Health officials in the United States say the delta variant of the coronavirus continues to rise and now accounts for more than 80% of the country’s sequenced COVID-19 cases. This is a dramatic increase from the week of July 3, when the variant accounted for around 50% of genetically sequenced coronavirus cases.
“The best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 variants is to prevent the spread of the disease, and vaccination is the most powerful tool we have,” said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, at a press conference. US Senate hearing Tuesday.
The delta variant is a mutated coronavirus that spreads more easily than the other versions. It was first detected in India, but has now been identified around the world.
In Boston, health officials have urged recent visitors to Provincetown to self-isolate and get tested for COVID-19 after a cluster of 35 cases have been linked to the popular tourist town of Cape Cod.
Many of the new outbreaks in the United States have occurred in parts of the country where COVID-19 vaccinations have been delayed, prompting political leaders to step up pressure on Americans reluctant to get vaccinated.
The Mississippi State Department of Health said Monday that 2,326 new cases had been confirmed from Friday to Sunday. This is the largest three-day increase reported in the state since February.
Mississippi has one of the lowest coronavirus vaccination rates in the country.
In Alabama, nearly 500 people were being treated for the virus, an increase from 166 people hospitalized a month ago with COVID-19 after thousands were vaccinated and before the new delta variant took hold .
Alabama hospitals are nowhere near the critical point they reached in January, when some 3,000 people were treated at the same time. But the delta variant threatens to make the situation worse unless there is an increase in vaccinations.
“There’s just a feeling of frustration,” said Dr. Donald Williamson, president of the Alabama Hospital Association and former head of the Alabama Department of Public Health. “The fact that cases are increasing is a self-inflicted injury. “
-From The Associated Press and Reuters, last updated at 4:28 p.m. ET
What’s going on in Tokyo
The world needs to see that Japan can host a safe Olympics, the country’s prime minister told sports officials on Tuesday ahead of the Tokyo Games.
Tens of thousands of athletes, officials, Games staff and media arrive in Japan amid a local state of emergency and widespread opposition from the general public.
Events begin Wednesday – in softball and women’s football – two days before the official opening ceremony of the Olympics already postponed for a year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“The world is facing great difficulties,” Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga told members of the International Olympic Committee during a closed-door meeting at a five-star hotel in Tokyo, adding that “we can bring success to the organization of the Games ”.
“Such a fact must be communicated from Japan to the rest of the world,” Suga said through an interpreter. “We will protect the health and safety of the Japanese public. “
He acknowledged that Japan’s path through the pandemic to the Olympics was “sometimes backwards.”
“But the vaccination has started and after a long tunnel an exit is now in sight,” Suga said.
The prime minister’s office said on Monday that more than 21 percent of Japan’s 126 million people had been vaccinated.
Health experts in Japan have questioned whether to allow so many international visitors for the Games, which end on August 8. There will be no local or foreign fans at the events. The Paralympic Games will follow at the end of August.
-From The Associated Press, last updated at 7:05 a.m. ET
What is happening in the world
As of Tuesday morning, more than 190.9 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University, with a global death toll of more than four million.
In the Asia Pacific region, Muslims across Indonesia celebrated a grim Eid al-Adha festival on Tuesday for a second year as the country struggles to cope with a devastating new wave of coronavirus cases and the government has banned them. large gatherings and tightened travel restrictions.
Indonesia is now the COVID-19 hotspot in Asia with the most confirmed daily cases, as infections and deaths have increased in the past three weeks and India’s massive outbreak has declined.
Most of Indonesia’s cases are on the densely populated island of Java, where more than half of the country’s 270 million people live. Authorities in the world’s most populous Muslim-majority nation have banned many of the crowd-drawing activities that are typically part of Eid al-Adha, the feast of sacrifice that marks the end of the annual Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca.
Authorities allowed prayers at local mosques in low-risk areas, but elsewhere places of worship did not have congregations, including the Grand Istiqlal Mosque in Jakarta, the largest in Southeast Asia. .
Indonesia’s health ministry reported 34,257 new cases of coronavirus and 1,338 deaths on Monday, making it the country’s deadliest day since the start of the pandemic. Overall, Indonesia has reported more than 2.9 million cases and 74,920 deaths. These numbers are widely viewed as vast underestimates due to poor testing and poor tracing measurements.
In the Middle East, Iran has imposed a weeklong lockdown in the capital and a neighboring province as the number of daily cases hit a record high amid a fifth wave of the pandemic, state television reported.
Restrictions to curb the spread of COVID-19 during the Muslim hajj in Saudi Arabia have also reduced the risk of crushing deadly crowds that have marred the symbolic stoning of the devil during the pilgrimage in recent years, worshipers said.
In Africa, South African health authorities reported 7,209 new cases of COVID-19 and 221 additional deaths on Monday. The country’s health workers on Monday administered 200,000 doses of the vaccine in one day, according to local media, a record for South Africa.
In L’Europe Britain has recorded its highest daily number of coronavirus-related deaths in four months, following a spike in infections amid the spread of the delta variant and the lifting of lockdown restrictions.
Government figures showed 96 new virus-related deaths on Tuesday, the highest since March 24. The UK has also recorded 46,558 confirmed cases. Tuesday’s numbers have traditionally been higher due to a delay in reporting over the weekend.
The rise in deaths comes a day after the UK government ended lockdown restrictions in England, including on social distancing and mask wearing. Critics warn this will lead to further spread of the coronavirus and potential deaths in the weeks to come. The number of confirmed deaths linked to the virus in Britain stands at 128,823.
Spanish authorities are celebrating that half of Spain’s residents, or around 24 million people, have already been fully vaccinated, although they say a sharp rise in contagion is sending a worrying number of patients to hospitals.
In the Americas, Brazil has recorded 15,271 new cases of coronavirus and 542 new deaths from COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, the health ministry said on Monday.
In Mexico, authorities say they have found fake doses of the COVID-19 drug remdesivir, offered for sale on the internet and in a private hospital near the US border. The Federal Medical Safety Commission said Monday evening that the fake antiviral drug, which it called a “health risk,” was found in a hospital in the city of Tampico, on the Gulf Coast, in the ‘Border State of Tamaulipas.
The United States and Mexico have approved remdesivir as a treatment for COVID-19.
-From The Associated Press, Reuters and CBC News, last updated at 4:18 p.m. ET