Is COVID endemic yet? Plus, US COVID deaths may pass 1M soon, and more top COVID news

Here’s a look at today’s COVID news:

COVID death toll in US soon to pass 1M

Put your son in Sherman Peebles’ barber chair and along with a buzz you could count on Peebles, a sheriff’s deputy who cut hair as a sideline, to issue a fatherly warning about staying out of trouble.

Now, seven months after the dapper sergeant died of COVID-19, life goes on at the Columbus, Georgia, shop owned by his best friend. But the aching emptiness of Peebles’ absence lingers. The brotherly affection he brought to each day, gone missing. The jokes and stories that go untold.

The pandemic has claimed nearly 1 million lives in the U.S., leaving empty spaces in homes and neighborhoods across the country, whether we are aware of them or not. Read more stories here:

Federal transportation mask mandate is being extended for another 15 days

The federal transportation mask mandate is being extended for another 15 days, meaning individuals traveling aboard airplanes, trains and on public transportation in the United States will be required to wear a mask until at least early May.

The mandate, the federal government confirmed on Wednesday, is now set to expire on May 3. The Associated Press was first to report the extension. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Wednesday that it was keeping its mask order in effect, and the Transportation Security Administration announced it was extending the mandate for an additional 15 days. Get more info here:

Is COVID-19 endemic yet?

Coronavirus restrictions are disappearing by the week in much of the world, as more Western countries scale back their remaining restrictions and inch toward a policy of living with Covid-19.

The more transmissible but less severe Omicron variant — and its subvariant, BA.2 — have played a large role in that calculation, convincing many leaders that endemic Covid is in sight.

But what does that mean? Some top scientists are concerned that our understanding of “endemic” is wide of the mark. Read on here:

Amazon to add fuel and inflation surcharge

Amazon said Wednesday that for the first time in company history it will charge sellers a 5% fuel and inflation surcharge.

The e-commerce giant said the new fee will begin April 28 and is being imposed because inflation has worsened significantly in recent months.

“In 2022, we expected a return to normalcy as Covid-19 restrictions around the world eased, but fuel and inflation have presented further challenges,” Amazon wrote in memo that was provided to CNN by the company. Get more info here:

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Read more of today’s COVID-19 stories here: