Covid-19 Live Updates: Delta Variant and Vaccines News


Latest Covid News: Updates on Vaccines, the Delta Variant and Masks

Aug. 3, 2021, 5:09 a.m. ET

Aug. 3, 2021, 5:09 a.m. ET

Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, President Biden’s chief medical adviser, in Washington on Tuesday.
Credit…Stefani Reynolds for The New York Times

Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, President Biden’s chief medical adviser, warned on Sunday that the coronavirus pandemic is now “going in the wrong direction” in the United States because too many Americans are still choosing not to get vaccinated.

Asked on CNN’s “State of the Union” program about projections in recent statistical models that coronavirus cases and deaths could surge in the coming months if vaccination rates don’t increase, Dr. Fauci said, “It’s not going to be good.”

With about half of Americans not yet vaccinated and the fast-spreading Delta variant of the virus circulating, Dr. Fauci and a range of current and former health officials expressed exasperation at the situation on Sunday and vigorously pressed the case that vaccination is the best and most effective way to stem the tide of virus cases.

“It is really a pandemic among the unvaccinated,” Dr. Fauci said, adding, “It’s like you have two kinds of America. You have the very vulnerable unvaccinated part and you have the really relatively protected vaccinated part. If you are vaccinated, you are in a very different category than someone who is not vaccinated.”

The situation is so dire that in recent days, even some Republican governors in low-vaccination states have been pointedly exhorting people to get a Covid vaccine.

On Sunday on CNN, Gov. Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas said that, with the new school year on the horizon, “this is a pivotal moment in our race against the Covid virus,” adding that “what’s holding us back is a low vaccination rate.”

Governor Hutchinson, a Republican, said he has been holding town halls recently, which he credited for a 40 percent increase in vaccination. Still he added that “certainly the resistance has hardened” among some people. “It’s simply false information,” he said. “It is myths.”

On CBS’s “Face the Nation,” Dr. Jerome Adams, who was surgeon general in the Trump administration, also encouraged vaccination, casting the decision in patriotic terms. “Get vaccinated because it’s going to help every single American enjoy the freedoms that we want to return to,” he said.

Dr. Adams said some people still have legitimate questions about getting vaccinated, including workers who worry post-vaccine side effects might cause them to miss a day of work or a paycheck. He predicted immunization rates would increase once the vaccines — currently available under emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration — become fully licensed. That is likely to prompt the military and some businesses to mandate vaccination for service members and employees, he said.

In the meantime, Dr. Adams said the message should be “it is your choice, but choices come with consequences to you and other people,” including children not yet old enough for vaccination and people who are medically vulnerable.

Several current and former officials discussed whether recommendations or mandates for wearing masks should be reinstated.

Dr. Fauci said the Biden administration was considering reissuing stronger mask-wearing guidelines. In May, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention relaxed its guidance, saying that people who are fully vaccinated do not need to wear a mask in most indoor settings.

Dr. Adams said “that guidance, quite frankly, has confused citizens, it’s frustrated businesses and public health officials who I continue to hear from, and it’s been, by any qualification, a failure.”

He said the C.D.C. should state clearly that even people who are vaccinated should wear masks if they are in public, around people whose vaccination status is unclear or in a community where virus cases are increasing.

“The C.D.C. needs to give those businesses, those health officials a little bit of cover by clarifying the guidance that they have out there,” Dr. Adams said.

A furniture store in San Antonio in May. An executive order by Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas bars local governments from requiring masks.
Credit…Christopher Lee for The New York Times

As the Delta variant of the coronavirus spreads through unvaccinated populations in the United States, many municipalities, colleges and businesses are weighing not only whether to require vaccinations but also whether to reimpose indoor mask mandates.

Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said on Thursday that her agency had no plans to change the guidance it issued in May. That guidance allowed localities leeway to make their own rules but said that people who were fully vaccinated could shed their masks in most situations. Many Americans — vaccinated or not — did so with relief.

Now, the highly contagious Delta variant and the fear of breakthrough infections, however mild they usually are, have led many individuals to consider covering their faces again.

Nationally, new cases, hospitalizations and deaths remain far below their winter peaks, but there have been steep rises in both cases and hospitalizations in some less vaccinated areas.

Vaccines are effective against the worst outcomes of Covid-19, including cases caused by the Delta variant. But the pace of inoculations has decreased more than 80 percent since mid-April, and less than half of the country is fully vaccinated, according to federal data.

As a result, some cities are turning to masking as an additional precaution. Los Angeles County, one of the first places to reinstate a mask mandate, requires masks to be worn in public indoor spaces regardless of vaccination status. St. Louis announced a similar mask mandate on Friday.

Many other local health authorities around the country are recommending that people mask indoors, as Philadelphia’s health department did on Thursday. New Orleans announced an “indoor mask advisory” the day before.

Officials in other cities, including New York, have been more reluctant to call for greater mask use. One of the earliest U.S. epicenters of the pandemic, New York logged more than 33,000 deaths connected to the virus, and about two million adults there are still not vaccinated. A statewide mask mandate for vaccinated residents was lifted last month.

But the city’s new reported cases are up 162 percent over the past two weeks, according to a New York Times tracker, and on Friday, Mayor Bill de Blasio said that he might impose a much wider vaccine mandate for city workers, encouraging private employers to do the same.

A day earlier, Mr. de Blasio said that he was not planning to mandate masks, noting that they were already required in many public areas, like schools, hospitals and the subway.

“People need to get vaccinated, period,” Mr. de Blasio said. “Nothing will do what vaccination will do.”

In late June, as U.S. Delta cases began increasing, Dr. Robert Wachter, the chairman of the Department of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, said he believed that the areas that would need protection most — those with the smallest proportion of full vaccination — might be the least prone to institute precautions.

“What you will see is sort of a bizarre version of what you’re already seeing in some places in the country, where the people who are most likely to wear masks inside are the vaccinated people,” he said. “They need it less than the unvaccinated people, but they’re not confident the unvaccinated people are wearing them.”

Southern states seeing rises in reported infections have steered clear of mask mandates.

In Mississippi, where only 34 percent of the population is fully vaccinated, some hospitals are running out of intensive care capacity because of Covid, the state’s health officer, Dr. Thomas E. Dobbs III, said on Tuesday.

The state recently called for residents 65 and older or with chronic medical conditions to avoid large indoor gatherings, children 12 and older to be vaccinated and for unvaccinated people to wear masks in public, but it stopped short of a mandate.

In Texas, where only 43 percent of residents are fully vaccinated, there has been a 194 percent increase in the number of people testing positive in the last two weeks, according to a New York Times tracker.

Parts of Texas have moved to a higher pandemic threat level, with some officials advising that masks be worn in public at all times regardless of vaccination status.

“If I could order all children and teachers to mask without ending up in court, I would do it in a heartbeat,” Mayor Steve Adler of Austin said in a statement on Friday.

Local governments in Texas are barred from requiring masks by an executive order that Gov. Greg Abbott issued in May.

Britain’s health secretary, Sajid Javid, at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London this month. 
Credit…Pool photo by Stefan Rousseau

Sajid Javid, Britain’s health secretary, has apologized for saying that the public would have to “learn to live with, rather than cower from, this virus” after critics called him insensitive to victims of the pandemic.

On Saturday, a week after testing positive for the coronavirus — which in turn sent Prime Minister Boris Johnson and another senior British official into self-isolation — Mr. Javid said on Twitter that he had fully recovered and had experienced only mild symptoms, crediting the fact that he had been vaccinated. But on Sunday morning, he deleted the tweet and apologized for using the word “cower.”

“I was expressing gratitude that the vaccines help us fight back as a society, but it was a poor choice of word,” Mr. Javid wrote. “Like many, I have lost loved ones to this awful virus and would never minimise its impact.”

Opposition lawmakers said that Mr. Javid, who was appointed health secretary in June, had insulted health workers and had disrespected the more than 129,000 people who have died from the virus in Britain. Mr. Javid’s predecessor, Matt Hancock, resigned after tabloid newspaper reports accused him of having an affair with an aide, apparently violating coronavirus restrictions.

Angela Rayner, deputy leader of the opposition Labour Party, posted on Twitter that National Health Service and other key workers “did not ‘cower.’”

“They risked their lives to keep us all safe,” she added. “Many lost their lives because the government failed to keep them safe and instead ‘let the virus rip.’”

England marked a pandemic milestone last week when, on Monday, it lifted almost all coronavirus restrictions. Mr. Johnson has also cautioned the country’s residents that they will have to “learn to live with the virus.”

An average of 40,417 cases of the virus were reported each day in Britain over the past week, according to a New York Times database, as the Delta variant has driven up transmission. Though case numbers remain low compared with the country’s peak in January, daily reported deaths have increased 133 percent over the past two weeks.

Similar outrage in the United States was directed last year at President Donald J. Trump, who repeatedly played down the threat posed by the coronavirus, even while he was recovering from his own bout of Covid. From the military hospital at which he was being treated, Mr. Trump posted on Twitter: “Don’t be afraid of Covid. Don’t let it dominate your life.” Scientists, ethicists and doctors said that such comments would encourage irresponsible behavior and more transmission.

