Delta variant's UK dominance sparks concerns in US
The Delta variant's quick dominance over other COVID-19 strains in the U.K. is sparking concerns that the U.S. could be hit with a similar wave of new cases in the coming months.Public health experts are projecting that the highly transmissible variant will soon overtake the Alpha strain in the U.S. and later become the dominant form of the coronavirus.The Delta strain has the potential to cause outbreaks in lower vaccinated areas since fully vaccinated people appear to have protection against it.Anthony Fauci, President Biden's chief medical adviser, said the Delta strain currently makes up more than 6 percent of the U.S. coronavirus infections.
The coronavirus pandemic continues to wane in many parts of the U.S., but the spread of the highly-contagious Delta variant among the unvaccinated could pose a new public health threat, warned President Joe Biden and the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday.
During a coronavirus update with the press, Biden described the Delta variant as being “more easily transmissible, potentially deadlier and particularly dangerous for young people.” While Biden took a moment to acknowledge the “bright summer” that lies ahead for those who are vaccinated, he said there’s cause for concern for people living in “lower vaccination rate states.”
CDC labels highly transmissible delta strain a COVID-19 'variant of concern'
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is labeling the highly transmissible delta strain of the coronavirus a "variant of concern" amid growing concerns about the strain fueling outbreaks among unvaccinated people in the United States."Today the CDC announces the Delta variant as a variant of concern," tweeted White House spokesman Kevin Munoz. "The stakes are high for those who are unvaccinated but the vaccines work."The delta"Today the CDC announces the Delta variant as a variant of concern," tweeted White House spokesman Kevin Munoz. "The stakes are high for those who are unvaccinated but the vaccines work.
“People getting seriously ill and being hospitalized due to COVID-19 are those who have not been fully vaccinated,” Biden said. “The new variant will leave unvaccinated people even more vulnerable than they were a month ago.”
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CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky shared Biden’s concern during an appearance on Good Morning America on Friday. Walensky said the higher transmissibility of the Delta variant will likely help make it the dominant strain of COVID-19 in the U.S in the near future.
Walensky and Biden both stressed the efficacy of vaccinations in safeguarding against the rising variant, a strain which the CDC and the World Health Organization have classified as a “variant of concern.” Walensky said it was important for Americans to get their second dose of the vaccine to be protected against the Delta variant.
Vikings' Mike Zimmer: Players not vaccinated against COVID-19 will have 'harder time' this season
Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said those who don't receive shots will only make things more difficult for themselves throughout the summer and fall months. He explained:"The unvaccinated players are going to have a harder time in the season. They’re going to be wearing masks, they’ll have to social distance. They’ll have daily testings. They won’t be able to go home for bye week. They’ll have to come back here and test every day."When we go on the road, they won’t be able to go out to dinner with anybody. They’ll have to travel on buses differently, travel on planes differently.
Also in the news:
►After being shuttered for nearly eight months, Disneyland Paris reopened to the public on Thursday, becoming the last of the Disney theme parks to resume operation.
►The border between Canada and the U.S. will remain closed to all nonessential travel until at least July 21, Canadian officials said Friday, as the country continues efforts to vaccinate more of its population against COVID-19.
►A year after the coronavirus pandemic prompted people to leave crowded metro areas, renters seem to be gravitating back to cities as vaccination rates go up and jobs continue to come back. At the same time, apartment rents are climbing up from their pandemic discount rates.
►A dangerous surge in COVID-19 cases in Afghanistan has gripped the U.S. embassy in Kabul, forcing an immediate lockdown and the creation of temporary, on-site COVID-19 wards to care for oxygen-dependent patients, according to an internal memo.
Biden Says It's 'Unlikely' Delta Variant Will Cause U.S. Lockdown but Won't Rule It Out
"The existing vaccines are very effective so no, it's not a lockdown, but some areas will be very hurt," the president said."I don't think so, because so many people have already been vaccinated," Biden said at a press conference when asked if the variant could prompt a new shutdown nationally. "But the Delta variant can cause more people to die in areas where people have not been vaccinated. Where people have gotten the two shots, the Delta variant is highly unlikely to result in anything.
►The U.S. Open tennis tournament will allow 100% spectator capacity throughout its entire two weeks in 2021. This comes a year after spectators were banned from the Grand Slam event in New York because of the coronavirus pandemic.
►The U.K. recorded more than 10,000 daily coronavirus infections for the first time in nearly four months, likely the result of the spread of the more contagious delta variant. The variant accounts for around 95% of all new cases in the U.K..
