Next Sunday marks July 4, President Joe Biden’s target date to have 70% of American adults at least partially vaccinated against COVID-19
But the White House said last week that was not planned. Getting at least one shot in the arms of 70% of all American adults will take a few more weeks, said Jeff Zients, the White House coronavirus response coordinator.
But with the Transportation Security Association’s tracing numbers trending upward, including its highest number since March 7, 2020 reported on Friday, neither the flawed prediction nor the variations should deter the holiday cheer.
The spread of the delta variant of COVID-19 in the United States is becoming a concern for medical experts due to pockets of people in the country who have yet to receive the vaccine.
Dr Jayne Morgan, executive director of the Coronavirus Task Force at Piedmont Healthcare in Atlanta, told CNN that since children under 12 are still not eligible for the vaccine, it is even more important for those who are eligible to be vaccinated and reduce transmission of the delta variant.
“These mutations have the ability to keep learning, to get smarter, and eventually to evade vaccine status for the rest of us,” Morgan said.
Also in the news:
►The delta variant now accounts for 14.5% of cases in California, according to the most recent statistics from the state Department of Health. As of June 19, it accounted for over 20% of cases in the United States
► The Malaysian chief said the country will indefinitely extend a nearly full lockdown that has been in place for a month as coronavirus infections remain high.
►British Health Secretary Matt Hancock, who led the country’s response to the coronavirus, resigned on Saturday, a day after apologizing for breaking social distancing rules with an aide he allegedly had an affair with .
►Even though 40% of Americans said they preferred working from home full time last month, large companies across the country are encouraging or requiring their staff to return to the office before Labor Day.
The numbers of the day: The United States has more than 33.6 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 and at least 603,000 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Global totals: Over 181 million cases and over 3.92 million deaths. More than 153 million Americans have been fully immunized, or nearly 46% of the population, according to the CDC.
What we read: While COVID-19 vaccines work incredibly well for the vast majority of people, an estimated 10 million Americans whose immune systems are compromised from drugs or illness may not be well protected. Read the full story.
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Deleted gene sequences confirm COVID circulated before Wuhan seafood market
The virus that causes COVID-19 is not native to the Wuhan seafood market, a new study confirms the genetic sequences deleted in the early days of the virus.
The footage had been posted on a website maintained by the National Institutes of Health, but was removed for unknown reasons.
Jesse Bloom, who studies viral evolution at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, does not offer an answer to whether the SARS-CoV-2 virus passed directly from animals to humans or was accidentally disclosed from a research lab in Wuhan, China, in its new report, which has yet to be peer reviewed.
But by studying how viral genes mutate over time, researchers like Bloom can reconstruct their history, determine which cases appeared first, and how the virus changed as it moved through the population.
“These sequences are instructive in understanding the early spread of SARS-CoV-2 in Wuhan,” Bloom said. “They’re not transformative, but they fill some really important gaps.”
Bloom knows the removal of the footage will raise public suspicion, but he says there are many reasons a researcher might request material to be taken offline, including the fact that the week the study was published, the Chinese government instituted a requirement that it review all scientific information related to SARS-CoV-2 before publication. Read more.
– Karen Weintraub and Elizabeth Weise
India worries about new mutation of the delta variant
A mutation of the delta variant, called delta plus, is on the rise in a dozen countries.
Indian officials have called on Maharashtra, Kerala and Madhya Pradesh, the country’s three states with the most cases, to step up testing for the strain. Indian laboratories identifying and tracking the spread of the COVID variant have identified three main characteristics regarding delta plus: increased transmissibility; increased attack on lung cells; and possible reduction in monoclonal antibody response, or possible resistance to vaccines and immunity.
Experts say there is still more research needed to fully confirm whether it’s more intimidating than the original Delta strain.
“I would keep my cool,” Dr Jeremy Kamil, a virologist at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, told BBC News. “I don’t think India or anyone in the world has published or accumulated enough data to distinguish the so-called delta plus risk as being more dangerous or of concern than the original delta variant.”
Contribution: The Associated Press