China rejects WHO plan to analyze virus origin and rejects laboratory leak concept

China on Thursday turned down the World Health Organization’s plan for the second phase of a study into the origins of COVID-19, dismissing a theory that the virus may have leaked from a Chinese laboratory as a scientifically unsupported rumor.

“It is impossible for us to accept such a tracing plan,” said Zeng Yixin, vice minister of the National Health Commission, at a press conference called to address the question of the origin of the virus.

An earlier joint investigation involving the WHO and China found that it was “extremely unlikely” that the virus escaped from the laboratory of the Wuhan Institute of Virology. WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus last week unveiled a plan to revisit laboratories and markets in Wuhan, the city where the first cases were identified. Tedros also called for more transparency from Beijing.

The US and some allies claim China did not comment on details of the early days of the pandemic. Former Vice President Mike Pence, who led President Trump’s virus response team, claimed last week that evidence strongly suggests that the coronavirus “jumped out of the Chinese laboratory.”

China accuses critics of politicizing an issue that should be left to scientists.

Also on the news:

►Four other residents of the Olympic Village, including two athletes, tested positive. The skateboarder Candy Jacobs from the Netherlands and the table tennis player Pavel Sirucek from the Czech Republic had to leave the village to enter a quarantine hotel. Two officers also tested positive.

►Children under the age of 12 could be vaccinated against the coronavirus in a matter of weeks, says President Joe Biden. But it will likely take longer.

►Reg. Greg Abbott says he will not impose another statewide mask mandate despite COVID-19 cases picking up again in Texas.

►The US will reportedly restrict non-essential travelers from Mexico and Canada via land and ferries until at least August 21. Canada announced Monday that it would reopen its borders to fully vaccinated U.S. citizens and permanent residents with plans to allow fully vaccinated travelers from any country on September 7th.

📈Today’s numbers: There have been more than 34.2 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and 609,800 deaths in the United States, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. The global totals: More than 191.9 million cases and 4.1 million deaths. Almost 161.9 million Americans – 48.8% of the population – have been fully vaccinated, according to the CDC.

📘What we read: A Houston hospital has its first case of the lambda variant of the coronavirus, but public health experts say it is too early to say whether the variant will rise to the same level of concern as the Delta. What you should know.

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The number of new infections more than tripled within a month

Coronavirus cases bottomed out in the US on June 22nd. In the month since then, weekly new cases have more than tripled, according to an analysis by USA TODAY of data from Johns Hopkins University. The US had reported about eight cases every minute. There are now around 28. The country reported around 164,000 more cases in July than in all of June. Cases have risen in almost every state. Some of the changes reflect the dark days of earlier in the pandemic. As of June 22, the number of new cases increased 762% in Alabama, 666% in South Carolina, and 603% in Louisiana.

Recurring themes behind the climbs: vaccination hesitation and the delta variant.

Some hospitals were besieged. The number of likely COVID-19 patients in Nevada tripled on July 17 from a month earlier, an analysis of US government data by USA TODAY shows. The number of COVID patients has nearly doubled in Arkansas and Mississippi. Alaska rose from 13 hospitalized COVID patients to 64.

The pace of death has traditionally fallen a few weeks behind the case reports. COVID-19 was killing approximately 217 Americans every day, from its low point a few weeks ago. Now it kills about 245.

– Mike Stucka

Hospital Association: Health workers must be vaccinated

The country’s largest hospital association urges all healthcare workers to get vaccinated as cases increase across the country. “To protect all patients, communities and staff from the known and significant risks of COVID-19, the American Hospital Association is urging all health care workers to be vaccinated,” said a policy statement from the organization. “The AHA also supports hospitals and health systems that are adopting mandatory COVID-19 vaccination guidelines for medical personnel, with local factors and circumstances determining whether and how those guidelines are implemented.”

The AHA – which represents nearly 5,000 hospitals – is the largest health group advocating mandatory vaccine requirements for health workers. Health officials said the best protection remains vaccination, noting the shots reduce the risk of serious illness, hospitalization and death.

“The vaccines are very robust,” said Dr. Amesh Adalja, Senior Scientist at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, told USA TODAY. “What we are seeing in the United States now, as the CDC director said, is a pandemic of the unvaccinated. That’s where the risk lies. “

US beach volleyball players tested positive, probably no longer at the Olympics

American beach volleyball player Taylor Crabb tested positive for COVID-19 after arriving in Japan and will reportedly be unable to attend the Tokyo Olympics on Wednesday. The Orange County Register and an NBC subsidiary in Los Angeles each reported that 29-year-old Crabb had a positive test over the weekend that would likely prevent him from participating in his first scheduled match with partner Jake Gibb on Sunday.

Crabb would be the first U.S. athlete to be banned from participating in the Olympics after testing positive for COVID-19 in Japan.

USA Volleyball confirmed in a statement that one of its members tested positive for COVID-19 on arrival but declined to provide any additional details, including the person’s identity.

“The health and safety of our athletes, coaches and employees is our top priority,” said a statement from the organization. “We can confirm that a member of Team USA tested positive on arrival in Japan. In accordance with local rules and protocols, the athlete was taken to a hotel. Out of respect for individual privacy, we cannot provide any further information here . ” Time.”

– Tom Schad, USA TODAY

Missouri Announces Vaccine Lottery; state religious leaders demand vaccinations

Vaccinated Missourians now have the opportunity to win $ 10,000 in prizes under a new lottery program announced by Governor Mike Parson. The announcement comes on the same day that Missouri reported 3,031 new cases of the virus, the highest daily number since January. To date, 9,526 Missourians have died from COVID-19, and the state has reported a total of 549,191 cases. The early and rapid spread of the more contagious Delta variant of the virus has put Missouri under a national microscope in recent months, with federal officials warning that the state could be a harbinger of things to come in the US

The USA TODAY Network’s vaccine tracker showed that to date only 40% of Missouri’s 6.1 million residents are fully vaccinated, with 47% of residents taking at least one dose. These values ​​are well below the “herd immunity” that is generally accepted by scientists when at least 70% of the population is vaccinated.

Word & Way, a 125-year-old Missouri Baptist publication, organized and published a statement that was endorsed by more than 200 Christian leaders. They urged everyone to get vaccinated in order to “find an easy way to live Jesus’ command to ‘love your neighbor as yourself'”.

– Galen Bacharian and Gregory J. Holman, Springfield News leaders

Contributor: Associated Press.

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