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US life expectancy fell by three years in 2021
Coast Guard Academy disenrolls students over refusal to follow military’s COVID-19 vaccine requirements
Sacramento County schools still have no guidance for monkeypox outbreaks
White House to pause free COVID-19 testing kits
Secret Service recovers $286M in stolen pandemic-related funds
COVID-19 By The Numbers
Wednesday, August 31
10:01 a.m.: US life expectancy fell by three years in 2021
U.S. life expectancy dropped for the second consecutive year in 2021, falling nearly a year from 2020, according to a new government report.
In the first two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, the estimated American lifespan has shortened by nearly three years, the Associated Press reports.
The last comparable decrease happened in the early 1940s during the height of World War II.
The CDC reported the numbers on Wednesday. COVID deaths were blamed for about half the decline in 2021.
However, there were also some other big contributors, including drug overdoses, heart disease, suicide and chronic liver disease.
9:47 a.m.: Coast Guard Academy disenrolls students over refusal to follow military’s COVID-19 vaccine requirements
The Coast Guard Academy is disenrolling seven cadets for failing to comply with the military’s COVID-19 vaccination mandate, according to the Associated Press.
A spokesperson for the New London, Connecticut, school told The Day newspaper that the cadets’ requests for religious exemptions were denied, and they were ordered to leave campus by Aug. 19.
A lawyer for the cadets called the removals “mean-spirited” and says academy officials could have waited for pending lawsuits challenging the military’s COVID-19 vaccination requirement to conclude.
The vaccinations were made mandatory in the military and its academies late last year.
To date, about 5,700 service members have been discharged for refusing to get vaccinated.
Tuesday, August 30
11:42 a.m.: Sacramento County schools still have no guidance for monkeypox outbreaks
With summer ending, kids are starting to return to classrooms. While some COVID-19 pandemic guidelines are still in effect, many Sacramento-area schools don’t currently have any measures that address monkeypox.
Though both the state of California and Sacramento County announced a state of emergency in response to the monkeypox outbreak, neither has issued guidelines for how schools should address potential viral spread.
That’s in part because the state department of public health currently characterizes the risk of contracting the virus in schools as “minimal,” and it sees “very low transmission of the virus in the general population, including children.”
11:23 a.m.: White House to pause free COVID-19 testing kits
Due to a lack of funding, the federal government is putting a pause on sending free COVID-19 testing kits to Americans starting next month.
However, according to NPR, the program is still accepting orders before Sept. 2.
The White House first began sending out kits in January. By last May, the White House said 350 million tests had been given away to 70 million households, more than half the total households in the country.
Monday, August 29
10:24 a.m.: Secret Service recovers $286M in stolen pandemic-related funds
The U.S. Secret Service said Friday that it has recovered $286 million in fraudulently obtained pandemic loans and is returning the money to the Small Business Administration.
An investigation initiated by the Secret Service’s Orlando office found that alleged conspirators submitted Economic Injury Disaster Loan applications by using fake or stolen employment and personal information, as reported by the Associated Press.
They then used an online bank to conceal and move their criminal proceeds. The Secret Service worked with the bank to identify roughly 15,000 accounts and seize $286 million connected to the accounts.
9:38 a.m.: US suspends flights to China due to COVID-19 dispute
The U.S. government is suspending 26 flights by Chinese airlines from the United States to China in a dispute over anti-virus controls after Beijing suspended flights by American carriers.
According to the Associated Press, the Department of Transportation accused Beijing of violating an air travel agreement while enforcing anti-virus controls that are among the world’s most extreme.
The agency complained airlines were treated unfairly by China’s “circuit breaker” system that requires them to suspend flights if passengers test positive for COVID-19.
The suspension applies to flights in September by Air China from New York City and Air China, China Eastern Airlines, China Southern Airlines and Xiamen Airlines from Los Angeles.
Friday, August 26
12:14 p.m.: Moderna sues Pfizer and BioNTech over vaccine patents
COVID-19 vaccine maker and pharma giant Moderna is suing its main competitors Pfizer and the German drugmaker BioNTech.
