Cities across the country begin opening as new vaccination rates decline

(KGO/CNN) – Crowds are back thanks to the vaccine. U.S. cities are expecting are thousands of people at events this weekend. However, there’s still work to do as health experts try every trick in the book to get vaccine hold-outs their shots.

From free drinks to free money, states are pulling out all the stops to get more shots in arms.

Republican Governor of Maryland Larry Hogan, “If you needed one more good reason then just go out and get vaccinated for your share of this $2 million.”

The White House is partnering with several dating apps. Biden advisor Andy Slavitt explained, “People who display their vaccination status are 14% more likely to get a match. We have finally found the one thing that makes us all more attractive: a vaccination.”

More than 160 million people in the U.S. now have at least one shot. But the average daily pace of vaccinations is dropping fast, down nearly 50% since last month’s peak.

Public health physician Dr. Chris T. Pernell said, “We need do whatever we can to give people a safe incentive to get vaccinated.”

The South is sparking new concerns wherein several states only half the adult population has received at least one dose.

Brown University School of Public Health Dean Dr. Ashish Jha said, “Last summer right around June, July, we saw a big surge of cases in the south. Why in the South? Because it gets pretty hot.

It’s hard to spend time outside. People cluster indoors. And if we have large numbers of unvaccinated people in those states, we may very well see a surge in those states.”

One bright spot is 12 to 15-year-olds account for 25% of new vaccinations in the past week.

Associate Professor of Medicine at Emory University Dr. Jay Varkey said, “This is their shot to being teenagers. And by rolling up their sleeves, they actually help protect their parents, their teachers, their classmates and their communities.”

Average daily cases are now under 30,000, the lowest level in nearly a year. And at one of the Bay Area’s largest hospitals: no COVID patients for the first time in 14 months.

Dr. Monica Gandhi works with San Francisco General Hospital. She said, “I did have tears in my eyes. It feels like a milestone.”

Another milestone is coming this Sunday when 15,000 fans will pack Madison Square Garden for game one of the NBCA playoffs.

D.C. is lifting most capacity limits Friday. Rhode Island is dropping its remaining Covid restrictions a week early, thanks to vaccinations as Americans adjust to yet another new normal.

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