There's increasing good news in the battle against COVID-19, but some health officials are still more scared than ever.
The latest statistics show new cases and hospitalizations dropping dramatically and fatalities leveling off.
The number of new infections has decreased by 30 percent over the past 14 days, with hospitalizations down 23 percent. While deaths aren't climbing, roughly 3,000 people a day are still perishing from COVID, and the U.S. is still averaging about 139,000 new cases per day.
Officials are still expressing concern about the increasing number of more contagious variants cropping up. Dr. Celine Gounder, a member of President Biden's COVID-19 Advisory Board, said, "I'm not an alarmist, but this is as scared as I have been since the beginning of the pandemic."
And with Super Bowl coming up on Sunday, health officials are warning people to avoid large parties for the big game.
On the economic front, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen says America has some “tough months ahead” in dealing with the pandemic. She says Congress passing President Biden's $1.9 trillion relief package is critical.
In her first interview since taking office, Yellen said Biden would be willing to cooperate with Republicans to pass the measure. However, Democrats are also prepared to pass it without bipartisan support.
Meanwhile, the city of Chicago, the nation's third-largest school district, is extending remote learning for tens of thousands of public school students.
School officials failed to reach an agreement with the teacher's union over COVID-19 safety protocols. The two sides are negotiating a plan to gradually bring back pre-K through 8th-grade students in the classroom. The teacher's union says the plan does not do enough to protect teachers.
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