It’s accusing its rivals of copying Moderna’s technology in order to make their own vaccine, according to the Associated Press.
Moderna said on Friday that Pfizer and BioNTech’s vaccine Comirnaty infringes on patents Moderna filed several years ago protecting the technology of its preventative shot, Spikevax.
The company filed patent infringement lawsuits in both U.S. federal court and a German court. A Pfizer spokeswoman says the drugmaker will vigorously defend itself against any allegation in the case.
11:52 a.m.: Data reveals racial gaps in monkeypox prevention
About 10% of monkeypox vaccine doses have been given to Black people, even though the group accounts for one-third of U.S. cases.
As reported by the Associated Press, that’s according to data released Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Experts offered several possible explanations for the disparity. It may be related to how and where shots are being offered and publicized.
It may be that some Black people mistrust doctors and government public health efforts, Most U.S. monkeypox cases have been in men who have sex with men, but officials have stressed that anyone can catch the virus.
The US. has more than 16,000 monkeypox cases.
Thursday, August 25
12:23 p.m.: Study shows COVID-19 pills provide little benefit for younger adults
Pfizer's COVID-19 pill appears to provide little or no benefit for younger adults, according to a large study by Israeli researchers.
The study of more than 100,000 patients showed the drug significantly reduced hospitalization and death among people 65 and older, similar to past research, the Associated Press reports.
But people between the ages of 40 and 65 saw no measurable benefit, according to the analysis of medical records.
The results raise questions about the U.S. government's use of Paxlovid, which has become the go-to treatment for COVID-19. The Biden administration has spent more than $10 billion purchasing and distributing Pfizer's drug.
11:52 a.m.: How much will tweaked boosters help? Scientists are studying that answer.
COVID-19 vaccines tweaked to better match today’s omicron threat are expected to roll out in a few weeks, but how much will they help?
Also up in the air is who should get one — and how soon?
According to the Associated Press, pharma giants Pfizer and rival Moderna both asked U.S. regulators this week to authorize a modified version of their vaccine to use as fall boosters.
The shot is half the original recipe and half protection against the latest two versions of omicron. The Food and Drug Administration ordered that recipe at the end of June and now has to decide if this combination is ready.
Wednesday, August 24
11:47 a.m.: Trump staffers pushed for unproven COVID-19 treatments, report says
A special House panel looking into the government’s coronavirus response says the Trump White House tried to pressure U.S. health experts into reauthorizing the drug hydroxychloroquine, that has been discredited as a COVID-19 treatment.
According to the Associated Press, the report by the Democratic-led subcommittee provides new evidence of the administration’s efforts to override Food and Drug Administration decisions early in the pandemic.
It also sheds light on the role TV personalities such as Fox News’ Laura Ingraham and Dr. Mehmet Oz, the celebrity former heart surgeon now running for the Senate, played in first bringing hydroxychloroquine to the attention of White House officials.
The report focuses on pressure at the FDA, the gatekeeper for the drugs, vaccines and other countermeasures against the virus.
11:22 a.m.: First Lady Jill Biden develops COVID-19 rebound case
First Lady Jill Biden has tested positive for COVID-19 again in an apparent “rebound” case after initially testing negative for the virus over the weekend, according to the Associated Press.
President Joe Biden, who spent three days with his wife at their Rehoboth Beach, Del. vacation home, continues to test negative, the White House said.
He also suffered a rebound case earlier this month after his initial recovery from the virus.
The White House said the president was considered a close contact and will wear a mask “for 10 days when indoors and in close proximity to others” in accordance with CDC guidance.
The White House will also increase the frequency of his COVID-19 testing.
Tuesday, August 23
11:01 a.m.: Pfizer says COVID-19 vaccine was overwhelmingly effective in protecting infants
Pfizer said its COVID-19 vaccine was 73% effective in protecting children younger than 5 as omicron spread in the spring, according to the Associated Press.
Vaccination for babies, toddlers and preschoolers opened in the U.S. in June after months of delay. Only about 6% of youngsters ages 6 months through 4 years had gotten at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by mid-August.
