A man looks at the Lombardi Trophy at the NFL Experience Thursday, Feb. 4, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. The city is hosting Sunday’s Super Bowl football game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Kansas City Chiefs. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

A man looks at the Lombardi Trophy at the NFL Experience Thursday, Feb. 4, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. The city is hosting Sunday’s Super Bowl football game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Kansas City Chiefs. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

Virus experts hope in-person Super Bowl won’t sack U.S.

The game will be played in front of about 22,000 masked fans in Tampa, many vaccinated health workers

Three things to know

— Health officials are on edge as the coronavirus clashes with a Sunday sports event that typically brings millions of people together: the NFL Super Bowl. They fear that the game could seed new COVID-19 cases if fans attend parties to watch Tampa Bay play Kansas City. The new coronavirus strain that spread quickly in the United Kingdom was confirmed in Kansas after turning up in several other states. States, meanwhile, are in a race to vaccinate. The game will be played in front of about 22,000 masked fans in Tampa, many of them vaccinated health workers.

— Virus deaths won’t be reflected in the 2020 census, a step that will have an impact on where congressional seats get apportioned, experts say. The important reference date for answering census questions was April 1, soon after U.S. deaths began. New York state, which has had about 44,000 deaths, is expected to lose a House seat due to population shifts but it could have lost two if the census date was later, said Kimball Brace, a redistricting expert at Election Data Services. The Census Bureau releases apportionment numbers by April 30.

— Make a deal or stick to his guns? President Joe Biden spent decades shaking hands-on bipartisan fixes, first as a senator and then as vice-president. But now the Democrat seems to be favouring quick action in Congress on a $1.9 trillion coronavirus aid bill, even if Republicans get left behind. The administration has encouraged Democratic senators to prepare a plan that combines money to address the virus and vaccines with money to fulfill a progressive agenda that includes a higher federal minimum wage.

The numbers

According to data through Feb. 5 from Johns Hopkins University, the seven-day rolling average for daily new cases in the U.S. fell over the past two weeks, from 180,489 on Jan. 22 to about 125,854 on Feb. 5. Over the same period, the seven-day rolling average for daily new deaths rose from 3,088 to roughly 3,250.

On the horizon

Some experts believe rapid tests could be better at identifying sick people when they are most contagious. North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University said it crushed the spread of an outbreak by using rapid screening after a Halloween party last fall. Rapid tests might be technically less accurate but they’re fast. The U.S. reports about 2 million tests per day, the vast majority of which are known as PCR, the polymerase chain reaction test. The Food and Drug Administration said it supports “innovation in testing” but has only approved about a dozen rapid tests.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
COVID-19: B.C. seniors aged 90+ can start to sign up for vaccination on March 8

Long-term care residents protected by shots already given

The Alberni Valley’s Emergency Operations Centre is located around the corner and below the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District office. (AV NEWS FILE PHOTO)
Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District tests new mobile alert system

Residents can still sign up for free Voyent Alert! emergency messaging

Crews respond to a structure fire in the 6000 block of Renton Road in Cherry Creek on Saturday, Feb. 27. (FACEBOOK PHOTO)
Workshop destroyed in Cherry Creek fire

Crews stayed on scene overnight fighting ‘stubborn’ blaze

(NEWS FILE PHOTO)
Tax error in 2020 means lower rate for residents in 2021

Alberni’s taxation for regional library accidently written down twice

Part of a new housing development proposal for the former Alberni District Secondary School site. (SCREENSHOT)
Housing gap widens in Port Alberni

Vancouver Island city suffers from ‘missing middle’ to housing density

Langley resident Carrie MacKay shared a video showing how stairs are a challenge after spending weeks in hospital battling COVID-19 (Special to Langley Advance Times)
VIDEO: Stairs a challenge for B.C. woman who chronicled COVID-19 battle

‘I can now walk for six (to) 10 minutes a day’

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s coronavirus situation, May 8, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C.’s weekend COVID-19 cases: 532 Saturday, 508 Sunday, 438 Monday

Fraser Health still has most, eight more coronavirus deaths

B.C. Attorney General David Eby speaks in the legislature, Dec. 7, 2020. Eby was given responsibility for housing after the October 2020 provincial election. (Hansard TV)
B.C. extends COVID-19 rent freeze again, to the end of 2021

‘Renoviction’ rules tightened, rent capped to inflation in 2022

Face mask hangs from a rear-view mirror. (Black Press image)
B.C. CDC unveils guide on how to carpool during the pandemic

Wearing masks, keeping windows open key to slowing the spread of COVID-19

Churches, including Langley’s Riverside Calvary Church, are challenging the regulations barring them from holding in-person worship services during COVID-19. (Langley Advance Times file)
Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Det. Sgt. Jim Callender. (Hamilton Police Service screenshot)
B.C. man dead, woman seriously injured after shooting in Hamilton, Ont.

The man was in the process of moving to the greater Toronto area, police say

Wildlife advocate Gary Schroyen captured this picture of a one-year-old cougar in the Sooke Hills using a homemade trip camera. Vancouver Island is home to approximately 800 cougars, which makes up about a quarter of the total population in B.C. (Gary Schroyen photo)
Wildlife advocate Gary Schroyen captured this picture of a one-year-old cougar in the Sooke Hill using a homemade trip camera. Schroyen presents Animal Signs: The Essence of Animal Communication on Nov. 30. (Gary Schroyen photo)
Declining Vancouver Island cougar populations linked to wolves

Large carnivore specialist says human development still plays biggest role on cougar numbers

Most Read