Dengue fever is a viral disease that is primarily transmitted through the bite of infected mosquitoes. It is a significant public health concern in Bangladesh from June to August. However, in some years, it lasted up to December. The symptoms of dengue can range from mild to severe and can include high fever, severe headache, joint and muscle pain, rash, nausea, and vomiting. Let's take a look at the Dengue tests. What is a Dengue Test? A Dengue test refers to a diagnostic procedure performed to determine the presence of the dengue virus or antibodies against the virus in an individual's blood sample. These tests play a crucial role in identifying and confirming dengue infection. Early detection of dengue is crucial for effective management and prevention of severe complications. Several methods are available to detect dengue infection. The most commonly used diagnostic tests in Bangladesh include Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and NS1 antigen test. PCR PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) Dengue test is a molecular diagnostic test used to detect the presence of the dengue virus in a person's blood sample. This test is highly sensitive and specific, allowing for the accurate identification of the dengue virus and its serotypes. Read more: Food, Drinks during Dengue: What to consume, what to avoid The PCR Dengue test works by amplifying and detecting the viral genetic material, specifically the viral RNA, present in the blood sample. The test utilizes specific primers that target regions of the dengue virus genome. Through a series of temperature cycles, the PCR machine amplifies the targeted viral RNA, making it detectable. However, the PCR dengue test is particularly useful during the early stages of infection when the virus is actively replicating in the body. It can detect the virus within seven days of symptom onset, providing a rapid diagnosis. This early detection is crucial for appropriate medical intervention, monitoring, and implementation of preventive measures. The test is recommended when an individual presents with symptoms consistent with dengue fever, such as high fever, severe headache, joint and muscle pain, and rash. Since these symptoms can also be associated with other viral infections, the PCR Dengue test helps confirm whether dengue is the cause. However, the PCR test is more costly than the NS1 test. Hence, Bangladeshi hospitals use the NS1 antigen test. Read more: Dengue vs. Severe Dengue: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, Prevention NS1 The NS1 Dengue test is a diagnostic test used to detect the presence of the dengue virus in the blood. NS1 stands for "nonstructural protein 1," which is a protein produced by the dengue virus during infection. The test detects the presence of this protein, indicating an active dengue infection.
Scientists have said relics of ancient viruses that have spent millions of years hiding within human DNA help the body battle cancer, according to a BBC report. When cancerous cells escalate out of control, dormant remnants of these old viruses are reawakened, according to a study by the Francis Crick Institute. This resurgence of these old viruses “unintentionally” helps the body’s immune system by targeting and attacking the tumour. The study – published in the journal Nature – suggested a correlation between increased lung cancer survival and the presence of B-cells aggregating around tumours, according to the researchers. Read More: Shakib launches cancer foundation to support underprivileged patients B-cells usually manufacture antibodies in our body and are better known for their vital role in battling infections, such as Covid-19, BBC reports. Although the exact functionality of these cells are yet to be identified, it was evidenced -- based on a series of intricate experiments using samples from patients and animals – that they are attempting to fight viruses. "It turned out that the antibodies are recognising remnants of what's termed endogenous retroviruses," Prof Julian Downward, an associate research director at the Francis Crick Institute, told BBC. Retroviruses have the clever ability to insert their genetic instructions into our own. Read more: Cancer specialists for amendment of tobacco control law, increase in tobacco tax Some of these foreign instructions have been adopted over time and serve beneficial purposes within our cells, while others are tightly regulated to prevent their spread, according to the researchers. These ancient genetic instructions are no longer able to resurrect whole viruses but they can create fragments of viruses that are enough for the immune system to spot a viral threat. "The immune system is tricked into believing that the tumour cells are infected and it tries to eliminate the virus, so it's sort of an alarm system," Prof George Kassiotis, head of retroviral immunology at the biomedical research centre, told BBC. The antibodies stimulate other parts of the immune system that eliminate the "infected" cells -- the immune system is attempting to stop a virus, but in this case is eliminating cancerous cells, according to Professor Kassiotis. Read More: LabAid Cancer Hospital launches new online video commercial Meanwhile, Dr Claire Bromley, from Cancer Research UK said that the study adds to the growing body of research that could one day see this innovative approach to cancer treatment become a reality.
