The Latest: LA County has 5th straight day of 1,000 cases
LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles County is reporting the fifth straight day of more than 1,000 new coronavirus cases.
Health officials warned Tuesday that the more contagious delta variant of the virus continues to spread rapidly among unvaccinated people in the state.
Los Angeles County is home to a quarter of California’s 40 million people. County officials reported new cases totaling 1,103 for the previous 24 hours. County officials said the five-day average of cases is 1,095 — a jump of more than 500% in just one month.
The state, meanwhile, reported 3,256 newly confirmed coronavirus infections — the highest one-day total since early March.
MORE ON THE PANDEMIC:
— Indonesia hits record 47,899 daily coronavirus cases
— Mississippi officials block COVID-19 vaccine misinformation
— Netherlands coronavirus cases soar among young
— Immunized but banned: EU says not all COVID vaccines equal
— Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic and https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine
HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:
SYDNEY — Officials in Sydney say Australia’s largest city will remain in lockdown for at least five weeks due to the continuing spread of the coronavirus.
New South Wales state Premier Gladys Berejiklian said Wednesday that Sydney’s 5 million people will remain locked down until at least July 30, two weeks longer than had been planned.
The extension comes after 97 new infections were reported Wednesday in the latest 24-hour period, including 24 who had been infectious in the community.
Berejiklian says the daily tally of people who are infectious while in the community will have to be close to zero before the lockdown can end.
NEW ORLEANS — New Orleans’ health director says large events in the city will likely continue having to abide by mask mandates or requirements for attendees to be vaccinated against the coronavirus into the fall.
Dr. Jennifer Avegno’s remarks came at a news conference Tuesday as Louisiana health officials reported that infections are surging, largely among non-vaccinated people as the more easily transmissible delta variant spreads in the state.
New Orleans is looking ahead to the NFL and college football season as well as the return of major entertainment events such as the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.
The city currently allows major events to have full capacity if there is a mask requirement or if attendees are required to have either a vaccination or a negative coronavirus test.
NEW YORK — The COVID-19 curve in the U.S. is rising again after months of decline, with the number of new cases per day doubling over the past three weeks, driven by the fast-spreading delta variant, lagging vaccination rates and Fourth of July gatherings.
Confirmed infections climbed to an average of about 23,600 a day on Monday, up from 11,300 on June 23, according to Johns Hopkins University data.
Even with the latest surge, cases in the U.S. are nowhere near their peak of a quarter-million per day in January — still health authorities in places such as Los Angeles County and St. Louis are begging even immunized people to resume wearing masks in public.
Department officials are also recommending that people 65 and older and those with chronic underlying conditions stay away from large indoor gatherings because of a 150% rise in hospitalizations over the past three weeks.
CHICAGO — Rising COVID-19 rates in other states have prompted Chicago to restart a travel order. The move comes after weeks of no travel restrictions amid a declining infection rate.
The Chicago Department of Public Health announced Tuesday that unvaccinated travelers from Missouri and Arkansas have to either quarantine for 10 days or have a negative COVID-19 test.
The restriction goes into effect Friday. Both states have met Chicago’s mark of at least 15 daily infections per 100,000 residents.
Health officials say other states could be added if cases continue to rise, including Nevada, Louisiana, Utah and Florida. At the same time, cases have been increasing in central and southern Illinois.
PORTLAND, Maine — The number of Maine residents who are 70 years or older and have not had their final dose of coronavirus vaccine has fallen below 20,000.
Maine has one of the oldest median ages in the country at about 45. The state, like most, prioritized getting coronavirus vaccines to older residents when they first became available.
About 90% of Mainers age 70 and older have now had their final dose, according to data from the office of Maine Gov. Janet Mills. That means the number of residents in that age group who are not fully vaccinated is a little more than 19,000.
Maine has about 190,000 residents who are age 70 or older according to the U.S. census. The state’s total population is about 1.3 million.
About 60% of that total population is fully vaccinated, and that figure includes residents who are still too young to get COVID-19 shots, according to state data.
BOISE, Idaho — Students and staff in the Boise School District in southwestern Idaho won’t have to wear masks during the upcoming school year.
The Idaho Statesman reports that the district’s Board of Trustees on Monday unanimously approved a COVID-19 response plan created with help from parents, teachers and health professionals. The district last school year required masks for students and staff when inside.
The new plan encourages those who are not vaccinated to continue wearing masks to protect themselves and the community. It also calls for focusing on hand-washing, disinfecting surfaces and protocols for when people get sick.
Brian Walker, an area director for the district, said the plan aligns with recently released guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Vaccines are only approved for children 12 and older, causing concern for children younger than that to be in school. Walker said children will still be able to attend online, and can work with school officials to find the best plan for them.
He said most of the district’s staff are vaccinated against COVID-19, but the district isn’t requiring proof.
DENVER — In Colorado, COVID-19 case and hospitalization rates have been relatively steady in recent weeks, where the delta variant accounts for an estimated 75% of new cases, according to the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus.
More than 70% of adults in Colorado have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and 63% are fully vaccinated, according to state data.
Delta cases have surged in counties with lower vaccination rates, especially in western Colorado.
