The coronavirus pandemic continues to decline in many parts of the United States, but the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant among the unvaccinated could pose a new public health threat, President Joe Biden and the head of the Centers have warned. for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday.
In an update on the coronavirus with the press, Biden described the Delta variant as “more easily transmitted, potentially more deadly and particularly dangerous to young people.” While Biden took a moment to acknowledge the “bright summer” that awaits those who are vaccinated, he said there was cause for concern for people living in “states with low vaccination rates.”
“The people who become seriously ill and are hospitalized with COVID-19 are the ones who have not been fully vaccinated,” Biden said. “The new variant will make unvaccinated people even more vulnerable than they were a month ago.”
CDC director Dr Rochelle Walensky shared Biden’s concern during an appearance on Good Morning America on Friday. Walensky said the higher transmissibility of the Delta variant would likely help make it the dominant strain of COVID-19 in the United States in the near future.
Walensky and Biden both highlighted the effectiveness of vaccinations in protecting against the growing variant, a strain that the CDC and the World Health Organization have classified as a “variant of concern.” Walensky said it was important for Americans to get their second dose of the vaccine to be protected against the Delta variant.
Also in the news:
►After being closed for nearly eight months, Disneyland Paris reopened to the public on Thursday, becoming the last of the Disney theme parks to resume operations.
►The Canada-U.S. Border will remain closed to all non-essential travel until at least July 21, Canadian officials said Friday, as the country continues efforts to vaccinate more of its population against COVID-19.
►A year after the coronavirus pandemic prompted people to leave crowded metropolitan areas, tenants appear to be moving back to cities as vaccination rates rise and jobs continue to return. At the same time, apartment rents are rising relative to their pandemic discount rates.
►A dangerous increase in COVID-19 cases in Afghanistan has gripped the United States Embassy in Kabul, forcing an immediate lockdown and the creation of temporary COVID-19 services on site to treat patients addicted to the oxygen, according to an internal memo.
►The US Open tennis tournament will allow a 100% spectator capacity throughout its two weeks in 2021. This comes a year after spectators were banned from the Grand Slam event in New York in due to the coronavirus pandemic.
►The UK has recorded more than 10,000 daily coronavirus infections for the first time in almost four months, likely the result of the spread of the more contagious delta variant. The variant accounts for around 95% of all new cases in the UK.
📈 The numbers of the day: The United States has over 33.5 million confirmed cases of coronavirus and over 601,500 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. World totals: Over 177.8 million cases and more than 3.8 million dead. More than 148 million Americans have been fully immunized, or 44.7% of the population, according to the CDC.
📘 What we read: Companies like Moderna and Pfizer’s partner BioNTech are exploring the use of messenger RNA, an ingredient that has been used in COVID-19 vaccines, in creating vaccine trials against cancer. The hope is that these vaccines will help strengthen the immune system of cancer patients during treatment. Read more.
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Florida judge sides with state in lawsuit over CDC cruise guidelines
A Florida federal judge has found that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s COVID-19 restrictions on cruises could have exceeded the agency’s powers, throwing uncertainty into the future of sea vacations after the pandemic.
Friday’s ruling, the result of a Florida state lawsuit, granted a preliminary injunction that could turn CDC warrants on cruises to and from the state into optional guidelines when they come into effect this month. next, although the agency has time to propose a narrower injunction.
“This order concludes that Florida is very likely to prevail over the merits of the contention that the CDC’s conditional navigation order and enforcement orders exceed delegated authority to the CDC,” reads. one in the conclusion of the 124-page decision rendered by Judge Steven Merryday on Friday. .
The lawsuit, touted by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, who has become a key critic of President Joe Biden and his COVID policies, challenged CDC guidelines on the cruise industry and alleged the agency had exceeded its authority .
“We guarantee this victory to Florida families, the cruise industry and every state that wishes to preserve its rights in the face of unprecedented federal reach,” DeSantis said after the ruling.
The state has banned vaccine passports, preventing businesses, including cruise lines, from requiring customers to show proof of vaccination prior to entry. This executive order conflicts with CDC cruise regulations, which require ships to carry a certain number of vaccinated passengers to navigate U.S. waters without first performing test cruises.
The lawsuit is an example of how Republican-led states have grappled with continued COVID-19 mandates, although more states have removed restrictions or announced plans to do so within weeks. come due to declining rates of coronavirus infection and continued vaccination. efforts.
Michigan, New Mexico to Lift COVID Restrictions
Michigan and New Mexico are expected to join nearly every other state in lifting most COVID-19 restrictions as infection rates drop and more Americans are vaccinated.
Michigan will lift all indoor capacity restrictions and mask requirements next week, 10 days ahead of schedule amid vaccinations and the drop in COVID-19 infections, Governor Gretchen Whitmer said Thursday.
“Today is a day we have all been looking forward to as we can safely resume our normal daily activities and put this pandemic behind us,” Whitmer said in a press release.
New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham also announced that the state will also drop its restrictions and fully reopen on July 1. Although the state has been widely open, restrictions are expected to be removed, allowing businesses and events to operate at full capacity again. whether they are indoors or outdoors.
“I know some will say that day is long in coming. I wish we had gotten here sooner, ”said Lujan Grisham, announcing the reopening. “I believe that, overall, New Mexicans have made the right public health decisions in their day-to-day lives, following the science and helping us get to this point quickly and most importantly. again, in the safest way possible. “
EU recommends allowing US tourists to return to Europe
The European Union on Friday added the United States to a list of countries it said travel restrictions should be gradually lifted. The list applies to all U.S. tourists, vaccinated or not, for non-essential travel.
However, the recommendation is not legally binding.
Have the COVID vaccine, will travel:These are the countries open to fully immunized Americans
“It is up to each country to decide how and when to open the borders,” said French embassy spokesperson Pascal Confavreux. “The European Union is the one that sets the framework, but the decision comes from the States.
Each of the 27 EU member states has the power to set its own guidelines and deadlines for travelers, including whether or not to require vaccinations or COVID-19 testing for entry.
Several European countries, including Spain and France, have already reopened to vaccinated visitors from the United States
Americans hoping to travel to Europe should check the current restrictions for each country on their itinerary.
Contribution: The Associated Press