As the world recovers from the devastating blow of Covid 19, another virus is shaping up to be a looming threat. We are talking about Adenovirus of the family Adenoviridae. This virus has been on the rise in India, especially in West Bengal. This life-threatening virus causes prolonged flu-like illness in children. As the cases rise, now is a better time than ever to understand the symptoms, causes, preventions and treatments of Adenovirus. What is Adenovirus? Adenovirus belongs to the wider Adenoviridae family. The virus itself is relatively small compared to its other family branches. What’s surprising here is that Adenovirus has over 50 different types of mutations which affect the human body, especially children in different ways. Adenoviruses are non-enveloped with double-stranded DNA that acts as their genetic material. The non-enveloped structure helps them to survive outside a host body for an extended period. Read More: Happiness Hormone: Ways to Boost Dopamine The most common illness caused by Adenovirus includes respiratory infections, conjunctivitis, and gastrointestinal infections. Sometimes the effect of Adenovirus can get compounded. A person with a weakened immune system like an HIV AIDS patient or someone undergoing chemotherapy might fall severely ill due to Adenovirus. How Does Adenovirus Transmit? Adenoviruses are highly contagious and can use several different means of contamination. It spreads from one person to another through bodily fluids like urine, saliva, and blood. The infected person needs to be quarantined as soon as they show symptoms of prolonged flu combined with a weakened immune system. There are several ways through which Adenovirus can get into a healthy person. - If a carrier of Adenovirus sneezes or coughs in front of a healthy person, they might get infected with respiratory droplets. - If a healthy person comes in contact with any surface previously used or touched by the contaminated person. - If there is any form of physical contact. Especially around the eyes, mouth, or nose. - Sexual contact with an infected person can also cause Adenovirus to spread. It often leads to secondary genital infections. - Using the same utensils as used by the infected person. Read More: Workplace stress affecting women in Bangladesh needs attention Symptoms of Adenovirus The symptoms of Adenovirus differ from variant to variant. Depending on the variant a person contracts, they might notice different symptoms which are completely unrelated to one another. Sometimes the symptoms can even get compounded. The general symptoms include. - Cough, fever, runny nose, and chills. These are signs of bronchitis-related Adenovirus infection. - A sore throat, stuffy nose, and swollen glands might be indicators of respiratory Adenovirus infection. - Barking cough, trouble, and noise while breathing - Otitis media - Pneumonia - Diarrhea, vomiting, headache, and stomach pain - Meningitis - Infection of the urinary tract - Swelling around the eye Read More: 11 Home Remedies for Cough in Kids Among these symptoms, persistent fever and swollen eyes are serious signs of aggravated Adenovirus infection in children. Contact the pediatrician as soon as possible in such cases. How to Diagnose Adenovirus? Adenovirus infection can be diagnosed in several ways. All of these involve lab tests and some of which are pretty common due to the similar diagnostic procedure to Covid 19. Viral culture Viral culture is the traditional way of detecting the presence of viruses in body fluids. A sample of the patient's bodily fluid, such as blood, urine, or respiratory secretions, can be collected and checked whether there is the presence of Adenovirus in the body. Read More: Bonnell Vs Pocket Spring Mattress: Which is the Best for Good Sleep?
