US cases at 6-month high, break above 100,000 daily


New Covid-19 cases in the US have rebounded to more than 100,000 a day on average, returning to levels seen during a winter surge earlier this year.

Businesses and colleges should consider requiring people to get vaccinated against the virus in light of the jump in US cases driven by the Delta variant, Anthony Fauci said Friday.

The chief medical adviser to US President Joe Biden said he opposed a federal vaccine mandate but that the velocity of Covid’s spread should spur private organizations to think about requiring shots.

New York state’s new cases topped 4,000 for first time since late April, as hospitalizations continued to climb, Governor Andrew Cuomo said in a statement. The 4,385 new cases reported Saturday was a jump from 3,700 the day before. New cases remain far below the daily record of almost 20,000 in mid-January but average daily cases have more than doubled over the last two weeks. Another 11 people died, the most since mid-June.

A Florida minister said six of his parishioners have died of Covid-19 in the last 10 days, four of them under 35 years old. Florida has been breaking records for new infections and hospitalizations, reporting more than 134,000 cases over the last week.

Texas capital Austin alerted residents via text, e-mail and phone call that the Covid-19 situation is “dire.”

A growing number of “multi-vaxxers” are getting Covid-19 boosters in pharmacies even though the US Food and Drug Administration has yet to approve any booster shots. More than 900 people have gotten a third dose of vaccines, according to an Associated Press review of a database run by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Health care providers reported these instances voluntarily, so the data do not provide a full extent of the phenomenon.

Across the nation, “multi-vaxxers” are able to get the unauthorized shots by traveling to a different state, claiming they have not been vaccinated or simply not disclosing their vaccination history because they are not asked, according to media reports.

The FDA is still examining international data as it weighs on booster doses. The decision to authorize extra shots could arrive soon, The Washington Post reported, citing unnamed federal officials.

Key developments:

Australia’s Delta outbreak worsens

Australia continued its struggle to contain a Delta outbreak across the nation’s east coast, with the race to increase vaccinations now key to prospects for a reduction in virus restrictions.

New South Wales state reported 262 new locally acquired cases on Sunday, state Premier Gladys Berejiklian told reporters, down from the record 319 a day earlier. That brings the number of local infections since the latest outbreak began in mid June to 5,169.

“Vaccination is the key,” Berejiklian said. She’s aiming to have 6 million people in the state inoculated by the end of the month, up from about 4.4 million at present.

Victoria, whose state capital Melbourne is in its sixth lockdown, announced 11 new cases on Sunday, down from 29 on Saturday. State Premier Daniel Andrews urged Victorians to get vaccinated, saying that’s “critical to us being open and staying open.”

There were nine new cases in Queensland, where state Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said a lockdown will ease in the southeast on Sunday. New stay-at-home orders were imposed for three days in the northern city of Cairns.

The highly contagious Delta variant has caused shutdowns across Australia’s eastern coast, its most populated area. Delta is placing increased pressure on the nation’s so-called “Covid-zero” strategy, which has relied on closed international borders and rigorous testing to eliminate community transmission of the virus.

The central bank estimates household spending drops about 15% during lockdown and has acknowledged the economy will likely contract this quarter. Still, it expects a robust recovery to resume, and decided to stick with plans to taper bond purchases for now.

Malaysia to use hospital cases as gauge for easing Covid curbs

Malaysia will shift to using the number of new symptomatic Covid-19 hospital admissions as a gauge for whether to ease curbs in states in the first phase of its National Recovery Plan, the Finance Ministry said in a statement on Saturday.

The indicator will replace the current measure—daily Covid-19 cases—if a state’s level of full vaccinations with a double dose reaches 50% of adults, Finance Minister Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz said in the statement.

The decision was made on the advice of domestic and overseas health experts who said the transmission risk decrease as vaccinations increase among adults, he said.

The change could affect the pace of restriction relaxation in Kuala Lumpur, the capital, and the industrial state of Selangor, where the vaccination rate is relatively high. Both areas are recording the most daily infections, contributing almost 50% of 19,257 new cases on Saturday.

Kuala Lumpur and Selangor, together with the administrative capital of Putrajaya, had 47.7% of its adult population, or 2.94 million people, fully vaccinated as of Friday, according to the official Twitter account of the Special Committee for Ensuring Access to Covid-19 Vaccine Supply, citing data from the Covid-19 Immunization Task Force. The combined three areas are called Klang Valley in Malaysia.

Brazil adds 43,033 new cases

Brazil added 43,033 new cases for a total of 20.2 million cases, according to Health Ministry data.

The country’s death toll rose by 990 to 562,752, the highest globally after the US.

Protests break out across France

Almost 200 demonstrations took place around France on Saturday against the so-called “health pass,” with some 237,000 protesters, according to Le Parisien, which cited Interior Ministry numbers. It’s the fourth consecutive Saturday of protests against the vaccination pass, which on Monday will be extended to bars and restaurants, including terraces, as well as hospitals, planes, high-speed trains and some malls.

The protests add pressure on President Emmanuel Macron, who faces re-election next year. Meanwhile, the Delta variant continues its progression, with 32 new hospital deaths in France in the past 24 hours, Le Figaro reported. More than 441,000 Covid-19 total vaccine shots were administered in the past 24 hours, bringing the number of people having received both shots in France to more than 37.1 million, according to health authorities.

Ontario infections surge

Ontario, Canada’s most populous province, reported 378 new cases of Covid-19 on Saturday, the most since mid-June.

New infections have been on the rebound since Ontario entered Step 3 of its reopening plan, which includes indoor dining and other social gatherings, with some capacity limits.

Nearly 81% of Ontario’s eligible population has received at least one dose as Canada is set to welcome fully vaccinated US travelers on Aug. 9.

UK fully vaccinated Delta hospitalizations

The number of fully vaccinated people in the UK being admitted to hospital with the Delta variant is growing as officials warn the shots cannot stop everyone catching Covid-19.

In the last fortnight, nearly 35% of those hospitalized were fully vaccinated, compared with 55% who were unvaccinated, according to a statement from Public Health England Friday. The Delta variant accounts for 99% of cases in the UK.

Russian Covid infections slip

New Russian cases of Covid-19 slipped slightly, the task force in charge of combating the virus said.

In the past 24 hours, 22,320 cases of the coronavirus were registered, compared with 22,660 the previous day, taking the total to 6.42 million, it said. The number of deaths increased by 793 to 164,094 over that period.

Infections in Germany rising

Germany is seeing a continuation of a trend of slowly increasing Covid cases. The country reported 3,206 new infections on Saturday. The 7-day incidence rate now stands at 21.2 after falling below 5 in early July.

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