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VIRUS TODAY: Alabama governor extends face mask order

VACCINES: Nearly 54.1 million people, or 16.3% of the U.S. population, have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine according to the CDC. Some 27.7 million people have completed their vaccination, or 8.4% of the population.

CASES: The seven-day rolling average for daily new cases in the U.S. decreased from 77,579 on Feb. 17 to 63,675 on Wednesday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

DEATHS: The seven-day rolling average for daily new deaths in the U.S. decreased from 2,044 on Feb. 17 to 1,835 on Wednesday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

POSITIVITY RATE: The seven-day rolling test positivity rate in the U.S. decreased from 5.3 on Feb. 17 to 4.2 on Wednesday, according to data from the COVID Tracking Project. The top three states with the highest coronavirus positivity rates: Idaho (24.4%), South Dakota (22.6%) and Iowa (19.7%).

THREE THINGS TO KNOW TODAY:

— Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey is extending the state’s mandatory face mask order by a month despite what Texas and neighboring Mississippi are doing about mask requirements.

— A new study of pro athletes found heart inflammation was uncommon after a mild case of COVID-19. The research was conducted by major professional sports leagues in the U.S.

— Nonprofits, churches and health care outreach workers are helping older people who have difficulty signing up for vaccinations.

QUOTABLE: “You need somebody in charge and you need somebody who can act quickly.” — Kansas state Rep. Pam Curtis during a discussion on how far to go in restricting a governor’s power in emergencies.

ON THE HORIZON: The California Legislature has OK’d a $6.6 billion plan aimed at returning students to the classroom. Gov. Gavin Newsom says he plans to sign the bill into law Friday. Most of California’s 6.1 million public school students have been learning from home since March 2020. The plan requires 10% of the state’s COVID-19 vaccine supply be set aside for teachers.

Find AP’s full coverage of the coronavirus pandemic at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic

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