A woman and her twin 7-year-old daughters in Jakarta, Indonesia, this month. Children make up 12.5 percent of Indonesia’s confirmed Covid-19 cases, a leading doctor said.
Credit…Willy Kurniawan/Reuters

Hundreds of children in Indonesia have died from the coronavirus in recent weeks, many of them under 5, a development that appears to run counter to the global trend of children facing minimal risk, the country’s leading pediatricians say.

The nation’s pediatric society attributed more than 100 deaths of children to Covid-19 each week this month, as Indonesia has confronted its biggest surge yet in coronavirus cases. Its government has faced mounting criticism that it has been unprepared and slow to act.

“Our numbers are the highest in the world,” the head of the Indonesian Pediatric Society, Dr. Aman Bhakti Pulungan, said of the death rate. “Why are we not giving the best for our children?”

The jump in child deaths coincides with the surge of the Delta variant, which has swept through Southeast Asia, where vaccination rates are low, causing record outbreaks not only in Indonesia, but in Thailand, Malaysia, Myanmar and Vietnam as well.

Indonesia, the world’s fourth-most populous nation, this month overtook India and Brazil in the number of daily cases, becoming the new epicenter of the pandemic. The government reported nearly 50,000 new infections and 1,566 deaths among the entire population on Friday.

On Sunday, Indonesia’s president, Joko Widodo, extended some restrictions on gatherings and commerce through Aug. 2 but relaxed others, such as allowing traditional markets to resume operating as usual with strict health protocols.

Based on reports from pediatricians, children now make up 12.5 percent of the country’s confirmed cases, an increase over previous months, said Dr. Aman, executive director of the pediatric association. More than 150 children died from Covid-19 during the week of July 12 alone, he said, with half the recent deaths involving those younger than 5.

The country’s low vaccination rate is one factor. Just 16 percent of Indonesians have received one dose and only 6 percent have been fully vaccinated, according to the Our World in Data project at the University of Oxford. Like other countries, Indonesia does not vaccinate children under 12 and only recently began vaccinating those between 12 and 18.

Concertgoers at the Faster Horses Festival at Michigan International Speedway this month in Brooklyn, Mich.
Credit…Erika Goldring/Getty Images

At least 17 people were infected with the coronavirus after they attended a country music festival in Michigan, health officials have said.

The event, called the Faster Horses Festival, held July 16 to 18 in Brooklyn, Mich., was the state’s first major music festival since the pandemic began. Some of the people were at the festival while they were infectious, a statement from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services said.

“Although we have made great progress with vaccination in our state, the virus continues to circulate in Michigan and across the country,” Dr. Joneigh Khaldun of the Michigan Health Department said in the statement. “Attendees at the festival may have been exposed and are urged to get tested if they are not fully vaccinated or if they develop symptoms.”

Courtney Johanson, a spokeswoman for the Faster Horses Festival, said in a statement that organizers “worked closely with local officials to ensure all recommended guidelines were followed. And we continue to strongly encourage everyone who can to get vaccinated.”

Ms. Johanson said that 37,000 people attended the festival.

Cases in Michigan have doubled over the past two weeks, with a seven-day average of 415 new daily cases on Saturday — still a small fraction of the number of cases recorded when the coronavirus was at its worst. Vaccination efforts have steadily progressed, with 53 percent of residents having received at least one shot, and 49 percent fully vaccinated, according to a New York Times database.

Separately, three people died from what officials said was carbon monoxide exposure while camping near the festival. The festival’s organizers posted a statement on Twitter, saying, “Our hearts are broken for the families, friends and loved ones.”

Empty vaccine vials at a vaccination site near Munich in May. Online disinformation campaigns targeting everything from vaccine manufacturers to elections have become a booming business.
Credit…Matthias Schrader/Associated Press

In May, several French and German social media influencers received a strange proposal.

A London-based public relations agency wanted to pay them to promote messages on behalf of a client. A polished three-page document detailed what to say and on which platforms to say it.

But it asked the influencers to push not beauty products or vacation packages, as is typical, but falsehoods tarring Pfizer-BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine. Stranger still, the agency, Fazze, claimed a London address where there is no evidence any such company exists.

Some recipients posted screenshots of the offer. Exposed, Fazze scrubbed its social media accounts. That same week, Brazilian and Indian influencers posted videos echoing Fazze’s script to hundreds of thousands of viewers.

The scheme appears to be part of a secretive industry that security analysts and American officials say is exploding in scale: disinformation for hire.

