South Korea exceeds 2,000 daily infections for 1st time


SEOUL, South Korea—South Korea’s daily increase in coronavirus infections has exceeded 2,000 for the first time since the start of the pandemic, continuing an alarming spread despite the enforcement of strict virus restrictions in large population centers.

Health Minister Kwon Deok-cheol on Wednesday pleaded for people to stay home during the holiday break around Liberation Day on Friday. He said that “in our fight against Covid-19, we are entering a new phase, a new crisis.”

Officials said more than 1,400 of the 2,223 new cases are in the Seoul metropolitan region. Kwon says transmissions are also spreading at faster speeds in other parts of the country.

South Korea has so far administered first doses of coronavirus vaccine to 42 percent of a population of more than 51 million.

Key developments:

Texas reports 10,000 Covid patients

HOUSTON—The latest wave of coronavirus infections in Texas continues to tax the state’s health care systems as health officials report that 10,000 people are hospitalized with Covid-19 for the first time since early February.

State health officials reported Tuesday that 10,041 hospital patients in Texas were ill with Covid-19 as of Monday. That is the most since 10,259 Covid-19 hospitalizations were reported on February 4.

Meantime, a state district judge in San Antonio granted a temporary restraining order to allow the governments of San Antonio and Bexar County to require public school students to wear masks in class and to quarantine unvaccinated students exposed to the virus.

5,599 vaccinated people infected in Minnesota

ST. PAUL, Minn.—Minnesota health officials say the state has recorded at least 5,599 people vaccinated against the coronavirus who later became infected by the virus, with 514 of them requiring hospitalization for Covid-19. At least 57 died.

But officials stressed Tuesday that those cases represent a tiny fraction of the state’s immunized population.

The state health department says just over 3 million people in Minnesota have been fully vaccinated and about 200,000 more have gotten one dose.

Florida hospitals fear shortage of health workers

MIAMI—The Florida Hospital Association says nearly 70 percent of the state’s hospitals are expecting critical staffing shortage in the next seven days.

Association president Mary Mayhew says an influx of Covid-19 cases is hitting at a time when Florida hospitals are seeing “unusually high numbers of very ill non-Covid patients.”

Mayhew says that “our front line health care heroes are finding themselves stretched thin and physical and mental exhaustion is taking its toll.”

She says that many of those being hospitalized for Covid-19 during the latest surge in cases are in their 20s and 30s.

Mississippi Covid-19 hospitalizations increase

JACKSON, Miss.—Mississippi is approaching its pandemic high for Covid-19 hospitalizations as the coronavirus continues spreading rapidly in a state with one of the lowest vaccination rates in the US.

The state Health Department reported Tuesday that 1,410 patients with Covid-19 were in Mississippi hospitals Monday. The state’s highest number of Covid-19 hospitalizations for a single day was 1,444 on Jan. 4, before vaccines against the virus were widely available.

Officials say that as of Tuesday, 35 percent of Mississippi residents were fully vaccinated, compared to about 50 percent nationally.

The Health Department says that between July 13 and Monday, unvaccinated people made up 97 percent of those newly diagnosed with Covid-19, 89 percent of those hospitalized with it and 85 percent of those who died from it. AP

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