A total of five people died of Nipah virus across the country this year, said Health Minister Zahid Maleque on Sunday. “Eight people were infected with Nipah virus and of them five people died,” he said at a press briefing over the Nipah virus outbreak at the Secretariat. Usually more than 70 percent of infected people die and people who drink raw date juice and fruits partially eaten by birds, especially bats, have possibility of being infected with the virus, he said. “Besides, healthy people who come in contact with the infected ones also have possibility of being infected with the virus and it spreads from person to person quickly which is a matter of concern,” he added. The government has taken steps to prevent the spread of Nipah virus, said the minister. “First of all we have to make people aware about the virus through media,” said Maleque. Besides, the government has taken step to create dedicated ward and separate Intensive Care unit at hospitals for providing treatment to the infected people, he said. Also read: Transfer of immunity against Nipah virus from mother to child: icddr,b There is vaccine or medicine for treatment of Nipah virus infected patients, he added. He also urge people to remain alert about the spread of the virus, refrain from drinking raw date juice and fruits eaten by birds or animals. Replying to a question about the current situation of the virus, the minister said “We are trying our best to contain the spread of the virus.”
Wang Jian is anxious to get back to work teaching basketball to children now that China has lifted anti-COVID-19 restrictions. But his gym in the eastern city of Shenyang has been closed for a month because all its coaches are infected. The most optimistic forecasts say China's business and consumer activity might revive as early as the first quarter of this year. But before that happens, entrepreneurs and families face a painful squeeze from a surge in virus cases that has left employers without enough healthy workers and kept wary customers away from shopping malls, restaurants, hair salons and gyms. “I hope the situation will turn around in March or April with no more COVID shocks,” said Wang, 33, who went without a paycheck for four months when the gym closed during virus outbreaks. “If parents worry about possible reinfection, they simply won’t send their children for training.” The abrupt decision by President Xi Jinping's government to end controls that shut down factories and kept millions of people at home will move up the timeline for economic recovery, but might disrupt activity this year as businesses scramble to adapt, forecasters say. “This will be a bumpy process,” said Dong Chen, chief Asia economist for Pictet Wealth Management. “People still are struggling with infections, but we think this could be temporary,” Chen said. “Broadly, we think this is a positive surprise.” The decision to accelerate China's reopening is a boost for the global economy at a time when activity in the United States and Europe is weakening after repeated interest rate hikes by central banks to cool surging inflation. It is likely to help revive auto sales and propel demand for imported consumer goods, oil and food in China, one of the biggest global markets. Countries including Thailand with big tourism industries look forward to an influx of Chinese travelers. The World Bank and private sector forecasters have cut estimates of China's economic growth last year to as low as 2.2% due to the infection spike that started in early October and challenged Beijing's “zero-COVID” goal of isolating every case. The International Monetary Fund expects a recovery to 4.4% this year, but that still would be among the lowest levels of the past three decades. “Zero-COVID” kept China’s infection numbers low but shut down Shanghai and other industrial cities last year for two months, disrupting manufacturing and shipping. Business groups said global companies were shifting investment plans away from China because rules that required visitors from abroad to quarantine for a week kept executives from visiting. The ruling party promised Nov. 11 to reduce the cost and disruption. A series of surprise announcements rolled back travel and other restrictions that health experts and economists had expected to persist through mid-2023. On Sunday, Beijing began allowing travelers to enter China without quarantines. The government has yet to say when China will resume issuing tourist visas. “The sudden, chaotic way in which pandemic policies have been changed means that growth will be hampered in new ways,” Daniel H. Rosen, Charlie Vest and Rogan Quinn of Rhodium Group said in a report. High numbers of infections make it "realistic to expect production to be hampered for a substantial part of 2023.” Forecasters say the economy probably contracted in the final quarter of 2022 as virus case numbers rose and retail spending and trade fell. Exports shrank after American and European consumer demand was depressed by interest rate hikes. That forces Chinese planners to make up for lost foreign sales by trying to boost consumer demand. “The key to rapid economic recovery" is to "convert income into consumption and investment as much as possible,” one of the country's most prominent financial figures, Guo Shuqing, the