Private firms, straddling traditional marketing and the shadow world of geopolitical influence operations, are selling services once conducted principally by intelligence agencies.

They sow discord, meddle in elections, seed false narratives and push viral conspiracies, mostly on social media. And they offer clients something precious: deniability.

“Disinfo-for-hire actors being employed by government or government-adjacent actors is growing and serious,” said Graham Brookie, director of the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab, calling it “a boom industry.”

Job postings and employee LinkedIn profiles associated with Fazze describe it as a subsidiary of a Moscow-based company called Adnow. Some Fazze web domains are registered as owned by Adnow, as first reported by the German outlets Netzpolitik and ARD Kontraste. Third-party reviews portray Adnow as a struggling ad service provider.

European officials say they are investigating who hired Adnow. Sections of Fazze’s anti-Pfizer talking points resemble promotional materials for Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine.

For-hire disinformation, though only sometimes effective, is growing more sophisticated as practitioners iterate and learn. Experts say it is becoming more common in every part of the world, outpacing operations conducted directly by governments.

The result is an accelerating rise in polarizing conspiracies, phony citizen groups and fabricated public sentiment, deteriorating our shared reality beyond even the depths of recent years.

Jordana Gonzalez, left, a coordinator at BronxWorks, helping Miguel Moran, 68, apply for the state’s emergency rental assistance program, which was designed to aid people who have fallen behind on rent.
Credit…Desiree Rios for The New York Times

When New York started a sweeping rent relief program in June, the aim was to safeguard the state’s recovery from the pandemic by keeping tens of thousands of people who fell behind on rent out of financial ruin and in their homes.

The state set aside about $2.7 billion, the vast majority from federal pandemic relief packages, with New York providing some funding.

But after nearly two months and despite the staggering need, New York has been among the slowest states in distributing help. In fact, federal figures showed that by the end of June, New York was one of only two states where no aid had been sent out, even though the state’s eviction moratorium is set to expire in just a few weeks.

State officials said that they had started distributing a small sum — $117,000 — this month to test the payment system and that more funds were expected to be sent out starting last week.

The application process, which is primarily online, has been hobbled by technical glitches, according to housing groups. Many tenants have encountered errors that in some cases wiped away entire applications.

The payments covering back rent go directly to property owners, which means landlords also have to fill out forms. Many say it is difficult to upload the required paperwork, leaving applications seemingly incomplete.

Housing groups say the process is overly complex, requiring too many documents, and takes a long time to complete because there is no way to save and restart an application.

A vaccination center in Manila on Wednesday.
Credit…Eloisa Lopez/Reuters

Tighter pandemic restrictions went into effect on Sunday in Manila, the capital of the Philippines, after health officials confirmed local transmission of the more contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus.

Under the new restrictions in Manila and four surrounding provinces, which will last at least until the end of the month, gyms are closed, restaurants and other businesses have to operate at reduced capacity and a curfew is in effect from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. Children ages 5 to 17 are not allowed to leave their homes.

The measures fall short of the total lockdown the capital was under early in the pandemic and again this spring.

Also starting Sunday, the Philippines barred passengers traveling from Malaysia and Thailand, adding them to a list of eight other countries in Asia and the Middle East. Both Malaysia and Thailand are experiencing their worst virus outbreaks of the pandemic, fueled by the Delta variant that was first detected in India.

The Philippines has reported dozens of cases of the Delta variant since May, when the country’s first cases were found in two workers returning from overseas. The first locally acquired cases were reported this month. On Sunday, the Department of Health reported 55 new cases of the Delta variant, 94 cases of the Alpha variant that was first detected in Britain and 179 cases of the Beta variant that was first detected in South Africa.

The Philippines, which has recorded the second-highest number of virus cases in Southeast Asia after Indonesia, has struggled to vaccinate its population amid a global supply shortage. About 5 percent of the population is fully vaccinated, according to a New York Times database. But shipments have picked up in recent weeks, including one million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine donated by Japan and 3.2 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine donated by the United States through the Covax global vaccine-sharing program.

The waiting area of a pop-up vaccination site at St. John the Divine Cathedral in New York sat empty last month.
Credit…David Dee Delgado/Getty Images

After an all-too-brief respite, the United States is again at a crossroads. The number of coronavirus infections has risen fourfold in a month to 51,000 cases per day, on average. The country may again see overflowing hospitals and thousands of needless deaths.

The more contagious Delta variant of the virus has been getting the blame, but fueling its rise is an older, more familiar foe: vaccine hesitancy and refusal. Were a wider swath of the population vaccinated, there would be no resurgence — of the Delta variant or any other version of the coronavirus.

