Highly contagious delta variants now account for over 90% of new coronavirus infections in the United States, according to the latest data from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
The main delta strand accounted for 83.4% of infections during the two-week period that ended July 31, according to the CDC. The other delta strands accounted for an additional 10%. Current vaccines have been shown to be effective in protecting or at least minimizing damage from delta infection, and the vast majority of infections and hospitalizations are among the unvaccinated.
The variant resulted in a sharp rise in infections and hospitalizations that made educators across the country suspicious at the start of the new school year. The US Department of Education’s back-to-school roadmap includes advice on wearing masks that in many school districts pits educators against state officials.
A district in Arizona, where lawmakers have banned mask warrants, announced on June 30 that it would require masks indoors. The Phoenix Union School District opened its doors to masked students on Monday, and the Phoenix School District followed suit on Tuesday.
In Florida, Duval County public schools will have a mask mandate with an opt-out option, even if Governor Ron DeSantis threatens district funding if schools issue one. In Tennessee, Shelby County schools will keep their mask mandate in place, or even start distance school as appropriate this fall. The Speaker of the State House threatened to call a special session to ban it.
And a contingent of Oklahoma Legislative Democrats is calling for a special legislative session to repeal a new law that prevents school districts from imposing mask warrants unless a state of emergency is in effect. Tulsa public schools have required masks at all times for students and staff, regardless of their immunization status.
“What needs to happen before we take COVID seriously?” Said Emily Virgin, House Democratic Minority Leader. “We have children in intensive care.”
Also in the news:
►Pete Parada, drummer for The Offspring, said he was kicked out of the American rock band for failing to receive the vaccine. Parada, 48, said he was susceptible to unwanted side effects from vaccines because he suffers from Guillain-Barré syndrome, a disorder in which the body’s immune system attacks the nerves.
►Country music star Garth Brooks has said he is reassessing whether to continue his stadium tour in light of the growing number of coronavirus cases across the country.
►Biden administration issued a targeted moratorium on evictions in areas hardest hit by COVID-19, replacing a nationwide eviction freeze that expired on Saturday despite legal concerns about doing so unilaterally .
►The global number of new cases has been increasing for more than a month, with more than 4 million cases reported last week, according to an epidemiological update from the World Health Organization released on Tuesday. Deaths fell 8% last week globally, but have increased in some places.
Today’s numbers: The United States has recorded more than 35.2 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 614,300 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Global totals: Over 199.7 million cases and 4.2 million deaths. More than 165. million Americans – 49.7% of the population – have been fully immunized, according to the CDC.
What we read: After more than 18 months of the pandemic, with 1 in 545 Americans killed by COVID-19, a significant portion of the population continues to assert their own individual freedoms over the common good. Read the full story.
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Chicago Lollapalooza Party: Safe or “Recipe for Disaster”?
As COVID-19 cases increased in the United States last weekend, downtown Chicago was a sea of mostly unmasked humanity as hundreds of thousands gathered for the festival outdoor music Lollapalooza. The city called for hiding inside, but more than 385,000 people packed the four-day event. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot defended the decision to host the festival, citing strict pandemic precautions that required spectators to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test and wear a mask. Lollapalooza said 90% of attendees on the first day of the event proved they were vaccinated. Lightfoot said hundreds of people have been turned away.
Yet some experts have sounded the alarm bells. Tina Tan, professor at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, called the festival a “recipe for disaster.”
“You are less capable of transmitting COVID in an outdoor space, but that doesn’t mean you can pack 100,000 people in a small, enclosed space where they are on top of each other and expect no one to transmit,” Tan mentioned. “This is not how it works.”
– Adrianna Rodriguez and Christine Fernando
As schools reopen, fight continues to increase COVID-19 vaccinations in adolescents
As the new school year begins, health workers are in a race against time to increase the number of vaccinations among eligible adolescents. While vaccination rates have increased in some areas for the general population, the vaccination rate among young people has fallen significantly behind. Health services are particularly stressed in the South, where hesitation about vaccines remains strong. Many are implementing innovative strategies to allay parental concerns and get adolescents eligible for vaccination.
