Missouri is appealing for help from new COVID-19 federal response teams as the delta form continues to spread due to a growing number of cases across the state and hospitalizations.
The “outburst response teams” announced at a White House news conference on Thursday will be sent to emerging COVID-19 hotspots across the country, where vaccination rates are low. They will test and increase vaccines as well as identify and treat people who have become ill.
Missouri reported 4,271 new COVID-19 cases last week, and 945 people are currently hospitalized across the state. According to state data, 255 of the hospital admissions are in the intensive care unit and 121 in the ventilator.
Southwestern Missouri has made its debut in recent weeks as a hotspot for the Delta form – a more contagious strain of the Covid-19. The results have shrunk hospitals, made national headlines and disappointed healthcare leaders.
Steve Edwards, president and chief executive of CoxHealth in Springfield, posted a message of frustration on Thursday morning, as well as the hospital’s Daily Virus report – a 32% symptomatic positive case rate.
“If you make wildly controversial comments about the vaccine and don’t get public health skills, you could be responsible for someone’s death,” Edwards wrote. “Shut up.”
Also in the news:
► Despite accounting for only 2% of cases in the first days of the epidemic, children now make up more than 24% of new COVID-19 weekly infections, although they make up only 16% of the population.
► The rapid spread of the delta form of Covid-19 across Africa is exacerbating the country’s third wave of epidemics, with coronavirus mutations causing new cases, hospitalizations and deaths.
► President Joe Biden welcomed world series champion Los Angeles Dodgers at the White House on Friday, making Dodgers the first team to be honored at the White House since the start of the CodeID-11 epidemic.
► Cases of the Delta variant of the Covid-19 in the UK have risen 4 %% in a week, after nearly four-fold increase in new cases of Vervier last month.
📈Today’s number: More than 33.7 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and at least 605,500 deaths have been reported in the United States, according to Johns Hopkins University. Worldwide total: more than 183.1 Million cases and more 3.9 Millions die. According to the CDC, 47.1% of the population – more than 156.2 million Americans – have been fully vaccinated.
📘What we are reading: Stunning fireworks lit up the dark skies over Cinderella Castle in Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom on Thursday, marking the first night of fireworks since the coronavirus epidemic began.
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Experts question whether the WHO should lead an investigation into the source of the epidemic
Since the World Health Organization has come up with the latest plan to investigate how the coronavirus epidemic began, growing scientists say the UN agency cannot do the job and should not be the investigator.
Some experts with close ties to the WHO say political tensions between the United States and China have made it impossible for the agency to find credible answers to the investigation. They say a comprehensive, independent analysis of what happened after the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster is needed.
“We will never find reliance on the World Health Organization,” said Lawrence Gostin, associate director of the WHO, Georgetown University’s public health law and human rights organization. “For a year and a half they’ve made stone by China and it’s very clear that they won’t get to the bottom of it.”
The first phase of the WHO mission required Chinese approval, not only for the traveling experts, but also for their entire program and the final report.
Jeffrey Shash, a professor at Columbia University, said the United States must be prepared for rigorous testing of its own scientists and admit that they could be as guilty as China.
“The notion that China is doing a bad job is already the wrong basis to start this investigation,” Shash said. “If lab work were to be responsible in any way (for the epidemic), both the United States and China are very likely to work together on scientific initiatives.”
Russia has no plans for a lockdown as viral deaths are a new record
Despite record-breaking new deaths and the intensification of daily COVID-19 infections, the Russian government has insisted that there are no plans for a national lockdown on the works.
Russian authorities reported the deaths of 67,679 new coronaviruses on Friday, the fourth day in a row that the number of new infections has more than doubled since last month, from nearly 9,000 in early June to more than 20,000 this week. On Friday, Russia’s state coronavirus task force reported 23,218 new infections.
Authorities are still discussing any lockdown, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Friday. “No one wants a lockdown,” Peshov told reporters at a daily news conference, acknowledging that the situation with the coronavirus was “tense” in most Russian regions.
Russian officials have blamed the increase in cases on caution, the growing spread of more contagious forms and the relaxed attitude of Russians towards the gradual immunization rate. Although Russia was one of the first countries to announce and install a coronavirus vaccine, more than 23 million people – or 15% of its 14 million population – have received at least one shot.
Russia had only one, six-week nationwide lockdown last spring, and authorities have lifted broader sanctions since it has since shut down business. Only one Russian territory – Buriatia in the Siberian Republic – has had two local lockdowns since then, the latest taking effect on Sunday.
Russia’s coronavirus task force has received more than 5.5 million confirmed coronavirus cases and 136,565 deaths.
More travelers on the Fourth of July raised epidemic concerns
Americans are expected to enjoy new freedoms that are not seen from pre-epidemic days for kitchen, fireworks, concerts and beach trips on the weekend of July 4th.
And there are fears that a combination of large quantities of vaccines and unmarried Americans could undo some of the progress made against this catastrophe at a time when the highly contagious delta form is spreading so rapidly. The AAA predicts that more than 47 million people will travel by car or plane in the United States this weekend, which will return to 2019 levels and 40% more than last year. This includes 3.5 million airline passengers.
“I’m concerned in most parts of the country,” said Dr. Lynn Goldman, dean of the public health school at George Washington University. “I think it’s premature to release, especially because of what we see in other parts of the world.”
Nashville expects about 400,000 people to enter the city for the fourth July celebration featuring country star Brad Paisley. Beaches and lakefront are also expected to be packed. In Southern California, Huntington Beach is planning a major celebration on the west coast, a three-day festival that could bring in nearly half a million people.
President Joe Biden hailed the holiday as a historic moment in the country’s recovery from a crisis that has now ended, with more than 600,000 Americans killed and months of disruption. He plans to host more than a thousand people at the White House – the first responders to identify what the administration calls the “summer of independence,” with the necessary staff and troops – to keep a kitchen and fireworks.
“I’m going to celebrate it,” Biden said Friday before the holiday. “Something great is happening here. … people all over America are playing well, doing well. But he also warned that those who did not get vaccinated would “lose their lives”.
Young people plan summer ‘wild’ for the time lost during the epidemic
Lots of young people are compensating too much for the lack of socialization during the epidemic with superhuman social calendars and they want to relax with the wild summer.
When Caroline Genalis moved to New York City for her internship, she made it a priority to explore the city, meet new people, and make it the best summer of her life. Genelis has a purpose this summer: never say no to an invitation – be it a walk through a park or a Tuesday night drink. Even something mundane like Monday night has turned into the weekly “Bachelorette Monday” at the local bar in Genelis.
“Living through a global pandemic has forced me to take the time to interact with others, explore new places and create new memories,” said Westbrook, an Aboriginal from Connecticut. “So I know the moment (the epidemic) is over, I’m going to spend the best time of my life.”
Others like Erica Huang are in no hurry to return to pre-epidemic social life.
Huang said, “The epidemic realized that adequate activities such as having extra parties and drinking were not so important.” Instead, he creates DIY art, maintaining the comfort of riding a bike and “treating himself” by reading.
“I think it’s better for my mental health not just to rush into social interactions, as I’ll find it too overwhelming,” he said. Read more.
– Jenna Ryu
Contributions: Galen Bacharier, Springfield News-Leader; Associated Press