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NIH director says proof of vaccination step in ‘the right direction;’ Florida breaks record for COVID-19 hospitalizations

As the number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients climb, health care professionals at Tufts expressed concern.
As the number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients climb, health care professionals at Tufts expressed concern.Erin Clark/Globe Staff

Coronavirus case counts are once again rising across the US, near and far. Health officials are scrambling to vaccinate as the Delta variant takes hold. Confusion is growing about whether people should be required to mask indoors again, vaccinated or not.

Below, we’re gathering the latest news and updates on coronavirus in New England and beyond.

US is wasting vaccine doses, even as cases rise — 2:19 p.m.

By New York Times

A survey of data from 10 states shows that more than 1 million doses have gone to waste since the nation began administering COVID-19 vaccines in December.

Much of the loss has come as demand for inoculations plummeted, with the daily rate of vaccinations now at less than one-fifth of its peak average of 3.4 million shots, reached in mid-April.

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By The Associated Press

A day after it recorded the most new daily cases since the start of the pandemic, Florida on Sunday broke a previous record for current hospitalizations, as the number of patients in hospitals because of COVID-19 once again broke through the 10,000-person threshold.

The Sunshine State had 10,207 people hospitalized with confirmed COVID-19 cases, according to data reported to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.

The previous record was from more than a year ago, July 23, 2020, more than a half-year before vaccinations started becoming widespread, when Florida had 10,170 hospitalizations, according to the Florida Hospital Association.

By The Associated Press

Thousands turned out in Berlin on Sunday to protest the German government’s anti-coronavirus measures despite a ban on the gatherings, leading to clashes with police and around 500 arrests.

Local authorities had banned several different protests this weekend, including one from the Stuttgart-based Querdenker movement, but protesters in Berlin defied the ban.

New York Times

As cases and hospitalizations rise across the United States, Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, said Sunday that businesses asking employees for proof of vaccination or regular testing were taking steps “in the right direction.”

“I think anything we can do to encourage reluctant folks to get vaccinated — because they’ll want to be part of these public events — that’s a good thing,” Collins said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

Collins said he was pleased to see companies such as Disney and Walmart asking their employees to get vaccinated. And he expressed support for President Joe Biden’s decision this past week requiring federal workers to get the vaccine or, “if they’re not, to get regular testing, which is inconvenient.”

Associated Press

Dr. Anthony Fauci warned Sunday that more “pain and suffering” is on the horizon as COVID-19 cases climb again and officials plead with unvaccinated Americans to get their shots.

Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, also said he doesn’t foresee additional lockdowns in the U.S. because he believes enough people are vaccinated to avoid a recurrence of last winter. However, he said not enough are inoculated to “crush the outbreak” at this point.

Fauci’s warning comes days after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention changed course to recommend that even vaccinated people return to wearing masks indoors in parts of the U.S. where the delta variant is fueling infection surges. With the switch, federal health officials have cited studies showing vaccinated people can spread the virus to others.

Washington Post

Stunned business executives are struggling to adjust to the rapidly shifting environment caused by covid-19′s delta variant, rocked by a cascade of evolving mask and vaccine recommendations from federal, state, and local officials. In many cases, they are instituting new mask or vaccine guidelines - or requirements - within hours of shifting government reports.

The burst of new policies, which has intensified in just the past few days, has jolted automakers in Detroit, retailers in Texas, state universities in Missouri, technology giants in California, and now theme park and hospitality workers in Florida, California, Hawaii and elsewhere.

In the latest development, Walt Disney Co. on Friday told all salaried and nonunion hourly employees that they must be vaccinated by the end of September. Walmart, the country’s largest private employer, also announced it will mandate vaccines for workers at its headquarters in Bentonville, Ark. The retail giant also doubled its cash incentive, to $150, for store and warehouse workers who get the vaccine.

Bloomberg

Danny Barefoot and 23 friends traveled to Provincetown, Massachusetts, to dine, hit the beach and party, secure in the knowledge they were all fully vaccinated.

Fourteen left as potential vectors.

They tested positive for Covid-19 after a week-long Independence Day getaway -- none badly ill, but all shocked by how the virus ambushed them, according to interviews with four who got sick. Health investigators are scrutinizing discrete outbreaks like this one, fanned across four cottages blocks off the ocean, in hopes of demystifying the delta variant.

By The Associated Press

Shouts of “Liberty!” have echoed through the streets and squares of Italy and France as thousands show their opposition to plans to require vaccination cards for normal social activities, such as dining indoors at restaurants, visiting museums or cheering in sports stadiums.

Leaders in both countries see the cards, dubbed the “Green Pass” in Italy and the “health pass” in France, as necessary to boost vaccination rates and persuade the undecided.

By New York Times

Many states, cities, businesses and schools have been scrambling to institute new mandates since Tuesday, when federal health authorities recommended that even fully vaccinated people should wear masks again in public indoor spaces in delta-variant hot spots and urged universal masking in schools.

Not Texas.

In an executive order issued Thursday, Gov. Greg Abbott, the Republican governor of the nation’s second-largest state, prohibited local governments and state agencies from mandating vaccines, saying that protection against the virus should be a matter of personal responsibility, not forced by a government edict.

By Lauren Booker, Globe Staff

A Las Vegas father went to the emergency room with what he thought was just a sunburn. It turned out that he was positive for the coronavirus.

Michael Freedy, a 39-year-old casino worker, received the diagnosis after traveling to the beach in San Diego with his fiancée and five children, aged 17 months, 6, 7, 10, and 17 years old, according to the Los Vegas Fox 5 affiliate. The illness progressed swiftly after he tried to recover at home and he was later hospitalized with pneumonia in both lungs.

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Freedy, who was unvaccinated, went on to be admitted to the intensive care unit and died on Thursday.

By New York Times

Vaccinations are rising in U.S. states where lagging demand left entire regions vulnerable to a delta-driven surge of coronavirus cases. The shift offers a sign of hope, even as the country’s known cases since the start of the pandemic surpassed 35 million Saturday.

For the third consecutive week, states with the highest number of coronavirus cases also had the highest vaccination rates, Karine Jean-Pierre, deputy White House press secretary, said Friday.

By New York Times

As coronavirus cases rise across the United States, the fight against the pandemic is focused on an estimated 93 million people who are eligible for shots but have chosen not to get them. These are the Americans who are most vulnerable to serious illness from the highly contagious delta variant and most likely to carry the virus, spreading it further.

It turns out, though, that this is not a single set of Americans, but in many ways two.

By The Washington Post

Police in Paris used tear gas Saturday as thousands of protesters joined marches to denounce plans for vaccine “health passes,” the latest tensions around the world over government mandates to reward those who get vaccinated and maintain restrictions on those who refuse.

About 3,000 members of police and security forces were deployed in the French capital ahead of the demonstrations, which have flared weekly since the government announced the vaccine pass plans. Police fired tear gas and clashed with protesters in some areas. Protests also were held in other cities across France.

By New York Times

At two major San Francisco hospitals, at least 233 staff members — most of them fully vaccinated — tested positive for the coronavirus in July, and most, according to a hospital official, involved the highly contagious delta variant.

Some of the cases were asymptomatic, most involved mild to moderate symptoms and only two required hospitalization, officials said. The infections were determined to be delta-related because most samples in San Francisco were tested for the variant, which is now dominant in the city.

By New York Times

Spurred by rising COVID cases and the delta variant’s spread, a wave of major employers this past week announced the same rule for unvaccinated workers: They will need to submit to regular surveillance testing. The new requirement raises a thorny question: Who pays for those coronavirus tests?

Doctors typically charge about $50 to $100 for the tests, so the costs of weekly testing could add up quickly. Federal law requires insurers to fully cover the tests when ordered by a health care provider, but routine workplace tests are exempt from that provision.

By New York Times

Amid a resurgence of coronavirus infections and deaths, some people who once rejected the vaccine or simply waited too long are now grappling with the consequences, often in raw, public ways.

A number are speaking from hospital beds, at funerals and in obituaries about their regrets, about the pain of enduring the virus and watching unvaccinated family members die gasping for breath.

The recent surge of infections and hospitalizations among unvaccinated people has brought the grim realities of COVID-19 crashing home for many who thought they had skirted the pandemic.

By The Associated Press

Florida has reported 21,683 new cases of COVID-19, the state’s highest one-day total since the start of the pandemic, according to federal health data released Saturday.

The state reached the new record as it become a new epicenter for the virus, accounting for around a fifth of all new cases in the U.S.

By Kay Lazar and Ivy Scott, Globe Staff and Globe Correspondent

Doctors, nurses, and their army of colleagues in Massachusetts hospitals are worried and exhausted. The trickle of COVID-19 patients arriving at their doors a month ago has grown to a steadier stream — up 78 percent over the last three weeks.

The faces of those infected are changing, too. No longer is the typical patient a gray-haired 70-year-old with multiple health conditions, they say. Instead, they are seeing many 40- and 50-year-olds, some even younger, who had been healthy before becoming infected. Many are people of color.

And 80 percent of them are not fully vaccinated.

By Bloomberg

A new social app designed as a community for the unvaccinated is testing Google and Apple Inc.’s policies concerning the spread of misinformation about Covid-19 vaccines.

The app allows users to make a profile, match and message with other members. It launched in May shortly after the largest online dating sites, including Match Group’s Tinder and Bumble Inc., introduced perks to encourage users to get vaccinated.

By Associated Press

With U.S. health officials recommending that children mask up in school this fall, parents and policy makers across the nation have been plunged anew into a debate over whether face coverings should be optional or a mandate.

The delta variant of the coronavirus now threatens to upend normal instruction for a third consecutive school year. Some states have indicated they will probably heed the federal government’s guidance and require masks. Others will leave the decision up to parents.

By Associated Press

The COVID-19 pandemic, coupled with record sales of firearms, has fueled a shortage of ammunition in the United States that’s impacting law enforcement agencies, people seeking personal protection, recreational shooters and hunters -- and could deny new gun owners the practice they need to handle their weapons safely.

Manufacturers say they’re producing as much ammunition as they can, but many gun store shelves are empty and prices keep rising. Ammunition imports are way up, but at least one U.S. manufacturer is exporting ammo. All while the pandemic, social unrest and a rise in violent crime have prompted millions to buy guns for protection or to take up shooting for sport.

Associated Press

Ohio has planted a memorial grove of native trees to remember people who died of COVID-19, and governors and state lawmakers nationwide are considering their own ways to mark the toll of the virus.

Temporary memorials have sprung up across the U.S. — 250,000 white flags at RFK stadium in the nation’s capital, a garden of hand-sculpted flowers in Florida, strings of origami cranes in Los Angeles.

The process of creating more lasting remembrances that honor the over 600,000 Americans who have died from the coronavirus, though, is fraught compared to past memorial drives because of the politics.

Washington Post

Erica Kensek, a 33 year-old hospital administrator in Columbia, S.C., got vaccinated for the coronavirus as soon as she was eligible in January. Her husband, a manager at an auto service store who has an autoimmune disease, got vaccinated in March.

But when vaccination became available for their 13-year-old daughter, Abby, the couple opted not to sign her up.

“The threat to children [from covid-19] has been so minimal, and we feel like there just has not been enough long-term research on this vaccine and its effect on children,” Kensek says.

Washington Post

The newly resurgent coronavirus could spark 140,000 to 300,000 cases a day in the United States come August, fueled by the highly transmissible Delta variant and the widespread resumption of normal activities, disease trackers predict.

The nation is already reporting more than 70,000 cases a day, according to The Washington Post’s rolling seven-day average - an increase of nearly 60,000 in the daily average in less than six weeks. Cases, measured as that rolling average, have risen to levels not seen in February.

Bloomberg

President Joe Biden is struggling with a surge in coronavirus cases, an impending wave of evictions and a spike in consumer prices that have left the White House looking unprepared and threaten to undermine months of more sure-handed work on the pandemic.

Biden surprised Congress on Thursday with a last-minute plea to extend a moratorium on evictions, two days before the ban’s expiration, leaving lawmakers little time to act.

Federal authorities also this week recommended that Americans resume wearing masks in indoor public places to curb the delta variant’s rapid spread — an outbreak telegraphed nearly a month ago when cases began rising in under-vaccinated parts of the South and Midwest. Biden implored vaccine holdouts to get inoculated, even offering them $100 for a shot -- and warning federal workers they’d have to wear masks, socially distance and restrict their travel if they refuse.

By The Associated Press

The number of COVID-19 cases reported in Tokyo totaled 4,058 people, a daily record, city hall said Saturday, fanning worries as Japan’s capital plays host to the Olympic Games.

Critics have long said the Olympics should be canceled or postponed, as tens of thousands of athletes, corporate sponsors and media gather from around the world.

Athletes are getting tested for the coronavirus every day. Twenty-one people working at the Olympics tested positive Saturday, none of them athletes.

The Games have had 241 positive tests so far, 23 of them athletes.

Japan has had more than 15,000 deaths related to COVID-19. Daily reported cases also reached records in Saitama, Chiba and Kanagawa prefectures, neighboring Tokyo.

By Vince Dixon and Ryan Huddle, Globe Staff

A closer look at the recent cluster of COVID-19 cases linked to July celebrations on Cape Cod is shedding light on the risks the Delta variant poses to fully vaccinated people.

Provincetown’s town manager has said there are almost 900 cases associated with the cluster. A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released Friday zeroed in on the 469 Massachusetts residents involved with the outbreak and made recommendations on how jurisdictions can curb the effects of highly transmissible variants.


Brisbane joins Sydney in lockdown as COVID-19 spreads in Australia — 3:34 a.m.

Bloomberg News

Brisbane joined Australia’s biggest city of Sydney in lockdown after the discovery of six new cases of the delta variant of the coronavirus in Queensland’s state capital.

In Sydney, the epicenter of the county’s outbreak, there were 210 new locally acquired infections in the 24 hours to 8 p.m. on Friday, state health authorities said. That’s up from 170 a day earlier.