“We still have far too many people sitting on the sidelines because parents forbid it,” said Dr David Kimberlin, associate professor of pediatric infectious diseases at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
– Maria Clark, The American South
Fourth wave of virus invading hospitals in areas hesitant for vaccination
A fourth wave of COVID-19 is threatening to overwhelm U.S. hospitals in areas where large swathes of unvaccinated people offer little resistance to the highly contagious delta variant. Nowhere is the tension more apparent than in Florida, which hit a new peak on Tuesday of 11,515 people hospitalized with COVID-19, according to data from the US Department of Health and Human Services.
Last week, hospitals in Jacksonville and Orlando passed their pandemic peaks, and Miami-Dade County hospitals are seeing or approaching record coronavirus hospitalizations this week, said Mary Mayhew, CEO of the Florida Hospital Association. And cases continue to rise: 110,477 residents tested positive for COVID-19 for the week ended July 29, pointing to more people needing hospital care in the weeks to come.
“The delta variant rips up the unvaccinated,” Mayhew said.
– Ken alltucker
Biden to hold governors: “Use your power to save lives”
President Joe Biden expressed frustration with Republican governors blocking local businesses and schools of the implementation of the coronavirus mask and vaccine mandates, as the highly contagious delta variant continues to overwhelm states across the country. Biden singled out Florida and Texas, two GOP-led hotspots that have pushed back restrictions on coronaviruses in recent days, which he said accounted for a third of all new COVID-19 cases across the country. country.
“Some governors are unwilling to do the right things to make this happen,” Biden said. “I say to these governors, please help. If you are not going to help, at least stay away from the people who are trying to do the right thing. Use your power to save lives.”
– Courtney Subramanian and Matthew Brown
US reports 620,226 new coronavirus cases in one week, one case per second
The United States is again reporting more than one new case of coronavirus per second. Johns Hopkins University data released through Tuesday evening shows at least 620,226 new cases of coronavirus reported in the past week, far more than 604,800 seconds this week.
The United States had not reached this milestone since February 14, Valentine’s Day. At worst, the country was reporting nearly three cases per second on average in mid-January.
– Mike Stucka
Number of Americans unlikely to decline from Delta variant
The number of Americans who are not at all likely to receive the vaccine has fallen to 15%, from 20% two months ago, according to a new Axios-Ipsos survey. The drop can be largely attributed to an increase in cases in recent weeks. To that end, three in four Americans are largely concerned about the emergence of the delta variant, and half believe returning to pre-COVID activities is risky.
White House COVID-19 Data Director Cyrus Shahpar Tuesday said on twitter that 453,000 doses were declared administered, including 301,000 first doses.
Hospitalizations in Louisiana hit record levels
COVID-19 hospitalizations in Louisiana reached record levels on Tuesday: 2,112 largely unvaccinated people were in hospital beds and hospital managers described facilities overwhelmed with patients. The Louisiana Department of Health reported that 89% of people hospitalized with COVID-19 were not vaccinated. Health officials say the influx of COVID-19 patients is hurting the ability of hospitals to treat people with heart attacks, injuries from car crashes and other health conditions.
“We ask the ambulances not to come to our house, to divert to another facility. There is no other facility to go to, ”said Michele Sutton, president and CEO of the North Oaks Health System in Hammond. “So when I do patrols it’s not uncommon to see five, six stretchers lining up in the hallway of our emergency room with the EMS drivers waiting to unload, but I have no room to put them. “
South Korea on Tuesday reported two new cases of the delta-plus variant, a variant according to some experts more transmissible than the original delta variant. First identified in Europe in March, the delta plus variant refers to the addition of the K417N spike protein mutation, also found in some sub-strains of the alpha variant, according to a study UK report published in July.
“To date, there is no clear evidence that it provides enough benefit to the virus to allow it to dominate the original delta variant,” Colin Angus, senior researcher at the University, told the Washington Post. of Sheffield. “So while he is clearly here, there is no clear sign that he has gained a foothold on existing variants of the virus.”
The variant appears more in young people, Angus said, but those vaccinated still show an immune response to the variant in a small data set.
Contribution: Associated Press