Baker says he is not planning any changes to COVID-19 policies, and Cambridge officials are urging residents to wear masks
CDC advisors to discuss additional coronavirus doses for at-risk patients – 12:54 p.m.
by Washington Post
A federal advisory panel will discuss the need for additional coronavirus shots for patients with compromised immune systems at a meeting Thursday, amid growing concerns about weakened immunity in vulnerable populations.
Members of the Immunization Practices Advisory Committee, which provides vaccine recommendations to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, are expected to discuss an additional dose for immunocompromised patients.
These patients include American adults who have received organ transplants, people receiving cancer treatments, and people with rheumatic diseases, HIV and leukemia. Experts say they are more likely to contract severe illness from COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, and may transmit the virus repeatedly to others.
Baker says he’s not planning any changes to COVID-19 policies amid spike in cases – 12:14 p.m.
Written by Cristina Bregnano, GlobeStaff
Governor Charlie Baker said Thursday that he has no plans to change COVID-19 rules as the state sees a spike in cases, possibly due to the highly contagious Delta type of coronavirus.
“We are not looking to change any of our existing rules or policies,” Baker said during a media briefing. “We have a set of standards at the state level and they are based on what we see at the state level, and if communities think they need to take strategies that are more effective and relevant to them, they should.”
Appearing in the first of a chain of events on Cape Cod, which is seeing a range of cases even among fully vaccinated people, Baker praised Massachusetts’ high vaccination rate and said the slight increase in cases is not as alarming as it was earlier this year.
“The difference between the impact of COVID on those who have been vaccinated and those who have not been vaccinated is stark and profound,” he said.
CDC director describes Delta variant as ‘one of the most infectious respiratory viruses’ – 12:07 p.m.
Written by Maria Elena Little Indara, Globe Reporter
During a White House briefing on COVID Thursday, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Wallensky described the delta variant as “one of the most infectious respiratory viruses” she’s ever seen in her career.
“The delta variant spreads with amazing efficiency and now accounts for more than 83 percent of the virus circulating in the United States,” Walinsky said.
Walinsky urged Americans to vaccinate and focus on working together to contain the spread of the variant.
“If you haven’t been vaccinated, please take the delta variant seriously. This virus has no incentive to fall back, and it keeps looking for the next vulnerable person to infect it,” Walinsky said.
COVID cases in the US are on the rise with the current 7-day average case being 37,674, up 52.5% From the previous seven-day average of 24,710.
Cambridge officials urge residents to wear masks as coronavirus cases rise – 11:52 a.m.
By Nick Stojko, Globe Reporter
City officials in Cambridge are reporting a spike in new COVID-19 cases and are urging residents, whether vaccinated or not, to wear masks and practice social distancing “where transmission is possible and when they are around unvaccinated people, including young children”.
The city said 83 confirmed and probable cases had been reported in Cambridge so far in July statment Wednesday, 42 percent of those cases were among people who were fully vaccinated, which is known as “breakthrough” cases.
“With 19 new cases reported yesterday, it’s clear that #DeltaVariant is on the rise, and we need to be very careful,” Cambridge Deputy Mayor Alana Malone wrote in a tweet on Thursday.
US tourists back in Europe, so are COVID restrictions – 10:33 a.m.
by Washington Post
Weeks after popular destinations like Greece, France and Spain reopened to travelers from the United States, they are placing new restrictions amid a spike in coronavirus cases. In some cases, these measures will limit the places non-vaccinated visitors can go to.
In Greece, which was early enough to welcome tourists back in May, officials said last week that indoor public spaces would only be available to fully vaccinated people until at least August 31.
French President Emmanuel Macron said last week that unvaccinated people who want to dine indoors, go to malls or cinemas, or board planes or trains, will need to show evidence of a negative coronavirus test or infection and recover. He said the steps were an attempt “to place restrictions on the unvaccinated and not on everyone”.
EU pledges 200 million doses of COVID vaccine to poor countries – 9:31 am
By The Associated Press
The European Union said, Thursday, that it will donate more than 200 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to middle and low-income countries before the end of the year.
That’s double the initial amount the 27-nation bloc had planned to provide, mainly through COVAX, the UN-backed program to provide snapshots to poorer parts of the world.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the EU “has its responsibility to help the world fight the virus everywhere. Vaccination is key – which is why it is essential to ensure access to COVID-19 vaccines in countries around the world.”
According to the European Union, COVAX has so far delivered 122 million doses to 136 countries.
The European Union said it was also providing assistance to African countries to help them manufacture vaccines and medicines to reduce the continent’s dependence on imports.
Guinea withdraws from Tokyo Olympics, due to coronavirus – 9:00 am
By The Associated Press
Conakry, Guinea (AFP) – African Guinea withdrew from this year’s Olympic Games, banning five athletes from competing in the Tokyo Olympics.