???? Today's numbers: The U.S. has more than 33.5 million confirmed coronavirus cases and more than 601,500 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The global totals: More than 177.8 million cases and more than 3.8 million deaths. More than 148 million Americans have been fully vaccinated – 44.7% of the population, according to the CDC.
???? What we're reading: Companies like Moderna and Pfizer's partner BioNTech are exploring the use of messenger RNA, an ingredient which has been used in COVID-19 vaccines, in the creation of trial cancer vaccines. The hope is that these vaccines will help bolster the immune systems of cancer patients during treatment. Read more.
Covid-19 broke the CDC. Can Rochelle Walensky fix it?
Now the agency faces its biggest test yet: loosening its public safety guidance as the pandemic recedes, while simultaneously trying to prevent infection rates from spiking.Rochelle Walensky’s remarks caught many CDC scientists and officials off guard. Her boss, President Joe Biden, had campaigned on a promise to take control of the pandemic by letting science lead — a pledge that hinged almost entirely on allowing the nation’s top health experts, including those at the CDC, to speak publicly.
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Florida judge sides with state in lawsuit over CDC cruise guidelines
Video: EU Lifts Travel Restrictions for Americans (Bloomberg)
A federal judge in Florida found the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's COVID-19 restrictions on cruises could have exceeded the agency's powers, throwing the future of vacationing on the seas post-pandemic into uncertainty.
The Friday ruling, the result of a lawsuit by the state of Florida, granted a preliminary injunction that might turn CDC mandates on cruising to and from the state into optional guidelines when they go into effect next month, though the agency has time to propose a narrower injunction.
"This order finds that Florida is highly likely to prevail on the merits of the claim that CDC’s conditional sailing order and the implementing orders exceed the authority delegated to CDC," reads the conclusion of the 124-page ruling issued by Judge Steven Merryday on Friday.
The lawsuit, touted by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis who has emerged as a key critic of President Joe Biden and his COVID policies, challenged CDC guidelines on the cruise industry and alleged the agency exceeded its authority.
Is India's Delta Plus a worrying Covid-19 variant?
India says a new variant of the coronavirus is a 'variant of concern'. How worried should we be?A mutation is elevated from a "variant of interest" to a "variant of concern" (VOC) when it shows evidence of fulfilling at least one of several criteria, including easy transmission, more severe illness, reduced neutralisation by antibodies or reduced effectiveness of treatment and vaccines.
"We are securing this victory for Florida families, for the cruise industry, and for every state that wants to preserve its rights in the face of unprecedented federal overreach," DeSantis said after the ruling.
The state has instituted a ban on vaccine passports, preventing businesses, including cruise lines, from requiring patrons to show proof of vaccination prior to entry. That decree conflicts with the CDC's cruise regulations, which require ships to carry a certain threshold of vaccinated passengers to cruise in U.S. waters without conducting test cruises first.
The lawsuit is one example of the ways Republican-led states have lashed out against continued COVID-19 mandates, though more and more states have either axed restrictions or announced plans to do so in the coming weeks due to lower coronavirus infection rates and continued vaccination efforts.
Michigan, New Mexico set to lift COVID restrictions
Michigan and New Mexico are set to join nearly every other state in lifting most COVID-19 restrictions as infection rates fall and more Americans are vaccinated.
Michigan will lift all indoor capacity restrictions and mask requirements next week, 10 days sooner than planned amid vaccinations and plummeting COVID-19 infections, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced Thursday.
“Today is a day that we have all been looking forward to, as we can safely get back to normal day-to-day activities and put this pandemic behind us,” Whitmer said in a news release.
New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham similarly announced the state will also drop its restrictions and reopen fully on July 1. While the state has largely been open, restrictions are set to be dropped that will allow businesses and events to operate at full capacity once again, regardless of whether they are inside or outdoors.
Australia battles Delta Covid surge as Europe eases restrictions
Australia's largest city entered a two-week lockdown on Saturday to contain a sudden Covid surge, but several European nations lifted restrictions despite the global spread of a highly contagious form of the disease. And Switzerland scrapped most of its remaining coronavirus restrictions on Saturday, after health minister Alain Berset said this week that the country's use of Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines gave adequate protection against the Delta variant.
“I know some will say this day is late in coming. I sure wish we’d gotten here sooner,” Lujan Grisham said announcing the reopening. "I believe, on the whole, New Mexicans made the right public health decisions in their day-to-day lives, following the science and helping us get to this point quickly and, more importantly, as safely as we possibly could."