ruling party secretary for the central bank, told the official Xinhua News Agency. Informal measures show public and business activity improving but weak. This month’s subway passenger numbers in 10 large cities recovered to 55-60% of the level a year ago, up from 30-35% last month, according to Macquarie Group. Roads are growing more congested. Foreign companies that see China as a critical market welcome the change but are struggling, said Eric Zheng, president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai. “Companies were not prepared for this abrupt change,” said Zheng, whose group has about 1,000 member companies. “It is hard to manage a workforce when a lot of people are getting sick.” Still, “things are almost going back to normal,” Zheng said. “Once life goes back to normal and consumers are out shopping, things will definitely improve.” Another business group, the American Chamber of Commerce in China, said more than 70% of companies that responded to a poll last month expressed confidence the infection wave would last no more than three months and end early this year. The ruling party is trying to nudge up growth by easing restrictions on financing for real estate and winding down anti-monopoly and data security crackdowns on tech companies that caused their stock market values to plunge. In December, regulators announced Ant Group, an online financial company that was forced to call off a planned multibillion-dollar public stock offering in 2020, would be allowed to raise 10.5 billion yuan ($1.6 billion) for its consumer unit, more than doubling its capital. “These measures are helpful, but far from enough to move the needle,” Larry Hu and Yuxiao Zhang of Macquarie said in a report. Hotels, restaurants and other businesses hoping for a boost from this month’s Lunar New Year holiday, the busiest tourism season, suffered a blow when some local authorities appealed to migrant workers to skip traditional visits to their hometowns that might spread infections. The operator of the 12-room Oriental Hotel in the eastern city of Hefei, who would give only his family name, Huang, said he is losing 4,000 yuan ($550) a month. His occupancy rate is 20%, well below the 50% needed to break even. “People stay home and maybe they worry about possible reinfection,” Huang said. “If it stays the same for another year, I will give up running the hotel.” The National Health Commission stopped announcing case numbers last month, but reports by city and county governments suggest hundreds of millions of people might have been infected. The Zhengtai Restaurant in the northwestern city of Jinzhong closed for two weeks because almost all its 57 employees were infected, according to the manager, Chang Zhigang. Chang said the business has lost about 2 million yuan ($300,000) per year since the start of the pandemic. “We don’t expect the situation to turn around within a short time, given there are very few people on the street,” Chang said.
The overall number of global Covid-19 cases has now surpassed 666 million. According to the latest global data, the total case count mounted to 666,001,230 while the death toll from the virus reached 6,700,964 on Wednesday morning. The US has recorded 102,747,552 cases so far, while 1,118,757 people have died from the virus in the country, both highest counts around the world. Read: Beijing threatens response to ‘unacceptable’ virus measures India reported 134 new cases of Covid-19 on Tuesday, with the active caseload standing at 2,582. No Covid-19 related death has been reported across the country during the past 24 hours.. Meanwhile, France has registered 39,356,184 Covid-19 cases so far, while 162,377 people have died in the country, as per the Worldometer. Covid in Bangladesh Bangladesh registered 31 more Covid cases in the 24 hours till Tuesday morning. With the new numbers, the country's total caseload rose to 2,037,187, according to the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS). However, the official death toll from the disease remained unchanged at 29,440 as no new fatalities were reported. Read: Children aged 5-11 get Covid jabs on trial basis The daily case test positivity fell to 0.74 per cent from Monday's 0.84 per cent as 4,189 samples were tested during the period. The mortality rate remained unchanged at 1.45 percent while recovery rate rose to 97.59 per cent, it added.
Two more people died from Covid, and 1,051 tested positive for the virus in the 24 hours to Friday. While the country's total fatalities reached 29,225, the new number took its caseload to 1,994,433, according to the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS). However, the daily case positivity rate fell to 11.55 percent from Thursday's 11.89 percent as 9,130 samples were tested. The mortality rate remained unchanged at 1.47 percent. The recovery rate rose to 96.32 percent from Thursday's 96.28 percent. In June, the country reported 18 Covid-linked deaths and 20,201 new cases, according to the DGHS. Read: Global Covid cases top 565 million Bangladesh reported its first zero Covid death on November 20 last year since the pandemic broke out here in March 2020. The country registered its highest daily caseload of 16,230 on July 28 last year and daily fatalities of 264 on August 10 in the same year.
