Coronavirus weekly need-to-know: 2nd COVID booster shot, CBD, White House website & more

Coronavirus weekly need-to-know: 2nd COVID booster shot, CBD, White House website & more


Coronavirus omicron BA.2 subvariant dominates US cases. What to know about second COVID booster shot, White House website, cases, Disney, pandemic fraud & more.


In the United States, more than 80 million people have tested positive for coronavirus as of April 1, according to Johns Hopkins University, as cases and hospitalizations continue to go down in the country.

To date, more than 980,000 people living in the U.S. have died, including about 4,000 since last week. Worldwide, there have been more than 488 million confirmed cases of COVID-19, including about 8 million new cases since one week ago.

Additionally, over 6.1 million have died from the virus globally. Roughly 217.5 million people in the U.S. are fully vaccinated as of April 1 — 65.5% of the population — and 97 million of those people have gotten a booster shot, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data.

Roughly 99.5% of the U.S. lives in a location with low or medium COVID-19 Community Level, the agency says as of March 24. Nearly 0.5% of Americans reside in an area with a high COVID-19 Community Level. For them, it’s recommended to wear a mask while indoors in public.

The CDC reports the weekly average of COVID-19 cases has dropped nationwide as of March 23. Cases are 5.4% lower compared to the prior week’s average, according to the CDC. The omicron BA.2 subvariant dominated positive U.S. cases for the week ending March 26.

Here’s what happened between March 27 and April 1:

White House launches ‘one-stop shop’ for COVID information. What to know about website

The White House on Wednesday, March 30, launched a “one-stop shop” website where people in the United States can keep up with COVID-19 developments and access resources for tests, vaccines, masks and treatment.

Now, you can visit “with a click of a button” and get connected to information related to the virus in one place, the White House said in a fact sheet. The site includes a new Test-to-Treat locator, which helps people find testing centers and treatment. The White House called it “easy-to-use.”

Continue reading below:

Second COVID booster now authorized for those over 50. Do experts think it’s needed?

Those in the U.S. ages 50 and older can now get a second Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine booster shot four months after their first booster, the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced on Tuesday, March 29.

Certain immunocompromised individuals can also get the extra jab depending on their age, the FDA announced. Immunocompromised children ages 12 and older are eligible for a second booster dose of the Pfizer shot four months after their first booster, while those 18 and older can get a second Moderna booster.

Adults who got vaccinated and received a booster shot with the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine at least four months ago can also get a second booster with an mRNA vaccine.

Keep on reading for what experts are saying:

Disney tourists can once again meet favorite characters soon after two-year hiatus

Tourists at Disney theme parks have waved to their favorite characters during the COVID-19 pandemic, but soon they’ll be able to meet them up close again.

Disney Parks announced character greetings at Disneyland in California and Walt Disney World in Florida will return as soon as April 18. Character meet-and-greets will also return on the Disney Cruise Line and at the Aulani Resort in Hawaii.

The story continues below:

Man filed dozens of phony applications for pandemic unemployment in 9 states, feds say

A 30-year-old in Michigan has cut a deal with the government after federal prosecutors said he filed dozens of bogus bids for pandemic unemployment in more than half a dozen states.

Devin Smith pleaded guilty to wire fraud and aggravated identity theft in Massachusetts District Court on Tuesday, March 29, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a news release. Smith is accused of submitting at least 30 bogus applications for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance using his own name and stolen identities, allowing him to pocket more than $150,000.

The scheme lasted at least six months at the start of the pandemic, the government said.

For more on the case, keep reading:

Cannabis companies say their CBD products treat COVID, but FDA says they are wrong

Several companies are falsely advertising their cannabis CBD products with claims they can cure, treat or prevent COVID-19, the Food and Drug Administration is warning.

A total seven companies are accused of “using research studies to claim or imply misleadingly that their CBD products” can help when it comes to COVID-19, according to the FDA.

“The FDA has not approved or authorized any drug containing CBD for the treatment or prevention of COVID-19.”

Continue reading below:

She sold fake COVID vaccine cards on Facebook — two to undercover trooper, NY cops say

A woman was busted for selling fake COVID-19 vaccine cards on Facebook after meeting with an undercover state trooper and selling him two, officials in upstate New York said.

She was charged with a felony on March 11 under the state’s “Truth in Vaccination” law, which went into effect in December, according to the Erie County District Attorney’s Office.

Kaiyah S. Heinrich, of Cheektowaga, appeared in court on the charge of one count of criminal possession of a forged instrument on March 28, the office said in a news release provided to McClatchy News. She’s accused of selling the pair of fake cards to the undercover investigator on March 10.

For more, keep reading:

Pastor must give up Mercedes he bought with stolen COVID relief funds, feds in GA say

A South Georgia pastor accused of lying to get thousands in federal COVID-19 relief funds must forfeit the luxury sedan on which he spent the stolen money, prosecutors say.

Mack Devon Knight, 45, of Kingsland faces a maximum of 20 years in prison after pleading guilty to two counts of wire fraud, the U.S Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Georgia announced March 25.

The charges stem from a CARES Act fraud scheme that netted Knight nearly $150,000 — most of which prosecutors said he used to buy himself a Mercedes-Benz S-Class, according to a news release. The pastor-turned-restaurateur and tax preparer also faces hefty financial penalties, restitution and up to three years of supervised release.

Keep reading about the case here:

Reporters Maddie Capron, Hayley Fowler and Tanasia Kenney also contributed to this report.

Julia Marnin is a McClatchy National Real-Time reporter covering the southeast and northeast while based in New York. She’s an alumna of The College of New Jersey and joined McClatchy in 2021. Previously, she’s written for Newsweek, Modern Luxury, Gannett and more.

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