U.S. population growth dipped to its lowest rate since the nation’s founding during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to figures released Tuesday by the Census Bureau.
The coronavirus curtailed immigration, delayed pregnancies and killed hundreds of thousands of U.S. residents. The U.S. grew by only 0.1%, with only an additional 392,665 added to the U.S. population from July 2020 to July 2021. It’s the first time since 1937 that the U.S. population grew by fewer than one million people and the lowest numeric growth since at least 1900, when the Census Bureau began annual population estimates.
The population estimates are derived from calculating the number of births, deaths and migration in the U.S. For the first time, international migration surpassed natural increases from births outnumbering deaths. There was a net increase of almost 245,000 residents from international migration but only around 148,000 from natural increase.
Also in the news:
►Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker announced Tuesday he will activate up to 500 members of the National Guard to support understaffed hospitals facing a surge of COVID-19 patients and to bolster non-emergency medical transportation needs.
►A White House aide who was in close contact with President Joe Biden on Friday tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday, the White House announced. Biden tested negative through an antigen test Sunday and a PCR test Monday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki. Biden will be tested again Wednesday.
►Omicron has raced ahead of other variants and is now the dominant version of the coronavirus in the U.S., accounting for 73% of new infections last week, federal health officials said.
📈Today’s numbers: The U.S. has recorded more than 51 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and more than 807,800 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. Global totals: More than 275.3 million cases and 5.3 million deaths. More than 204 million Americans — 61.5% of the population — are fully vaccinated, according to the CDC.
📘What we’re reading: As COVID-19 rates spike in a time of omicron, here’s what you need know to stay safe during the holidays.
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Americans preparing to spend time with family and friends this holiday season don’t need to cancel plans, despite the latest infections surge, if they are vaccinated and boosted, Dr. Anthony Fauci said Tuesday.
Fauci, making the rounds of the morning news shows, acknowledged the alarming surge driven by the extremely infectious omicron variant. People ideally would be tested ahead of indoor gatherings, he said.
“If you don’t have the availability of the test and you are fully vaccinated and boosted, you should feel comfortable having a holiday meal or gathering with family members who are also vaccinated and boosted,” he said on NBC’s “Today.”
Speaking on CNN’s “New Day,” Fauci said hospitalization numbers are more important than infection numbers.
“If we have a larger number of people getting infected, but the degree of severity is very, very low, that would be very important,” Fauci said. “If you just count the numbers of infections, you may get a misrepresentation as to what is actually going on.”
Across the country, school districts and families are stumbling toward the finish line of a punishing semester.
At some points, nearly all schools appeared back to normal with daily, in-person instruction. COVID-19 exposures sent kids and staff home to quarantine. Teachers battled student misbehavior, from low-level defiance to more fights, threats and gun violence. Staffing shortages shot up. Parents waged their own arguments over race, public health and other issues.
And now, omicron. Schools and districts are shuttering and some are preparing to return to virtual instruction.
“We’re going to see a return, basically, to a good portion of how things looked last year,” said Dan Domenech, executive director of the School Superintendents Association. “The schools want to stay open. But it’s a logistical nightmare.” Read more here.
– Erin Richards, USA TODAY
Dr. Laolu Fayanju, regional medical director at Oak Street Health in Cleveland, says it’s too soon to confirm the growing narrative that the omicron variant is more infectious but less dangerous than other forms of the coronavirus.
Fayanju cited a recent study from researchers at the Imperial College of London that looked at data from people who tested positive in the U.K. between Nov. 29 and Dec. 11 – and found no evidence the omicron variant is milder than delta. Even if the variant causes slightly milder symptoms,…