The overall number of Covid cases has surpassed 544 million amid a rise in new infections in parts of the world. According to the latest global data, the total case count mounted to 544,313,024 while the death toll from the virus reached 6,340,736 Monday morning. Also read: Rise in Covid cases: Bangladesh reports 596 more cases with positivity rate surging to 7.38pc The US has recorded 88,004,073 cases so far and 1,038,323 people have died from the virus in the country, the data shows. India's COVID-19 tally rose to 43,311,049 on Sunday, as 12,899 new cases were registered during the past 24 hours across the country, showed the federal health ministry's latest data. Besides, 15 deaths from the pandemic registered across the country during these period took the total death toll to 524,855. Meanwhile, Brazil has recorded 31,704,193 cases so far and 669,109 people have died from the virus in the country Situation in Bangladesh The positivity rate kept rising as Bangladesh recorded 596 new Covid cases in 24 hours till Sunday morning taking the country's total caseload to 1,956,327. The country's total fatalities, however, remained unchanged at 29,131 as no death was reported during the period, according to the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS). Also read: Covid-19 : Bangladesh reports 304 more cases with no death The daily test positivity rate increased to 7.38 per cent from Saturday’s 5.94 per cent with 8,191 samples tested during the period. The mortality rate remained unchanged at 1.49 per cent. The recovery rates declined to 97.42 per cent as 49 patients recovered during this period.
The world is yet to move on from the coronavirus pandemic and another virus that has raised concerns in the past week, which may turn into another pandemic. The name is Monkeypox. As of May 21, 2022, it has spread to 92 people in 12 countries, including the United Kingdom and the USA. The first monkeypox case was detected in London, the United Kingdom on May 7. Then, patients are also found in Spain, Germany, Portugal, Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Italy, and Sweden. So what is going to happen? Is the virus originating in Central and West Africa a cause for concern right now? Or is everyone overwhelmed about just going through an epidemic? We have tried to find answers to these questions in different authentic news and journals. Here is what we need to know about the Monkeypox outbreak. Read: Healthy Weight Gain Strategies: Add pounds fast safely, naturally What is Monkeypox? There is a lot to know about MonkeyPox now. However, the natural carrier of the virus is wildlife, and rats are more likely than monkeys. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Monkeypox is like regular smallpox but is relatively less severe and does not spread the infection much. It is caused by the monkeypox virus belonging to the orthopoxvirus genus of the Poxviridae family. Two clades of monkeypox virus are identified, the West African and Congo Basin (Central African) clades. Monkeypox was named after the first discovery of the virus in Denmark in 1958. Although the virus was first detected in monkeys in 1958, rats are now suspected to be the main contributors to the spread. Read Why Do Women Live Longer Than Men? Symptoms of Monkeypox The primary symptoms of this disease are fever, headache, pain in the joints and muscles, and fatigue in the body. After the onset of fever, smallpox appears in the body. Usually, these poxes appear in the face at the beginning. Later it spreads on hands, feet, and all over the body. The body becomes itchy for this pox. Later wounds appeared from the pox. Like a regular pox, the patient recovers completely, but these scars remain on the body. The patient recovers within 14 to 21 days of the start of the disease. How Does Monkeypox Virus Spread? The Monkeypox virus is spread via close contact with an infected person. It also spreads from an infected person's clothes and bed. It enters the human body through inhalation, nose, eyes, mouth, and skin lesions. Read: Online alcohol marketing increasingly targets young people, heavy drinkers According to the experts say the Monkeypox can be transmitted from monkeys, squirrels, rats, or