The deployment of about 1,000 police officers in Sydney deterred anti-lockdown demonstrators after a violent protest last weekend. New South Wales state Deputy Police Commissioner Michael Willing said 85 people had been charged over last weekend’s event.

West African health officials race to vaccinate amid spikes — 2:25 a.m.

By The Associated Press

A resurgence of coronavirus cases in West Africa is hitting the region hard, inundating cemeteries where funeral numbers are rising and hospitals where beds are becoming scarce.

Those visible shifts are also pushing a reluctant population to seek out the vaccines in larger numbers at a time when shipments of doses are arriving from multiple sources after nearly grinding to a halt in recent months.

Thousands of new COVID-19 cases have been reported in the region in the past few weeks amid low vaccination rates and the spread of the delta variant, with some countries seeing their highest numbers since the pandemic began.

NFL vaccine holdouts face training camp scrutiny — 1:32 a.m.

By The New York Times

When asked by reporters Tuesday if he had received the COVID-19 vaccine, Indianapolis Colts defensive lineman DeForest Buckner nodded his head and smiled.

“Yes, sir, fully vaccinated,” Buckner said.

When asked the same question, his teammate, wide receiver T.Y. Hilton, declined to clearly answer, glancing downward, his response slightly muffled by the mask covering his expression.

“It’s a personal decision,” Hilton said, “so let’s just leave it at that.”

On Monday, Frank Reich, the Colts’ vaccinated head coach, tested positive in a breakthrough infection. He was asymptomatic, but participated in the start of training camp remotely, said Chris Ballard, the team’s general manager.

As the first week of NFL training camps concluded amid the backdrop of the delta variant fueling an alarming spike in coronavirus cases nationally, the dichotomy within the Colts’ locker room reflected the discussion among NFL players regarding the vaccine, even as the league offered more education and levied harsher penalties on the unvaccinated.



 

July 30, 2021

 


Pentagon grappling with new vaccine orders; timing uncertain — 11:08 p.m.

By The Associated Press

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is vowing he “won’t let grass grow under our feet” as the department begins to implement the new vaccine and testing directives. But Pentagon officials on Friday were scrambling to figure out how to enact and enforce the changes across the vast military population and determine which National Guard and Reserve troops would be affected by the orders.

The Pentagon now has two separate missions involving President Joe Biden’s announcement Thursday aimed at increasing COVID-19 vaccines in the federal workforce. The Defense Department must develop plans to make the vaccine mandatory for the military, and set up new requirements for federal workers who will have to either attest to a COVID-19 vaccination or face frequent testing and travel restrictions.

By New York Times

Robert Byng was determined to receive his first shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine at the Bushwick branch of the Brooklyn Public Library on Friday, and said that he had pushed back an interview to be there.

The reason? He needed the $100 that now comes with receiving your first dose at a city-run site.

On the first day the $100 incentives were being offered, foot traffic at vaccination sites in Brooklyn and the Bronx was relatively calm, as the new program was announced just this week.

By The Washington Post

The United States needs to expand its vaccination campaign going into the fall if the country is going to stem the nationwide surge of coronavirus cases driven by the delta variant, one of the federal government’s top health officials said Friday.

“I think that the prospects for the fall could be very challenging,” Rachel L. Levine, assistant secretary for health at the Department of Health and Human Services, said in a discussion hosted by The Washington Post. “However, if we are able to continue to ramp up our vaccination program, that’s the most important way to protect people in the fall.”

By Emma Platoff, Globe Staff

Amid an increase in COVID-19 infections over the last month, Massachusetts officials on Friday refrained from issuing new mask mandates either in schools or inside public places, instead advising mask-wearing for residents who are unvaccinated and for those who are or who live with someone is at high risk for a severe case of the virus.

State health officials now recommend that vaccinated people wear masks indoors if they or a member of their household has a weakened immune system or underlying medical condition that puts them at risk of a severe case of COVID-19.

By The Washington Post

On Jan. 26, the Biden administration put an order into effect requiring anyone flying into the United States to provide a negative result from a coronavirus test taken no more than three days before the trip, regardless of vaccination status. Alternatively, travelers could also provide documentation that they had recently recovered from covid-19.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is the responsibility of the airlines to ensure the rule is enforced. “Airlines must confirm the negative test result or documentation of recovery for all passengers before boarding,” CDC spokesperson Caitlin Shockey said in an email. “If a passenger chooses not to present a test result or documentation of recovery, the airline must deny boarding to the passenger.”

By The Associated Press

Florida’s coronavirus cases jumped 50% this week, the state Health Department reported Friday, continuing a six-week surge that has seen it responsible for 1 in 5 new infections nationally, becoming the outbreak’s epicenter.

The release came shortly after Gov. Ron DeSantis barred school districts from requiring students to wear masks when classes resume next month, saying there is no evidence they prevent outbreaks among students or staff.

More than 110,000 new coronavirus cases were reported statewide over the past week, up from 73,000 last week and 11 times the 10,000 reported the week of June 11, six weeks ago. Case numbers are now back to where they in January, just before vaccinations became widely available.

By The Associated Press

Two leading obstetricians’ groups on Friday recommended COVID-19 shots for all pregnant women, citing concerns over rising cases and low vaccination rates.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine said vaccinations in tens of thousands of pregnant women over the past several months have shown the shots are safe and effective during pregnancy.

COVID-19 during pregnancy increases risks for severe complications and can also increase chances for preterm birth. US government data show only about 16% of pregnant women have received one or more doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

By Peter Bailey-Wells, Ryan Huddle, Daigo Fujiwara and Amanda Kaufman, Globe Staff

Massachusetts on Friday reported 844 new confirmed coronavirus cases, 3 new confirmed coronavirus deaths, and another 10,057 vaccinations administered, the Department of Public Health said.

The state also reported that 197 patients with COVID-19 were in the hospital.

By Anissa Gardizy, Globe Staff

For months, the mantra for big employers planning to bring workers back to the office has been “See you in September.” Now, suddenly, it’s becoming “See you in... who knows?”

The swift rise of the Delta variant has some employers rethinking their reopening plans amid rising concern about breakthrough cases and new mask guidance. It’s been the subject of meetings all week, as executives across Boston debate COVID restrictions, vaccine mandates, and in some cases, delayed returns to the office.

The conversation has been building for a month, as new COVID threats emerged. But the feeling that plans might really need to change came on quickly.

By Bloomberg

The U.S. agency leading the fight against Covid-19 gave up a crucial surveillance tool tracking the effectiveness of vaccines just as a troublesome new variant of the virus was emerging.

While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stopped comprehensively tracking what are known as vaccine breakthrough cases in May, the consequences of that choice are only now beginning to show.

At the time, the agency had identified only 10,262 cases across the U.S. where a fully vaccinated person had tested positive for Covid. Most people who got infected after vaccination showed few symptoms, and appeared to be at low risk of infecting others.

By Isabella Grullón Paz, New York Times

Even as the more contagious delta variant drives a surge in infections, the COVID-19 vaccination effort has become so polarized in Missouri that some people are trying to get shots in secret to avoid conflicts with friends and relatives, a doctor there said.

In a video circulated by her employer, Dr. Priscilla A. Frase, a hospitalist and the chief medical information officer at Ozarks Healthcare in West Plains, Missouri, said this month that several people had pleaded for anonymity when they came in to be vaccinated, and that some appeared to have made an effort to disguise themselves.

“I work closely with our pharmacists who are leading our vaccine efforts through our organization,” she said, “and one of them told me the other day that they had several people come in to get vaccinated who have tried to sort of disguise their appearance and even went so far as to say, ‘Please, please please, don’t let anyone know that I got this vaccine.’”

By The Associated Press

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem says she has no plans to ratchet up her messaging to urge people to get a COVID-19 vaccine, even as Republican leaders across the country try to persuade vaccine skeptics to roll up their sleeves and take the shots in response to a new, more contagious variant that has sent caseloads soaring in some parts of the country.

The Republican governor told The Associated Press this week she believes her messaging has reached “a saturation level where people start to tune you out.

South Dakota’s Department of Health is trying a targeted approach to reach groups where vaccine uptake has been low. But it has been months since the governor used her position to encourage the vaccine, even with infections rising again in the state after a steep decline in the spring and early summer.

By The Washington Post

A global rise in coronavirus cases driven by the fast-moving delta variant is causing shortages of critical health-care equipment in dozens of countries and threatening to upend progress against the pandemic, the head of the World Health Organization said Friday.

“Hard-won gains are in jeopardy, or are being lost,” WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a morning briefing. “And health systems in many countries are being overwhelmed.”

Nearly 4 million infections were reported worldwide over the last week, up from 3.5 million, according to the WHO. Tedros warned that global infections recorded since the beginning of the pandemic were on track to top 200 million by mid-August.

“The pandemic will end when the world chooses to end it,” Tedros said. “We have all the tools we need. We can prevent this disease, we can test for it, and we can treat it.”

“And yet,” he added, “cases and deaths from covid have continued to climb.”

By Travis Andersen, Globe Staff

Data released by the CDC Friday showed that three-quarters of the COVID-19 cases from a massive outbreak on Cape Cod following the Fourth of July occurred in vaccinated people, raising questions within the agency about how the Delta variant is spreading among those who’ve been inoculated from the disease.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which earlier this week advised even vaccinated people wear masks indoors in parts of the country where the Delta variant is surging, said in a document Friday that the cluster in Barnstable County suggests local governments may want to go further — even in places like Massachusetts where the virus isn’t spreading as rapidly.

By Bloomberg

Yale University is reinstituting a requirement that all individuals wear masks in indoor campus spaces to combat high levels of the delta variant.

The policy goes into effect Aug. 2 and calls for masks to be worn regardless of vaccination status, the New Haven, Connecticut-based school said in a statement Friday. Exceptions will be made for those working alone in a segregated space, such as a private office or in a partitioned cubicle.

The decision was made after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention determined that New Haven County had reached a “substantial” level of Delta transmission, Yale said. The agency recently updated guidance recommending that everyone, including fully vaccinated individuals, mask indoors in public spaces when local conditions are at a “substantial” or “high” level of viral transmission.

By The Washington Post

New recommendations this week from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention call for everyone, vaccinated or not, to wear a mask in public indoor spaces in areas with substantial or high transmission of covid-19.

As it turns out, that applies to more than 63 percent of U.S. counties - including many of the places travelers are heading this summer.

Of the top 25 destinations this summer for flight bookings on the Hopper app, only two (Detroit and Minneapolis) fell in the “moderate,” masks-not-recommended category as of Friday, according to CDC data. Officials recommend masking indoors for the other 23, a list that contains popular cities across the country that are seeing cases rise rapidly as the delta variant spreads.

By Amanda Kaufman, Globe Staff

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health on Friday released updated guidance on wearing masks following new recommendations this week from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the rise of the highly transmissible Delta variant.

The state now recommends that fully vaccinated people wear masks indoors “if you have a weakened immune system, or if you are at increased risk for severe disease because of your age or an underlying medical condition, or if someone in your household has a weakened immune system, is at increased risk for severe disease, or is unvaccinated,” the department said in a statement.

By Felicia Gans, Globe Staff

Unvaccinated students, educators, and staff members in Massachusetts schools should wear masks indoors this fall, according to new state guidance released Friday, despite federal recommendations earlier this week that calls for everyone in school buildings, regardless of vaccination status, to wear masks.

The guidance from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education strongly recommends that all students in kindergarten through sixth grade — the vast majority of whom are not yet eligible for vaccines — to wear masks indoors, unless they cannot due to medical or behavioral needs. In addition, all unvaccinated students and staff members in all grades also are strongly recommended to wear masks indoors.

By The Associated Press

Six passengers who sailed on a Royal Caribbean ship tested positive for COVID-19 at the end of their cruise and were quarantined, the company said Friday.

The passengers – four adults and two minors – were on the Adventure of the Seas ship for a 7-day cruise that left and returned to the Bahamas, said Royal Caribbean spokeswoman Lyan Sierra-Caro.

The adults were all vaccinated against COVID-19, Sierra-Caro said, and one has mild symptoms of the virus while the other three do not. They were not traveling together.

The two minors -- who were in the same group but not traveling with any of the four adults who tested positive -- were not vaccinated and are not showing symptoms, the spokeswoman said.

All six are American citizens, Sierra-Cano said. They were quarantined and people traveling with them were traced and tested negative, Sierra-Cano said.

Royal Caribbean Group says it requires passengers who are 16 or older to be fully vaccinated and provide a negative test for COVID-19 before boarding, and children who aren’t old enough for the vaccines must test negative. All crew are fully vaccinated, according to the company.

By The Associated Press

The hospital in a community that was the epicenter of a so-called coronavirus “super spreader” event is going to require all staff be vaccinated, becoming the first hospital in Maine to do so.

All staff at Millinocket Regional Hospital will be required to be fully vaccinated with either Pfizer or Modern vaccines within six weeks of final approval by the Food and Drug Administration, officials said.

“Millinocket Regional Hospital is committed to providing a safe working environment for all employees and the safest environment possible for patients to receive care,” said Dr. Robert Peterson, the hospital’s chief executive officer.

A wedding nearly a year ago in the Millinocket area was linked to outbreaks in at least two other locations in Maine, with more than 170 people contracting the virus and seven deaths since then.

Several other Maine hospitals are in discussions about vaccine requirements after national organizations, including the American Medical Association and the American Nursing Association, urged them to do so.

More Maine hospitals are expected to follow Millinocket in announcing vaccine mandates for employees in the near future, Steven Michaud, president of the Maine Hospital Association, told the Portland Press Herald.

Across Maine, 78.8% of hospital staff were vaccinated as of June 30, according to data from the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The hospital decision came as the highly transmissible delta variant of COVID-19 is spreading across the state and the country.

By The Washington Post

While cities in the United States reinstate mask requirements, the gloves are coming off in Moscow.

Officials in the Russian capital, citing a decline in new coronavirus cases, announced Friday that a requirement to wear gloves in shops, on public transport and in other public spaces had been lifted.

“The situation with the spread of coronavirus infection has improved significantly,” Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin wrote in a blog post announcing the news, noting statistics that showed the number of new cases had dropped by half since mid-June.