Health authorities authorized tot-sized doses by Pfizer and BioNTech based on a study showing they were safe and produced high levels of virus-fighting antibodies.
The new update analyzed COVID-19 diagnoses between March and June in Pfizer’s ongoing study of the three-dose vaccine.
10:50 a.m.: Possible polio cases linked to oral vaccine
Polio viruses recently found in Jerusalem, New York and London were mutated versions of viruses that first originated in vaccines meant to stamp out the paralytic disease.
According to the Associated Press, this is a surprising twist in the decades-long effort to eradicate polio.
For years, global health officials have used an oral vaccine in an attempt to wipe out the disease in its last remaining strongholds in counties such as Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nigeria and others.
In recent weeks, scientists have found evidence of polio spreading within Israel, the U.S. and Britain. Genetic analyses show that the viruses were linked to the oral vaccine itself.
Monday, August 22
11:34 a.m.: Dr. Anthony Fauci to step down as nation’s top infectious disease expert
Dr. Antony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, is leaving the federal government in December, as reported by the Associated Press.
Fauci became a household name — and the subject of partisan attacks — during the COVID-19 pandemic. He’s served the government for more than five decades.
The 81-year-old Fauci is President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser as well as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
He was a leader in the federal response to AIDS and other infectious diseases well before the coronavirus pandemic.
Fauci told the Associated Press that walking away after 54 years was bittersweet.
11:04 a.m.: Pfizer seeks OK for updated COVID-19 booster shot for fall
Pfizer has asked U.S. regulators to authorize its combination COVID-19 vaccine that adds protection against the newest omicron relatives.
According to the Associated Press, the move is a key step toward opening a fall booster campaign.
The Food and Drug Administration ordered vaccine makers to tweak their shots to target BA.4 and BA.5 that are better than ever at dodging immunity from earlier vaccination or infection.
If the FDA quickly clears the combo shots made by Pfizer and its partner BioNTech, boosters could be offered within weeks.
Moderna is expected to file a similar application soon.
Friday, August 19
4:55 p.m.: Despite struggles, California health officials say COVID helped monkeypox response
California continues to struggle in getting enough doses of the monkeypox vaccine to healthcare providers across the state.
Department of Public Health Director and State Public Health Officer Dr. Tomas Aragon said ideally the state needs between 600,000 and 800,000 doses of the vaccine and is nowhere close to that as of today. But he said the state is actually in better shape for battling this virus because of the last one.
"What I've been telling folks is that we've been fortunate that we've been able to leverage the resources that we have stood up for COVID," Aragon said. "If COVID had not happened, we would not have all the infrastructure that we have."
There have been 2,660 confirmed Monkeypox cases in California, with 62 people hospitalized and zero deaths.
11:45 a.m.: Bill would require California schools have plans for COVID-19 testing
A bill moving through the California legislature would require school districts to come up with COVID-19 testing plans in case of positive cases in the classroom.
The measure passed the state Assembly Thursday. Democratic Assembly member Cecilia Aguiar-Curry made the case for its approval:
"Without a plan in place, some school districts leave parents in the dark," she said. "Parents have a right to know if their children have been exposed to serious disease."
A number of GOP lawmakers voted against it, including Rocklin Republican Kevin Kiley.
"This state has had the most onerous school shutdowns and mandates and testing regime of any state in the country, and we have done inestimable harm to our students as a result," Kiley said.
The bill requires a final procedural vote in the Senate before going to the governor’s desk.
10:08 a.m.: Health care centers are stretching out monkeypox vaccines to cover low supplies
After a bumpy start, the Biden administration is trying to smooth out the vaccination campaign aimed at controlling the country’s growing monkeypox outbreak, according to NPR.
The effort now rests on a new and untested strategy of dividing up what were previously full doses in order to stretch the limited stockpile of vaccines in the U.S.
This comes as monkeypox cases have climbed well above 14,000 in the U.S. — a case count higher than any other country in the world — and yet many local health departments still report not having enough vaccines to reach all those who are considered high risk of contracting the disease.
