Cases of COVID-19 in the US have doubled in the past two weeks, and Arkansas is becoming a case study of how low vaccination rates can fuel the spread of the virus.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Arkansas remains the nation’s top state for new cases per capita, and only 35% of the state’s population has been fully vaccinated. The virus appears to be protecting largely vaccinated people from the most severe disease.
“None of all our critically ill COVID-positive patients at Baptist health facilities have been fully vaccinated,” said Stephanie Whitaker, chief nursing executive of Baptist Health, a leading healthcare provider in the state.
The state health department said there are 240 COVID-19 patients in the state’s ICU and 118 are on ventilators. Only 4% of the state’s Intensive Care Unit beds are available.
Arkansas has a history of a lax pandemic response and was one of only seven states that did not issue a stay-at-home order for non-essential activities in March and April 2020 in response to the pandemic.
Meanwhile, cases rose in all 50 states for the week ended Friday, according to an analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University.
Also in the news:
►Andy Slavit, former adviser to the Biden administration on COVID-19, said Slav said on twitter That misinformation has falsely “convinced just enough American communities that a vaccine was worse than COVID.” He said the US’s access to vaccines is “the envy of the world”.
►Vaccinated ESPN host and analyst Jay Williams will not broadcast the rest of the NBA Finals after testing positive for COVID-19.
►President Joe Biden and the White House recently pointed fingers at social media companies for the recent surge of COVID-19, accusing them of allowing misinformation about vaccines to spread online.
►COVID-19 hospitalizations in Florida jumped 73% since mid-June, ending months of steady declines, when widespread vaccination became available.
►Republicans in the Idaho Senate are refusing to renegotiate the state legislature amid calls for legislation to prevent employers from receiving COVID-19 vaccinations to workers, lawmakers said Friday.
►The British government is still planning to lift all remaining legal restrictions on social contact, as well as other public health measures, on Monday, with Britain registering more than 50,000 new COVID-19 cases for the first time in six months and a strict Despite the warning. Top Medical Adviser to the British Government.
Today’s issueThe US has over 34 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and over 608,800 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Global totals: Over 189 million cases and over 4 million deaths. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 160 million Americans — 48% of the population — have been fully vaccinated.
📘 what are we reading: Border Patrol agents are facing a COVID-19 crisis as President Joe Biden considers easing border rules. “We didn’t take a break,” said Brian Hastings, head of the US Border Patrol Rio Grande Valley sector. more here.
Wear a mask indoors in Los Angeles and Las Vegas – even if you’ve been vaccinated, officials say
Health officials in popular tourist destinations such as Los Angeles and Las Vegas are asking more people to wear masks indoors.
According to a Friday statement, the Southern Nevada Health District is now advising people to wear masks in crowded indoor public places — including at Las Vegas casinos — regardless of vaccination status.
The announcement comes a day after Los Angeles County announced it would reinstate an indoor masking policy due to the recent surge in new COVID-19 cases. More counties in California complied with mask recommendations on Friday. read more.
— Bailey Schuljo
Tokyo 2020 organizers report first positive COVID-19 case at Olympic Village
The Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee reported the first positive case of COVID-19 in the Olympic Village on Saturday. The unidentified man, listed by the organizers only as “sports-related personnel”, tested positive for the disease on Friday and is now staying at a hotel.
Organizing committee CEO Toshiro Muto said at a news conference that he had no idea whether the person had been vaccinated. And committee chairman Seiko Hashimoto said organizers are doing everything in their power to make sure the Olympic Village – like all venues and facilities – is as safe as possible.
The unnamed Olympic Village resident is one of 44 people associated with the Games who have tested positive for COVID-19 since July 1, according to the organizers. Fourteen of these cases were reported on Saturday. Twenty-eight of the 44 positives include Tokyo 2020 contractors. read more.
– Tom Shadow
New study explains the benefits of a second shot
In two-dose COVID vaccines, the benefits of the second shot are “far greater than the first shot”, according to Stanford researcher Bali Pulendran.
Pulendran co-authored a study on how the mRNA vaccines made by Pfizer and Moderna work. The study was published July 12 in a preliminary form by “Nature.”
The benefits of the second shot went beyond an “easy” measure of a successful immune response: the introduction of neutralizing antibodies, Pulendran said in a release. The shot induced a “manifold increase in antibody levels, a catastrophic T-cell response that was absent after the first shot alone, and a surprisingly enhanced innate immune response,” Pulendran said.
Yankees, Rockies deal with COVID-19 surge after All-Star break
For the first time in months, COVID-19 is causing chaos around Major League Baseball. The Yankees and Rockies are dealing with the coronavirus outbreak, with a total of 10 players and two coaches, including New York slugger Aaron Judge and Colorado manager Bud Black, as baseball looks to restart play after its All-Star break. tries.
Judges, third baseman Gio Ursella and catcher Kyle Higashioka were added on Friday to the COVID-19 injured list, which includes pitchers Jonathan Loisiga, Nestor Cortés Jr. and Vandy Peralta. Loisiga went on the injured list last weekend when New York was in Houston, and Cortes and Peralta were added on Thursday.
Black, first base coach Ron Gideon and four players were unavailable for Friday night’s Colorado home game against the Los Angeles Dodgers, but the clubs still had plans to play. Right-handers Antonio Senzatella, Yancy Almonte and Zoulis Chasin and outfielder Jonathan Daza were added to the COVID-19 injured list.
The virus escalation comes as teams try to resume play after a break for Tuesday’s All-Star Game in Denver. It is a step back for a league that had not postponed a game in nearly three months over virus concerns.
COVID-19 has become a ‘non-vaccination epidemic’
An analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University showed that all 50 states reported more COVID-19 cases in the most recent 7-day period compared to the previous week.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, data for public health officials marks a related trend as the country enters a fourth wave of cases, with a nearly 70% spike in the average number of daily cases compared to the previous week. does. and prevention.
While the number of cases is rising, areas with low vaccination rates continue to have the most outbreaks, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Valensky said at a news conference on Friday.
“It’s becoming an epidemic without vaccinations,” Valensky said. According to the CDC, the average number of hospitalizations and deaths has also increased over the past seven days, which are about 36% and 26%, respectively.
Jeff Ziants, the White House’s COVID-19 Response Coordinator, said four states accounted for more than 40% of all new COVID-19 cases in the US last week, with 1 in 5 cases occurring in Florida. Ziants didn’t name the other three, but CDC data shows Arkansas, Missouri, Florida and Louisiana with the highest case rates per 100,000 people — each averaging more than 150 over the past seven days.
Cases will continue to rise in the coming weeks and will be concentrated in non-vaccinated communities, Ziants said. “If you are unvaccinated, please get vaccinated now,” he said.
Contributions: Abbi Ross, Fort Smith Times Records; The Associated Press