Brothels across Nevada reopened for business and casino capacity on the Las Vegas Strip increased to 80% as Nevada continued to ease coronavirus restrictions over the weekend.
Gov. Steve Sisolak has said he expects all businesses to be reopened at 100% capacity by June 1.
Legal sex workers returning to the workplace for the first time in more than a year are adjusting to safety measures such as masks and temperature checks. Many workers at the brothels, which are banned in several counties including the one that houses Las Vegas, are even encouraging clients to return by offering deals on their services.
Kiki Lover, who said she prefers to go by her stage name, works at the Sagebrush Ranch east of Carson City, Nevada. She is offering a discount to clients who visit her this week.
“I’m so excited to get back to work and want people to be excited about returning, too,” she said.
Sex workers have to wear masks at all times except when taking clients into their private rooms. Alice Little, a legal sex worker at the Chicken Ranch in Pahrump, says she is ready to get back to work even with restrictions.
“The changes are understandable and if there’s anything we can be, it’s flexible,” Little said. “A little bit of compromise is something that we’re not afraid of.”
Also in the news:
►Illinois is approaching 10 million vaccinations, public health officials said Sunday. The state, with more than 12 million residents, has reported more than 1.3 million coronavirus cases and 22,019 deaths.
►The number of people receiving shots in Massachusetts has been declining for nine days, The Boston Globe reports. The newspaper says the state’s peak came April 22, three days after all adults became eligible for the shots.
►About 15 people, including protesters and police, were injured in clashes as authorities broke up an illegal party in a Belgian park to protest COVID-19 restrictions, a law enforcement spokesperson said Sunday. Police detained 132 participants.
►An August gathering that traditionally has drawn tens of thousands of Vietnamese Catholics from across the U.S. to southwest Missouri has been canceled for a second straight year because of the pandemic. The Marian Days celebration reunites families and friends separated after the fall of Saigon in 1975.
►A vaccine campaign kicked off in Idlib, Syria’s last rebel-held enclave. A 45-year-old front-line nurse was the first to receive a U.N.-secured shot.
📈 Today’s numbers: The U.S. has more than 32.4 million confirmed coronavirus cases and 577,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The global totals: Over 152 million cases and nearly 3.2 million deaths. More than 312 million vaccine doses have been distributed in the U.S. and 243 million have been administered, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than 103 million Americans have been fully vaccinated.
📘 What we’re reading: CDC guidelines on wearing masks after vaccination could affect communities of color, experts say. Here’s how.
After a year of some of the strictest pandemic restrictions in the nation, the rate of coronavirus cases in California has plummeted to among the lowest in the U.S. Now the state plans to fully reopen by mid-June. Californians and the state’s leaders are celebrating the low infections and reopening plan. Gov. Gavin Newsom touted it on Twitter as he tours the state. But the harsh restrictions have taken their toll on businesses.
“The fact is that we really cannot fully explain why we see this virus explode in certain areas, and at the same time, relatively quiescent in others,” said Dr. John Swartzberg, an infectious diseases and vaccinology professor emeritus at the University of California-Berkeley.
– Christal Hayes
Even though 55% of Puerto Rico’s residents have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, the U.S. territory is grappling with a spike in cases and hospitalizations while trying to prop up an economy battered in recent years by the coronavirus pandemic, hurricanes, earthquakes, and a prolonged financial crisis.
While health authorities say many are eager to get vaccinated — more than 2 million doses have been administered on the island of 3.3 million American citizens — they note that some people who are not yet fully protected are disregarding restrictions that include a curfew lasting more than a year.
That and the spread of new variants may be partly to blame for the current surge in infections, which inched up in the last week of April to 28 new daily cases per 100,000 people, compared with 17 per 100,000 on the U.S. mainland.
“The solution is vaccination,” said Gov. Pedro Pierluisi, who has resisted tighter restrictions after Puerto Rico imposed a lockdown and mask mandates ahead of any U.S. state. The island has reported about 2,000 COVID deaths.
India smashed another daily global record of new infections Saturday with more than 400,000 new cases, but at least one expert says the true tally could be much higher than that. Dr. Prabhat Jha of the University of Toronto estimates, based on modeling from a previous surge in India, that the true infection numbers could be 10 times higher than the official reports.
“Entire houses are infected,” Jha said. “If one person gets tested in the house and reports they’re positive and everyone else in the house starts having symptoms, it’s obvious they have COVID, so why get tested?”
India reported 392,488 new infections Sunday, down slightly from the previous 24 hours.
The U.S. has begun shipping valuable vaccine components, oxygen and masks to India, and other countries are lending help as well, but the demand will still outstrip supply. President Joe Biden’s administration also plans to restrict travel between the U.S. and India beginning Tuesday.
Iowa is turning down 71% of the COVID-19 vaccine supply it could have received from federal officials for the week of May 10, as demand for the shots continues to wane, the Iowa Department of Public Health said Saturday. This marks the second consecutive week that the state is asking the federal government to withhold part of its expected allocation of doses.
Department spokesperson Sarah Ekstrand said Saturday that Iowa could have received a total of 105,300 doses of Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccine from federal officials for the week of May 10. That total includes nearly 21,000 doses the state asked federal officials to withhold for the week of May 3. For the week of May 10, the state is asking federal officials to withhold 75,280 doses, Ekstrand said in an email to the Des Moines Register, part of the USA TODAY Network.
Ekstrand also said 88 of Iowa’s 99 counties have told the state they won’t need part or all of their weekly allocations of vaccine for the week starting May 10. That’s up from 80 counties that declined allocations for the coming week and 43 counties that declined all or part of their allocations for last week.
– Tony Leys, Des Moines Register
The CDC has relaxed mask guidelines for vaccinated Americans, and some states have rescinded mask mandates. But masks will still be a must if you’re traveling by plane, train or bus this summer. The Transportation Security Administration on Friday extended its face mask requirement for airplanes, airports, trains, commuter rail systems and other modes of transportation through Sept. 13. The mandate, which began Feb. 1, was due to expire May 11.
“The federal mask requirement throughout the transportation system seeks to minimize the spread of COVID-19 on public transportation,” Darby LaJoye, a senior TSA official, said in a statement. “Right now, about half of all adults have at least one vaccination shot, and masks remain an important tool in defeating this pandemic.
“We will continue to work closely with the (CDC) to evaluate the need for these directives and recognize the significant level of compliance thus far.” Read more.
– Dawn Gilbertson