New coronavirus cases rose in all 50 states on Sunday for the fourth day in a row on a rolling seven-day average, an ominous run not seen since the spring 2020 surge.
In some states the increases were startling. New cases in Rhode Island almost tripled week over week, a USA TODAY analysis of Johns Hopkins data shows. Maine and Vermont’s hikes were almost as large. New cases in Massachusetts, Alaska and Kentucky more than doubled their case counts in one week; Minnesota, Florida and Texas were right behind.
The weekly rolling average for cases in the United States has nearly tripled in the last month. The pace of deaths also is up sharply – 24.7% from its low point two weeks ago.
A new survey suggests reasons why some people reject vaccination – 90% of respondents to a YouGov poll who reject vaccination fear possible side effects from the vaccine more than they fear COVID-19 itself. Less than one in 10 of the vaccine rejectors trust medical advice from Dr. Anthony Fauci, and only one in five trusts the CDC. And one in five believe the government is using vaccines to microchip the population.
Also in the news:
►Right-wing British commentator Katie Hopkins was deported from Australia on Monday after she boasted on social media that she planned to breach quarantine rules. Hopkins was to appear in a reality television program and was in a 14-day mandatory hotel quarantine in Sydney.
►Health officials in Arizona on Sunday reported 980 additional COVID-19 cases and three more coronavirus-related deaths. It was the first time in five days that the state reported fewer than 1,000 new cases.
►Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva says his office won’t enforce the county’s latest mask mandate, arguing that it isn’t backed by science. Health officials in popular tourist destinations such as Los Angeles and Las Vegas are asking more people to mask up indoors.
►European officials vaunted figures from Our World in Data showing that 55.6% of EU citizens have had at least one dose, compared with 55.4% in the U.S. It was the first time the EU figures outpaced those across the Atlantic. Canada’s vaccination rate is also now higher than the U.S.’s rate.
📈Today’s numbers: The U.S. has had more than 34 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and more than 609,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The global totals: More than 190.5 million cases and 4 million deaths. More than 161.2 million Americans — 48.6% of the population – have been fully vaccinated, according to the CDC.
📘What we’re reading: Cuba sent doctors abroad amid the pandemic. Now, its own COVID surge has sparked historic protests.
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Kara Eaker, an alternate on the U.S. women’s gymnastics team, has tested positive for COVID, coach Al Fong confirmed in a text message to USA TODAY Sports. Alternate Leanne Wong, who trains with Eaker, is also quarantining after being deemed a close contact, Fong said. Opening Ceremonies for the Games in Tokyo are set for Friday.
U.S. tennis star Coco Gauff shared Sunday that she tested positive for COVID-19, announcing that she would be withdrawing from the Tokyo Olympics just days before the start of the Games. Olympic organizers revealed Sunday that three residents in the Olympic Village, including two athletes, had tested positive for COVID-19 despite initially clearing arrival protocols.
A bipartisan group of criminal justice advocates are asking President Joe Biden to grant clemency and commute sentences of federal prisoners who were allowed to serve their sentences at home because of the pandemic but now face the possibility of going back to prison. Advocates have been pushing Biden to aggressively use his powers citing his campaign promise to cut the federal prison population.
“This is your opportunity to provide second chances to thousands of people who are already safely out of prison, reintegrating back to society, reconnecting with their loved ones, getting jobs and going back to school,” stated the letter Monday from 20 advocacy groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union, Amnesty International and NAACP.
Two more Democratic Texas state lawmakers who fled to Washington, D.C., to stymie passage of a restrictive, GOP-backed voting law have tested positive for COVID-19 despite being vaccinated, according to Texas House Democratic Caucus leadership. That brings the total number to five.
A group of the lawmakers traveled by private plane to Washington, D.C., to lobby Congress to pass federal election reform. The lawmakers, however, drew some criticism after photos from the plane appeared to show them traveling without masks. Federal pandemic guidelines require masks to be worn on commercial flights, but not on private aircraft.
More experts are calling for vaccinated people to mask up as COVID surges around the country. Almost 5,500 fully vaccinated people have been hospitalized or died from COVID-19, among the more than 160 million people who have been fully vaccinated, the CDC reports. “Instead of vax it OR mask it, the emerging data suggests CDC should be advising to vax it and mask it in areas with (rising) cases and positivity until we see numbers going back down again,” former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams said on Twitter.
“If I’m in an area where I think there may be a lot of folks who are unvaccinated, out of an abundance of caution, I will wear my mask in indoor settings,” current U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy told CNN.
Biden administration public health officials took aim Sunday at social media platforms like Facebook for perceived inaction on stopping misinformation about COVID-19 and vaccines. It comes two days after the president himself said falsehoods online are “killing people.” Alarmed by rising coronavirus infections across the country and frustrated by persistent conspiracy theories about the pandemic, public health officials are more forcefully criticizing media and tech platforms they argue are endangering the public.
Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, the federal government’s top public health adviser, said Sunday that “misinformation is still spreading like wildfire in our country aided and abetted by technology platforms.”
– Matthew Brown
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will spend 10 days self-isolating after contact with a confirmed coronavirus case. The announcement by his office on Sunday reverses an earlier statement that, unlike most people, he would not face quarantine. Johnson met Friday with Health Secretary Sajid Javid, who later tested positive for COVID-19. Contacts of positive cases usually have to self-isolate for 10 days. Johnson contracted the disease in April 2020, spending several days in the hospital before fully recovering.
The British government still plans to lift all remaining legal restrictions on social contact, as well as other public health measures on Monday, despite the U.K. recording more than 50,000 new COVID-19 cases for the first time in six months and a dire warning from the British government’s top medical adviser.
Contributing: The Associated Press