Moscow’s requirement to wear face masks when in public spaces was not being lifted, Sobyanin wrote in his announcement on Friday.

“The use of masks for respiratory protection is still mandatory,” Sobyanin wrote. “We must maintain this critical barrier to the spread of the virus until the number of new cases is reduced to a minimum.”

The requirement to wear not only face masks but latex gloves in Moscow’s public spaces had been implemented in May of 2020, when less was known for certain about airborne versus surface transmission of the virus. The fine for not wearing protective gear in public was set at around $50, with masks and gloves for sale in shops and on the Metro. The measure remained in place even as attention shifted to face masks and vaccination, with renewed enforcement amid a summer surge in cases.

By The Associated Press

Walmart, the nation’s largest retailer and private employer, is reversing its mask policy and will require all its workers including vaccinated one in areas with high infection rates to wear masks.

The Bentonville, Arkansas-based company says it is also encouraging customers to wear masks in those stores in areas with high infection rates and will be adding back signs at the entrances, according to a memo supplied by Walmart that was sent to its employees on Friday. It will also bring back so-called health ambassadors who will be positioned at the entrances and hand out masks.

The company is also doubling the incentive for workers in stores, clubs, transportation, distribution center and fulfillment centers to get the vaccine for $150. Those who already received the $75 incentive will receive another $75 in their paycheck dated Aug 19.

The moves come three days after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention changed course on some masking guidelines, recommending that even vaccinated people return to wearing masks indoors in parts of the U.S. where the delta variant of the coronavirus is fueling infection surges.

By Felicia Gans, Globe Staff

A Massachusetts parent coalition is urging state leaders not to reinstate widespread COVID-19 restrictions, including mask-wearing, in schools for the upcoming academic year, but said if the protocols are necessary, there needs to be “an explicit and transparent off-ramp for removing these restrictions.”

“With abundantly clear evidence of children’s lower risk from the virus, and highly effective vaccines available to adults, we can no longer implement wide scale, arbitrary measures on children’s educational environments,” Bring Kids Back MA wrote in a press release Friday. “Should any mitigation be implemented at this point, such as masking, it must be based on data on the ground and tied directly to evidence-based metrics.”

By Maria Elena Little Endara, Globe Correspondent

The City of Somerville is urging residents to wear masks in indoor public settings regardless of vaccination status, Mayor Joseph Curtatone announced Friday.

The update comes amid increasing COVID cases due to the Delta variant as well as the CDC’s updated guidance on masking which called for people in “substantial and high” transmission areas to resume wearing masks.

Somerville, located in Middlesex County, does not currently have high transmission rates of the coronavirus as defined by the CDC. Nearby Suffolk County does qualify as a “substantial” transmission area where the CDC is urging indoor masking in public spaces.

While vaccinated individuals have vastly better protection against being infected by the coronavirus and suffering severe COVID symptoms, it is still possible for them to get infected with and even transmit the virus, the CDC said this week.

“This is about keeping coronavirus on a leash,” said Curtatone in the press release. “The disease is spreading more easily. We still have a substantial number of people, including children, who’ve yet to be vaccinated against this virus. Wearing a face covering when you’re in indoor public settings will help prevent you from picking up this virus and spreading it around.”

The city of Somerville is also reviewing vaccination and testing requirements for all City and school employees, according to the press release.

“We are a public entity, and with that comes the expectation that we will play a leading role on public health issues,” said Curtatone. “We haven’t reached a final determination at this moment, but it is important that we make it known the matter is receiving serious consideration.”

The advisory comes even as Somerville has seen strong vaccination rates. As of last week, 54,520 Somerville residents (72% of the city’s total population) were fully vaccinated and 58,790 (78%) had received at least one dose according to the city.

By The Washington Post

With coronavirus cases spiking again - because of the spread of the delta variant and a resistance to being vaccinated by a considerable subset of Americans - theaters on, off and well beyond Broadway are examining how to respond.

“Springsteen on Broadway,” which began at the St. James Theatre on June 26, and the three-actor “Pass Over” have made proof of vaccination mandatory for audiences.

Health experts say that there is a crucial distinction between encouraging and mandating vaccinations - and that the requirement should be an industry standard.

“That would set an example,” said Saad Omer, an authority on vaccination and director of the Yale Institute for Global Health. A self-described theater enthusiast, Omer said that certifying vaccination for everyone in a theater - as well as keeping a mask on - should be universal priorities.

By The Washington Post

The Forum on Education Abroad, a nonprofit organization that champions and supports study abroad educators, recently did a “State of the Field” survey and found that of the 216 institutions that responded, 44 percent said they would resume study abroad programs this fall.

“We will be reopening some of our programs abroad this fall,” says Aron Rodrigue, Burke Family Director of Stanford’s Bing Overseas Studies Program, and a Forum on Education Abroad member. “Sixty-four students are planning to go.”

Across the country, the mood is similar.

By Camille Caldera, Globe Correspondent

After a lull, COVID-19 is on the rise again in Massachusetts. For almost three weeks, the state has reported hundreds of new confirmed cases a day — including 598 on July 28.

“I’ve definitely upped my level of caution in the last two weeks,” said Dr. David Hamer, an infectious diseases doctor at Boston Medical Center and professor at Boston University.

We asked Hamer and other infectious disease experts if they are changing their behavior while traveling, dining, gathering, shopping, and schooling. All the experts are vaccinated.

By Bloomberg

Kenya is keeping its night curfew in force and has suspended public gatherings and intergovernmental physical meetings as the coronavirus delta variant flames a surge in cases.

Restrictions of movement from 10:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m. will remain in place countrywide, Health Secretary Mutahi Kagwe said on Friday. Places of worship should operate at one third of their capacity and practice social distancing, Kagwe said. He urged eateries and restaurants to adhere to the Health Ministry guidelines to mitigate the spread.

Several nations across the world and in Africa are battling a surge in Covid-19 cases, increasingly driven by the more contagious variant that was first detected in India. The positivity rate in Kenya hit this month’s high of 18% on Wednesday, partly due to gatherings, including political rallies that have been happening more frequently ahead of next year’s electoral season.

“We are asking those in politics, those practicing political meetings, to be part of the solution instead of creating epicenters of spreading of the disease,” Kagwe said. Hospital beds are currently almost unavailable in the capital, Nairobi, he said.

The government plans to boost the supply of oxygen by helping set up plants of the life-saving gas in at least half of the nation’s 47 counties by the end of August, Kagwe said.

By The Associated Press

Cyprus will start the voluntary COVID-19 vaccination of children over age 12 next week using mRNA shots produced by Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna, authorities said Friday.

Health Minister Michalis Hadjipantela said that Cyprus is following other European Union countries including France, Germany, Italy and Greece, which began vaccinating children between 12 and 15.

Hadjipantela urged young people to get the shot, with officials saying the median age of those infected in the last 14 days is 28.

“The world’s scientific community is in unison making it loud and clear that those who haven’t been vaccinated yet are most at risk,” Hadjipantela told reporters.

Cyprus in the last month has seen COVID-19 infections spike to their highest levels since the start of the pandemic. More than 98,000 people have so far been infected with COVID-19, corresponding to more than 10% of the east Mediterranean island nation’s population.

By Travis Andersen, Globe Staff

A COVID-19 cluster in Provincetown that has affected many vaccinated people appears to have played a role in US officials’ recent decision to recommend that even fully inoculated people wear face coverings in places where the Delta variant is surging, according a published report.

The Washington Post, citing an internal slide presentation from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, on Thursday reported that one slide referred to an outbreak in Barnstable County where vaccinated and unvaccinated people shed nearly identical amounts of virus.

A person working with the CDC on investigations of the Delta variant, who spoke to the Post on the condition of anonymity, said the data came from the Provincetown cluster, which first emerged around July 4.

By The Associated Press

France is deploying military medics and ICU units to the French Caribbean to relieve hospitals facing a coronavirus surge. Military planes are also bringing some critically ill patients to the French mainland for treatment.

The island of Martinique goes into partial lockdown Saturday. Martinique’s current infection rate is more than 1,000 cases per 100,000 people, the highest in France, according to national health agency figures.

Citing “strong tension” in hospitals in Martinique, the French Defense Ministry says 50 military medical personnel are heading to the region and the military will bring 10 ICU beds over the next week.

The Indian Ocean island of Reunion is imposing new confinement measures. Infections are also spreading fast in Guadeloupe.

The rising cases are blamed in part on travel between the islands and the French mainland and summer festivities, plus a vaccination rate much lower than the mainland.

By The Associated Press

Israeli health authorities began administering coronavirus booster shots Friday to people over 60 who’ve already received both does of a vaccine, in a bid to combat a recent spike in cases.

The decision was announced Thursday by the Israeli prime minister, Naftali Bennet, making Israel the first country to offer a third dose of a Western vaccine to its citizens on a wide scale.

″Israel is a pioneer in going ahead with the third dose for older people of the age of 60 and above,″ Bennet said during Friday’s launch.

By The Associated Press

Michael Andrew, who made waves for saying he wasn’t vaccinated against COVID-19, didn’t wear a mask behind the scenes after swimming his final at the Tokyo Olympics on Friday.

The 22-year-old American was maskless when he stopped to speak with reporters in the mixed zone, an area where journalists interview athletes after events.

By The Associated Press

Three athletes who tested positive for COVID-19 are among the 27 new cases announced by Tokyo Olympics organizers.

World champion pole vaulter Sam Kendricks, whose case was announced Thursday, is among the three, which raises the tally to 225 games-accredited people in Japan infected since July 1.

Three of the 27 cases were residents of the Olympic Village, including Kendricks, another athlete and a team official or coach — the latter two were not identified. The third athlete with a positive test is staying outside of the village.

Among the new cases are 18 people who live in Japan, as Tokyo and the country each report record numbers of daily cases during the pandemic.

IOC spokesman Mark Adams cites the governor of Tokyo, Yuriko Koike, and Japan’s prime minister, Yoshihide Suga, saying the increase in cases was not linked to staging the Olympics during a state of emergency.

By The Associated Press

Do I need to get tested for COVID-19 if I’m vaccinated?

Yes, if you’ve been around someone who has COVID-19.

The latest guidance from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says people who are fully vaccinated should get tested three to five days after a potential exposure, even if they don’t have symptoms.

That change comes two months after the agency eased its initial testing guidance. In May, the CDC said vaccinated people face very little risk of serious illness and don’t need to be tested in most cases, even if exposed to someone who was sick. The thinking was that vaccinated people also weren’t likely to spread it to others.

By The Associated Press

Japan is set to expand the coronavirus state of emergency in Tokyo to neighboring areas and the western city of Osaka on Friday in the wake of record-breaking surge in infections while the capital hosts the Olympics.

A government panel approved the plan putting Saitama, Kanagawa and Chiba, as well as Osaka, under the state of emergency from Monday until Aug. 31. The measures already in place in Tokyo and the southern island of Okinawa will be extended until the end of August.


By The Washington Post

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, on Thursday signed an executive order prohibiting cities and other government entities in the state from enacting vaccine requirements or mask mandates to protect against the coronavirus, even as the virus’s more contagious delta variant drives another surge in covid-19 cases in Texas.

Abbott’s order applies to any government entities receiving state funds, including counties, cities, school districts, public health authorities and government officials. He also declared that there be “no covid-19-related operating limits for any business or other establishment” in the state in order to “ensure the ability of Texans to preserve livelihoods while protecting lives.”

By Amanda Milkovits, Globe Staff

The New Shoreham Town Council will vote Monday night on an emergency resolution to require people to wear masks indoors, in reaction to an increase in COVID-19 cases over the last three weeks.

However, after hearing from several business owners about their own safety protocols at Thursday’s meeting, council members seemed to back away from the fear that the tiny island town was losing control of the virus.

By The Washington Post

Vaccination requirements have proven highly controversial, with some public health leaders and health workers calling for mandates in some cases, while some international human rights groups have raised concerns. In many developing countries, meanwhile, demand for vaccines still outpaces supply.

Here’s how four countries have handled vaccination requirements.

By Meghan E. Irons, Danny McDonald and Travis Andersen, Globe Staff

Acting Mayor Kim Janey counseled and pleaded with city residents Thursday, encouraging them to get shots and protect themselves from the raging Delta variant of the coronavirus. She did not require, however, that city employees get vaccinated.

Though she did not rule out doing so in the future, the lack of a hard line on a vaccine mandate is putting Janey back in the spotlight amid a heated and close mayoral contest, in which her leadership in the pandemic is under close scrutiny.

By The Washington Post

The delta variant of the coronavirus appears to cause more severe illness than earlier variants and spreads as easily as chickenpox, according to an internal federal health document that argues officials must “acknowledge the war has changed.”

The document is an internal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention slide presentation, shared within the CDC and obtained by The Washington Post. It captures the struggle of the nation’s top public health agency to persuade the public to embrace vaccination and prevention measures, including mask-wearing, as cases surge across the United States and new research suggests vaccinated people can spread the virus.

By New York Times

The recommendation that vaccinated people in some parts of the country dust off their masks was based largely on one troublesome finding, according to Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

New research showed that vaccinated people infected with the delta variant carry tremendous amounts of the virus in the nose and throat, she said in an email responding to questions from The New York Times.

The finding contradicts what scientists had observed in vaccinated people infected with previous versions of the virus, who mostly seemed incapable of infecting others.

That conclusion dealt Americans a heavy blow: People with so-called breakthrough infections — cases that occur despite full vaccination — of the delta variant may be just as contagious as unvaccinated people, even if they have no symptoms.

By Emma Platoff, Globe Staff

Charlie Baker is starting to get the questions again.

Governor, should Massachusetts reinstate its mask mandate? Governor, what restrictions should be in place when schools return this fall?

Governor, how scared should we all be?

As COVID-19 cases rise in Massachusetts and across the nation, triggering new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Baker finds himself in a familiar, unenviable position. Six weeks after Massachusetts’ state of emergency ended in what residents hoped would be a return to normal, the popular second-term Republican must dictate the state response to the threat, and — in what is perhaps the greater challenge — assuage the fears of residents struggling to assess the risks. Again.