The vaccines effectively prevent severe illness and death, yet nearly half of the population remains unprotected. Even though America is one of the few nations with enough vaccines to inoculate every resident, about 30 percent of adults have not received even a single dose, and the percentage is much higher in some parts of the country.

Every infected person offers the coronavirus another opportunity to morph into a new variant. The unvaccinated are not the only ones who will be affected by another wave. Already in some communities, people are being asked to wear masks indoors. If the numbers continue to soar, the restrictions that had divided the country earlier in the pandemic may return. Workplaces may need to close again, and schools, too.

And some number of vaccinated people will become infected. Breakthrough infections were expected to be rare with the original virus, but recent data suggest they may be less so with the Delta variant. It is roughly twice as contagious, and some early evidence hints that people infected with the variant carry the virus in much higher amounts.

“The larger the force of infection that comes from the pandemic in unvaccinated populations, the more breakthrough infections there will be,” said Dr. Bill Hanage, an epidemiologist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

And while most breakthrough infections produce few to no symptoms, some may prompt illness in vaccinated people serious enough to lay them up in bed — and put their children or older relatives at risk.

Andrew Jones, 15, getting his first Covid vaccine shot this month at a pharmacy in Little Rock, Ark.
Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

Facing growing coronavirus case numbers and a population heading into the school year in the next month, Arkansas is struggling to persuade more people to get the vaccine and curb a new wave.

“What’s holding us back is a low vaccination rate,” Gov. Asa Hutchinson, a Republican, said on Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union” program. Just 45 percent of the state’s residents have received at least one shot, among the lowest rates in the country.

Officials in Arkansas and other states with high numbers of unvaccinated residents, mainly in the South and West, have opposed sweeping mandates for masks and inoculations or have balked at resuming other restrictions.

“I made the decision that it’s really not what the government can tell you to do, but it is the community and their engagement and citizens talking to other citizens and trusted advisers, whether it’s medical community or whether it’s employers, those are key,” Mr. Hutchinson said.

Arkansas’s caseload has more than doubled over the past two weeks, reaching a seven-day average of 1,678 new cases each day, according to a New York Times database. Hospitalizations and deaths are also on the rise.

Mr. Hutchinson said the state had seen a sizable increase in vaccinations since it started an outreach and education program with town halls. He attributed persistent vaccine hesitancy to misinformation and conspiracy theories.

In April, Mr. Hutchinson signed legislation that forbids localities from mandating masks, including in schools, a bill that many state Democrats are now pressing him to reconsider. It has left local officials’ hands tied in trying to slow the current surge in cases.

“We shifted to the emphasis on vaccinations,” Mr. Hutchinson said, adding that mandates tended to harden resistance and increase opposition to government.

He did say that the state’s guidelines still recommend mask-wearing for the unvaccinated, and that that would be a topic for local officials to discuss as school reopens.

Late last week, the Republican governor of Alabama, Kay Ivey, went a bit further, saying it was “time to start blaming the unvaccinated folks” for the country’s lingering Covid crisis. “It’s the unvaccinated folks that are letting us down,” she said.

One striking difference of late as the highly contagious Delta variant sweeps through unprotected populations is what many worry is a higher percentage of serious infections among lower age groups. “We are seeing younger adults going to the hospital,” Mr. Hutchinson said.

With the new school year looming, and a new legislative session not scheduled until the fall, many fear that schools will see the effects of the surge on unvaccinated students.

When it comes to protecting young people in schools, Mr. Hutchinson said the solution was to get their parents and family members inoculated. “That’s the cocoon,” Mr. Hutchinson said. “That’s the protection that we need to provide them as we go back to school.”

The swimmers Chase Kalisz of the United States, center, gold medal winner in the men’s 400-meter individual medley, Jay Litherland of the United States, silver, left, and Brendon Smith of Australia, bronze, in Tokyo on Sunday.
Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

It is a quintessential Olympic moment. After every event, after the Olympic champion’s national anthem is played, the winners of the silver and bronze medals are welcomed to the top step of the medals stand. There, they pose — together with the winner — for a photograph.

And this year, it’s that last bit that has caused a problem, and a mid-Games rules change.

Worried that medal-winning athletes were openly violating strict coronavirus protocols by removing their masks and posing with fellow competitors after events, the International Olympic Committee on Sunday announced a modification to those ceremony procedures.

Starting Sunday, medalists were allowed to pose — briefly, and unmasked and socially distanced from their rivals — for photos.

