China on Thursday rejected the World Health Organization’s plan for the second phase of a study into the origins of COVID-19, dismissing as a scientifically unfounded rumor a theory that the virus could have leaked from a Chinese laboratory.
“It is impossible for us to accept such a plan to search for the origin,” Zeng Yixin, deputy minister of the National Health Commission, said at a press conference called to address the question of the origins of the virus. virus.
A previous joint investigation including the WHO and China found it “extremely unlikely” that the virus escaped the laboratory of the Wuhan Institute of Virology. WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus unveiled a plan last week to revisit laboratories and markets in Wuhan, the city where the first cases were identified. Tedros also called for greater transparency from Beijing.
The United States and some allies say China has not released details of the early days of the pandemic. Former Vice President Mike Pence, who led President Donald Trump’s virus response team, said last week that evidence strongly suggests the coronavirus “leapt out of the Chinese lab.”
China accuses critics of politicizing an issue that should be left to scientists.
Also in the news:
►Two women won custom-fitted trucks and a nurse took home $ 1 million as the latest West Virginia Vaccination Competition award recipients. Other awards included four-year college scholarships, rifles, shotguns, lifetime hunting and fishing licenses, and weekend getaways to state parks.
►An infected Indonesian man boarded a domestic flight disguised as his wife, wearing a veil and carrying fake ID and a negative PCR test result, authorities said. An air hostess discovered the ruse when the man changed clothes in the toilet.
►Four other residents of the Olympic Village, including two athletes, tested positive. Skateboarder Candy Jacobs from the Netherlands and table tennis player Pavel Sirucek from the Czech Republic had to leave the village to enter a quarantine hotel.
►Children under the age of 12 could start getting the coronavirus vaccine within weeks, President Joe Biden said. But it will probably take longer.
►Gov. Greg Abbott says he will not impose another statewide mask warrant, although cases of COVID-19 are on the rise again in Texas.
Numbers of the day: The United States has recorded more than 34.2 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 609,800 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Global totals: Over 191.9 million cases and 4.1 million deaths. Nearly 161.9 million Americans – 48.8% of the population – have been fully immunized, 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’s still too early to say if the variant will reach the same level of concern as the Delta. What there is to know.
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New infections more than tripled in one month
Coronavirus cases hit a low in the United States on June 22. Over the next month, new weekly cases more than tripled, according to USA TODAY analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University. The United States had reported about eight cases per minute. Now it’s about 28. The country has already reported about 164,000 more cases in July than it reported in the entire month of June. Cases have increased in almost every state. Some of the changes echo the dark days of the start of the pandemic. Since June 22, the rate of new cases is up 762% in Alabama, 666% in South Carolina, 603% in Louisiana.
Recurring themes behind the increases: vaccine hesitation and the delta variant.
Some hospitals have been besieged. The number of probable COVID-19 patients tripled in Nevada on July 17 from the previous month, according to USA TODAY analysis of US government data. The number of COVID patients has nearly doubled in Arkansas and Mississippi. Alaska has gone from 13 COVID patients in hospital to 64.
The rate of death has traditionally declined by a few weeks behind case reports. COVID-19 was killing around 217 Americans a day, its lowest a few weeks ago. Now he’s killing around 245.
– Mike stucka
Hospital association: forcing caregivers to be vaccinated
The country’s largest hospital association is calling on all healthcare workers to get vaccinated as cases rise across the country. “To protect all patients, communities, and staff from the known and substantial risks of COVID-19, the American Hospital Association strongly recommends immunization of all healthcare workers,” the organization said in a statement. “The AHA also supports hospitals and healthcare systems that adopt mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policies for healthcare workers, with local factors and circumstances determining whether and how these policies are implemented. “
The AHA – which represents nearly 5,000 hospitals – is the largest healthcare group to approve mandatory vaccine requirements for healthcare workers. Health officials have said the best protection remains vaccination, noting that injections reduce the risk of serious illness, hospitalization and death.
“Vaccines are very robust,” Dr. Amesh Adalja, principal investigator at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, told USA TODAY. “What we’re seeing now in the United States, as the CDC director said, is an unvaccinated pandemic. This is where the risk lies.
American beach volleyball player tested positive, likely outside the Olympics
U.S. beach volleyball player Taylor Crabb tested positive for COVID-19 after arriving in Japan and is unlikely to be able to compete in the Tokyo Olympics, according to reports on Wednesday. The Orange County Register and an NBC affiliate in Los Angeles each reported that Crabb, 29, tested positive over the weekend, which would likely prevent him from making his scheduled first match with his partner. Jake Gibb Sunday.
Crabb is said to be the first American athlete to be banned from competing at 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 upon arrival, but declined to provide any further details, including the identity of the person.
“The health and safety of our athletes, coaches and staff is our top priority,” the organization said in a statement. “We can confirm that a member of the United States team tested positive upon arrival in Japan. In accordance with local rules and protocols, the athlete was transferred to a hotel. Out of respect for the privacy of the individual, we cannot provide more information at this time point. “
– Tom Schad, USA TODAY
Missouri Announces Vaccine Lottery; State religious leaders call for vaccination
Immunized Missourians will now have the opportunity to win $ 10,000 in prizes in a new lottery program announced by Governor Mike Parson. The announcement comes on the same day 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 infectious delta variant of the virus has placed Missouri under a national microscope in recent months, with federal officials warning the state could be a harbinger of things to come in the United States.
Vaccine tracker USA TODAY Network showed that only 40% of Missouri’s 6.1 million people are fully vaccinated to date, with 47% of residents having taken at least one dose. These levels are well below “herd immunity” generally considered by scientists to exist when at least 70% of the population is immune.
The 125-year-old Baptist Word & Way publication in Missouri organized and issued a statement supported by more than 200 Christian leaders. They urged everyone to get immunized as “an easy way to practice Jesus’ command to love your neighbor as yourself.”
– Galen Bacharier and Gregory J. Holman, Springfield News-Leader
Contribution: Associated Press.