9:52 a.m.: Biden’s latest bill to avoid a significant increase in health care costs
Millions of people in the United States will be spared from big increases in health care costs next year after President Joe Biden signed legislation extending generous subsidies for those who buy plans through federal and state marketplaces.
As reported by the Associated Press, the climate, tax and health care bill sets aside $70 billion over the next three years to keep out-of-pocket premium costs low for roughly 13 million people.
That money comes just before the reduced prices were set to expire in a year beset by record-high inflation.
The bill will extend subsidies temporarily offered last year in a coronavirus relief bill that significantly lowered premiums and out-of-pocket costs for customers buying plans through the Affordable Care Act’s marketplace.
Thursday, August 18
1:44 p.m.: CDC director announces shake-up, citing COVID mistakes
The head of the nation’s top public health agency is shaking up the organization with the goal of making it more nimble.
According to the Associated Press, the planned changes at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention come after amid criticism of the agency’s response to COVID-19, monkeypox and other public health threats.
CDC leaders are calling it a “reset.” The changes include internal staffing moves and steps to speed up data releases.
The CDC’s director told the agency’s staff about the changes on Wednesday. She says it’s a CDC initiative, and was not directed by the White House or other administration officials.
12:37 p.m.: World coronavirus cases fall 24%, WHO says
New coronavirus cases reported globally in the last week dropped by nearly a quarter while deaths fell by 6%, the Associated Press reports.
That's according to the latest report on the pandemic released Thursday by the World Health Organization. The U.N. health agency reported 5.4 million new COVID-19 cases last week, a decline of 24% from the previous week.
Infections fell everywhere in the world, including by nearly 40% in Africa and Europe and by a third in the Middle East. Still, the number of COVID deaths rose in the Western Pacific by 31% and in Southeast Asia by 12% while falling or remaining stable everywhere else.
Wednesday, August 17
11:45 a.m.: WHO renames monkeypox subvariants away from regional signifiers
The World Health Organization has renamed two monkeypox variants that were named after countries and regions in order to align with “current best practices,” NPR reports.
The new names, Clade I and Clade II, replace the names Congo Basin clade and West African clade, respectively.
Subsequent variants will be named using Roman numerals for the clade and lowercase letters for the subclade.
This comes after calls to rename the poxvirus to something else failed. Critics have called the name “monkeypox” racist and incorrect.
“Monkeypox should be renamed for two major reasons,” said Dr. Ifeanyi Nsofor, a global health equality advocate and senior New Voices fellow at the Aspen Insitute. “First, there’s a long history of referring to Blacks and monkeys. Therefore, ‘monkeypox’ is racist and stigmatizes Blacks.”
“Second, ‘monkeypox’ gives a wrong impression that the disease is only transmitted by monkeys. This is also wrong,” he said.
Despite growing criticism of the name, the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses said that even if the name is changed in a year or two, “monkey” will still likely be part of any revamped name.
While WHO names diseases, the ICTV determines the formal names of viruses.
Tuesday, August 16
11:51 a.m.: First Lady Jill Biden tests positive for COVID-19
First Lady Jill Biden has tested positive for COVID-19 and is experiencing “mild symptoms,” as reported by the Associated Press.
The White House announced it on Tuesday.
The first lady has been vacationing with President Joe Biden in South Carolina and began experiencing symptoms on Monday. She’s been prescribed the antiviral drug Paxlovid and will isolate at the vacation home for at least five days,
Joe Biden tested negative for the virus on Tuesday morning but will wear a mask indoors for 10 days in line with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidance. The president recovered from a rebound case of the virus on Aug. 7.
The Bidens have been twice-vaccinated and twice-boosted with the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine.
11:19 a.m.: EU could soon approve combined COVID-19 vaccine for general population
Germany’s health minister says European Union drug regulators may authorize the use of vaccines that are effective against two variants of the coronavirus.
According to the Associated Press, German Health minister Karl Lauterbach said he expected the European Medicines Agency to meet on Sept. 1 to consider a vaccine that would protect against the original virus and the omicron variant.