The victory ceremony protocol was adapted, the I.O.C. said, “to allow athletes to have an image for the media that captures their faces and their emotions during a unique moment in their sporting career, as well as to celebrate the achievements of all the medalists together.”

But they, and the photographers, need to be quick about it. Under the new rules, the brief window for photos is not to exceed 30 seconds, and “at no point during this limited time should the athletes be invited to join each other on the gold-medal platform. They must remain on their dedicated platform respecting the original distance.”

Only after a signal from an Olympic official will the medalists be allowed to join the winner on the highest podium for a second set of images. Those, the I.O.C. said, must take place with masks on.

As the more contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus sows more infections among unvaccinated people in the United States, it has also started to send more Americans to the hospital, straining health care centers in portions of the Midwest, the West and the South.

Covid-19 hospitalizations are trending upward in 45 states, though levels remain well below previous peaks. In parts of the country with relatively low vaccination rates, including Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri and Nevada, hospitalizations have increased more rapidly.

Hospital staff members and health officials in these areas say the rise has come quickly and unexpectedly, driven by the more aggressive Delta variant, low vaccination coverage and their communities’ return to the social activities of prepandemic life.

At Mercy Hospital in Springfield, Mo., in a county where just over a third of the population is fully vaccinated, staff members say that this summer’s surge in patients came nearly five times as fast as the fall’s. In just over a month, the hospital’s Covid patient count grew to 115 from 26, and it briefly faced a shortage of ventilators.

And now with 155 Covid patients, the hospital has far surpassed its last peak, and expects to see more than 200 patients by early August. To prepare, it’s readying a third I.C.U. for patients with Covid-19.

“I think any community that has low vaccination rates and has not experienced this yet, better get ready,” said Erik Frederick, Mercy’s chief administrative officer. “Because what we are seeing with this Delta variant, it’s not an ‘if,’ it’s a ‘when.’”

Hospital and state officials across the country report that the vast majority of hospitalized Covid patients are unvaccinated, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that the national proportion is more than 97 percent.

The American golfer Bryson DeChambeau at the Masters tournament in Augusta, Ga., in April.
Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

The men’s golf tournament at the Olympics will begin on Thursday without either of the last two U.S. Open winners.

The American golfer Bryson DeChambeau, the 2020 U.S. Open winner, and Jon Rahm of Spain, the 2021 winner, both pulled out of the Olympics on Sunday after testing positive for the coronavirus.

In June, Rahm was forced to pull out of the Memorial Tournament with a six-stroke lead after a positive test. At the time he said he had been vaccinated but had not completed the 14-day period after which the protection becomes robust.

The announcement of his latest positive test came from the Spanish Olympic Committee and was brief. It did not speculate as to why or how Rahm had tested positive a second time. It did say that two earlier tests had been negative.

DeChambeau will be replaced by Patrick Reed, the 2018 Masters winner. Rahm, currently the No. 1 ranked golfer in the world, will not be replaced on the Spanish team.

DeChambeau tested positive as part of normal testing procedures for all athletes and others heading to Tokyo for the Games, U.S.A. Golf said.

“I will now focus on getting healthy, and I look forward to returning to competition once I am cleared to do so,” DeChambeau said in a statement.

The rest of the men’s team is Justin Thomas, Xander Schauffele and Collin Morikawa, the reigning British Open champion.

Golf returned to the Olympics in 2016 after an absence of more than 100 years. Justin Rose of Britain won the gold medal for the men, and Inbee Park of South Korea won it for the women.



Athletes who have tested positive for the coronavirus

Scientists say that positive tests are expected with daily testing programs, even among the vaccinated. Some athletes who have tested positive have not been publicly identified, and some who tested positive were later cleared to participate in the Games.