By The Associated Press

Arkansas’ Republican governor is calling lawmakers back to the Capitol to lift the state’s ban on mask requirements in public schools.

Governor Asa Hutchinson on Thursday said he’ll call the majority-Republican Legislature into session likely next week to amend a state law that prohibits state and local government entities from requiring face masks. Hutchinson said he’ll propose giving local school boards the power to decide whether to require masks in K-12 schools.

“This is not a debate about mask mandates for those that can make their own decisions and have the means to get vaccinated,” Hutchinson said a news conference at the state Capitol. “This is a discussion about the school environment where schools can make decisions about the public health for their school environment and the children they have responsibility to protect.”

Arkansas’ coronavirus cases have skyrocketed in recent weeks because of the delta variant and the state’s low vaccination rate. Hutchinson also reinstated an emergency declaration because of the virus, two months after he lifted the declaration he issued at the state of the pandemic last year. The state reported more than 2,800 new cases on Thursday.

By Bloomberg

Uber Technologies Inc. is postponing its return-to-office date from September to Oct. 25, and has told employees that it could be further delayed depending on the global coronavirus case load.

In an email to staff on Thursday, Uber Chief Executive Officer Dara Khosrowshahi said that employees will still be allowed to come into offices on a voluntary basis. Staffers who do come in will be required to wear a mask, regardless of their vaccination status, starting immediately.

By The Associated Press

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp sought to shift blame to President Joe Biden for Georgia’s poor vaccination rate Thursday as COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations continued to sprint upward.

The Republican, speaking to reporters, blamed the Democratic president for not doing enough to push the Food and Drug Administration to upgrade their emergency authorization for the vaccines to a permanent authorization. Kemp said urging people to use masks again is a “mixed message” that could discourage vaccination.

The governor reiterated his call for people to get vaccinated against the disease, saying he would only seek other solutions if Georgia hospitals began to get overwhelmed. Georgia ranks in the bottom 10 states for vaccination rates.

“We know that the vaccines work,” Kemp said. “I want to encourage people to get vaccinated if you’re comfortable doing that.”

Democratic State Sen. Michelle Au, an anaesthesiologist with a master’s degree in public health, said Kemp’s approach to increasing vaccination rates is unimaginative and passive.

Georgia recorded more than 4,800 positive tests for COVID-19 on Thursday, the worst number since Feb. 5. The state peaked on Jan. 8, with nearly 13,000 recorded cases.

By Peter Bailey-Wells, Ryan Huddle, Daigo Fujiwara, and Amanda Kaufman, Globe Staff

Massachusetts on Thursday reported 742 new confirmed coronavirus cases, 8 new confirmed coronavirus deaths, and another 19,037 vaccinations administered, the Department of Public Health said.

The state also reported that 176 patients with COVID-19 were in the hospital.

By The New York Times

Outside the Tokyo Olympics bubble, the coronavirus situation in Japan has never been worse. Both the city and the country reported record numbers of new infections Thursday as the Delta variant outpaced vaccinations, straining the health care system.

Inside the bubble, a handful of new cases continue to emerge every day. The most prominent one yet, involving world champion pole-vaulter Sam Kendricks, came Thursday, knocking him out of the Games and briefly sending dozens of other athletes into isolation.

All along, Olympic organizers have insisted that these two worlds, inside the bubble and outside, can be kept sealed off from each other, with neither posing a significant risk to the other. But as the Games approach their midway point, the promises of a “safe and secure” Games are being put to the test.

By The Associated Press

Hospital admissions of coronavirus patients continue to soar in Florida with at least two areas in the state surpassing the previous peaks of last summer’s surge, prompting calls by local officials for the governor to declare an emergency.

A large hospital system in Jacksonville said its hospitals were at maximum capacity, its emergency centers also at a critical point as the state grappled with the new and more infectious delta variant of the COVID-19 virus.

In Brevard County, two hospitals began setting up treatment tents at its emergency departments. And at a Fort Lauderdale park, a long line of cars snaked around a testing site, recalling the first weeks of the pandemic last year.

By Maria Elena Little Endara, Globe Correspondent

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell is encouraging Kentuckians to get vaccinated with a radio ad that draws upon his own experience contracting polio as a child, according to CNN.

The 60-second ad, narrated by McConnell, began airing Thursday morning across 100 radio stations in Kentucky.

In the ad, McConnell reportedly references his personal experience with polio, recalling how as a young boy he “faced a different disease” and “back then, it took decades for us to develop a vaccine.”

With the pro-vaccine ad, McConnell is taking aim at vaccination rates in Kentucky where only 56.3 percent of adults are fully vaccinated and 63.6 percent have received at least one shot.

“Every American should take advantage of this miracle and get vaccinated. It’s the only way we’re going to defeat Covid,” he reportedly says in the advertisement, which was paid for by McConnell’s Senate Campaign Committee.

In an interview with Reuters, McConnell blamed misinformation for the low rates of COVID-19 vaccination among Americans, particularly in red states. Kentucky is currently facing an average of 1,000 new COVID cases a day.

“There is bad advice out there, you know. Apparently, you see that all over the place: people practicing medicine without a license, giving bad advice. And that bad advice should be ignored,” said McConnell who got his COVID vaccine in December.

Biden urges cities to pay people $100 to get vaccinated — 3:56 p.m.

By Bloomberg

President Joe Biden’s administration is calling on states and local governments to provide $100 to people who get vaccinated using the $350 billion of aid that his administration has provided them.

The Treasury Department released a statement on Thursday saying that the president was calling on states, municipalities and territorial governments to provide the vaccine incentive using funds from the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan. The administration wants municipalities to give $100 to newly vaccinated people to encourage more citizens to get the jab.

By State House News Service

Treasurer Deborah Goldberg and Auditor Suzanne Bump both announced Thursday that their employees will be required to show proof of vaccination against COVID-19 or submit to weekly testing for the coronavirus when they return to their offices in the coming months.

The decisions to enact mandated vaccination policies come during a week that has seen similar requirements imposed by the U.S. Department of Veterans’ Affairs, Google, Facebook, Netflix, New York state government, the state of California, many Massachusetts hospitals and others, and as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control revised its guidance in light of the Delta variant’s ongoing rampage.

By The Washington Post

Preliminary research presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Denver this week suggests that coronavirus infections might lead to lasting cognitive impairment, especially among older people.

But Heather Snyder, the Alzheimer’s Association’s vice president of medical and scientific relations, cautioned that while the findings from three studies are a step toward understanding how covid-19 affects the brain, more research is needed.

“If you have covid, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re at an increased risk for dementia or Alzheimer’s,” she said. “We’re still trying to understand what that relationship is.”

By The New York Times

Many scientists say that vaccinated people probably will not need booster shots anytime soon. Some are getting them anyway.

They are going to local pharmacies, other states or even other countries — anywhere where there is no record of them having been vaccinated — to get extra doses out of concern about the delta variant or because they are worried their protection may be wearing off. The news Thursday that Israel would give them to some older people seems likely to spur the trend.

“You can’t get enough, that’s my feeling,” said Ida Thompson, a retired geology professor who got a Pfizer shot a few weeks ago in the United States, months after receiving two doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine in Britain. “Bring it on.”

Thompson, who has six grandchildren, said that her decision to get a booster happened at the spur of the moment. While getting a coronavirus test at a pharmacy in Florida, where she was visiting family, she saw the pharmacy was offering vaccines.

When a pharmacy employee asked whether this was her first or second shot, she said first. “Since it was my first Pfizer,” Thompson said. “It was pretty clear to me that AZ plus Pfizer was a good idea,” she added, after reading about a study on the benefits of mixing AstraZeneca and Pfizer.

By Bloomberg

A steady stream of vehicles flowed through the Covid-19 testing site in American Fork, Utah, a town in the youngest county of the state that has the youngest population in the U.S. On this recent Friday, many were minivans packed with children.

Just around the corner, a vaccination site sat empty, closed for lack of demand.

The delta variant has torn through Utah, fueled by low inoculation rates among younger people, the exuberant return of summer gatherings and loose restrictions imposed by public and private authorities.

Utah has a median age of 31.2 years, the lowest among states, according to 2019 estimates by the Census Bureau. Utah also has above-average birth rates and the nation’s largest household size, in part the result of the majority-Mormon population and its traditional focus on families.

By The New York Times

Delta Air Lines is loosening restrictions on basic economy tickets to reduce the deluge of frustrated travelers facing hours-long waits on customer service phone lines.

Basic economy tickets normally do not allow any changes to the itinerary, even for a change fee. The airline temporarily allowed more flexibility during the pandemic, but that policy ended earlier this year.

Starting this week, however, Delta will temporarily allow changes to basic economy tickets for travel through Dec. 31, 2021, “to help address call wait times as we increase staffing,” CEO Ed Bastian wrote in an update to customers.

By The Washington Post

As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urged vaccinated people to resume wearing masks under certain circumstances amid low vaccination rates and rising cases from the delta variant, Fox News host Tucker Carlson placed blame on Anthony Fauci for the changing mask guidelines.

In doing so, Carlson on Wednesday night falsely claimed that the nation’s top infectious disease expert had caused the coronavirus.

“Here’s the man who helped to create covid in the first place,” Carlson said.

The host doubled down on the baseless claim minutes later on “Tucker Carlson Tonight” when he cited a handful of “breakthrough” cases of vaccinated people still getting infected by the virus. Studies have shown the two-dose coronavirus vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna are about 95 percent effective at preventing infection, while Johnson & Johnson’s one-shot vaccine is 72 percent effective.

“They have been telling us for six months that this vaccine is perfect, but clearly, in some cases, it doesn’t always work,” Carlson said. “And that’s not our theory, by the way. Take it from the guy who created covid.”

By Travis Andersen, Globe Staff

Acting Mayor Kim Janey on Thursday issued an impassioned plea for all city workers to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and said she is not ruling out a mandate to require members of the municipal workforce to get inoculated.

“If it takes a mandate to keep the city of Boston employees safe, that is what we’ll do with very thoughtful, worker-centered approaches, but we must do that by building the right plan for our workforce and for our vital city services,” Janey said during an afternoon briefing at City Hall.

By Bloomberg

Some Covid-19 hot spots in the U.S. are nearing the point at which delta-variant surges in other countries flamed out.

Delta waves in India and the U.K. have been marked by hyperspeed spikes in infections that eased dramatically after about two months. The first major U.S. Covid outbreaks of the delta era -- in Missouri and Arkansas -- started in earnest around the end of May.

The rest of the U.S. will be watching those states closely as infections spread. The cases are prompting authorities to reconsider masking and other public-health measures, but many state and local governments are doing so gingerly and only after outbreaks are well underway. In Florida’s Miami-Dade County, Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said Wednesday that she would require masks again at indoor county facilities such as libraries.

By The Washington Post

Masks will once again be required here indoors beginning Saturday, Mayor Muriel Bowser, D, ordered, in a reversal of recent policy driven by new federal guidelines that recommend indoor masking in areas where coronavirus transmission is high.

The new requirement, which Bowser announced Thursday, will apply to vaccinated and unvaccinated people alike over the age of 2.

For many months of the pandemic, D.C. had one of the strictest mask mandates in the nation, requiring masks both indoors and outdoors whenever one person came near another for more than a “fleeting” amount of time.

Bowser stopped requiring masks in many settings for vaccinated people in May and all residents in June, though the city continued mandating masks on public transit and in schools and government buildings.

By The Associated Press

Portugal is beginning its journey to what the country’s prime minister calls “total freedom,” with a government decision Thursday to start winding down COVID-19 pandemic restrictions ahead of a forecast 70% of people being fully vaccinated by the end of this summer.

The Health Ministry says around 5.4 million people, or 52% of the target population of people over age 16, are fully vaccinated. It predicts the goal of 70% of people fully vaccinated will be reached in six weeks, with 85% completely inoculated in October.

“This is the moment ... when we can take another step forward,” Prime Minister António Costa said in a televised announcement. “We are going to try and get the economy moving again, in a gradual way, in sync with the pace of vaccination.”

Costa announced three phases of staggered relaxation of restrictions stretching over the next three months.

By The Associated Press

A leading Israeli health provider on Thursday said it would soon begin offering a third, booster COVID-19 shot to patients over the age of 60 who have already been vaccinated against the coronavirus.

Maccabi, one of Israel’s four publicly funded health maintenance organizations, said its members could already register and the vaccinations would start on Sunday.

The announcement came shortly ahead of a nationally televised news conference by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, who is expected to unveil a nationwide booster shot program. It would make Israel among the first countries to launch a widespread campaign offering its vaccinated citizens a third dose.

By Priyanka Dayal McCluskey, Globe Staff

Nearly all hospitals in Massachusetts will require their employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 as the virus resurges and thousands of health care workers in the state remain unvaccinated.

Members of the Massachusetts Health & Hospital Association, an industry group, on Thursday collectively agreed to set mandatory vaccination policies for all of their workers.

The association represents all acute-care hospitals in the state except for those owned by Steward Health Care. Each hospital will develop its own policies and deadlines.

“With COVID-19 cases on the rise in Massachusetts yet again, the importance of vaccination has never been more evident,” Steve Walsh, president of the hospital association, said in a statement. “This is a time to step up the urgency surrounding vaccination in our state, and our health care leaders believe that must start within the walls of their own facilities.”

By The Associated Press

Masks, which had started to disappear from store shelves, may be front and center again.

A spot check of businesses and other data sources are showing that mask sales have been rising in recent weeks as Americans worry about the surging cases of the delta variant of the coronavirus. Retail analysts expect mask sales will get another jolt after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention late Tuesday changed course on some masking guidelines, recommending that even vaccinated people return to wearing masks indoors in parts of the U.S. where the cases are surging.

Sales of masks rose 24% for the week ended Tuesday, compared to the prior week, reversing weekly declines since May, according to the Adobe Digital Economy Index. San Francisco-based grocery delivery company Instacart said mask sales via its online platform have increased since the Fourth of July weekend, reversing a decline that had begun in April. And Google reports that searches for the term “masks” doubled since the CDC announcement.

