The number of Americans in the hospital with COVID-19 has fallen 24% since mid-January to about 111,000. Deaths are still running high at more than 2,400 per day on average, the most since last winter, reflecting a lag between when victims become infected and when they die.

New Jersey’s governor intends to lift the statewide COVID-19 mask requirement in schools early next month in a major step toward getting back to normal as the omicron surge drops off, his office said Monday, AP reports.

Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy was scheduled to announce that the mandate would end March 7. It was not immediately clear whether individual school districts could continue to require masks.

New Jersey is one of a dozen states with mask mandates in schools, according to the nonpartisan National Academy for State Health Policy. New Jersey’s rule has been in place since classes resumed in person in September 2020.

The state’s COVID-19 caseload is dropping after a spike around the holidays fueled by the omicron variant — a trend seen nationwide, too.

New cases per day across the U.S. have plunged by more than a half-million since mid-January, when they hit a peak of more than 800,000. Cases have been declining in 47 states in the past two weeks, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Read more

© Copyright LaPresse