Florida Breaks Record; Biden Struggles on Delta: Virus Update

Florida has become the new national epicenter as it recorded its highest one-day increase of Covid cases since the start of the pandemic.

The Biden administration has monitored the delta variant for weeks but appeared surprised by the extent of its spread, according to a senior White House official. Progressive members of the Congress renewed their calls to extend a national eviction moratorium that is set to expire Saturday at midnight.

Thousands in France protested again over a coronavirus pass, with some clashing with police. The U.K. is preparing to ease travel bans for visitors passing through airports in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and more.

Florida Breaks Daily Case Record (5:00 p.m. NY)

Florida reported 21,683 new cases on Friday, breaking a daily record for the entire pandemic, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The state’s previous one-day record, according to the CDC data, was more than 19,100 in early January. The third most populous state, Florida now accounts for about one in five new virus infections in the entire U.S.

English Deaths Undercounted: Telegraph (4:45 p.m. NY)

The death toll from Covid in care homes in England was probably about 4,000 higher than reported, the Sunday Telegraph said citing unidentified care providers.

The official count of 39,017 covered elderly people who died between April 10, 2020, and March 31 this year.

Care providers say thousands more probably died before April 10 because the industry watchdog had earlier signed off on a government policy that allowed Covid-positive patients to be discharged from hospitals into care homes, the newspaper reported. Testing wasn’t required for asymptomatic patients.

U.K. Set to Exempt Passthrough Visitors (4:35 p.m. NY)

U.K. officials are close to an agreement to allow travelers to pass through airports in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Istanbul, Doha and Bahrain, without having to quarantine in a hotel when they arrive, the Telegraph reported Saturday.

The move will make it cheaper and easier for business travelers and families to reunite with relatives in Australia, New Zealand and the Middle East who often have to pass through these transit hubs.

Anti-Vax App Tests Rules (3 p.m. NY)

A new social media app called “Unjected,” designed for the unvaccinated, is testing Google and Apple Inc.’s policies concerning the spread of misinformation about Covid-19 vaccines.

Apple removed the app from its App Store after being contacted by Bloomberg News. Unjected, when told by Google Play that its social feed contains misinformation, removed the section to get back in compliance with the app store.

California Positive Rate Near Six-Month High (2:45 p.m. NY)

California’s test positivity rate rose to 6.4%, the most since early February.

Hospitalizations climbed to the highest since early March. Still, availability of intensive-care unit beds remains at almost twice the level of mid-January, when several counties in the state were running out of ICU beds as cases peaked.

White House Caught Off Guard by Delta (2:00 p.m. NY)

White House officials have monitored the delta variant for weeks but were surprised by the extent of its spread, according to a senior White House official.

The surge prompted an urgent warning on the renter eviction ban, the reimposition of a masking recommendation and President Joe Biden’s repeated pleas for Americans to get vaccinated.

N.Y. New Infections Top 3,000 (12:35 p.m. NY)

New York state’s new infections rose above 3,000, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced, the first time since early May that it’s hit that level. New infections have more than quadrupled in the last month but remain far below the daily peak of almost 20,000 in mid-January.

The positive test rate reached 2.6%, up from a low of 0.3% in mid-June but below the current national average of 7.8%. Deaths remain low, with five reported on Saturday.

U.S. Cases Jump, Driven By Florida (11:38 a.m. NY)

The overall U.S. weekly case tally was more than five times that of a month ago and the highest since mid-February, data released on Friday showed.

Florida made up about 1 in 5 of the U.S.’s total weekly cases of 544,569, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg. Florida, which releases its virus data weekly, reported 110,477 cases on Friday.

Hospital admissions, while well below the peak of the last surge in January, increased more than 46% in a week. Fatalities rose more than 33%, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Vietnam Stay-Home Extension (10:08 a.m. NY)

Vietnam authorities extended the stay-at-home order covering most of the nation’s southern region including the commercial hub of Ho Chi Minh City for two weeks.

The existing order for Ho Chi Minh City ends Aug. 1. The extension is directed at 19 localities and is part of the government’s aggressive anti-virus measures to contain the nation’s worst coronavirus outbreak that began in late April.

Cases Climb in Central Chinese City (10:01 a.m. NY)

The number of Covid-19 cases keeps rising in the city of Zhengzhou in central China, which recently suffered a deadly flood.

The city found 11 confirmed cases and 16 asymptomatic infections by Friday evening, local health officials said at a press briefing Saturday night, according a report by the state broadcaster CCTV.

Colleges Bring Back Masks (9:46 a.m. NY)

Yale and Cornell are reinstating requirements that all individuals wear masks in most indoor campus spaces, joining other colleges in efforts to combat the fast-spreading delta variant.

Third Weekend of Protests in France (8:32 a.m. NY)

Thousands of people protested against France’s special virus pass with marches through Paris and other cities on Saturday as well as sporadic clashes with riot police, the AP reported.

French lawmakers passed a bill requiring the pass in most places as of Aug. 9. In the past 24 hours, France reported 23,471 new coronavirus cases and 43 deaths.

China Vaccine Study (6:08 a.m. NY)

China is studying if it’s necessary to give booster vaccines to vulnerable groups such as the elderly, people with underlying diseases and those who work in high-risk areas.

There isn’t enough evidence yet to suggest that a third shot is needed for everyone, Wang Huaqing, chief immunologist at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said at a press briefing Saturday.

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