Sports Minister Sanusi Bantama Sow announced in a letter he addressed Wednesday to the president of the Guinean Olympic Committee, blaming the virus and its variants.
“Due to the re-emergence of COVID variants, the government, concerned with preserving the health of Guinean athletes, has decided with regret to cancel Guinea’s participation in the 32nd Olympic Games scheduled in Tokyo,” the statement said.
Tokyo hits a 6-month high before the Olympics at 8:55 am
By The Associated Press
TOKYO – Tokyo recorded another six-month high in cases of the novel coronavirus, a day before the Olympics.
The 1,979 new cases on Thursday were the highest since 2,044 cases were recorded on January 15.
Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and the International Olympic Committee decided to hold the Olympics despite the pandemic. Tokyo Suga was placed under a state of emergency on July 12, but daily cases rose sharply.
Spectators are banned from all Olympic venues in the Tokyo area, with limited audiences allowed in a few remote locations.
The emergency measures, which largely include a ban on alcohol sales and shorter hours for restaurants and bars, are set to run until August 22, after the Olympics end on August 8.
About 23% of Japanese are fully vaccinated, well below the level thought necessary to have a measurable effect on reducing risk in the general population.
Japan has reported about 853,000 cases of infection and 15,100 confirmed deaths, most of them this year.
‘I’m sorry, it’s too late’: Alabama doctor talks about treating unvaccinated COVID patients, says they’re ‘begging’ for vaccine – 7:02 a.m.
Written by Brittany Booker, Globe Staff
An Alabama doctor talks about treating unvaccinated coronavirus patients, encourages those who haven’t been vaccinated to do so and warns that “it’s not too late, but it may be one day”
Dr. Brittney Kobia, a physician at Grandview Medical Center in Birmingham, has published an emotional post for her Facebook On Sunday, she reflects on the “very serious” COVID cases she’s seeing in the hospital.
“I am hospitalizing healthy young people with a very serious infection from COVID,” she said. “One of the last things they do before intubation is beg for me to get the vaccine. I hold their hand and tell them I’m sorry, but it’s too late.”
Nantucket advises use of face masks indoors as COVID-19 cases rise 11:36 p.m.
Written by Jeremy Fox, Globe Crew
As cases of COVID-19 continue to rise in Cape Cod and the islands, the Nantucket Department of Health and Human Services on Wednesday issued an alert asking all residents and visitors to wear face masks in public places when physical distancing is not possible.
Nantucket officials said the warning applies to those who have been vaccinated as well as those who have not.
Provincetown COVID-19 cluster grows to 256 confirmed cases, city manager says – 6:48 p.m.
Written by Amanda Kaufman, Globe Staff
A township official said the COVID-19 cluster in Provincetown that prompted officials there to issue an indoor mask-wearing warning earlier this week has grown to 256 confirmed cases.
On Monday, town officials said that from July 1 to July 16, 132 positive cases of COVID-19 were identified, the “vast majority” in vaccinate people. But as of Tuesday, the number of cases had nearly doubled, City Manager Alex Morse wrote in a Facebook post. He said officials were investigating the vaccination status of those who tested positive.
33 people test positive for COVID-19 at West Yarmouth nursing home, health officials confirm – 2:21 p.m.
By Alexandra Chaides, Globe Reporter
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health confirmed that the spread of COVID-19 in Cape Cod became more alarming Tuesday with news of 33 cases of the virus being reported in a West Yarmouth nursing home.
A spokesperson for the Department of Public Health confirmed in an email to The Globe on Tuesday that 24 residents and 9 employees of Maplewood at Mayflower Place in West Yarmouth have tested positive for the virus since July 10.
Cape Cod faces surge in coronavirus cases at peak tourist season, including many vaccinated – 7:25 p.m.
Written by Kay Lazar and Camille Caldera, Globe Staff and Globe Reporter
State officials dispatched teams of health workers to Cape Cod and issued new safety guidelines amid troubling indications Tuesday that coronavirus cases were increasing across the popular summer stadium.
Despite having one of the most vaccinated residents in the state, Cape Cod now has the highest rate of new COVID cases in Massachusetts. Health officials are battling an outbreak in Provincetown that has infected at least 132 people since July 1 — most of whom have been vaccinated — as well as a cluster at a Yarmouth nursing home, where up to 33 residents and staff have been infected, many of whom have already been vaccinated as well.
Other Cape communities, including Barnstable, Falmouth and Truro, have also reported a recent surge in cases, which has led to a series of actions from state health officials, including the deployment of hundreds of rapid COVID test kits for health care providers and Stricter COVID testing rules for staff for nursing homes in the Cape. State health officials are also closely following the new cases, many of whom are tourists who live in other parts of Massachusetts and beyond.