One thing that wasn't on the menu at Fourth of July barbecues in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro? Discussions about COVID-19.
- The virus dominated holiday table talk over the last 15 months, but conversations veered elsewhere last weekend thanks in part to the Twin Cities' high vaccination rates and low number of cases.
State of play: With more than 60% of eligible Minnesotans fully vaccinated, the state's number of new cases per week — 620 — is the lowest since early April 2020, according to Minnesota Department of Health data.
- There were just 22 people with COVID in ICU beds in early July, down from over 300 during the winter.
- COVID caused 32 deaths last week. Over the winter months, the peak was more than 400 per week.
- While the rate of first-dose vaccinations has stagnated, more than 70% of adults have received at least their first dose and 65% of those 12 and over have gotten at least one shot.
Of note: MDH has stopped posting COVID data on weekends and the Star Tribune has switched from daily to weekly COVID tracker updates.
Meanwhile, companies are calling workers back into the office, with the week after Labor Day as the most common return-to-work date.
- Metro Transit is adding and restoring more routes, starting Aug. 21, in anticipation of that return.
Yes, but: The delta variant, first detected in India, is becoming the dominant strain in the U.S. and it's spreading fast across unvaccinated populations.
- Minnesota's rural counties have vaccination rates below 40% for those 12 and over.
- And children below age 12 still can't get vaccinated.
The bottom line: The virus might be off of our minds, but it remains a threat for those who aren't yet fully vaccinated.
Go deeper: Delta variant threatens masking guidance
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