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Pacific Northwest faces COVID-19 surge as other states reopen

Pacific Northwest faces COVID-19 surge as other states
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Millions in the Pacific Northwest are facing new shutdowns, including an indoor dining ban, as COVID-19 cases rise at an alarming rate.

Washington state, the first to be hit when the pandemic began, is seeing another surge in coronavirus cases, with hospitalizations up 15%. In neighboring Oregon, hospitalizations rose 18%. Governor Kate Brown extended the state of emergency for another 60 days, saying “lives are at stake.” 

Across the country, there are worries about a decline in vaccinations. Nearly 62% of adults are still without a shot. 

Dr. Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, said public health experts expected that supply would eventually outweigh demand

“We had many more arms that wanted vaccine than the vaccine was available. Now, it’s no longer the last mile. It is solely down to the last inch, getting the needles in people’s arms,” Osterholm said. 

Meanwhile, New York City is making plans to fully reopen. “We are ready to bring New York City back fully,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said Thursday. “On July 1, all systems go.” 

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In just two months, restaurants, theaters and stadiums in the city will be allowed to reopen at 100% capacity. Beginning Thursday, New York state is allowing anyone over 16 years old to walk into a vaccinate site for a shot. 

“You’ve gotten vaccinated, you’ve done so much to fight through this crisis,” de Blasio said. 

On Staten Island, Christina Paz was vaccinated by the nurse she credits with saving her life while she was hospitalized with COVID-19. “It’s not who I was expecting, the person who helped me so much,” Paz said. 

Nicole Gallotta, assistant nurse manager at Northwell Health, said, “She was so, so sick. We didn’t know from minute to minute what would happen.”

“Just an overwhelming sense of joy and happiness to see you walking in regular clothes,” she said. “I was so excited to be the one to give you your second vaccine to move on from this horrible year that we had.” 

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, said fully vaccinated people could expect new guidance in the coming weeks. He also said he believes COVID-19 will be under control within this year. 

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