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States scale back virus reports despite surges

Pete Ricketts
Posted at 3:07 PM, Jul 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-24 15:08:07-04

OMAHA, Neb. — Several states scaled back their reporting on the coronavirus this month just as cases in the nation tripled. The delta variant of the virus is spreading quickly among the unvaccinated in some states.

The shift to weekly instead of daily reporting in Florida, Nebraska, Iowa and South Dakota was accompanied by less detail about the virus in Florida and Nebraska. Some officials have characterized the move as part of a return to normal. However, the average number of new virus cases nationwide went from 11,500 on June 20 to nearly 38,000 this week.

In Florida’s last two weekly reports, the number of new cases increased from 23,000 to 45,000 and then 73,000 on Friday, an average of more than 10,000 day. Hospitals are starting to run out of space in parts of the state.

In Nebraska, the state stopped reporting on the virus altogether for two weeks after Gov. Pete Ricketts declared an end to the official virus emergency, forcing reporters to file public records requests or turn to national websites that track state data to learn about COVID statistics. Nebraska officials backtracked two weeks later and posted a weekly site that provides some basic numbers.

Public health communication expert Joseph Cappella says the spin that these reporting changes are part of a return to normalcy doesn’t fit with recent case numbers. State coronavirus dashboards have become a staple for closely tracking case counts and trends to navigate a crisis that has killed more than 600,000 Americans.

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Mass COVID-19 vaccination clinic at Richmond Raceway.

Virginians age 12+ are eligible for COVID-19 vaccine. Pre-registration is no longer required, so go to Vaccine Finder to search for specific vaccines available near you or call 877-VAX-IN-VA (877-275-8343).

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Have You Been Fully Vaccinated?

People are considered fully vaccinated:

  • 2 weeks after their second dose in a 2-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or
  • 2 weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine
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What you can and should not do once you have been fully vaccinated.

How to Protect Yourself and Others When You’ve Been Fully Vaccinated

COVID-19 vaccines are effective at protecting you from getting sick. Based on what we know about COVID-19 vaccines, people who have been fully vaccinated can start to do some things that they had stopped doing because of the pandemic.

We’re still learning how vaccines will affect the spread of COVID-19. After you’ve been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, you should keep taking precautions—like wearing a mask, staying 6 feet apart from others, and avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces—in public places until we know more.

These recommendations can help you make decisions about daily activities after you are fully vaccinated. They are not intended for healthcare settings.

Click here for more information from the Virginia Department of Health.