even through the bed bugs used by monkeypox patients. The disease can be spread through sexual contact too. Although this has not been said before, it is now thought that the virus can be transmitted through direct contact during sexual intercourse. Treatment of Monkeypox So far, there is no proven treatment for the monkeypox virus. However, according to the World Health Organization, the smallpox vaccine and antiviral drugs can help prevent the symptoms of Monkeypox. As with any virus outbreak, its rate can be prevented by taking appropriate measures. Since the virus is not fatal, experts say there is little reason to worry about it. The United Kingdom has begun vaccinating small-scale healthcare workers who are most at risk of contracting the virus while serving patients. Read: Postpartum Weight Loss: How to lose baby weight fast after pregnancy How Deadly is Monkeypox? Congo clade has been seen in different parts of Africa. The death rate in the region is around 10% for the Congo clade. And children are more likely to die. On the other hand, the intensity of Central African Monkeypox is relatively low. The mortality rate of the infected in this species is about 1%. The actual type of Monkeypox, which has been identified in 12 countries around the world, is not immediately known. However, Central African species have been identified in the UK, according to the health authorities. Epidemiologists say monkeypox infections are usually "extremely rare." The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has expressed concern about the rise in monkeypox infections and warned that the virus could spread to the United Kingdom as well as Portugal and Spain. Read Effects of Passive Smoking on Children’s Health Is the Monkeypox Virus Airborne? Although there is no evidence that Monkeypox is airborne, CDC instructed to take precautions as an airborne disease as it has a theoretical risk of airborne transmission. However, citing a study published in the journal Virological Methods in 2012, Harvard epidemiologist Eric Feigl-Ding said that Monkeypox might be like particles of airborne liquids or solids (aerosols). So What's Going To Happen? According to BBC, this outbreak is different, but the actual reason is not known yet. There are two things that can happen: either the virus has changed, or the same old virus has chosen the right place at the right time to become strong. Monkeypox is a DNA virus. So it does not have a quick mutation or mutation like Covid or Flu. Experts see it as a cause of relief. A recent genetic analysis shows that the current infections are closely related to the structure of the virus in 2018 and 2019. It needs to be confirmed very soon, but so far, there is no evidence of a new strain or mutation in the virus. There is no need to transform the virus to take advantage of an opportunity that has been seen in the unexpectedly large outbreaks of Ebola and Zika viruses in the last decade. Read: Sleep Paralysis: Causes, Risks, Symptoms, Treatment and Ways of Prevention It is thought that the increase in human travel due to the lifting of the Covid pandemic restriction has contributed to the spread of the Monkeypox infection. Jimmy Whitworth, a professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, told Reuters, "My working theory would be that there's a lot of it about in west and central Africa, travel has resumed, and that's why we are seeing more cases." How to Prevent Monkeypox? According to WHO, travelers and residents of monkeypox-endemic countries should stay away from contacting sick mammals such as marsupials, rodents, and non-human primates (dead or alive). People also refrain from handling or eating wild games (bushmeat). Final Words Experts have not yet mentioned any specific vaccine for Monkeypox. However, the BBC says some countries have already begun preserving against smallpox. Researchers believe that the smallpox vaccine might be 85% effective because of the similarity of Monkeypox to smallpox. So far we have discussed the basic facts about Monkeypox including symptoms, treatment, and ways of prevention. Hope our discussion will help you to stay safe from this virus. Read How to Prevent Iron Deficiency Anemia?