He says the EU agency would likely meet again on Sept. 27 to review a combined vaccine against the original virus and omicron offshoot, BA.5, which is responsible for the latest global surge in COVID-19 cases.
Germany has procured sufficient amounts of both vaccines and would be able to start rolling them out a day after they received authorization, he said.
Monday, August 15
10:47 a.m.: CDC drops quarantine, distancing guidelines
The nation’s top public health agency is relaxing its COVID-19 guidelines and dropping the recommendation that Americans quarantine themselves if they come into close contact with an infected person.
As reported by the Associated Press, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also said that people no longer need to stay at least 6 feet away from others.
The changes come more than 2 ½ years after the start of the pandemic. They are driven by a recognition that an estimated 95% of Americans 16 and older have acquired some level of immunity, either from being vaccinated or infected.
10:33 a.m.: Johnson & Johnson has to trash 400 million COVID-19 vaccines due to quality problems — again
Congressional panel leaders say an additional 135 million doses of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine from a troubled Baltimore factory will have to be destroyed due to quality problems.
The announcement Thursday follows a May report detailing how more than 400 million vaccine doses made at Emergent BioSolutions plant would have to be trashed, according to the Associated Press.
The latest round of doses slated for destruction were made between August 2021 and February 2022. Johnson & Johnson says that no doses produced at the site since the factory restarted have reached the market.
Friday, August 12
10:29 a.m.: LA County moves out of high COVID-19 infection tier
Los Angeles County has dropped out of the high COVID-19 community level under federal guidelines, as infections and rates of hospitalizations continue to fall, according to the Associated Press.
The move to the medium tier under criteria set by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention comes two weeks after LA County dropped a plan to impose a new mask mandate as the latest coronavirus surge eased.
LA County health director Barbara Ferrer said Thursday that the trends are encouraging — but she reminded residents that face covering remains an effective tool to reduce spread.
10:03 a.m.: Polio detected in NYC’s sewer system, indicating spread
Health officials say it’s possible that hundreds of people in New York state have gotten polio and don’t know it.
As reported by the Associated Press, the pronouncement came Friday after they said the virus that causes the potentially deadly disease has been detected in New York City’s wastewater.
Authorities say the presence of the virus in wastewater suggests that it’s circulating locally.
They are urging parents to get their children vaccinated.
One person suffered paralysis weeks ago because of a polio infection north of the city. Most people infected with polio have no symptoms but can still give the virus to others for days or weeks.
Thursday, August 11
10:59 a.m.: Can the monkeypox outbreak be stopped? Experts believe it’s possible
Since May, barely 90 countries have reported more than 31,000 cases of monkeypox, as reported by the Associated Press.
The World Health Organization classified the escalating outbreak of the once-rare disease as an international emergency last month.
The U.S. declared it a national emergency just last week, but that doesn’t mean the monkeypox is the next global pandemic.
Since it doesn’t spread as easily as COVID-19, it’s not spreading into every country. Outside of African nations, 98% of cases have been reported in men who have sex with men.
However, this does not mean it couldn’t spread to any person regardless of gender or sexual orientation.
Scientists say stopping the outbreak among vulnerable groups could halt the disease’s transmission in Europe and North America.
10:27 a.m.: North Korea blames South Korea for COVID-19 outbreak in their country
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s sister says he suffered a fever while guiding the country to victory over the coronavirus.
According to the Associated Press, in a speech before thousands of North Koreans, she blamed rival South Korea for the country’s outbreak and vowed “deadly” retaliation.
Kim Yo Jong, a powerful official in charge of inter-Korean relations, glorified her brother’s leadership during the outbreak as he jubilantly described the country’s widely disputed success over the virus as an “amazing miracle” in global public health.
Experts believe the victory announcement signals Kim Jong Un’s intention to move to other priorities and are concerned his sister’s remarks potent a possible nuclear or missile provocation.
Wednesday, August 10
11:02 a.m.: COVID-19 deaths fall by 9% globally
The World Health Organization says in its latest weekly pandemic report that the number of coronavirus deaths fell by 9% in the last week while new cases remained relatively stable.
