COVID Bits

* 162.5 million: The number of Americans who have received at least one dose of the vaccine. That’s 58 percent of the eligible (12 and older) population.

* While COVID relief has been the high-profile province of government, the private sector, notably large banks, were scrutinized by the Senate Banking and House Financial Services committees this week about their actions–or lack of—in helping struggling Americans and small businesses. Among the executives testifying: those from JPMorgan, Bank of America and Goldman Sachs.

* Vax & match.” The Biden Administration is teaming up with dating apps to showcase the benefits of getting vaccinated. Some apps are offering proof-of-vaccine badges and free access to premium content. Others are offering higher-visibility profiles to potential matches.

* “Vax & scratch.” Those who get vaccinated at select state-run sites in New York will receive a lottery scratch ticket with prizes potentially worth millions.

* “In a number of major sectors, like restaurants, hotels, car insurance and airfares, prices fell sharply during the pandemic. These price declines will be reversed.”–Dean Baker, co-founder of the Center for Economic and Policy Research.

* It’s known that anxiety and isolation are typically associated with eating disorders. So, no surprise that such disorders have surged during the pandemic.

* Florida drew 26.16 million visitors from Jan. 1 to March 31. For the first quarter of 2020, it was 30.4 million.

* “Vaccines work. … Get vaccinated. COVID is still here.”–Dr. Douglas Holt, director of the state Health Department for Hillsborough County.

* COVID cases in residents of Florida nursing homes and assisted living facilities have fallen 90 percent since January.

* The Rays no longer require masks for fully vaccinated fans. The Rays also announced plans to increase Tropicana Field capacity to 20,000, starting in June.

* Meanwhile, the Lightning have now increased Amalie Arena capacity to 9,000—or about 47 percent of capacity—for the playoffs.

* The Bolts are also offering free, on-site vaccinations to anyone with a ticket inside Amalie or the watch parties at the arena’s Thunder Alley, Pepsi Porch or Cigar City tap room.

* USF will return to full capacity this season—starting with the Florida Gators on Sept. 11.

* Pandemic litter: As mask mandates decrease, there has been a noticeable increase in discarded masks.

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