Aug. 4

Anna Chernysheva

Russian Olympic Committee

Karate

Russian Olympic Committee

Aug. 3

Walid Bidani

Weightlifting

Algeria

July 30

Sparkle McKnight

Track and field

Trinidad and Tobago

Paula Reto

Golf

South Africa

Andwuelle Wright

Track and field

Trinidad and Tobago

July 29

Germán Chiaraviglio

Track and field

Argentina

Sam Kendricks

Track and field

United States

July 28

Bruno Rosetti

Rowing

Italy

July 27

Mohammed Fardj

Wrestling

Algeria

Evangelia Platanioti

Artistic swimming

Greece

July 26

Jean-Julien Rojer

Tennis

Netherlands

July 25

Samy Colman

Equestrian

Morocco

Jon Rahm

Golf

Spain

Djamel Sedjati

Track and field

Algeria

Bilal Tabti

Track and field

Algeria

July 24

Bryson DeChambeau

Golf

United States

July 23

Finn Florijn

Rowing

Netherlands

Jelle Geens

Triathlon

Belgium

Simon Geschke

Road cycling

Germany

Frederico Morais

Surfing

Portugal

July 22

Taylor Crabb

Beach volleyball

United States

Reshmie Oogink

Taekwondo

Netherlands

Michal Schlegel

Road cycling

Czech Republic

Marketa Slukova

Beach volleyball

Czech Republic

July 21

Fernanda Aguirre

Taekwondo

Chile

Ilya Borodin

Russian Olympic Committee

Swimming

Russian Olympic Committee

Amber Hill

Shooting

Britain

Candy Jacobs

Skateboarding

Netherlands

Youcef Reguigui

Road cycling

Algeria

Pavel Sirucek

Table tennis

Czech Republic

July 20

Sammy Solís

Baseball

Mexico

Sonja Vasic

Basketball

Serbia

Hector Velazquez

Baseball

Mexico

July 19

Kara Eaker

Gymnastics

United States

Ondrej Perusic

Beach volleyball

Czech Republic

Katie Lou Samuelson

Three-on-three basketball

United States

July 18

Coco Gauff

Tennis

United States

Kamohelo Mahlatsi

Soccer

South Africa

Thabiso Monyane

Soccer

South Africa

July 16

Dan Craven

Road cycling

Namibia

Alex de Minaur

Tennis

Australia

July 14

Dan Evans

Tennis

Britain

July 13

Johanna Konta

Tennis

Britain

July 3

Milos Vasic

Rowing

Serbia

July 2

Hideki Matsuyama

Golf

Japan


Maria Rapier with her husband, Beau Rapier, and their child Guinevere at home in Oakland, Calif., on Sunday. Ms. Rapier left her job during the pandemic to take a lower-level, less demanding position.
Credit…Carolyn Fong for The New York Times

Millions of parents, mostly mothers, have stopped working for pay because of the pandemic child care crisis. But for many more who have held on to their jobs, child care demands have also affected their careers, often in less visible ways. They have worked fewer hours, declined assignments or decided not to take a promotion or pursue a new job.

“I think a lot of women who weren’t forced out count themselves lucky — but they were forced to be quiet,” said Maria Rapier, a mother of three who left a job where she ran a department and contributed to board meetings to take a lower-level, less demanding position. “Even if they did get to keep their job, they couldn’t participate fully because half the time they were looking over their laptop at their kids and the laundry piling up.”

In a survey by Morning Consult for The New York Times during the school year, of 468 mothers working for pay, one-third said they had worked fewer hours during the pandemic because of child care issues, and an additional one-fifth had moved to part time.

Twenty-eight percent declined new responsibilities at work. Twenty-three percent did not apply for new jobs, and 16 percent did not pursue a promotion.

An aid application form. “Students have had to go out into the work force to support their families,” said Bill DeBaun, director of data and evaluation at the nonprofit National College Attainment Network.
Credit…Jon Elswick/Associated Press Photo

U.S. high school seniors completed fewer federal financial aid applications for college this year, as compared with last year, which saw an even steeper drop — signals that the number of low-income students attending college is falling again.

The National College Attainment Network, a nonprofit organization that promotes college attendance and completion by low-income students, links the drop to the economic uncertainty caused by the pandemic.

“Students have had to go out into the work force to support their families,” said Bill DeBaun, the organization’s director of data and evaluation.

Many low-income students, who are disproportionately Black and Hispanic, are electing to take advantage of a pandemic labor shortage. More well-paying hourly jobs are available, in some cases with signing bonuses. “Higher wages do draw students from the margins,” Mr. DeBaun said.

Applications dropped by nearly 5 percent this year, or about 102,000 forms. Counting the drop last year, 270,000 high school students who might have attended college skipped filling out the financial aid forms, according to the organization’s analysis.

That is not good news for colleges that are struggling to fill their classes. Many low-income students normally attend community colleges and regional four-year schools, which have already borne the brunt of enrollment declines during the pandemic.

Michigan was one of the most affected states in terms of college enrollment losses last fall, with a decline of 9.2 percent, according to Ryan Fewins-Bliss, executive director of the Michigan College Access Network.

“These were enormous hits,” he said.

The federal form, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, requires students to supply financial information that is used not only to award federal grants and loans, but also to determine who gets financial assistance supplied by states and individual colleges.

And while it’s still possible for students who intend to enter college this fall to fill out an application and apply for federal Pell grants, the data collected by early summer are considered a barometer of college attendance for the fall.

