As the country prepares for Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial start of summer, new numbers from federal aviation security officials showed that US air travel hit the highest daily level of the pandemic era on Sunday, the Washington Post reports, with 1.8 million passengers screened.
Last year, Memorial Day weekend parties set off a summer surge of infections in swaths of the southern and western United States. But this year, widespread vaccination of US adults means most can gather safely as long as they are fully vaccinated.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention COVID Data Tracker shows that 359,849,035 COVID-19 vaccine doses have been delivered in the United States, and 289,212,304 have been administered, with 131,850,089 Americans fully vaccinated.
All airline passengers, including those fully vaccinated, are required to wear masks at least through Sep 13, according to guidelines from the Transportation Security Administration.
Daily cases hover around 20,000
The United States reported 22,756 new COVID-19 cases yesterday and 621 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 tracker. In total, the country has confirmed 33,182,364 cases, including 591,812 deaths.
In signs that the pandemic is in retreat, Puerto Rico has lifted its 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew for the first time since March 2020. The island has been averaging 146 new coronavirus cases daily over the past 7 days, an almost 60% decrease over the past 2 weeks, according to a New York Times database. Approximately 45% of Puerto Rican adults have had at least one dose of vaccine, and 30% of adults are fully vaccinated.
In addition to lifting the curfew, Puerto Rico is now allowing indoor businesses to operate at 50% capacity and says fully vaccinated citizens no longer have to wear masks outdoors.
Vaccine uptake 14% in 12- to 15-year-olds
According to the Associated Press, middle and high schools are increasingly becoming involved in the campaign to vaccinate the nation’s 15 million 12- to 15-year-olds with the Pfizer/BioNTech mRNA vaccine.
So far, approximately 14% of that population has had at least one dose of the vaccine, according to the CDC.
The age group is the latest to be ushered into vaccine lines across the country, but the group proves challenging to reach: Parents are required to authorize the vaccine, and many young teens say they don’t want to get the shot.
But the vaccine could prove to be important for American adolescents’ mental health, according to a new briefing from the Kaiser Family Foundation.
During the pandemic, more than 25% of high school students reported worsened emotional and cognitive health, and more than 20% of parents with children ages 5 to 12 reported similar worsening conditions for their children.