CDC and state officials visited Mesa County, home to Grand Junction, in late June to study its emergence there. About 41% of Mesa residents are fully vaccinated.
The state has deployed mobile vaccination clinics, and Gov. Jared Polis has asked county health officials for ideas to increase vaccinations.
ATLANTA — In Georgia, the number of coronavirus cases and hospitalizations have been creeping upward over the past few weeks.
The state’s seven-day average of new cases stood at 743, up from 365 on June 25. Some 663 people were hospitalized with COVID – just over 4% of the state’s patient count and up from 423 on June 19, according to state data.
Both numbers are nowhere near January peaks, but health experts say they show the need for more people to get vaccinated. Only 39% of state residents are fully vaccinated, well below the rate in other states.
State health officials teamed up with the Atlanta Motor Speedway over the weekend to promote vaccination at a concert ahead of a NASCAR race.
THE HAGUE, Netherlands — The Dutch public health institute says coronavirus infections in the Netherlands skyrocketed by more than 500% over the last week.
The surge follows the scrapping of almost all lockdown restrictions and the reopening of night clubs in late June as the more contagious delta variant gained ground. The public health institute’s weekly update issued Tuesday showed that nearly 52,000 people tested positive for the coronavirus in the past week, up from 8,541 cases the previous week.
It reported that confirmed cases among people ages 18-24 increased 262%, followed by a 191% rise in ages 25-29. The caretaker prime minister of the Netherlands apologized Monday for last month’s relaxed lockdown and called it “an error of judgment.”
More than 46% of the Netherlands’ adult population is fully vaccinated, and more than 77% of adults have had at least one shot.
JACKSON, MISS. — The Mississippi State Department of Health says the state agency is blocking comments on its Facebook posts because of a “rise of misinformation” about the coronavirus and vaccinations.
“The comments section of our Facebook page has increasingly come to be dominated by misinformation about COVID-19,” Director for the Mississippi State Department Health Office of Communications Liz Sharlot said in a statement.
Sharlot says allowing the comments that “mislead the public about the safety, importance and effectiveness of vaccination” is “directly contrary” to the state’s public health mission, which includes encouraging members of the public to be vaccinated against the virus.
The Department of Health posts multiple times each day on its Facebook page about COVID-19. Posts include information on numbers of new coronavirus cases in the state, details on pop-up vaccination clinics and transportation services to vaccination clinics for homebound residents.
Sharlot says the comments will be back when the department has “the resources to effectively curb misleading, harmful and off-topic commentary that disserves the public.”
The Mississippi State Department of Health officials announced Friday they are recommending people 65 and older and those with chronic underlying medical conditions to refrain from attending indoor mass social gatherings in coming weeks because of a rising number of coronavirus cases in the state.
Mississippi ranks among the last states for the total number of people vaccinated against COVID-19 at 31% fully vaccinated, according to the state Department of Health. Just over one million people in Mississippi, with a population of nearly 3 million, are fully vaccinated.
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Alabama, where coronavirus cases are on the rise, trails only Mississippi in low vaccination rates. Just under 31% of the state’s population is fully inoculated, according to the state.
Alabama’s overall positivity rate has increased each of the last two weeks, according to the state health agency. The Alabama Hospital Association says 290 people statewide were hospitalized with COVID-19 on Monday, an increase of 75% since June 20. Even with the hike, hospitalizations are still less than 10% of the state’s peak in early January.
While some disease experts have said health officials might need to reimpose disease prevention measures, Gov. Kay Ivey pushed back against the idea last week. She encouraged citizens to get vaccinated.
Derek Moates, a researcher with the University of Alabama at Birmingham, says recent testing showed about 70% of 48 random samples analyzed were the delta variant.
“Because we haven’t been compliant with everyone getting vaccinated, we’ve left the door open for the virus to learn everything it needs to get around that vaccine that we desperately worked so hard to get,” Moates says.
Alabama has ended all virus restrictions and precautions, meaning masks and social distancing are rarely seen in public across much of the state.
WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden is putting a dose of star power behind the administration’s efforts to get young people vaccinated against COVID-19.
The White House says 18-year-old actress, singer and songwriter Olivia Rodrigo will meet Wednesday with Biden and Dr. Anthony Fauci, the president’s chief medical adviser.
Rodrigo will record videos about the importance of young people getting vaccinated. The videos will be featured on Rodrigo’s and White House social media. While the administration has had success vaccinating older Americans, young adults have shown less urgency to get the shots.
Rodrigo’s visit was first announced on Instagram with a photo of a youthful Biden, and the president asking for help getting other young people vaccinated.
Rodrigo replied: “I’m in. see you tomorrow at the white house!”
BRUSSELS — European Union nations have approved the pandemic recovery plans of the bloc’s four biggest economies and eight other member countries.
The approval given Tuesday is seen as a bellwether for an economic revival from the unprecedented recession caused by the coronavirus pandemic. It will allow a dozen of the EU’s 27 members to start unlocking funds for the pre-financing of projects that are intended to put Europe on more solid economic footing while becoming greener and more digitally advanced.
The nations include the EU’s economic juggernauts — France, Germany, Italy and Spain — as well as Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Greece, Latvia, Luxembourg, Portugal and Slovakia.
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