The numbers, analyzed through July 2, also show that the poorest-of-the-poor students are lagging behind their counterparts in applying for aid, according to Mr. DeBaun.

“High schools with higher concentrations of students of color and students from low-income backgrounds saw greater declines in FAFSA completions,” he said.

For high schools with more than 40 percent Black and Hispanic enrollment, the decline in FAFSA completion rates was 8.1 percent, compared with a 2.2 percent drop for schools with lower Black and Hispanic enrollment, he said.

“Once students graduate from high school and they go out into the work force, they’re kind of in the wind,” Mr. DeBaun said. “For students of color, students of low-income backgrounds, the college-going pathway has never been easy. And the pandemic has created this maelstrom of different kinds of outcomes.”

Many of the low-income students who receive Pell grants attend the nation’s more than 1,000 two-year colleges, which provide a low-cost alternative for students who lack the means to pursue four-year degrees.

Those colleges, which frequently enroll older students, many with families, have experienced a big enrollment decline during the pandemic — about 10 percent — according to data from the National Student Clearinghouse.

The rower Finn Florijn of the Netherlands tested positive after his Olympic debut on Friday. His required 10-day quarantine will cut short his participation in the Games.
Credit…Piroschka Van De Wouw/Reuters

Tokyo Olympic organizers on Monday announced 16 new positive coronavirus tests among people connected to the Games. At least 153 people with Olympic credentials, including 19 athletes, have tested positive.

Some athletes who tested positive have not been publicly identified.

The Netherlands team announced that the rower Finn Florijn had tested positive after his Olympic debut on Friday. Florijn, 21, had been scheduled to compete on Saturday, but his required 10-day quarantine will cut short his competition.

The average number of cases in Japan has increased 105 percent in the past two weeks, according to New York Times data.



Athletes who have tested positive for the coronavirus

Scientists say that positive tests are expected with daily testing programs, even among the vaccinated. Some athletes who have tested positive have not been publicly identified, and some who tested positive were later cleared to participate in the Games.


Aug. 4

Anna Chernysheva

Russian Olympic Committee

Karate

Russian Olympic Committee

Aug. 3

Walid Bidani

Weightlifting

Algeria

July 30

Sparkle McKnight

Track and field

Trinidad and Tobago

Paula Reto

Golf

South Africa

Andwuelle Wright

Track and field

Trinidad and Tobago

July 29

Germán Chiaraviglio

Track and field

Argentina

Sam Kendricks

Track and field

United States

July 28

Bruno Rosetti

Rowing

Italy

July 27

Mohammed Fardj

Wrestling

Algeria

Evangelia Platanioti

Artistic swimming

Greece

July 26

Jean-Julien Rojer

Tennis

Netherlands

July 25

Samy Colman

Equestrian

Morocco

Jon Rahm

Golf

Spain

Djamel Sedjati

Track and field

Algeria

Bilal Tabti

Track and field

Algeria

July 24

Bryson DeChambeau

Golf

United States

July 23

Finn Florijn

Rowing

Netherlands

Jelle Geens

Triathlon

Belgium

Simon Geschke

Road cycling

Germany

Frederico Morais

Surfing

Portugal

July 22

Taylor Crabb

Beach volleyball

United States

Reshmie Oogink

Taekwondo

Netherlands

Michal Schlegel

Road cycling

Czech Republic

Marketa Slukova

Beach volleyball

Czech Republic

July 21

Fernanda Aguirre

Taekwondo

Chile

Ilya Borodin

Russian Olympic Committee

Swimming

Russian Olympic Committee

Amber Hill

Shooting

Britain

Candy Jacobs

Skateboarding

Netherlands

Youcef Reguigui

Road cycling

Algeria

Pavel Sirucek

Table tennis

Czech Republic

July 20

Sammy Solís

Baseball

Mexico

Sonja Vasic

Basketball

Serbia

Hector Velazquez

Baseball

Mexico

July 19

Kara Eaker

Gymnastics

United States

Ondrej Perusic

Beach volleyball

Czech Republic

Katie Lou Samuelson

Three-on-three basketball

United States

July 18

Coco Gauff

Tennis

United States

Kamohelo Mahlatsi

Soccer

South Africa

Thabiso Monyane

Soccer

South Africa

July 16

Dan Craven

Road cycling

Namibia

Alex de Minaur

Tennis

Australia

July 14

Dan Evans

Tennis

Britain

July 13

Johanna Konta

Tennis

Britain

July 3

Milos Vasic

Rowing

Serbia

July 2

Hideki Matsuyama

Golf

Japan






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