By Amanda Kaufman, Globe Staff

Some Boston restaurants say they’re not immediately planning to implement any additional COVID-19 measures following revised mask guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, indicating they’ll wait to see if state or city officials announce stricter policies.

On Tuesday, the CDC walked back earlier guidance on masks, now suggesting that people who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 wear them in areas of the country with “substantial” or “high” transmission. In Massachusetts, that currently applies to five counties: Barnstable, Bristol, Dukes, Nantucket, and Suffolk.

Bob Luz, president of the Massachusetts Restaurant Association, said he has not heard of any restaurants in the state implementing new mask policies in light of the new guidance.

By Bloomberg

A year ago, U.S. health professionals felt helpless. The coronavirus had been identified but was poorly understood. Thousands were dying daily and the tools available -- ventilators, experimental therapies, testing kits -- were limited and often ineffective. The president was dismissive of masks and social distancing.

Today, even though the death rate has plummeted, those same professionals feel worse. The virus, while mutating, has been mapped; tests and highly effective vaccines are readily available, and the White House is on message. But, propelled by the delta variant, infection rates are increasing in 90% of the U.S.

The pandemic, these professionals say, is entering a dark new phase. Nearly half the nation rejects vaccines, goes maskless and sees virus restrictions as an assault on liberty. As cases rise again, scientists and doctors are grappling with the exasperating realization that the country has the means to tame this virus but large parts of the population reject them.

By The Washington Post

The massive Lollapalooza music festival kicked off Thursday in Chicago, drawing tens of thousands of revelers to the city’s downtown and renewing worries about the coronavirus spreading in the tightly packed crowds.

The four-day festival is expected to be one of the largest gatherings in the United States since the pandemic began. About 100,000 people are set to attend each day of the event, which is being held at Chicago’s Grant Park and will feature 170 bands on eight stages.

Organizers say those attending will need to show proof of full vaccination or a negative coronavirus test if unvaccinated. The unvaccinated must also wear a face mask throughout the site.

By Travis Andersen, Globe Staff

The tally of COVID-19 cases in Provincetown linked to a cluster that emerged in recent weeks had climbed to 882 as of Wednesday, an increase of 49 from the prior day, Town Manager Alex Morse said Thursday via Facebook.

“Note that today’s update of the overall cluster number is the smallest daily increase in cases since we began reporting the numbers,” Morse wrote.

He said that of the 882 confirmed cases as of Wednesday, 74 percent are among vaccinated individuals, and 87 percent are men with a median age of 40. Morse wrote that 531 cases are among Massachusetts residents, 220 of whom live in Provincetown.

By Maria Elena Little Endara, Globe Correspondent

Ohio Representative Tim Ryan responded to House Minority leader Kevin McCarthy’s criticisms of the CDC’s mask recommendations on Wednesday, sharing his frustrations with what he described as the GOP leader’s disregard for safety.

“I just find it absolutely immature and appalling to somehow diminish [COVID] to try to score cheap political points,” Ryan said. “That is beneath a minority leader of one of the major political parties in the United States of America.”

By The Washington Post

A young emergency room doctor stood before dozens of students in a Tampa convention center this month and gave them a script for resisting coronavirus vaccines.

“You say, ‘I’m 18 years old. I have no health conditions. Based on the five-year mortality data, I have a highly likelihood of dying from flu vs. covid, and I don’t get the flu vaccine, so I’m not going to get this one,’” Sean Ochsenbein, a 33-year-old attending physician in Johnson City, Tenn., told students gathered for a summit hosted by the conservative youth group Turning Point USA, according to a recording of the session obtained by The Washington Post. “Drop the mic. You’re done. That’s it.”

That presentation is just one way the group led by Charlie Kirk, 27, has recently sought to rally young people against vaccine mandates.

By Bloomberg

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration cleared Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccine manufacturer Emergent BioSolutions Inc. to resume production of the shot after a series of mishaps that led it to halt manufacturing.

The Gaithersburg, Maryland-based contract manufacturer said in statement on Thursday that U.S. regulators decided to allow it to resume manufacturing after completing extensive reviews at its facility in Baltimore’s Bayview neighborhood. A Biden administration official said that the FDA decided to allow Emergent to resume production after visiting the facility earlier this week.

By Danny McDonald, Globe Staff

As the Delta variant of COVID-19 prompts political leaders across the country to take action to stop its spread, all eyes in Boston are on Acting Mayor Kim Janey.

Will she require city employees to get vaccinated or routinely tested? Will she consider reviving an indoor mask requirement? Or will she, like Governor Charlie Baker, refrain from issuing new restrictions, at least for now?

For Janey, who is scheduled to offer a COVID-19 update at 12:30 p.m. Thursday, the political stakes of these decisions could be high in the hotly competitive mayoral race.

By The Associated Press

A Maine church that sued over coronavirus restrictions is delivering a preemptive lawsuit against possible new restrictions associated with a variant of the virus that’s spreading across the country.

Calvary Chapel in Orrington is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to stop Democratic Gov. Janet Mills from enforcing or reinstating any pandemic-related restrictions due to the delta variant.

Describing Mills’ restrictions as a 14-month “reign of terror,” church officials claim any restrictions would violate their religious liberties protected by the Constitution.

By The Washington Post

They thought the worst of the coronavirus pandemic was behind them. The vaccines were here, the masks could come off. A summer slowly returning to normal seemed within reach. Then came the hyper-transmissible delta variant - and with it, this week, a call from health officials for everyone to start masking up indoors again in places where viral transmission is high.

Across the country, people said they felt whiplashed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendation that even vaccinated people should resume wearing face coverings indoors under specific circumstances. The frustration felt by some Americans at the changing guidance comes as officials try to convince a pandemic-weary public to once again embrace health measures many believed no longer applied.

By Bloomberg

Almost 690,000 people in England and Wales were told to isolate by the official Covid-19 mobile phone app in the week ending July 21, illustrating the pressure on key industries as staff shortages brought some supply chains close to breaking point.

Contact-tracing “pings” from the National Health Service app were up 11% from 620,000 the week before, though the rate of increase slowed. The number of venue “check-ins” recorded by the app fell to 6.7 million from 10.4 million.

The legal requirement for hospitality and other businesses to display QR “check-in” codes was removed on July 19, but the dramatic decline in the data also suggests some people are choosing to disable or not use the app, after recent surveys showed a rise in deletions.

By The Washington Post

When Faisal Khan left the St. Louis County council meeting Tuesday after promoting a new mask mandate, he said he was shoulder-bumped and pushed by people in the aisle.

When he made it through the door, the St. Louis County Department of Health’s acting director said things got worse. Khan was surrounded by an “angry mob,” he said, and called the c-word and a brown b-----d. Others mocked his accent.

“It was the saddest, most bizarre and disgusting thing that I’ve ever witnessed in my 30 years in public health,” he told The Washington Post on Wednesday night. “I would hope that even the community members who were in attendance to speak out about and oppose the mask mandate would be shocked at the behavior of some people in the crowd.”

By The Associated Press

Spain’s prime minister on Thursday announced that existing measures to protect the most vulnerable from the pandemic’s economic fallout will be prolonged until the end of October.

Spain, one of the country’s that was hardest hit at the beginning of the health emergency, has extended subsidies for the unemployed and furloughs for companies that have gone out of business to try to cushion an economic drop of 11% of its gross domestic product in 2020.

By The Associated Press

One of the Republican Party’s most prominent rising stars is mocking new government recommendations calling for more widespread use of masks to blunt a coronavirus surge.

“Did you not get the CDC’s memo?” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis joked Wednesday before an almost entirely unmasked audience of activists and lawmakers crammed into an indoor hotel ballroom in Salt Lake City. “I don’t see you guys complying.”

From Texas to South Dakota, Republican leaders responded with hostility and defiance to updated masking guidance from public health officials, who advise that even fully vaccinated people return to wearing masks indoors if they live in areas with high rates of virus transmission.

By Scott Cacciola, New York Times

Sam Kendricks, the reigning world champion in the men’s pole vault, was ruled out of the Tokyo Games after he tested positive for the coronavirus, US Olympic officials announced Thursday.

His positive result had immediate repercussions inside the athletes’ village. The Sydney Morning Herald reported that the entire Australian track and field team had been asked to return to their rooms and isolate because of fears that a number of the team’s athletes had interacted with Kendricks. One of Australia’s pole-vaulters has been identified as a close contact.

“Members of the Australian track and field are now undergoing testing procedures in line with Australian Olympic team protocols,” the Australian Olympic Committee said in a statement.

By The Associated Press

AstraZeneca said Thursday that it intends to seek US authorization for its COVID-19 vaccine in the second half of this year, offering a new timetable for the much-delayed application.

The Anglo-Swedish drugmaker announced the schedule as it released second-quarter financial results, which showed that the company and its sub-licensees delivered more than 700 million doses of the vaccine to over 170 countries in the first half of this year. That includes 80 million doses that went to the COVAX initiative for low- and middle-income countries.

By The Associated Press

Japanese officials sounded alarm Thursday after Tokyo reported record-breaking coronavirus cases for two straight days with the Olympics well underway.

“We have never experienced the expansion of the infections of this magnitude,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato told reporters. He said the new cases were soaring not only in the Tokyo area but across the country.

Tokyo reported 3,177 new cases on Wednesday, up from 2,848 on Tuesday, setting an all-time high and exceeding 3,000 for the first time.

By The Associated Press

Hoping to set a model for employers nationwide, President Joe Biden will announce Thursday that millions of federal workers must show proof they’ve received a coronavirus vaccine or submit to regular testing and stringent social distancing, masking and travel restrictions.

An individual familiar with the president’s plans, who spoke on condition of anonymity to confirm details that had yet to be announced publicly, emphasized that the new guidance is not a vaccine mandate for federal employees and that those who decide not to get vaccinated aren’t at risk of being fired.

By The Washington Post

California Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, pulled his children from a summer basketball camp where masks were optional, a violation of state policy. The incident comes as an embattled Newsom faces a recall, backed by critics of the governor’s pandemic restrictions.

Newsom’s office confirmed that two of his four children would not return to the camp after at least one was pictured without a mask, in the latest backlash against Newsom, who has previously strayed from statewide guidance during the coronavirus pandemic. The state requires everyone in youth settings to wear masks because children under 12 are not eligible for authorized vaccines.

By The Washington Post

Mask requirements are popping back up again across the United States following new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance that even vaccinated people should wear masks indoors in public in high-transmission communities.

Nevada quickly reinstalled a statewide mask mandate within hours of the CDC’s Tuesday announcement, requiring that face coverings be worn indoors in public in counties with “substantial or high transmission” starting Friday. Twelve of Nevada’s 17 counties fit that criteria, the state said.

That includes Clark County, home to Las Vegas, where the renewed mandate has raised questions about how it will impact its tourism industry, which had been on what was seen as an upward trajectory toward recovery from the pandemic.

Bloomberg News

Walt Disney Co. is requiring masks again at its theme parks in Florida and California, a response to surging cases of the new delta variant.

Disney joins other companies reinstating mask mandates, including Apple Inc., which will require them at most of its US stores for both customers and staff.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its guidance this week to recommend that even vaccinated people wear masks indoors in areas with rising cases levels.

By The Associated Press

The mayor of Atlanta has decreed that face masks must be worn in all indoor public spaces including private businesses in Georgia’s largest city.

Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms also is ordering that city buildings remain closed to the public. Atlanta City Hall has been closed to non-employees since the start of the coronavirus pandemic but had been scheduled to fully reopen Aug. 9.

Bottoms says in a statement released Wednesday that “public health experts overwhelmingly agree, and data has proved, that wearing a face covering helps slow the spread of this deadly virus.”

The mayor’s move came hours after Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp reiterated that he will not impose a statewide mask mandate or curb business and public activities.

The mayor of Savannah issued a looser mask order Monday. At least 15 Georgia public school districts are ordering students and staff to wear masks, covering more than 30% of students statewide.

New York Times

The huge increase in government aid prompted by the coronavirus pandemic will cut poverty nearly in half this year from prepandemic levels and push the share of Americans in poverty to the lowest level on record, according to the most comprehensive analysis yet of a vast but temporary expansion of the safety net.

The number of poor Americans is expected to fall by nearly 20 million from 2018 levels, a decline of almost 45%. The country has never cut poverty so much in such a short period of time, and the development is especially notable since it defies economic headwinds — the economy has nearly 7 million fewer jobs than it did before the pandemic.

Associated Press

Federal health regulators on Wednesday again extended the expiration dates on Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine, providing health workers with six more weeks to use millions of doses of the shot.

The Food and Drug Administration said in a letter to J&J that the shots remain safe and effective for at least six months when properly stored and refrigerated. It’s the second time the FDA has extended the shelf life on the vaccines since June, when the agency said they could be used for up to 4 1/2 months. When first authorized in February, the FDA said the vaccines could be stored for three months at normal refrigeration levels.

By Bloomberg

Hospitals in states where COVID-19 cases are once again surging are beginning to feel the strain in their emergency departments and intensive care units.

State health officials in Mississippi have told hospitals there to delay many elective surgeries beginning next week and are forming a central command to help search for ICU beds. As of Tuesday, 28 hospitals in the Gulf state didn’t have any ICU beds available as COVID-19 admissions tax hospitals that are already dealing with everyday emergencies like strokes and car crashes, said Jim Craig, senior deputy for the Mississippi Department of Health, in a briefing with reporters.

Hospitals in Arkansas, Florida and Louisiana are also stretched, and staff are particularly exhausted more than a year into the pandemic. Missouri hospitals have been filling up as well. The states, along with Mississippi, are all seeing the highest numbers in the US of COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people, according the the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The speed and intensity of the surge -- fueled by the highly contagious delta variant -- is showing that recent hopes that the COVIDcrisis is coming to an end were premature.

“We are seeing a massive rise now and school’s just getting started,” Thomas Dobbs, Mississippi’s state health officer, said in a call with media on Wednesday. “If you look at the trajectory of our rise, it’s not a slope, it’s a cliff. It’s an upward cliff.”

