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For millions of Americans who are immunocompromised or too young to receive a vaccine, less masking means a loss of a line of defense for their health in public spaces.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated COVID-19 guidelines that relaxed masking recommendations last month, triggering mixed feelings from the public and laid bare a split within the health care community. Read more»

The drop in U.S. life expectancy of 1.8 years from 2019 to 2020 was the biggest one-year drop in more than 75 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Arizona life-expectancy numbers for 2020 are not yet available, but the state rate has been declining in recent years.

U.S. life expectancy fell by an “unprecedented and shocking” 1.8 years between 2019 and 2020, a dramatic drop that experts say can only partly be blamed on the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more»

Expanded testing is just one of the measures being taken in hopes of reining in COVID-19, which was first confirmed in Arizona two years ago. Since then, almost 1.8 million cases have been confirmed in the state and 25,899 deaths have been attributed to the coronavirus.

Two years after Arizona’s first confirmed case of COVID-19, the state has racked up close to 1.8 million infections and the virus has killed almost 26,000, just two of many grim milestones on the pandemic’s “really long journey.” Read more»

Washington visitors ponder a field of almost 690,000 flags, one for every U.S. COVID-19 death since the pandemic began, in late September, when Arizona’s death toll was nearing 20,000. Since then, the U.S. death toll has climbed over 820,000 and the Arizona death toll hit 24,229, likely making COVID-19 the leading cause of death in the state in 2021.

COVID-19 claimed almost 15,800 lives in Arizona this year, putting it on track to be the leading cause of death in the state in 2021 - a change from 2020, when the virus was the third-leading cause of death behind heart disease and cancer. Read more»

Copper Rim Elementary School paraprofessional Chelsea Holyoak waits for her second dose of COVID-19 vaccine in February. Vaccinations – or masking and regular testing – would be mandatory for most workers under new federal rules.

Just hours after the Biden administration issued regulations Thursday to require that businesses mandate COVID-19 vaccinations for their workers, Arizona officials were vowing to fight what one called a “direct attack” on personal liberty. Read more»

A study of Medicare beneficiaries by the Department of Health and Human Services found that COVID-19 vaccinations may have saved as many as 39,000 lives across the country – about 1,000 of them in Arizona – and cut into the number of new cases and hospitalizations as well.

COVID-19 vaccinations have saved an estimated 1,000 lives in Arizona and have prevented as many as 2,800 hospitalizations for the disease, according to recent estimates from the Department of Health and Human Services. Read more»

Public health experts are voicing concern about the pullback of COVID information from state government websites, as states including Georgia and Florida have cut back their public case reporting despite the nation being engulfed in a fourth, Delta-driven COVID surge. Read more»

A Bashas’ worker gets a dose of COVID-19 vaccine in March, when demand for vaccinations was high. It has tailed off since then, but experts hope that FDA approval of the Pfizer vaccine, which had been distributed under a preliminary approval, will spur more people to get vaccinated.

Health officials expressed hope Monday that the Food and Drug Administration’s full approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine will boost vaccinations in Arizona, which lags well behind the national average. Read more»

Arizona is on pace to record its 1 millionth COVID-19 infection within the week, and health experts fear that kids in schools and the looming Labor Day holiday will only make matters worse. Read more»