According to the Associated Press, the U.N. health agency said there were more than 14,000 COVID-19 deaths last week and nearly 7 million new infections.
The Western Pacific reported a 30% jump in cases, while Africa reported a 46% drop.
The WHO said that the omicron sub-variant BA.5 remains dominant globally, accounting for nearly 70% of all virus sequences shared with the world’s biggest publicly available virus database.
10:31 a.m.: Pandemic restrictions encourage Chinese residents to take up cycling
Cycling is growing in popularity in China as a sport, not just a way to get to work.
A coronavirus outbreak that shut down indoor sports facilities in Beijing earlier this year encouraged people to try outdoor sports, including cycling, according to the Associated Press.
Organized rides in the Chinese capital take cyclists to outlying suburbs or city landmarks. The sport’s rising popularity has boosted sales of bicycles and signals growing public awareness of environmental protection and low-carbon lifestyles.
Tuesday, August 9
5:55 p.m.: Sacramento declares monkeypox a local public health emergency
Sacramento County declared monkeypox a local public health emergency Tuesday afternoon, allowing the county to access funding and be more proactive in its response to the outbreak
The county’s board of supervisors voted 4-1 in favor of the declaration, with District 4 supervisor Sue Frost the “no” vote. The emergency declaration allows.
“The proclamation of the state of local emergency, and local public health emergency does not signify an increase in risk to the residents,” said the county’s public health officer, Dr. Olivia Kasirye, at the meeting.
California state health officials announced a state of emergency on Aug. 2.
The county was notified of its first monkeypox case on May 21. As of Tuesday, the county reports 80 monkeypox cases.
Along with a vaccine, there is a treatment for monkeypox — a two-week series of pills known as TPOXX. But it is currently only being offered at UC Davis Medical Center and Kaiser.
Click here for more information about monkeypox signs and symptoms and where you can get a vaccine in Sacramento County.
11:26 a.m.: Incoming college students turn to bridge programs to prepare after COVID-19 disruptions
After the disruption of online learning, first-year college students are arriving on campuses unprepared for the demands of college-level work, experts say.
The Associated Press reports that colleges from New Jersey to California have expanded summer bridge programs aiming to get students up to speed in math and English before they arrive this fall.
Experts say it’s clear that for some, remote instruction caused learning setbacks, most sharply among Black and Hispanic students.
The stakes are high — research shows that students who start college a step behind are less likely to graduate.
11:10 a.m.: 80,000 tourists stranded at a beach resort town in China due to COVID-19 outbreak
Some 80,000 tourists are stranded in the southern Chinese Beach resort of Sanya after authorities declared it a COVID-19 hot spot and imposed a lockdown.
According to the Associated Press, the restrictions came into force on Saturday morning as authorities sought to stem the spread of COVID-19 in the city on tropical Hainan Island.
There were 229 confirmed cases on Friday and an additional 129 on Saturday.
Railway authorities banned all ticket sales and all flights were also canceled. Tourists wanting to depart Sanya have to test negative for the coronavirus on five PCR tests over seven days.
China sticks steadfastly to a “zero-COVID” approach. A recent outbreak in Shanghai spread so widely that authorities locked down the entire city for two months, trapping millions of people.
Monday, August 8
12:14 p.m.: Flushed with cash from COVID-19 treatments, Pfizer buys another drug maker
Pfizer is buying sickle cell drug maker Global Blood Therapeutics in an approximately $5.4 billion deal as it looks to accelerate growth after its revenue soared during the pandemic, according to the Associated Press.
Pfizer said that its latest acquisition will boost its work in rare hematology.
Global Therapeutics produces Oxybryta tablets for treating sickle cell disease. The pharma giant Pfizer has been flush with cash since its COVID-19 vaccine, Comirnaty, and treatment, Paxlovid, have hit the market.
It has now announced deals valued at a total of nearly $19 billion, counting debt, since late last year.