New daily hospital admissions in the US are at their highest level since late April, according to the CDC. About three-fifths of those hospitalizations are coming from the South and Central regions of the country, including states such as Texas, Louisiana, Missouri and Florida. The seven-day average for hospital admissions of people with confirmed COVID-19 was 5,186 in the July 20-26 period, according to the CDC, a 47% increase over the week prior.

By The Associated Press

All the 4,200 nonunion employees of Orange County in Florida will be required to get their first coronavirus vaccine shot by the end of August and the second by the end of September.

Mayor Jerry Demings issued the order Wednesday. He also ordered all county employees to wear masks at indoor county facilities when in the presence of others.

County officials are negotiating with unions to extend the vaccine requirement to the county’s more than 3,000 unionized workers.

The county is home to Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando Resort, and the mayor is urging all private employers in the county to require their employees to get vaccinated and to their workers and patrons customers masks indoors.

Demings acknowledged that he can’t mandate such things under laws passed by the Florida Legislature.

By The Associated Press

COVID-19 issues among the Washington Nationals prompted Major League Baseball to postpone their game against the Philadelphia Phillies on Wednesday night.

The postponement came one day after Nationals star Trea Turner exited the game against Philadelphia in the first inning following his positive test for the virus.

MLB announced the Nationals-Phillies postponement little over an hour before the game was set to begin at Citizens Bank Park, and said that would allow for “continued testing and contact tracing involving members of the Nationals organization.”

The game was then scheduled to be made up as part of a straight doubleheader on Thursday starting at 12:05 p.m.

By Bloomberg

Facebook told employees it will require them to be vaccinated for COVID-19 in order to return to the company’s US offices.

“As our offices reopen, we will be requiring anyone coming to work at any of our US campuses to be vaccinated,” a Facebook spokeswoman said in a statement. The company, which told employees of the policy Wednesday, said it will have a process in place for those who cannot get vaccinated for medical reasons. “We will be evaluating our approach in other regions as the situation evolves,” the spokeswoman added.

By Alexa Gagosz, Globe Staff

While Governor Dan McKee has not yet committed to requiring parts of Rhode Island to wear masks indoors, the state announced Wednesday that it will follow guidance from the federal government to recommend all students, teachers, and staff to wear masks in schools this fall.

In a joint statement, McKee, state health director Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott, and Education Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green, said “as Rhode Island has done previously,” it would continue to follow guidance from the CDC.

By Maria Elena Little Endara, Globe Correspondent

A day after CDC officials said new data on COVID prompted them to update mask guidance, many Republican lawmakers are pushing back hard against the new guidance on Capitol Hill, giving a preview of the challenges public health officials face in convincing Americans to mask up again.

Following the new guidance, Congress’ attending physician announced members of the House are once again required to wear masks, and those who choose not to wear them can be fined.

Multiple GOP members shared their complaints about the mask guidance on Twitter, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy who cast doubt on public health officials’ motives.

“Make no mistake—The threat of bringing masks back is not a decision based on science, but a decision conjured up by liberal government officials who want to continue to live in a perpetual pandemic state,” tweeted McCarthy.

By Sahar Fatima, Globe Staff

Governor Charlie Baker said he is still reviewing new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommending masks indoors in high transmission areas, including five counties in Massachusetts, and will have more to say soon.

“We’re going to process this. This is a big decision,” Baker said Wednesday, adding that he has not yet made a decision about bringing back any restrictions.

By Travis Andersen, Globe Staff

While Massachusetts continues to outpace most of the country in getting its population vaccinated against COVID-19, the rates of inoculation in some communities remain stubbornly low.

Take Hardwick, a central Mass. town of about 3,300 people.

Just 35 percent of its residents were fully vaccinated as of July 22, according to the weekly municipal vaccination dashboard the state updates every Thursday. About 63 percent of Massachusetts residents are currently fully vaccinated, according to state and federal data.

“I have no idea how or why” the rate is so low, said town Health Agent Marcelino “Tex” Sarabia in a brief phone interview Wednesday.

By Bloomberg

Apple plans to restore a mask requirement at most of its US retail stores on Thursday for both customers and staff, even those who are vaccinated, in response to a resurgence in coronavirus cases.

The company informed retail staff of the move Wednesday in a memo obtained by Bloomberg News. Apple already started requiring masks for employees at select stores earlier this month, and it pushed back a return-to-office deadline for corporate employees. It also began requiring masks for customers in a few counties based on local guidelines.

Now, Apple will again require masks for shoppers and employees at more than half of its about 270 US stores. The decision was spurred by rising cases, new local mandates, and US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.

By Travis Andersen, Globe Staff

Maine Governor Janet T. Mills on Wednesday said her state will follow updated federal guidelines on mask wearing and recommend people don face coverings indoors in public spaces in high-risk locales for COVID-19 transmission, regardless of vaccination status.

Mills’s office announced the move in a statement, which noted the CDC’s now recommending that all people, regardless of vaccination status, mask up in indoor, public settings in areas with “substantial” or “high” levels of community transmission. The statement said the CDC’s also reccomending that teachers, staff, and students in K-12 schools wear face coverings, regardless of vaccination status or community transmission level.

By The Associated Press

Google is postponing a return to the office for most workers until mid-October and rolling out a policy that will eventually require everyone to be vaccinated once its sprawling campuses are fully reopened in an attempt to fight the spreading Delta variant.

In a Wednesday email sent to Google’s more than 130,000 employees, CEO Sundar Pichai said the company is now aiming to have most of its workforce back to its offices beginning Oct. 18 instead of its previous target date of Sept. 1. The decision also affects tens of thousands of contractors who Google intends to continue to pay while access to its campuses remains limited.

By The New York Times

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine’s effectiveness wanes slightly over time, according to newly released data from the companies, but remains strong in preventing severe disease. With coronavirus cases surging again in many states, the findings may influence the Biden administration’s deliberations about delivering a booster shot.

The vaccine had a sky-high efficacy rate of about 96% against symptomatic COVID-19 for the first two months, the study showed, but then declined about 6% every two months after that, falling to 83.7% after six months. Against severe disease, its efficacy held steady at about 97%. The data was posted online on Wednesday and has not been published in a scientific journal.

By Travis Andersen, Globe Staff

The COVID-19 cluster in Provincetown that first emerged earlier this month has spiked to 833 cases, Town Manager Alex Morse said Wednesday.

Morse confirmed the updated tally in a Facebook posting. It was an increase of 68 cases from the prior day.

Of the 833 cases confirmed as of Wednesday, Morse wrote, “501 are Massachusetts residents, 210 of which reside in Provincetown.” He said seven hospitalizations to date have been associated with the cluster.

“It is important to note that the case data are cumulative and do not represent the number of people with active cases of COVID-19, or the number of cases currently hospitalized,” Morse wrote, adding that of the 210 cases identified among town residents since July 1, half had been released from isolation as of Tuesday.

By The Associated Press

New York will require all state employees to get vaccinated against the coronavirus by Labor Day or undergo weekly tests for COVID-19, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday.

“It’s smart, it’s fair and it’s in everyone’s interest,” Cuomo said in a Zoom call with the nonprofit Association for a Better New York.

In mandating either the shots, or frequent testing for government workers, Cuomo is following on the heels of California and New York City, which announced similar policies for employees earlier this week.

New York, like other states, has seen a rising number of coronavirus cases linked to the Delta variant. New infections have climbed more than 400% since the end of June.

By Bloomberg

Internet searches for “loss of taste” and “loss of smell” -- common symptoms of COVID -- are on the rise again as the delta variant spreads across the US.

Searches on Google.com for those two phrases are at their highest since January. Queries for “delta variant loss of taste and smell” are up 60% in the past week, as are searches for “delta variant symptoms,” according to Google Trends data.

Many of the inquiries come from states that have lagged in vaccinations, according to the company’s data.

By Bloomberg

Doctors and nurses in Missouri, where the delta virus variant has been causing Covid-19 cases to soar, are seeing patients who are younger and seem to be worsening faster than ever before.

“I don’t remember anyone declining within 24 hours, until now,” said Rachel Keech, a physician with Missouri’s Mercy health system who specializes in caring for hospitalized patients. “Patients are coming to the hospital sooner. They’re requiring higher levels of oxygen faster. And then maximizing out on what hospitalists can do, and needing to go to the ICU faster.”

U.S. Covid deaths still remain far below last year’s heights, but foreboding numbers from Keech’s state are setting off warning bells for the rest of the country.

New hospital admissions for Covid per 100,000 people more than tripled in Missouri between early June and the end of last week.

By The Associated Press

Lamar Jackson tested positive for COVID-19 and missed Baltimore’s first practice of training camp.

Coach John Harbaugh announced Jackson’s positive test after practice Wednesday and said running back Gus Edwards also tested positive. He would not go into much more detail about either case.

“It’s just part of the deal. It’s just the way the world is right now,” Harbaugh said. “We have 90% vaccinated, and I think we’re going to go above that, too, real soon here. So we’re in really great shape with the vaccinations.”

Jackson missed one game last season, in Week 12, when he also tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

By Bloomberg

President Joe Biden is expected to announce Thursday that federal workers will be required to prove they’ve been vaccinated against Covid-19 or submit to frequent coronavirus testing and other mitigation steps, according to a person familiar with the matter.

A vaccine mandate won’t be finalized until Thursday, the person said. A second person familiar with the matter said a federal vaccine mandate is under strong consideration.

The plan comes amid a spike in cases fueled by vaccine holdouts, which allowed the highly contagious delta variant to spread across the country.

By Bloomberg

New York City will give out $100 to any resident who gets their first Covid-19 vaccine in an effort to boost lagging vaccination rates.

The cash incentive will start on July 30 at city-run vaccination sites, Mayor Bill de Blasio said on a Wednesday briefing.

The city recorded 929 cases on a seven-day average as of Monday, almost twice as much as the 489 reported July 13. Hospitalizations, which remain low, doubled to 108, compared to 59 on July 13. Only 54% of people are fully vaccinated in the city, which failed to reach its June goal of vaccinating 5 million residents.

By Bloomberg

A U.S. Senate committee postponed a hearing Wednesday after some of its members were potentially exposed to Covid-19, the latest sign of the virus’ rapid resurgence at the Capitol.

Michigan Democratic Senator Gary Peters, the chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, said his panel delayed the hearing but declined to name which senators were possibly exposed.

In an evenly divided Senate that has several major pieces of legislation on its summer agenda -- including an emerging deal on a $579 billion infrastructure package and a $3.5 trillion budget resolution -- the absence of just one senator can dramatically alter the prospects for legislation.

By The Washington Post

What just weeks ago seemed like a smooth return to pre-pandemic life suddenly felt shaky on Tuesday following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s call for vaccinated individuals to resume indoor mask-wearing in high-risk areas.

The agency’s reversal of its May 13 decision to relax mask requirements was a reminder that - 16 months after the pandemic first torpedoed the U.S. economy - the crisis is not yet vanquished.

Wall Street economists largely brushed off the dollars-and-cents impact of the CDC’s recommendation and insisted the economy is likely to steam ahead. But with the delta variant quadrupling coronavirus infections in July, corporate chief executives are growing worried about bringing workers back into crowded offices, a move that many employers have scheduled for September.

By Maria Elena Little Endara, Globe Correspondent

A day after CDC officials said new data on COVID-19 spread among vaccinated people prompted them to update mask guidance, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy rejected those comments with a tweet casting doubt on public health officials’ motives.

“Make no mistake—The threat of bringing masks back is not a decision based on science, but a decision conjured up by liberal government officials who want to continue to live in a perpetual pandemic state,” tweeted McCarthy.

But the head of the CDC said on Tuesday that there is new evidence that vaccinated people can spread COVID-19, a development driven by the Delta variant, which she said behaves “uniquely.”

“We have new science related to the Delta variant that requires us to update the guidance,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said Tuesday. “Recent outbreak investigations show that the delta variant behaves uniquely differently. In areas with substantial and high transmission, CDC recommends fully vaccinated people wear masks.”

The new mask guidance followed recent decisions in Los Angeles and St. Louis to revert to indoor mask mandates amid a spike in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations due to the Delta variant. The country is averaging more than 57,000 cases a day and 4,981 new hospitalizations daily according to data from the CDC.

The surge in cases and hospitalizations is particularly bad in the south. One of Louisiana’s largest hospitals stopped taking inpatients due to the influx in COVID patients, while some hospitals in Florida are seeing more COVID patients than ever before.

Vaccinated US travelers to England will no longer quarantine — 10:28 a.m.

By Bloomberg

American and European Union travelers who have been fully vaccinated against coronavirus will no longer need to spend 10 days in quarantine after they arrive in England.

Under plans backed by British ministers on Wednesday, international leisure cruises will also resume after being put on hold for more than a year.

The reforms to travel rules will allow visitors from the U.S. and most EU countries to enter the U.K. on the same basis as Britons who have received two Covid shots. U.K. residents are are no longer required to self-isolate when returning from most medium-risk countries.

By Colin A. Young, State House News Service

Massachusetts employers, especially those in skilled trades, often talk about the need to continuously attract, train and retain workers with in-demand skills, and though they are developing COVID-19 vaccines here, Moderna and Pfizer are not immune to the problem.

During a hearing of the Massachusetts Legislative Manufacturing Caucus on Tuesday, representatives from two drugmakers with physical footprints in Massachusetts told lawmakers that it has become harder to refresh their workforces with skilled workers at a time when they are both looking to increase production.

By Emily Sweeney, Globe Staff

Two bars in Boston and Cambridge are now asking customers to show proof of vaccination.

The Middle East restaurant and nightclub in Cambridge announced their new rule in a Facebook post Tuesday.

“With the Delta Variant currently ripping through the country, The Middle East has made the tough decision to require proof of Covid-19 vaccination as part of entry requirements to our shows and to eat at our restaurants for the time being,” the post said. “We will be following the numbers and information out there and hope this is not a long term policy, but for now, it feels like the right thing to do.”

