Tuesday, December 07, 2021

July 14, 2021 COVID-19 deaths and cases are on the rise again globally in a dispiriting setback that is triggering another round of restrictions and dampening hopes for a return to normal life. The World Health Organization reported Wednesday that deaths climbed last week after nine straight weeks of decline. It recorded more than 55,000 lives lost, a 3% increase from the week before.

Cases rose 10% last week to nearly 3 million, with the highest numbers recorded in Brazil, India, Indonesia and Britain, WHO said.

The reversal has been attributed to low vaccination rates, the relaxation of mask rules and other precautions, and the swift spread of the more contagious delta variant, which WHO said has now been identified in 111 countries and is expected to become globally dominant in the coming months.

Sarah McCool, a professor of public health at Georgia State University, said the combination amounts to a “recipe for a potential tinderbox.”

“It’s important that we recognize that COVID has the potential for explosive outbreaks,” warned Dr. David Dowdy, an infectious disease specialist at Johns Hopkins University.

Amid the surge, the death toll in hard-hit Argentina surpassed 100,000. Daily coronavirus deaths in Russia hit record highs this week. In Belgium, COVID-19 infections, driven by the delta variant among the young, have almost doubled over the past week. Britain recorded a one-day total of more than 40,000 new cases for the first time in six months.

In Myanmar, crematoriums are working morning tonight. In Indonesia, which recorded almost 1,000 deaths and over 54,000 new cases Wednesday, up from around 8,000 cases per day a month ago, people near Jakarta are pitching in to help gravediggers keep up.

“As the diggers are too tired and do not have enough resources to dig, the residents in my neighborhood decided to help,” Jaya Abidin said. “Because if we do not do this, we will have to wait in turn a long time for a burial.”

In the U.S., with one of the highest vaccination rates in the world, newly confirmed infections per day have doubled over the past two weeks to an average of about 24,000, though deaths are still on a downward trajectory at around 260 a day.

Los Angeles County, the most populous county in the U.S., reported its fifth straight day Tuesday of more than 1,000 new cases.

Tokyo is under a fourth state of emergency ahead of the Summer Games this month, with infections climbing fast and hospital beds filling up. Experts have said caseloads could rise above 1,000 before the Olympics and multiply to thousands during the games.

The spike has led to additional restrictions in places like Sydney, Australia, where the 5 million residents will remain in lockdown through at least the end of July, two weeks longer than planned. South Korea has placed the Seoul area under its toughest distancing rules yet because of record case levels.

Parts of Spain, including Barcelona, moved to impose an overnight curfew. London Mayor Sadiq Khan said masks will be required on buses and trains even after other restrictions in England are lifted next week. Italy warned all those going abroad that they might have to quarantine before returning home.

Chicago announced that unvaccinated travelers from Missouri and Arkansas must either quarantine for 10 days or have a negative COVID-19 test.

Connecticut lawmakers voted Wednesday to again extend Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont’s emergency declarations, despite pushback from Republicans and some Democrats who argued it is time to get back to normal. Among other things, the move keeps in place orders requiring masks in certain settings.

An Alabama military base has ordered troops to show proof of vaccination before they can go maskless as the state sees an uptick in COVID-19 cases, a rise attributed to low vaccination rates. The measure was put in place Tuesday at Fort Rucker, home to the Army’s aviation program.

As troubling as the figures are around the world, they are still well below the alarming numbers seen earlier this year.

Seven months into the vaccination drive, global deaths are down to around 7,900 a day, after topping out at over 18,000 a day in January, according to Johns Hopkins data. Cases are running at around 450,000 a day, down by half since their peak in late April.

WHO acknowledged that many countries are now facing “considerable pressure” to lift all remaining precautions but warned that failing to do it the right way will just give the virus more opportunity to spread.

Pressure is growing worldwide to boost vaccination rates to counter the rise.

“If you have been waiting, if you have been on the fence, sign up and get that shot as soon as possible,” New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi pleaded.

Eighteen-year-old actress and singer Olivia Rodrigo appeared at the White House on Wednesday as part of an effort by President Joe Biden to persuade more young people. Getting a vaccination is something “you can do more easily than ever before,” she said.

While nearly 160 million Americans have been fully vaccinated, or over 55% of the population, young adults have shown less interest.

Ohio is planning another prize program to encourage vaccinations, and Gov. Mike DeWine urged the government to give the vaccines full approval instead of just emergency authorization to ease people’s doubts.

“The reality is we now have two Ohios,” said Bruce Vanderhoff, the state’s chief medical officer. “An Ohio that is vaccinated and protected on the one hand, and an Ohio that is unvaccinated and vulnerable to delta on the other.”

Michigan already started a COVID-19 vaccine sweepstake and announced the first four $50,000 winners Wednesday. Bigger prizes, including a $2 million jackpot, are coming.

