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California will no longer require children to be vaccinated against COVID in order to attend school

By Ciara Linnane

Cases are now rising in 19 states, led by North Dakota

Children in California will no longer be required to get vaccinated against COVID to attend school, state public-health officials confirmed Friday, ending one of the last major pandemic restrictions in the nation's most populous state, the Associated Press reported

Gov. Gavin Newsom first announced the vaccination policy in 2021, saying it would eventually apply to all of the 6.7 million children attending public and private schools in California.

But since then, although COVID is still widespread, vaccines have eased the impact of the virus and reduced the burden on healthcare systems.

Almost all of Newsom's COVID restrictions have now been lifted. The governor will not be able to issue any new ones after Feb. 28, when the state's pandemic emergency declaration will officially end.

President Joe Biden said last week that he plans to end the twin national emergencies, which were introduced at the federal level early in the pandemic, on May 11 That move has dismayed healthcare experts, as it comes at a time when an average of almost 500 people in the U.S. are still dying every day.

The seven-day average of new U.S. COVID cases stood at 40,473 on Sunday, according to a New York Times tracker. That's down 14% from two weeks ago.

The daily average for hospitalizations was down 18% to 30,744. The average for deaths was 458, down 6% from two weeks ago.

Cases are currently rising in 19 states, led by North Dakota, where they are up 80% from two weeks ago, the tracker shows.

On a per capita basis, Kentucky is leading with 22 cases per 100,000 residents.

Coronavirus update: MarketWatch's daily roundup has been curating and reporting all the latest developments every weekday since the coronavirus pandemic began

Other COVID-19 news you should know about:

-- While global and domestic businesses eagerly await the return of Chinese consumer spending, one industry in particular is already going gangbusters, MarketWatch's Tanner Brown reported. China's box-office receipts this year have hit 10 billion yuan ($1.5 billion) -- the earliest in the year that it has ever reached that mark. The explosion in moviegoing comes after authorities in December abolished most of the country's harsh anti-COVID policies. The resulting wave of infections was so swift and vast that nearly all of China's 1.4 billion citizens have been infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus in the two months since. With health-code passes and other restrictions no longer required to visit cinemas, residents seem to be releasing a pent-up desire to resume normal leisure activities.

For more, see:

-- Tesla Inc. stock (TSLA) rallied toward a three-month high Monday after Wedbush raised its price target, saying China demand has swung to a "tailwind" from a "headwind." Prolific Wedbush analyst Dan Ives reiterated the bullish outperform rating he's had on Tesla since January 2021 but lifted his price target to $225 from $200, with the new target implying about 18% upside from Friday's close. "Based on our recent survey work in the field, we believe the China EV [electric vehicle] reacceleration story for Tesla is just starting to hit its stride and should be a tailwind in [the first quarter]," Ives wrote in a note to clients. "The price cuts on Model Y/3 have resulted in a clear demand driver for Tesla in this key China region and coupled with the 'reopening' post lockdowns are having a meaningful impact for Tesla in the field over the last few weeks."

-- Maryland officials are preparing for as many as 80,000 residents who may no longer qualify for Medicaid coverage this spring, as the federal government reinstates a requirement that existed before the COVID pandemic for states to verify the eligibility of recipients, the AP reported. Michele Eberle, the executive director of the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange, said that beginning in May, the state can start ending Medicaid coverage for people who no longer qualify. Maryland, she added, is in a better position than many other states to either continue Medicaid coverage or move people into other health plans.

Here's what the numbers say:

The global tally of confirmed COVID-19 cases topped 671.7 million on Monday, while the death toll rose above 6.84 million, according to data aggregated by Johns Hopkins University.

The U.S. leads the world with 102.6 million cases and 1,111,495 fatalities.

The CDC's tracker shows that 229.6 million people living in the U.S., equal to 69.2% of the total population, are fully vaccinated, meaning they have had their primary shots.

So far, just 51.4 million Americans, equal to 15.5% of the overall population, have had the updated COVID booster that targets both the original virus and the omicron variants.

-Ciara Linnane


(END) Dow Jones Newswires

02-07-23 0707ET

Copyright (c) 2023 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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