Swiftly rising COVID-19 cases across the US and abroad fueled fears of a pandemic resurgence on Monday, as the highly contagious Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2 appeared to be taking hold.
Many of the new outbreaks were in parts of the US where COVID-19 vaccinations have lagged, prompting political leaders to ramp up pressure on reluctant Americans to get the inoculations.
US President Joe Biden, citing higher rates of COVID-19 in states with low vaccination rates, said during a speech that the US’ economic recovery hinged on getting better at controlling the pandemic.
“So please, please get vaccinated,” Biden said. “Get vaccinated now.”
A US federal judge on Monday ruled that Indiana University could require students to be vaccinated, rejecting claims in a lawsuit that the mandate violated their rights under the country’s constitution.
While the ruling could set a precedent for similar vaccination orders in schools and businesses, attorneys for the plaintiffs said they would appeal to a higher court.
Also on Monday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that starting on Aug. 9, fully vaccinated Americans could cross the border for the first time in 16 months, easing a travel ban that many business owners complained was crippling them.
Vaccines and especially mandatory shots are deeply controversial among US conservatives.
The average number of daily new COVID-19 cases in the US has tripled in the past 30 days, a Reuters analysis showed, climbing to 32,136 on Sunday.
The average number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 has also risen 21 percent over the past 30 days to more than 19,000, the data showed, while deaths, which can lag behind other indicators, rose 25 percent last week to an average of 250 per day.
Los Angeles County has ordered residents to wear masks indoors again, following a surge in cases across southern California.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio told a news conference on Monday that the city had no plans to reimpose mask mandates, despite a rise in cases, saying that he would redouble vaccination efforts.
Arkansas has been hard hit by the resurgent virus. All but two of the state’s 75 counties have substantial or high levels of transmission, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said.
The Delta variant is responsible for 90 percent of new cases in Utah’s Salt Lake County, state epidemiology manager Ilene Risk said.
To combat the rising infections, the county has enlisted faith leaders and doctors to persuade the about 40 percent of eligible people who are not fully vaccinated to accept the shots, she said.
The American Academy of Pediatrics on Monday released updated recommendations for schools that included the wearing of masks for everyone aged two or older, regardless of vaccination status.
Earlier this month, the CDC updated its own guidance for schools in an effort to help reopen in the fall, recommending masks indoors for everyone not fully vaccinated, among other guidelines.
Twice a day Hong Kong’s virtually deserted airport fills with the sound of tearful goodbyes as residents fearful for their future under China’s increasingly authoritarian rule start a new life overseas, mostly in Britain. London flights tend to leave in the afternoon and late evening, and for a few hours it briefly feels like the COVID-19 pandemic no longer exists as the airport comes to life. Check-in desks fill up with crowds of passengers wheeling as much luggage as their tickets will permit. Accompanied by the loved ones they leave behind, the scenes are emotionally charged and shadowed by a palpable pall of
Ethiopia’s Afar region on Friday called on civilians to take up arms against rebels from neighboring Tigray, signaling a potential escalation in fighting that has already displaced tens of thousands this week. “Every Afar should protect their land with any means available, whether by guns, sticks or stones,” regional President Awol Arba said in an interview aired by regional state media. “No weapons can make us kneel down. We will win this war with our strong determination.” Tigrayan rebels launched operations in Afar last weekend, saying they were targeting pro-government troops massing along the two regions’ shared border. A government official said on
A man has confessed to defrauding Chinese-Canadian pop singer Kris Wu (吳亦凡) over a teenager’s accusation that he had sex with her when she was drunk, Beijing police said on Thursday. The announcement added a bizarre twist to a scandal that cost Wu endorsement contracts with brands including Porsche and Bulgari. The former member of South Korean boy band EXO has denied the accusation, which drew an outpouring of online support for the woman and criticism of Wu. On Friday, Louis Vuitton became the latest brand to end its contract with Wu. A man who saw rumors about the incident online contacted the woman
Buried in a long US indictment accusing China of a global cyberespionage campaign was a curious detail: Among the governments targeted by Chinese hackers was Cambodia, one of Beijing’s most loyal Asian allies. The target of the hack, which two sources with knowledge of the indictment said was the Cambodian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, was also revealing: discussions between China and Cambodia over the use of the Mekong River, a new battleground for US and Chinese influence in Southeast Asia. Four Chinese — three security officials and a contract hacker — have been charged for attacks aimed at dozens