EU recommends allowing American tourists back to Europe
The European Union on Friday added the U.S. to a list of countries for which they say travel restrictions should gradually be lifted. The list applies to all American tourists, vaccinated or not, for nonessential travel.
However the recommendation is not legally binding.
Have COVID vaccine, will travel: These are the countries open to fully vaccinated Americans
"It’s up to every country to decide how and when to open the borders," said French Embassy spokesperson Pascal Confavreux. "The European Union is the one giving the framework, but the decision comes from the states."
Each of the E.U.'s 27 member states has the power to set its own guidelines and timelines for travelers, including whether or not to require vaccinations or COVID-19 tests for entry.
Several European countries, including Spain and France, have already reopened to vaccinated visitors from the U.S.
Americans hoping to head to Europe should check the current restrictions for each country on their itinerary.
Workers hold documents as they wait for their turn to receive the first dose of Covishield vaccine against the Covid-19 coronavirus in a passenger bus converted into a mobile vaccination centre at a wholesale market in Kolkata, India on June 3, 2021.
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An official in personal protective equipment (PPE) manages the crowd as people line up to receive China's Sinopharm Covid-19 coronavirus vaccine in Phnom Penh, Cambodia on May 31, 2021, as part of the government's campaign to halt the rising number of cases of the virus.
Two elderly women walk into the Alba Caracas hotel to get their first dose of the Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine after being in line for more than 5 hours, during a massive vaccination campaign for seniors in Caracas, Venezuela, May 31, 2021.
Catherine Bechard, a Canada Border Services Agency, CBSA, regional Indigenous Affairs advisor, walks along a line-up of southern Alberta residents waiting to get shots of a COVID-19 vaccine from a Montana tribe in Carway, Alberta,, May 18, 2021.
A woman receives a dose of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine as medical health workers visit door-to-door to deliver the vaccines to people who live far from health facilities in Siaya, Kenya, on May 18, 2021.
People wait after receiving doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine against COVID-19 at a vaccination center for people over 50 years old set up at the Vasconcelos Library, in Mexico City on May 11, 2021.
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A health worker prepares to administer a dose of the Sinopharm Covid-19 coronavirus vaccine at a vaccination centre in Karachi, Pakistan on May 5, 2021.
Nurse Pilar Rodríguez arrives to start visiting her patients in the town of Sa Pobla on the Spanish Balearic Island of Mallorca, Spain, Friday, April 30, 2021. Pilar Rodríguez, age 49, is one of three nurses in the town of Sa Pobla in the interior of the island to administer shots there and in nearby villages. On her rounds of the area on foot, she is welcomed amiably by elderly folk, many bound to a chair or a bed. So far, Rodríguez said she and her colleagues have vaccinated over 70 people at their homes in the rural area. They have all received the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, the shot leading Spain's campaign.
An elderly woman reacts as she receives a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 coronavirus vaccine at El-Menzah sports hall in Tunisia's capital Tunis on April 12, 2021, as vaccination centers in the North African country experience an influx of registrations a day ahead of the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan.
A medical worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech Comirnaty vaccine against Covid-19 at a vaccination center on April 8, 2021 in Erfurt, Germany.
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Palestinian health ministry workers prepare doses of the Sinopharm COVID-19 coronavirus vaccine COVID-19, donated by the Chinese government, at a school in Halhoul, north of Hebron in the occupied West Bank on April 6, 2021, to be provided to Palestinian teachers and education ministry employees before schools reopen the following week.
A woman wearing Javanese traditonal costume in a vehicle receives a dose of the Sinovac Biotech Ltd. Covid-19 vaccine during a mass drive-thru vaccination program at Prambanan temple complex on April 5, 2021 in Yogyakarta, Indonesia.
Healthcare workers from Humber River Hospital draw out doses of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine before administering the vaccine to residents at a LOFT community housing complex in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Friday, March 26, 2021.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Highly-contagious Delta variant likely to become dominant in US, CDC director says. Latest COVID-19 updates
Delta-8, a legal form of THC, is sold across the country. Some states want to change that. .
The psychoactive compound found in the cannabis plant is unregulated at the federal level, thanks to a loophole in the 2018 farm bill.Jarosh, 29, who now lives outside Houston, no longer works a job that forces him to keep inconsistent hours. He also no longer has access to marijuana, which he said had also been helping to ease his anxiety and depression.