hospitals May be Overestimating COVID Cases in Children

coronavirus cases in children

A new study from an elite university reveals that American hospitals may have been severely overcounting the true number of coronavirus cases in children, USA Today reports.

The study, from Stanford University’s School of Medicine, focused on COVID data from the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford over a nine-month period, from May 10th, 2020, to February 10th, 2021. During this time span, 117 patients admitted to the hospital under the age of 18 were either confirmed to have tested positive for COVID, or were suffering from multisystem inflammatory syndrome, or MIS-C.

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Not One State Reported a Sizable Increase in Coronavirus Cases Last Week

Sick person talking to CDC employee

For the first time in months, not one state reported a dramatic weekly increase in coronavirus cases.

While average daily cases fell by less than 10% in 11 states, 37 states saw cases fall by over 10% and just two states had cases marginally increase, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. The United States also averaged fewer than 40,000 daily cases last week, a 21% drop from the week prior and the lowest total since September.

Death and hospitalization rates have also plummeted nationwide. The U.S. has averaged 600 deaths per day, the lowest point in approximately 10 months. If the number continues to fall the nation could soon hit its lowest point of the entire pandemic, according to the Associated Press.

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