12:07 p.m.: Texas man sentenced to 25 years in prison for attacking an Asian family over COVID-19
Federal prosecutors say a Texas man has been sentenced to 25 years in prison for attacking an Asian family because he thought they were Chinese and therefore responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Associated Press reports that court records show 21-year-old Jose Gomez III of Midland, Texas was sentenced Thursday after pleading guilty to three counts of committing a hate crime.
Gomez admitted that he used a knife to slash the man and his 6-and 2-year-old sons inside a Sam’s Club in Midland because he believed they were Chinese and spreading the coronavirus.
The man Gomez attacked is from Myanmar.
The March 2020 attack occurred as Asians faced verbal harassment and physical assaults across the U.S. after the virus began to spread nationwide.
11:28 a.m.: Spain struggles to limit monkeypox infections
Spain is struggling to curtail Europe’s leading monkeypox outbreak since the disease spread beyond the continent of Africa.
According to the Associated Press, the southern European nation counts 4,942 cases and two men have died from the disease.
Authorities and groups in the LGBTQ community are honing their campaigns to get vaccines to the neediest members of the demographic so far.
In the U.S. and Europe, the vast majority of monkeypox infections have happened in men who have sex with men.
However, health experts warn that if cases continue to rise, they will inevitably spread to other groups, similar to HIV/AIDS.
Given the dearth of vaccines, the focus is now on getting out the message that reducing sexual partners is critical.
Friday, August 5
1:27 p.m.: How many animal species have been infected with COVID-19? Scientists are still trying to find out.
Minks, hamsters, cats and dogs have all been recorded developing COVID-19, which leads to the question — how many species have been affected? How many cases have been there in the animal kingdom?
NPR reports that those are difficult questions to answer — just as it’s hard to come up with an accurate total for human cases since many people don’t report a positive test to health authorities.
Researchers say it’s an essential task because of the possibility that the virus could mutate into a more transmissible or virulent strain in animals that then passes back to humans.
More Learn more about animals and COVID with Scientific Data’s data tracking dashboard.
12:03 p.m.: Polio samples found in New York state wastewater
New York state health officials have issued a more urgent call for unvaccinated children and adults to get inoculated against polio, citing new evidence of possible “community spread” of the virus.
According to the Associated Press, health officials said that the polio virus has now been found in seven different wastewater samples in two adjacent counties north of New York City.
So far, only one person has tested positive for polio — an unvaccinated adult in Rockland County who suffered paralysis.
But based on earlier polio outbreaks, Health Commissioner Mary Bassett said there may be hundreds of other people who have been infected but have no symptoms yet.
Thursday, August 4
1:02 p.m.: US has declared monkeypox public health emergency
The U.S. has declared monkeypox as public health emergency after it infected over 6,600 Americans, as reported by NPR.
A public health emergency can trigger grant funding and open up more resources for various aspects of a federal response.
It also allows the Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra, to enter into contracts for treatments and other necessary medical supplies and equipment and more.
Public health emergencies last for 90 days but can be extended by the Secretary.
11:32 a.m.: Las Vegas-based rental property management company faces probe over pandemic evictions
A Las Vegas-based corporate owner of thousands of residential rental properties in several U.S. states is investigating whether it improperly evicted tenants during the coronavirus pandemic while receiving millions of federal dollars to keep people in their homes.
The Associated Press reports probes of the Siegel Group announced by Nevada state Attorney General Aaron Ford and Clark County officials followed findings last week by a congressional oversight panel that company executives used deception, harassment and “potentially unlawful” tactics last year to force tenants out.
Siegel Group says it wasn't called or interviewed by the U.S. House committee that produced the report. The company says it operates lawfully.
Wednesday, August 3
11:44 a.m.: Federal coronavirus relief funding local tourism projects
Hundreds of tourism projects nationwide are collectively getting about $2.4 billion in federal coronavirus relief funding, as reported by the Associated Press.
The money has aided everything from a gas station expansion in California to new sports facilities in Georgia and culturally diverse music in Nashville, Tennessee. Portland, Oregon, has categorized the purchase of 200 graffiti-resistant trash cans as a tourism project.
