U.S. Cases Rise to February Level; Israel Boosters: Virus Update
New coronavirus cases in the U.S. surged to the highest weekly level since early February, fueled by the highly transmissible delta variant. Deaths rose by 49%, the biggest weekly increase since December.
The Pentagon will require members of the U.S. military to get vaccinated by Sept. 15. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention raised the travel advisory for France and Israel to the highest level.
Pfizer Inc. partner BioNTech SE raised its 2021 vaccine sales forecast by 28%. Moderna Inc. will supply South Korea with less than half the planned number of vaccine doses in August due to production problems.
A preliminary Israeli study showed that a booster dose of Pfizer Inc.-BioNTech SE’s vaccine led to similar or less-severe side effects in most of those who received it than the second shot.
- Global Tracker: Cases top 203.1 million; deaths pass 4.29 million
- Vaccine Tracker: More than 4.48 billion doses administered
- China’s Covid-zero strategy risks leaving it isolated for years
- U.S. city with 2.4 million people has just six ICU beds left
- Fully inoculated Malaysians to get travel and dine-in perks
- Restaurants are back on the vaccine culture war’s front lines
Arkansas Sets Hospitalization Record (4:40 p.m. NY)
The number of people hospitalized because of Covid-19 in Arkansas rose to a record 1,376, topping January’s peak of 1,371, according to the Associated Press. The state added 103 virus patients in hospitals, the biggest one-day increase.
Perella Weinberg to Delay Return to Office (4:30 p.m. NY)
Perella Weinberg Partners told staff primarily in New York and London that return-to-office plans will be delayed as the Covid-19 variants spread.
The investment bank may seek to bring more workers back in October, depending on the trajectory of the virus, a person familiar with the matter said, asking not to be identified discussing internal decisions. It had previously sought a September return.
U.S. Prepares to Send Vaccines to Mexico (3:25 p.m. NY)
The U.S. is preparing to send Mexico vaccines from Moderna Inc. and AstraZeneca Plc in coming days to bolster its southern neighbor’s fight against Covid-19, according to people familiar with the discussions.
Vaccines are set to be discussed on a Monday afternoon phone call between Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador and U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris.
Lopez Obrador said at his morning press briefing two weeks ago that Mexico had a new offer for more vaccines from the U.S. after he had requested 5 million vaccines in April. AstraZeneca shipments were delayed due to problems at manufacturer Emergent BioSolutions Inc. in Baltimore.
CDC Raises Advisory for Israel, France (3 p.m. NY)
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention raised the travel advisory for France and Israel to the highest level. The agency lowered the advisory for Canada to level 2, or moderate.
Pentagon to Require Shots for Troops, AP Says (1 p.m. NY)
The Pentagon will require members of the U.S. military to get vaccinated by Sept. 15, the Associated Press reported, citing a memo it said it obtained. That deadline could be pushed up if the vaccine receives final Food and Drug Administration approval or infection rates continue to rise, the wire service repoted.
Israel Considers Lowering Booster Age (11:12 a.m. NY)
Israel is considering lowering the minimum age for a third dose of Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine to 40 or 50 from the current 60, a health ministry official said. Officials are also considering expanding the booster drive to health-care workers, said Nachman Ash, director general of the health ministry.
U.S. Cases Surge to February Levels (10:30 a.m. NY)
Fueled by the highly transmissible delta variant, new coronavirus cases in the U.S. rose to 761,216 in the week ended Sunday, the highest total since early February, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg.
The death toll climbed 49% to 3,486 for same period. It was the biggest weekly increase since December. Overall, more than 616,800 Americans have been killed by the virus.
On Sunday, Anthony Fauci, the U.S.’s top infectious-disease doctor, said he’s “strongly in favor” of speeding booster shots to people with weakened immune systems, a further sign of how the delta variant is shifting the strategies for curbing the pandemic.
Indonesia Lays Out Plans to Live With Covid (8:30 a.m. NY)
Indonesia will gradually ease restrictions in several cities, including the capital Jakarta, as it sets out a roadmap for life with the coronavirus for the next few years.
Those who are vaccinated can go to shopping centers and places of worship in Jakarta and other major cities, with the capacity set at maximum 25%, said Luhut Panjaitan, the government minister overseeing the pandemic response. Bali’s situation remains concerning, he added.
The restrictions for Java and Bali are in place until Aug. 16, while curbs for other islands apply until Aug. 23.
India Finds Benefits in Dose-Mixing (7:18 a.m. NY)
Inadvertently mixing a first dose of AstraZeneca Plc’s Covishield vaccine with a second dose of Covaxin -- a vaccine made by an Indian drugmaker -- led to a higher antibody response in 18 people in a north Indian state against the alpha, beta and delta variants, according to a recent study by the Indian Council of Medical Research.
India, which has fully inoculated only 8.2% its population, recorded 35,499 Covid-19 cases Monday, taking the total tally to almost 32 million. Deaths rose by 447 in a day to 428,309, according to health ministry data.
BioNTech Raises Vaccine Sales Forecast (7 a.m. NY)
BioNTech SE raised its forecast for this year’s Covid-19 vaccine sales to 15.9 billion euros and said it is pushing forward plans to test its messenger RNA technology in cancer drugs.
BioNTech and partner Pfizer Inc. signed contracts to deliver some 2.2 billion doses of the two-shot vaccine this year and more than 1 billion doses in 2022 and beyond, the Mainz, Germany-based company said Monday. BioNTech had previously predicted 12.4 billion euros in 2021 revenue from its only marketed product.
The Covid vaccine is on track to be one of the best-selling drugs of all time, with Pfizer saying last month it may generate $33.5 billion in sales this year.
Iran Deaths Reach Daily Record (5:56 a.m. NY)
Covid-19 fatalities in Iran hit another record overnight at 588, a day after passing 500 for the first time since the start of the pandemic.
The number of new cases also reached a new high for the second straight day with 40,808 infections over the last 24 hours. Iran, the worst-hit country by the pandemic in the Middle East, has seen 94,603 deaths and nearly 4.2 million cases.
Tunisia Gives 550,000 Shots in One Day (5:24 a.m. NY)
Tunisia said it gave vaccinations to more than 551,000 people in a single day, ramping up its immunization campaign in a country that’s reported the highest deaths per capita in Africa. Authorities are planning to vaccinate 50% of Tunisia’s population of 12 million people by the end of October.
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