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Nearly half of new US virus infections are in just 5 states. Should they get vaccine priority?
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Nearly half of new US virus infections are in just 5 states. Should they get vaccine priority?

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Nearly half of new coronavirus infections in the United States are in just five states — a situation that is putting pressure on the federal government to consider changing how it distributes vaccines by sending more doses to hot spots.

New York, Michigan, Florida, Pennsylvania and New Jersey together reported 44% of the nation's new COVID-19 infections, or nearly 197,500 new cases, in the latest available seven-day period, according to state health agency data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Total U.S. infections during the same week numbered more than 452,000.

For a look at nationwide patterns in COVID-19 spread, new infections and vaccinations, see maps and charts at the end of this article.

Meanwhile, some other countries are establishing national databases to allow vaccinated people to resume normal activities. The White House says it won't back such a system in the United States.

And Texas Gov. Greg Abbott used his executive power Tuesday to ban state government and some private entities from requiring COVID-19 “vaccine passports” to access services, in the latest move from a Republican governor pitting public health campaigns against personal freedom and private choices.

California plans to lift most coronavirus restrictions on businesses and workplaces June 15, with officials saying enough people should be vaccinated by then to allow for life to almost get back to a pre-pandemic normal.

The announcement comes as states across the country have lifted health restrictions as more people get vaccinated. California had some of the nation's strictest pandemic rules, becoming the first to institute a statewide stay-at-home order last spring and adopting a complex, color-coded tier system in August that dictated which businesses could open and at what capacity depending on how widespread the virus was in a county.

Public health officials are struggling to catch up on screening for sexually transmitted infections after last year's unprecedented COVID-19 testing push. The pandemic sapped resources and supplies away from already-strained efforts to track infections like chlamydia and syphilis, which have been on the rise.

Around the world

  • The world's largest vaccine maker, based in India, will be able to restart exports of AstraZeneca doses by June if new coronavirus infections subside in the country. But a continued surge could result in more delays because the Serum Institute of India would have to meet domestic needs.
  • Despite its flagging vaccination drive, the European Union says it is still on target to reach what it calls “sufficient community immunity” by the end of June.
  • Mexico’s president is lashing out at criticism of the country’s coronavirus vaccination effort, dismissing a pair of scandals as the work of conservative opponents or grumpy “elderly people who go grumbling because they don’t like to be vaccinated.”
  • Tanzania's new president appears to be taking a new, scientific approach to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. President Samia Suluhu Hassan said Tuesday she will form a technical committee to advise her about the scope of COVID-19 infections in the country and how to respond to the pandemic.

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