By The New York Times

Paullette Healy’s daughter, Kira, hadn’t been inside a classroom for more than 15 months when she started the New York City summer school program in July. Kira, 12, came home from her first day full of stories, eager to show off a portrait she’d drawn of herself as a “COVID vaccine warrior” during arts and crafts.

But by the second week of the program, at William McKinley Middle School in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, Kira’s excitement turned to worry as she and her mother watched the number of reported cases tick up slightly on the city’s coronavirus dashboard.

“It might not seem like a lot, but it’s still scary,” said Paullette Healy. “Watching the dashboard has become something like an obsession for us because it’s the only way we can see how COVID is affecting classrooms across the city.”

By John Hancock, Globe Staff

COVID-19 is rising around the US, in some places much more aggressively than others.

On Tuesday, the CDC said that it has new data on the Delta variant and its ability to spread in vaccinated people. Therefore, it recommends that in areas with “substantial and high transmission,” even fully vaccinated people wear masks.

Explore the interactive map below to see every county in the US where the CDC is recommending everyone put on a mask indoors in public.

By Bloomberg

Congress’s top doctor late Tuesday reimposed a mask-wearing requirement for everyone, including lawmakers, while they are on the House floor or in House hallways and offices, and alerted senators they should wear masks, too.

A previous House-floor mask requirement for members and staff had been lifted last month. But in his updated guidance to lawmakers, Attending Physician Brian Monahan pointed out that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is now recommending masks in some indoor spaces to reduce risks in response to the further spread of the delta variant of the coronavirus.

“For all House Office buildings, the Hall of the House, and House Committee Meetings, wearing of a well-fitted, medical grade, filtration face mask is required when an individual is in an interior space and other individuals are present,” Monahan said in a memo.

By Vince Dixon, Globe Staff

Despite the widespread access of highly effective vaccines, COVID-19 is again on the rise.

Many of these cases are coming from a handful of states where vaccine rates are low. In the South, COVID-19 cases and related deaths are well above the national average. During the week of July 19, more than 40 percent of COVID-19 cases came from three states (Florida, Texas, and Missouri), according to public health officials. Most of those cases involve unvaccinated patients.

Here’s a closer look at the problem.

By The Associated Press

Olympics organizers say an additional 16 people accredited for the Tokyo Games have tested positive for COVID, bringing the total to 174 since July 1.

The total includes 20 athletes, though there were no new positive tests among athletes in the cases announced Wednesday. Tens of thousands of people are accredited for the Games.

Tokyo also recorded a record daily high of 3,177 COVID-19 cases Wednesday, up from a previous high of 2,848 on Tuesday.

By The Associated Press

The World Health Organization says the number of coronavirus deaths globally jumped by 21% in the last week.

Most of the 69,000 deaths were reported in the Americas and Southeast Asia. The U.N. health agency also noted that COVID-19 cases rose by 8% worldwide and that there are now nearly 194 million infections.

WHO said that “if these trends continue, the cumulative number of cases reported globally could exceed 200 million in the next two weeks.” It added that the number of COVID-19 deaths increased in all regions except for Europe. The biggest numbers of cases were reported in the U.S., Brazil, Indonesia, the U.K. and India.

By The Associated Press

As Olympics host Tokyo saw another record number of coronavirus cases Wednesday, Japan’s vaccination minister said the speed of the country’s inoculation campaign is less urgent than getting shots to young people, who some health experts are blaming for the current surge in infections.

Vaccination Minister Taro Kono told The Associated Press that Japan is “overshooting” its goal of a million shots a day, so “speed doesn’t matter anymore.” Japan is averaging about 10 million shots a week after a late start.

By Bloomberg

A recent COVID-19 outbreak that started at an airport in the eastern city of Nanjing is testing China’s aggressive containment efforts, with new infections rising by dozens in recent days despite well-honed systems of mass testing and quarantine.

The flareup began after nine workers at the city’s airport were found to have been infected by the virus on July 20 during regular testing. The cluster quickly expanded to their close contacts, then to a handful of other locations, leading to a total of more than 150 infections as of Wednesday. It’s one of China’s biggest outbreaks since a winter wave concentrated in the country’s northeast saw more than 2,000 cases.

By The Associated Press

Tokyo has reported 3,177 new coronavirus cases, setting an all-time high and exceeding 3,000 for the first time days after the start of the Olympics.

The new cases Wednesday exceeded the earlier record of 2,848 set the previous day and bring the total for the Japanese capital to 206,745 since the pandemic began early last year.

By The Associated Press

An Olympic skateboarder who was put in quarantine after testing positive for COVID-19 called the conditions at the hotel “inhuman” on Wednesday.

Candy Jacobs has been in isolation for eight days and missed the street event in skateboarding’s debut as an Olympic sport. She said she had to force officials to allow her a supervised short break for some fresh air away from her room, where the window doesn’t open.

By Bloomberg

The UK government is set to allow visitors from the US and the European Union to travel to England without needing to quarantine on arrival if they have been fully vaccinated.

The plan will allow American visitors to enter the UK on the same basis as Britons who have received two COVID shots and are no longer required to self-isolate when traveling from most medium-risk countries.

By The Associated Press

Australia’s largest city Sydney will remain in lockdown for another month.

The New South Wales state government announced that the lockdown of the city of 5 million would last at least until Aug. 28, after reporting on Wednesday 177 new infections in the latest 24-hour period. It was the largest daily tally since the cluster was discovered in mid-June.

“I am as upset and frustrated as all of you that we were not able to get the case numbers we would have liked at this point in time but that is the reality,” New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian told reporters.

More than 2,500 people have been infected in a cluster that began when a limousine driver tested positive on June 16 to the contagious delta variant. The driver had been infected by a U.S. aircrew he transported from Sydney airport.

The death toll from the cluster reached 11 on Wednesday with a woman in her 90s dying in a Sydney hospital.

By The Associated Press

Drivers seeking to leave eastern China’s Jiangsu province will have to show a negative coronavirus test taken in the last 48 hours or be forced to turn around, as infections in the province continue to rise.

The provincial transport department said Wednesday that 93 checkpoints have been set up on highways in the province, whose capital of Nanjing is the epicenter of China’s latest outbreak. Drivers must remain in their vehicles and wear masks while health workers carry out the checks.

The National Health Commission reported 48 new cases in Jiangsu over the previous 24 hours, bringing its total to 154 over recent days. Authorities say the virus being transmitted is the highly contagious delta variant.

The virus continues to spread despite China having administered more than 1.5 billion doses of vaccine — exceeding the entire Chinese population of 1.4 billion.

By Katie Redefer, Globe Correspondent

State officials shut down a Hyde Park public swimming pool after one person who was at the pool Tuesday later tested positive for COVID-19, officials said.

The Department of Conservation and Recreation immediately closed Olsen Swimming Pool on Turtle Pond Parkway until further notice after one person tested positive for the virus, officials said in a statement.

By Nick Stoico, Globe Correspondent

A coronavirus cluster in Provincetown that has mushroomed since the Fourth of July had expanded to 765 confirmed cases as of Tuesday, the town manager said, as Salem officials reported a “troubling trend” of rising cases in another popular Massachusetts destination community.

Despite the abrupt spike in cases, Provincetown officials are seeing signs of progress in the effort to contain the outbreak, according to a statement posted on Facebook by Town Manager Alex Morse.

By The Associated Press

Nevada officials are re-imposing a mask mandate for indoor public spaces in the state’s cities in an effort to stem the spread of the coronavirus amid a rise in cases and hospitalizations not seen since before the arrival of vaccines.

Authorities officials said Tuesday the order will align Nevada with a new recommendation from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calling for people to use masks even if they are vaccinated.

The increase in cases and the mask requirement could hamper tourism industry efforts to entice visitors and trade shows that power the state’s economy to return following closures last year.

By The New York Times

Confronted with surging infections, California this week became the first state to mandate coronavirus vaccines or regular testing for state employees and health care workers. Starting next month, all public- and private-sector health care workers, along with some 246,000 state government employees, will have to show proof of vaccination. If they cannot, they will be required to wear face masks at all indoor work locations and to be tested at least weekly, and in some cases several times a week.

By The New York Times

Some companies have intensified their efforts to return to a pandemic before-times, easing safety protocols while expecting employees to return to previous routines.

But for many workers, the perception is quite different: a sense of rising vulnerability and frustration even for the vaccinated, who find themselves inundated with stories of breakthrough infections and long COVID-19.

The gulf between employers’ actions and workers’ concerns appears to foreshadow a period of rising tensions between the two, and unions appear to be positioning themselves for it. Some unions are calling on companies to do more to keep members safe, while others are questioning new vaccination requirements. The two positions may seem at odds, but they send a common message: Not so fast.

By The Associated Press

Washington Nationals shortstop Trea Turner left Tuesday night’s game against the Philadelphia Phillies in the first inning after testing positive for COVID-19.

Turner, who entered batting .320 with 18 home runs and 49 RBIs, singled and scored in the first inning. The All-Star headed directly up the Nationals tunnel toward the clubhouse after scoring and was replaced by Gerardo Parra in the lineup to start the bottom of the first.

It was later announced in the press box that Turner had tested positive, ending speculation that he was lifted for a possible pending trade or due to injury.

By Brian MacQuarrie and Naomi Martin of Globe Staff

In an alarming sign of the pandemic’s resurgence, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reversed course Tuesday and recommended that fully vaccinated people wear masks indoors in areas of higher transmission, including Boston, Cape Cod and the Islands, and Bristol County.

Citing new information about the Delta variant’s ability to spread among vaccinated people, federal health officials also recommended indoor masks for all students and staff at schools nationwide, regardless of vaccination status.

By The New York Times

Mayor Bill de Blasio’s declaration Monday that more than 300,000 municipal workers in New York City must get vaccinated against the coronavirus or agree to weekly testing was an unwelcome surprise to many of the city’s municipal unions.

Unions representing a diverse city workforce of firefighters and paramedics have come out against the mayor’s mandate.

Some unions have made demands: Exemptions for workers who have antibodies after recovering from COVID-19; workplace testing paid for by the city; overtime for workers who get tested outside work.

By The Associated Press

A man has been arrested and charged in federal court with sending emails that threatened to harm and kill Dr. Anthony Fauci, National Institutes of Health Director Dr. Francis Collins, and their families, federal prosecutors in Maryland announced Tuesday.

A criminal complaint filed Monday charges Thomas Patrick Connally Jr., 56, with threats against a federal official and interstate communication containing a threat to harm.

By The Washington Post

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revised its guidance Tuesday on wearing masks to help protect against infection from the coronavirus. Under the new recommendations, the agency urges vaccinated Americans to wear masks indoors in certain circumstances.

By The Associated Press

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson says a special session to revisit the state’s ban on mask mandates in schools is an option as the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations in the state has surpassed 1,000.

The governor met with legislative leaders Tuesday to discuss the possibility of a holding a session on the ban enacted in April that bans local and state government entities, including schools, from requiring the use of masks.

Facing growing calls to lift the ban, at least for schools. Hutchinson says he is evaluating options for changes. Legislative leaders say they’re talking with lawmakers about what action they woul

By The Associated Press

South Carolina education officials say recently enacted legislation will prevent them from requiring students and employees to wear masks inside schools as a result of a new recommendation from the CDC that even vaccinated people should use face coverings in regions with increasing numbers of coronavirus cases.

A budget proviso that went into effect July 1 prohibits the state’s school districts from using any appropriated funds “to require that its students and/or employees wear a face mask at any of its education facilities.”

The measure was backed by Gov. Henry McMaster, who earlier this year called it “the height of ridiculosity” for a school district to require a mask over any parent’s wishes.

The state Department of Education says on its official Facebook page that it can only encourage the use of face coverings and other COVID-19 mitigation strategies.

By The Associated Press

And just like that, masks were back at the White House.

After insisting for days that vaccinated people were safe from the virus, the White House quickly shifted course Tuesday after federal health officials revised their guidance to recommend indoor masking for the vaccinated in areas where the level of transmission of the coronavirus is substantial or high. That includes Washington, D.C., where updated data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday found that transmission rates were substantial.

Starting Wednesday, the White House will require all of its employees to again wear masks indoors. White House reporters were asked to follow those guidelines and mask up indoors as well, and those staff and reporters who remained at the White House late Tuesday were already wearing them in the building.

By The Washington Post

European lawmakers and business groups voiced mounting criticism of the Biden administration on Tuesday, after the White House said its restrictions on international travel would remain in place for the time being.

Whereas vaccinated US tourists have been allowed to return to much of Europe for weeks, most Europeans continue to be unable to travel to the United States under a ban that was first imposed by former president Donald Trump in March 2020.

By Edward Fitzpatrick, Globe Staff

Governor Daniel J. McKee on Tuesday said he is not planning to mandate vaccinations for state employees, and he was awaiting federal guidance before deciding whether to recommend masks for school children.

Soon after McKee’s weekly new conference, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reversed course on some masking guidelines, recommending that even vaccinated people return to wearing masks indoors in parts of the U.S. where the coronavirus is surging. The CDC recommended indoor masks for all teachers, staff, students and visitors to schools, regardless of vaccination status.

By Naomi Martin, James Vaznis, and Bianca Vázquez Toness, Globe Staff

In an about-face from a few weeks ago, federal public health officials on Tuesday recommended that everyone in K-12 schools wear masks in the coming year, regardless of their COVID-19 vaccination status, prompting mixed reactions of relief and alarm among families and educators in Massachusetts.

By Peter Bailey-Wells, Ryan Huddle, Daigo Fujiwara, and Amanda Kaufman, Globe Staff

Massachusetts on Tuesday reported 657 new confirmed coronavirus cases, 12 new confirmed coronavirus deaths, and another 7,098 vaccinations administered, the Department of Public Health said.

The state also reported that 152 patients with COVID-19 were in the hospital.

By Alexa Gagosz, Globe Staff

Care New England and Lifespan, Rhode Island’s two largest health care systems, announced Tuesday that they are moving toward mandatory vaccination program for all staff across all operating units.