The nation’s leading health officials said Wednesday that the U.S. is moving closer to the point that COVID-19 is no longer a “constant crisis” as more cities, businesses and sports venues began lifting pandemic restrictions around the country. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said during a White House briefing that the government is contemplating a change to its mask guidance in the coming weeks. Noting recent declines in COVID-19 cases, hospital admissions and deaths, she acknowledged “people are so eager” for health officials to ease masking rules and other measures designed to stop the spread of the coronavirus. “We all share the same goal – to get to a point where COVID-19 is no longer disrupting our daily lives, a time when it won’t be a constant crisis – rather something we can prevent, protect against, and treat,” Walensky said. With the omicron variant waning and Americans eager to move beyond the virus, government and business leaders have been out ahead of the CDC in ending virus measures in the last week, including ordering workers back to offices, eliminating mask mandates and no longer requiring proof of vaccine to get into restaurants, bars and sports and entertainment arenas. Also read: CDC posts rationale for shorter isolation, quarantine Philadelphia officials on Wednesday said the city’s vaccine mandate for restaurants was immediately lifted, though indoor mask mandates remain in place for now. At Disney World, vaccinated guests will no longer have to wear masks at the Florida theme park starting Thursday. Professional sports teams including the Utah Jazz and Washington Wizards and Capitals have stopped requiring proof of vaccine for fans. The most populous county in Washington — where Seattle is located — announced Wednesday it will no longer require COVID vaccination checks to enter restaurants, bars, theaters and gyms beginning March 1. Health Commissioner Cheryl Bettigole said Philadelphia’s average daily case count had dropped to 189 cases per day in the city of more than 1.5 million people. Bettigole said the plunge in infections has been steeper in Philadelphia than elsewhere in the state or the country, making it easier to lift the vaccine mandate for restaurants and other businesses announced in mid-December and that just fully went into effect this month. “Our goal has always been to the least restrictive as possible while ensuring safety,” she said. In Provincetown, Massachusetts, a seaside town that became a COVID hot spot with an early outbreak of the delta variant last summer, officials on Tuesday lifted a mask mandate and vaccine requirement for indoor spaces like restaurants and bars. Town Manager Alex Morse said the community of about 3,000 recorded zero active cases last week among Provincetown residents — something that hasn’t happened since the surge following last year’s July 4 celebrations. “We are learning to live with, and mitigate, the impact of the virus on our community,” Morse said. COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations have fallen sharply in the U.S., with the seven-day rolling average for daily new cases dropping from about 453,000 two weeks ago to about 136,000 as of Tuesday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Hospitalizations are at levels similar to September, when the U.S. was emerging from the delta variant surge. Almost 65% of Americans are fully vaccinated. “As a result of all this progress and the tools we now have, we are moving to a time where COVID isn’t a crisis but is something we can protect against and treat,” said Jeff Zients, the White House coronavirus response coordinator. Walensky said the CDC “will soon put guidance in place that is relevant and encourages prevention measures when they are most needed to protect public health and our hospitals.” She suggested any changes will take into account measures of community transmission, as well as hospitalization rates or other gauges of whether infected people are becoming severely ill. They also would consider available bed space in hospitals. Several states with indoor mask mandates announced last week they would be lifted in coming weeks, also citing promising numbers. Two music festivals that draw thousands of people to the California desert town of Indio in April and May, Coachella and Stagecoach, also said this week there will be no vaccination, masking or testing mandates in accordance with local guidelines. Coachella also noted that could change along with COVID conditions. In Philadelphia, Bettigole said the vaccine mandate helped spur “a very large” increase in pediatric vaccinations, pushing the city way ahead of the national average for first doses among kids ages 5 to 11. More than 53% of Philadelphia residents in that age group have received a first dose, compared to closer to 30% nationally, she said. Not all businesses plan to immediately change course. Philadelphia Irish sports bar and restaurant O’Neals will keep asking to see customers’ vaccination cards for now, said managing partner Greg “Spoonie” Rand, even though the city is lifting its vaccine mandate. “Guests are more compliant and employees are more happy for us to continue doing vaccine cards inside,” he said. He thinks vaccinated people will be wary of coming in if the pub stops checking cards. Walensky said the CDC wants to “give people a break from things like mask-wearing” when circumstances improve, though be able to mask up again if things worsen. She also said there will be instances where people should continue to wear masks even if prevention measures ease. Examples include when individuals have symptoms of COVID-19 or are within 10 days after being diagnosed with it.