This Week in COVID-19: Pandemic Death Toll Reaches Grim Milestone

COVID-19 updates and news to know as of February 7, 2022.

As of February 6, there have been 76,246,964 COVID-19 cases in the United States. In the last 7 days, there have been 2,191,820 new cases identified. (CDC

Late last week, the CDC announced that they would be clarifying the COVID-19 vaccination schedule for individuals who are moderately to severely immunocompromised. The updated guidelines will encourage a booster dose at 3 months, rather than a fourth shot received 5 months after the third shot. (CNN)

A study by the California Department of Public Health found that people who “reported always wearing face masks or respirators, such as N95 masks,” in public indoor settings were significantly less likely to test positive for COVID-19 compared with individuals who report never wearing masks in those settings. The study also indicates that surgical masks, N95, or KN95 respirators provide better protection compared to cloth masks (New York Times)

A bipartisan group of United States senators have announced support for legislation aiming to create a “high-level independent commission” to investigate the origins of COVID-19 and the response from both the Biden and Trump Administrations. This panel would determine what went wrong, as well as make recommendations for the future. (New York Times)

The CDC has launched a wastewater surveillance tool that pulls data from the National Wastewater Surveillance System—a network of data from more than 400 surveillance sites in the United States—which can help officials track the spread of COVID-19. (The Verge)

The US death toll from the COVID-19 pandemic has surpassed 900,000, more than 2 years after the virus was first discovered in Wuhan, China. According to the CDC, the rolling 7-day average for COVID-19 deaths is still at more than 2000 per day—3 times higher than November’s numbers. (NPR)

There may be some good news on the horizon, however: Researchers have finally begun to answer some of the most common COVID-19 immunity-related questions, as data have begun “painting a more optimistic picture” on immunity following infection with COVID-19. (NPR)

Check back next Monday for the latest updates and COVID-19 news you need to know.