CNE has required COVID-19 vaccination of students, volunteers, and new hires since July 1. The next step is to require all managers to begin the vaccination series prior to Labor Day, according to Jessica McCarthy, a spokeswoman for the health care system.

By Christina Prignano, Globe Staff

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is recommending students, teachers, staff, and visitors wear masks in K-12 schools this fall, regardless of vaccination status, as the highly contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus causes COVID-19 cases nationwide to surge.

Dr. Rochelle Walensky announced the new guidance on Tuesday as she outlined new masking guidelines for vaccinated people living in areas with “substantial and high” COVID-19 transmission. Vaccinated people are now encouraged to wear masks indoors when such transmission is occurring.

By Travis Andersen, Globe Staff

Public health specialists on Tuesday praised the CDC for issuing new masking guidelines recommending that even vaccinated people return to wearing face coverings indoors in parts of the U.S. where COVID-19 is surging.

“Glad the CDC is finally doing what many of us in public health have been urging,” tweeted Dr. Leana Wen, a commentator and emergency physician who currently serves as a visiting professor at the Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University. “The reality on the ground has changed, and the Biden administration is acknowledging that their guidance has to change accordingly.”

Citing new information about the ability of the Delta variant to spread among vaccinated people, CDC officials Tuesday also recommended indoor masks for all teachers, staff, students and visitors to schools, regardless of vaccination status.

By Amanda Kaufman, Globe Staff

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday announced an update to its mask-wearing guidance, now suggesting that fully vaccinated people wear masks in indoor, public places in areas of the country with “substantial and high” transmission.

So, what does that mean for Massachusetts?

There are five counties in Massachusetts that qualify as “substantial” or “high” transmission areas, according to the CDC.

By Bloomberg

President Joe Biden said he is weighing a requirement for federal workers to get vaccinated as the highly contagious delta variant spreads throughout the U.S.

A vaccine mandate for federal workers is “under consideration,” Biden told reporters on Tuesday after visiting the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

The president’s comments reflect the heightened concern among U.S. public health officials about the delta variant. He made the remarks after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tightened mask guidance, advising that fully vaccinated individuals cover their faces indoors in places where the virus is rapidly spreading.

By The Associated Press

Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Christian Yelich has tested positive for the coronavirus and is showing mild symptoms.

Yelich and utilityman Jace Peterson were placed on the COVID-19 injured list, Brewers president of baseball operations David Stearns said Tuesday, adding that Peterson was sidelined due to contact tracing and hasn’t tested positive.

Yelich — who has been vaccinated against the virus — will miss at least 10 days from the date of his positive test and Peterson will miss at least seven days, Stearns said.

By The New York Times

The Washington Post will require all employees to show that they are vaccinated against the coronavirus, the newspaper’s publisher said Tuesday.

The Post’s publisher, Frederick J. Ryan Jr., said in an email to staff that the company had decided to require proof of vaccination as a condition of employment, starting when workers return to the office in September, after hearing concerns from many employees about the emergence of coronavirus variants.

“Even though the overwhelming majority of Post employees have already provided proof of vaccination, I do not take this decision lightly,” Ryan wrote in the email, which was viewed by The New York Times. “However, in considering the serious health issues and genuine safety concerns of so many Post employees, I believe the plan is the right one.”

By The Associated Press

Vermont is continuing to lead the country with the highest percentage of its eligible population vaccinated against COVID-19 and a number of other categories, but the state is still urging people to get vaccinated, officials said Tuesday.

Speaking at the regular weekly COVID-19 briefing, Republican Gov. Phil Scott said almost 84% of Vermonters 12 and over have received at least one dose of the vaccine and about 75% of that population is fully vaccinated.

“We are not letting up,” Scott said. “What we are seeing across the country shows exactly why we can’t.”

By The Associated Press

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reversed course Tuesday on some masking guidelines, recommending that even vaccinated people return to wearing masks indoors in parts of the U.S. where the coronavirus is surging.

Citing new information about the ability of the delta variant to spread among vaccinated people, the CDC also recommended indoor masks for all teachers, staff, students and visitors to schools, regardless of vaccination status.

“We have new science related to the Delta variant that requires us to update the guidance,” for vaccinated people, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said Tuesday.

By Danny McDonald, Globe Staff

Boston City Council President Pro Tempore Matt O’Malley is requiring all in-person council staff to show proof of vaccination or a weekly COVID-19 test starting Aug. 30.

“The requirement comes in light of rising COVID-19 cases,” said O’Malley in a Tuesday memo. “The Delta variant is causing cases to rise nationally for mostly unvaccinated and some vaccinated people as it is more transmissible.”

In the memo, O’Malley said he hoped such guidelines would encourage other Boston employers to implement a similar policy. He also noted that New York City, California, and the US Department of Veterans Affairs recently implemented similar policies.

By Bloomberg

The U.K. reported the highest number of Covid-19 deaths since March, prompting a top government health official to warn the pandemic is “not over yet” despite a continued fall in confirmed cases.

There were 23,511 new coronavirus cases recorded on Tuesday, down for a seventh day. But the number of deaths jumped to 131, the most since March 17, according to the latest data.

An increase is consistent with the lag between infections and serious illness from Covid-19, given the U.K. saw a surge in cases driven by the highly transmissible delta variant in June and earlier this month.

By The Washington Post

The California State University System said Tuesday it will require faculty, staff, and students who come to campus in the next school year to be immunized against the coronavirus even if federal regulators have not yet given full approval to a vaccine.

Cal State is the nation’s largest four-year public university system, with about 485,000 students on 23 campuses from San Diego to Humboldt County. Its announcement reflected growing apprehension among education leaders nationwide about the threat the virus’s delta variant poses to the coming school year.

By Jim McBride, Globe Staff

The Patriots will be without Devin Asiasi for an undetermined amount of time after the second-year tight end tested positive for COVID-19, a league source confirmed Tuesday.

Asiasi, who has been vaccinated, is not with the team and will need to quarantine. It’s unclear if he is experiencing any symptoms.

In addition, the club has released wide receiver Devin Smith, according to a league source.

Bill Belichick, who said earlier in the day he expected a “full complement” to report for camp, addressed the protocols that are in place as the season commences.

The Patriots lost co-offensive line coach Cole Popovich last week after the offensive line coach refused to be vaccinated, which is required for staff but not for players. Carmine Bricillo, who shared the job with Popovich last year, will have his role expanded this season.

By Janelle Nanos and Zoe Greenberg, Globe Staff

As the Delta variant surges in Massachusetts, that jubilant sense of relief many felt this spring is quickly dimming.

Mask advisories are back. Business owners are sweating another slowdown. Even many of the already-vaccinated worry if their one-shot Johnson & Johnson protection will be enough, or if they should go get another round.

That familiar sense of dread is coming back. And it’s exhausting.

By Alexa Gagosz, Globe Staff

Rhode Island is now considered to have “substantial transmission” of the coronavirus, according to standards by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Over the past week, there have been more than 57 new cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 people, which also represents the first time the state reached a “substantial transmission” rate since tracking began.

The uptick in cases comes as more than 61 percent of all eligible Rhode Islanders (which includes those as young as 12) have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to data from the state health department. More than 67 percent of all eligible Rhode Islanders have received at least one dose.

By The Associated Press

The number of daily coronavirus infections has quadrupled in Maine over the last four weeks, and the total count since the start of the pandemic has eclipsed 70,000 cases.

The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday that there have now been more than 70,000 reported cases of the virus in the state, and the number of deaths since the start of the pandemic was 898.

The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in Maine has also risen over the past two weeks from about 14 new cases a day on July 11 to about 61 new cases a day on Sunday. The seven-day rolling average of daily deaths in Maine has also risen over the past two weeks from less than one death a day on July 11 to about two deaths a day Sunday.

By The New York Times

Reversing a decision made just two months ago, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is expected to recommend on Tuesday that people vaccinated for the coronavirus resume wearing masks indoors in certain areas of the country.

The agency will specify the areas and circumstances later on Tuesday, officials said.

The change follows reports of rising breakthrough infections with the delta variant of the virus in people who were fully immunized. But the new guidance would mark a sharp turnabout from the agency’s position since May that vaccinated people do not need to wear masks in most indoor spaces.

As recently as last week, an agency spokesman said that the CDC had no plans to change its guidance, unless there were a significant change in the science. Federal officials met on Sunday night to review new evidence that may have prompted the reversal, CNN reported on Tuesday.

By The Associated Press

Another Massachusetts hospital system has announced that it will require employees to be vaccinated against the coronavirus.

Springfield-based Baystate Health said Monday that the policy that takes effect Oct. 1 also applies to “those working remotely, clinical staff, contractors, volunteers, students, and those conducting business within our health system.”

About 75% of the system’s workers are already fully vaccinated, President and CEO Mark Keroack said in a memo to employees.

“It is now time for the rest of us to do our part to ensure a safe work and care environment by getting vaccinated against COVID-19,” he said.

By The Washington Post

In the months leading up to the Olympic Games, the citizens of Tokyo became extremely worried about the prospect of tens of thousands of foreigners coming in and infecting them with the coronavirus.

Their concerns might have been misdirected. On Tuesday, Tokyo reported 2,848 new coronavirus cases, its highest daily count ever and four times the average at the end of June.

Inside the Olympic bubble, the situation appears much more under control.

By The Associated Press

Thousands of foreigners have left Indonesia in recent weeks, airport records released Tuesday showed, apparently spurred by a brutal pandemic wave and a general shortage of vaccines, which have gone to high-priority groups first.

Indonesia now has the most confirmed daily cases in Asia, as infections and deaths have surged over the past month and India’s massive outbreak has waned. Infections peaked in mid-July, with the highest daily average reported at more than 50,000 new cases each day. Until mid-June, daily cases had been running at about 8,000.

By The Washington Post

Since the early months of the coronavirus pandemic, Greg Locke, the pastor at a Nashville-area church, has repeatedly called COVID a hoax, undermined emergency mandates, and refused to comply with guidance from public health officials.

This week, Locke took his defiance a step further, making a sharp warning regarding mask-wearing.

If “you start showing up [with] all these masks and all this nonsense, I will ask you to leave,” Locke, 45, told scores of Global Vision Bible Church parishioners during his sermon on Sunday. His statement was followed by cheers and applause.

By The Washington Post

The United States is now warning against travel to Israel and several European countries as the more contagious Delta variant fuels coronavirus outbreaks mostly among the unvaccinated.

The State Department and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new travel advisories Monday for Israel, Cyprus, Portugal and Spain, as well as Kyrgyzstan, citing surging case numbers in all five countries.

The warnings came as the White House also said it had no plans to lift broad restrictions on visitors from Britain, Europe’s Schengen region and other nations such as Brazil, China, India and South Africa.

By The Associated Press

The European Union’s chief executive says the 27-nation bloc has achieved its goal of providing at least one coronavirus vaccine shot to 70 percent of all adults, but she’s urging people to protect themselves against the fast-spreading Delta variant.

The EU, home to around 450 million people, was widely criticized for the slow pace of its vaccine rollout earlier this year. But its executive branch, the European Commission, says that 57 percent of adults are now fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said Tuesday that “these figures put Europe among the world leaders” when it comes to vaccination rates.

Von der Leyen said “the catch-up process has been very successful,” but she warned against complacency given the well-established presence in Europe of the Delta variant.

She said: “The Delta variant is very dangerous. I therefore call on everyone — who has the opportunity — to be vaccinated. For their own health and to protect others.”

By The Associated Press

Cambodian authorities have stopped five large containers of water buffalo meat imported from India after determining the shipment was tainted with the coronavirus, officials said Tuesday.

The Health Ministry said the virus was detected in three of the five shipping containers of frozen meat being brought in by a private company.

By The Associated Press

Tokyo reported its highest number of new coronavirus infections on Tuesday, days after the Olympics began.

The Japanese capital reported 2,848 new COVID-19 cases, exceeding the earlier record of 2,520 cases on Jan. 7.

It brings Tokyo’s total to more than 200,000 since the pandemic began last year.

Tokyo is under its fourth state of emergency, which is to continue through the Olympics until just before the Paralympics start in late August.

By The Associated Press

Fiji’s leader is urging people to get vaccinated as the island nation contends with a devastating outbreak of the Delta variant of the coronavirus.

Relative to its population of less than 1 million people, Fiji’s outbreak is currently among the worst in the world.

Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama said the nation’s mission was to vaccinate 80 percent of adults by the end of October. About 47 percent of Fijians have had at least one vaccination dose.

He said “lies, misinformation, and unholy insanity” about the vaccine were endangering people.

Fiji has reported a record 1,285 new cases in its latest daily update. It has reported 193 deaths since the outbreak began in April.

Fiji has also reported a further 101 deaths of COVID-19-positive patients that it’s not classifying as coronavirus deaths because the patients had underlying conditions. Before the April outbreak, Fiji had recorded just two COVID-19 deaths.

By Bloomberg News

Just a few weeks ago, much of the world seemed poised to leave COVID behind.

President Biden declared the US close to independence from the virus. Britons hit the dance floor to celebrate “Freedom Day.” Singapore’s legendarily strict government signaled it would begin to loosen its zero-cases approach and make life and travel more manageable.

But if those places were ready to be done with COVID, COVID wasn’t done with them.

By Bloomberg News

New cases of the coronavirus associated with the Tokyo Olympics fell to seven on Tuesday, including two athletes, one of them a tennis player from the Netherlands, organizers said.

The report brings to 155 the total number of cases confirmed through an extensive testing program being implemented to try to maintain safety during the unprecedented pandemic-era games. A total of 16 people had been confirmed positive the previous day.

By The New York Times

They labor in factories in Mexico producing goods US consumers enjoy. But where American communities are awash in unused coronavirus vaccines, Mexican workers are often hard-pressed to find a single shot.

On one recent morning, however, hundreds of workers from the factories known as maquiladoras were waved across the border into San Diego, without visas or passports, and rolled up their sleeves to be vaccinated. An hour later, they were back on production lines in Tijuana.

The goal was to protect not just the workers, but also the closely intertwined US and Mexican economies.