All the money comes from the American Rescue Plan, signed by President Joe Biden last year.
The flexible aid program for governments lists tourism as one of its eligible purposes, along such things as health care and housing.
11:03 a.m.: Germany announces COVID-19 measures will remain for fall and winter
The German government says basic coronavirus requirements will remain in place during the coming fall and winter when experts expect COVID-19 cases to rise again as people spend more time indoors.
According to the Associated Press, under rules recently announced, face masks and presenting proof of a negative coronavirus test will be mandatory from October until early April at hospitals, nursing homes and other locations with vulnerable people.
Passengers on airplanes and making long-distance trips by train and bus also will have to wear masks during that period, as they do now.
However, Germany's 16 states have the authority to adopt their own rules. State governments could decide to require masks and adopt regular testing at schools.
Tuesday, August 2
2:46 p.m.: Newsom declares California in state of emergency over monkeypox
Gov. Gavin Newsom has declared a state of emergency to speed efforts to combat the monkeypox outbreak.
It makes California the second state in three days to take the step — nearly 800 cases have been reported in the state, according to the Associated Press.
Gov. Newsom said his Monday declaration will help California coordinate a government-wide response. He says the state will continue to work with the federal government to secure more vaccines, raise awareness about reducing risk and stand with the LGBTQ community in fighting stigmatization.
The move came after a similar declaration in New York state on Saturday and in San Francisco on Thursday.
2:37 p.m.: President Biden tests positive for COVID-19 for the second day
President Joe Biden’s “loose cough” has returned as he faces a rebound case of COVID-19, his doctor said, though he “continues to feel well.”
According to the Associated Press, White House physician Kevin O’Connor provided an update on the president’s condition as he continues to test positive for the virus.
He said Biden “remains fever-free” and that his temperature, pulse, blood pressure, respiratory rate, and oxygen saturation “remain entirely normal.”
Still, Biden is required to remain in isolation through at least Thursday under Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines — and perhaps longer under tougher White House protocols if he continues to test positive.
Monday, August 1
11:41 a.m.: In the race to acquire monkeypox vaccines, lower-income countries lose
Public health officials warn that moves by rich countries to buy large quantities of monkeypox vaccine could leave millions of people in African nations unprotected against a more dangerous version of the disease.
As reported by the Associated Press, scientists say that, unlike campaigns to stop COVID-19, mass vaccinations won't be necessary to curb monkeypox outbreaks. Targeted vaccinations and other measures could be enough to shut down the multiple outbreaks.
Monkeypox is much harder to spread than coronavirus, but experts warn that the need for vaccines could intensify if the disease spills over into the general population.
Brazil and Spain have just reported monkeypox deaths, the first in their nations.
11:38 a.m.: President Biden tests positive again in COVID-19 rebound case
President Joe Biden has tested positive for COVID-19 for the second straight day, in what appears to be a rare case of “rebound” following treatment with an anti-viral drug.
According to the Associated Press, White House Physician Dr. Kevin O’Connor said in a letter that the president “continues to feel well” and will keep on working from the executive residence.
After Biden tested positive on Sunday, he canceled upcoming plans to travel and hold in-person events. He’s isolating for at least five days per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.
The 79-year-old Biden first tested positive on July 21. He was treated with the anti-viral drug Paxlovid, and he had ended his isolation on Wednesday.
11:27 a.m.: Florida man accused of selling bleach as COVID-19 cure, is arrested abroad
A man accused of selling a toxic industrial bleach as a coronavirus cure through his Florida-based church has been returned to the United States after being arrested in Colombia.
According to the Associated Press, records show 64-year-old Mark Grenon made his initial court appearance Thursday in Miami federal court.
Grenon and his three adult sons were indicted last year on one count each of conspiracy to commit fraud and two counts each of criminal contempt. He is the archbishop of the Genesis II Church of Health and Healing in Bradenton, Florida.
Officials say the church sold chlorine dioxide and claimed the toxic solution can cure a vast variety of illnesses.
Find older coronavirus updates on our previous blog page here.
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