CDC predicts coronavirus deaths will soon start rising

COVID-19 seems on track to become as common and familiar to us as influenza. But experts stress that it is still, and may always be, no ordinary flu. The discouraging news is that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now expects the number of COVID deaths to rise over the course of May, the first such increase since the omicron surge faded. Rising case numbers are prompting some places, including the city of Oakland, to rethink the relaxation of rules that followed the surge.

Will catching COVID become as “normal” as getting the flu?

Health officials are saying it, friends are saying it: COVID-19 seems on track to become as common and familiar to us as influenza. But experts stress that there are still limitations to this comparison — COVID is still, and may always be, no ordinary flu. Read why COVID may become “normal” but still remain a greater threat.

CDC forecasts COVID deaths to rise for first time in months

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention predicts that the number of newly reported COVID-19 deaths will likely increase over the next four weeks, with 1,600 to 4,600 new deaths likely reported in the week ending May 28. The agency’s ensemble forecast shows that the U.S. will reach a total of 1,000,000 to 1,007,000 confirmed COVID-19 deaths by that date. The figures mark the first time virus-related deaths have increased since February, following a steep decline after the winter omicron surge. Deaths in California are also expected to trend up in that period.

Oakland implements mask mandate for large indoor gatherings

The Oakland City Council voted Tuesday to implement a mask mandate for indoor gatherings of 2,500 people or more. The council also voted to remove the city’s proof of vaccination requirement at restaurants, bars, gyms and other businesses. Residents will still have to show a proof of vaccine to enter senior centers.

A’s relief pitcher reinstated from COVID list

Lou Trivino rejoined the A’s from the COVID-19 injured list Tuesday but was not immediately reinstalled as the closer. Manager Mark Kotsay said pregame Tuesday he hoped for Trivino’s first outing back to be lower-leverage. That didn’t quite pan out. Trivino entered in the ninth inning of a tied game against the Rays with a man on second base and two outs. He stranded that runner but returned for the 10th and was charged with five runs and the loss as the A’s fell 10-7 to Tampa Bay.

Los Angeles County tightens rules to control COVID spread in schools

Facing a rise in coronavirus cases, students in Los Angeles County TK-12 schools who have been exposed to COVID-19 but are asymptomatic will be required to wear masks indoors for 10 days after their most recent exposure, according to updated health department guidelines. While the students will not be required to quarantine if they do not show symptoms, they must provide proof of a negative virus test within three to five days. Officials in the nation’s largest county also expanded the definition of a close contact for large indoor spaces to include a pre-defined group, such as an entire club or a team, in addition to anyone who comes within 6 feet of the infected person for more than 15 minutes. The changes went into effect Wednesday.

Coachella Valley cases rise 41% following music festivals

Following two weekends of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival and an additional weekend of the Stagecoach country music festival at the Empire Polo Club in Southern California’s Coachella Valley, the region is seeing a rise in coronavirus cases. There was a 41% increase reported between April 19 and 26, according to data analyzed by The Desert Sun. Riverside County, where the festivals took place, also experienced a 44% increase in COVID-19 infections over the same period. The true epidemiological impact of the festivals is hard to measure because thousands of people from outside of the area where they took place traveled to attend.

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