- Business travel isn’t expected to return to pre-pandemic levels any time soon.
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The U.S. on Monday finally reached President Joe Biden’s goal of getting at least one COVID-19 shot in the arms of 70 per cent of American adults — a month late and amid a surge in cases due to the delta variant.
Biden had set a goal of reaching the 70 per cent threshold by the July 4th national holiday. But that target was set well before the highly contagious delta variant led to a resurgence in cases and undermined assumptions used in arriving at that figure.
There was was no celebration or new target set on Monday at the White House, which is struggling to overcome public resistance to its mass vaccination efforts.
The 70 per cent target marked the low end of initial government estimates for the level of vaccination needed to achieve herd immunity in the U.S. The figure has been rendered insufficient by the delta variant, however.
Folks, we’ve officially reached our goal of 70% of adults receiving at least one dose of the vaccine. It’s incredible progress, but we still have further to go. If you haven’t already, get vaccinated. Let’s defeat this virus once and for all.
The United States has still not hit the administration’s other goal of fully vaccinating 165 million American adults by July 4. It is about 8.5 million short of that figure.
New cases per day in the U.S. have increased sixfold over the past month to an average of nearly 80,000, a level not seen since mid-February. Deaths per day have climbed over the past two weeks from an average of 259 to 360. Those are still well below the level of 3,400 deaths and a quarter-million cases per day seen during the worst of the outbreak, in January.
Some places around the country are seeing newly confirmed infections and hospital caseloads reach their highest levels since the pandemic began a year and a half ago. Nearly all deaths and serious illnesses are now among unvaccinated people.
Florida is now leading the nation in per-capita hospitalizations for COVID-19. The state had 10,389 COVID-19 hospitalizations on Monday, according to the hospital association.
That’s almost 200 more than Sunday, when the state broke the previous record of 10,170 hospitalizations set on July 23, 2020 — more than half a year before vaccinations were widely available.
The surge has led states and cities across the U.S. to beat a retreat on easing restrictions, just weeks after signs the country would return to more normal summer.
Louisiana ordered nearly everyone, vaccinated or not, to wear masks again in all indoor public settings, including schools and colleges. Other cities and states have moved to reinstate precautions to counter a crisis blamed on the fast-spreading variant and stubborn resistance to getting the vaccine.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said New York City airport and transit workers will have to get vaccinated or face weekly testing. He stopped short of mandating either masks or inoculations for the general public, saying he lacks legal authority to do so.
Health officials in San Francisco and six other Bay Area counties announced Monday they are reinstating a requirement that everyone — vaccinated or not — wear masks in public indoor spaces.
Denver’s mayor said the city will require police officers, firefighters and certain other municipal employees to get vaccinated, along with workers at schools, nursing homes, hospitals and jails.
Minnesota’s public colleges and universities will require masks while indoors on campus, regardless of vaccination status. And New Jersey said workers at state-run nursing homes, psychiatric hospitals and other such institutions must get the shot or face regular testing.
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What’s happening in Canada
- Popular Sask. events going ahead after COVID-19 restrictions lifted.
- Alberta removing public health restrictions ‘a bad mistake’ right now, experts say.
- Return of full bar seating in Yukon restaurants draws mixed reviews.
What’s happening around the world
As of Monday, more than 198.4 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University. More than 4.2 million deaths had been reported.
In Asia, hundreds of Pakistani businessmen, mostly shop owners, rallied in the southern port city of Karachi against a lockdown imposed to curb a surge in COVID-19 cases.
In the Americas, Venezuela will receive 6.2 million doses of vaccines through the COVAX initiative “in the coming days,” President Nicolas Maduro has said.
In Europe, 150,000 doses of a planned 500,000-dose supply of Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccines have arrived in Moldova — a donation from the U.S. to help the former Soviet republic inoculate its small nation.
In Africa, resident doctors in Nigerian public hospitals began an indefinite strike over grievances they said included failing to pay COVID-19 allowances to some doctors and staffing shortages in hospitals, according to the doctors’ union.
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