In Missouri, second only to Arkansas with the worst COVID-19 diagnosis rate over the past week, political leaders in and around St. Louis have stepped up efforts to get people vaccinated through gift cards and by enlisting beauty salons and barbershops to dispense information.

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Entertainment

September 7, 2021  NEW YORK (AP) — Actor Michael K. Williams, who as the rogue robber of drug dealers Omar Little on “The Wire” created one of the most beloved and enduring characters in a prime era of television, died Monday. Williams was found dead Monday afternoon by family members in his Brooklyn penthouse apartment, New York City police said. He was 54. His death was being investigated as a possible drug overdose, the NYPD said. The medical examiner was investigating the cause of death. Little, a “stick-up boy” based on real figures from Baltimore, was probably the most popular character among the devoted fans of “The Wire,” the HBO show that ran from 2002 to 2008 and is re-watched constantly in streaming.

September 8, 2021 LOS ANGELES (AP) — Britney Spears’ father filed Tuesday to end the court conservatorship that has controlled the singer’s life and money for 13 years. James Spears filed his petition to terminate the conservatorship in Los Angeles Superior Court. “As Mr. Spears has said, again and again, all he wants is what is best for his daughter,” the document says. “If Ms. Spears wants to terminate the conservatorship and believes that she can handle her own life, Mr. Spears believes that she should get that chance.” Judge Brenda Penny, who oversees the case, will need to approve the move. Britney Spears attorney Matthew Rosengart said in an email the filing “represents another legal victory for Britney Spears — a massive one — as well as vindication for Ms. Spears.”

September 8, 2021  NEW YORK (AP) — With Katie Holmes and Lil’ Kim on his front row and singer Marina on the mic high above his runway, Christian Siriano helped kicked off New York Fashion Week’s first big pandemic round of in-person shows Tuesday with a flurry of neon and lace-inspired in part by all the Italian women in his life. From ornate Gotham Hall, beneath a stained-glass skylight 70 feet up, Siriano’s commitment to size inclusivity was never stronger as he opened and closed the show with plus-size breakout model Precious Lee. She first walked in a stunning yellow trouser suit with wide loose pants and an asymmetrical jacket, a matching crossover bralette underneath.

September 7, 2021  VENICE, Italy (AP) — Paul Schrader knows he has a limited number of films left, so whatever he does from here on out is going to be for himself. At 75 years old, the writer of “Taxi Driver” and “Raging Bull” and director of “American Gigolo” and “Mishima” was even somewhat prepared to call it a day after his 2018 film “First Reformed,” for which he got his first Oscar nomination. He didn’t want to. He just knew it might be the reality. “I thought I would go back to this character again for about the fifth time,” Schrader said in a recent interview. By “this character” he means “the man in the room.” It’s Travis Bickle. It’s John LeTour. It’s Julian Kay. And it’s a formula he’s been working with for 45 years.

Business News

September 8, 2021  -Stocks were mostly lower in Asia on Wednesday after a lackluster session on Wall Street, where weak jobs data and pandemic concerns weighed on sentiment. Shares rose in Tokyo after economic growth for the April-June quarter was revised upward to an annualized 1.9% from an earlier estimate of 1.3%. “Any feel-good factor was ignored, though, given the climb was less than half of the 4.20% fall in Q1,” Jeffrey Halley of Oanda said in a commentary. “Japan will be lucky to break even this year as the current Covid-19 wave will almost certainly have weighed on domestic consumption,” he said.

September 8, 2021 NEW YORK (AP) — There will be something missing at two Whole Foods stores opening next year: the rows of cashiers. Amazon, which owns the grocery chain, said Wednesday that it will bring its cashier-less technology to two Whole Foods stores for the first time, letting shoppers grab what they need and leave without having to open their wallets. Cameras and sensors track what’s taken off shelves. Items are charged to an Amazon account after customers leave the store with them. But there will be an option for those who want to shop the old-fashioned way: Self-checkout lanes will be available that take cash, gift cards and other types of payment. Amazon first unveiled the cashier-less technology in 2018 at an Amazon Go convenience store and has expanded it to larger Amazon supermarkets. But it will be the first time it has appeared at Whole Foods, a chain of more than 500 grocery stores Amazon bought four years ago.

September 8, 2021  BEIJING (AP) — An avalanche of changes launched by China’s ruling Communist Party has jolted everyone from tech billionaires to school kids. Behind them: President Xi Jinping’s vision of making a more powerful, prosperous country by reviving revolutionary ideals, with more economic equality and tighter party control over society and entrepreneurs. Since taking power in 2012, Xi has called for the party to return to its “original mission” as China’s economic, social and cultural leader and carry out the “ rejuvenation of the great Chinese nation.” The party has spent the decade since then silencing dissent and tightening political control. Now, after 40 years of growth that transformed China into the world’s factory but left a gulf between a wealthy elite and the poor majority, the party is promising to spread prosperity more evenly and is pressing private companies to pay for social welfare and back Beijing’s ambition to become a global technology competitor.

Fashion News

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