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    Matt Barnes and Martín Pérez of Red Sox test positive for COVID-19; Puerto Rico to limit alcohol sales, gatherings amid rising cases – msnNOW

    South Korea sees drop in transmissions after jump — 2:58 a.m.

    By The Associated Press

    South Korean officials are expressing cautious hope that COVID-19 transmissions are beginning to slow, after battling the country’s worst wave of infections for weeks.

    The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency on Tuesday reported the country’s lowest daily jump in about two weeks at 1,372.

    Officials have been enforcing the strongest social distancing restrictions short of a lockdown in the capital of Seoul and other large population centers, including banning private social gatherings of three or more people after 6 p.m.

    A senior health ministry official pleaded for citizens to remain vigilant ahead of next month’s Chuseok holidays, the Korean version of Thanksgiving, when millions usually travel across the country to meet relatives.

    Less than 30% of South Korea’s population have been fully vaccinated.

    Singapore, Australia agree to share COVID-19 vaccine doses — 1:52 a.m.

    By Bloomberg

    Australia and Singapore have agreed to share COVID-19 vaccine doses in a bid to meet both countries’ schedules for vaccinating their populations.

    Singapore’s Foreign Affairs Ministry said the country has made good progress in its vaccination program and can send over about 500,000 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines from its existing stocks to Australia.

    “This will help Australia accelerate its vaccination programme amidst its current increase in cases caused by the Delta variant,” the ministry said in a statement Tuesday.

    Australia will give the same quantity of vaccinates back at a later date after Singapore has drawn down its existing supplies and looks at providing booster shots for some segments of its population.

    Mormon vaccine push ratchets up, dividing faith’s members — 12:30 a.m.

    By The Associated Press

    After more than a year of attending church virtually, Monique Allen has struggled to explain to her asthmatic daughter why people from their congregation of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints don’t wear masks. Allen said she’s taught her daughter that wearing a mask is Christlike, but now she worries her child feels like an outcast.

    Church leaders recently issued their strongest statement yet urging people to “limit the spread” by getting COVID-19 vaccines and wearing masks, but Allen said she fears it’s still not enough to convince the many families in her congregation who refuse to wear masks and have succumbed to anti-vaccine misinformation.

    Australia getting vaccine in swap with Singapore — 12:22 a.m.

    By The Associated Press

    Australia says it has reached a deal with Singapore to acquire 500,000 doses of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine next week in return for delivering the same number of shots to Singapore in December.

    Australia bought 1 million Pfizer doses from Poland for an undisclosed price earlier this month.

    Half of Australia’s population is locked down due to an outbreak of the Delta variant of the coronavirus that began in Sydney in June.

    Australian government leaders plan to end lockdowns once 80% of an area’s residents aged 16 and older are fully vaccinated. Only 34% of that target population was fully vaccinated by this week.

    Portland, Ore., city workers must be vaccinated — 11:01 p.m.

    By The Associated Press

    City employees in Portland, Oregon, must be fully vaccinated against the coronavirus — or obtain a medical or religious exemption — by the middle of October or they will be fired.

    Mayor Ted Wheeler and all four City Commissioners wrote Monday in a letter to municipal workers: “With COVID-19 filling hospitals and claiming lives, we must do everything within our power to end this pandemic and restore our community’s health.”

    The city will require its approximately 6,800 employees to either submit proof of vaccination, show they are in the process of being vaccinated or apply for an exemption by Sept. 10. They must be fully vaccinated or granted an exemption by Oct. 18.

    The letter says that those who fail to meet the deadline “will be put on a list for separation from employment.”

    Louisiana is grappling with oxygen shortages in Ida’s aftermath — 10:59 p.m.

    By The New York Times

    Oxygen supplies are running critically low in hospitals across Louisiana — with some only having one or two days of supply left — and any interruption brought by Hurricane Ida’s destruction could be serious, according to Premier Inc., one of the largest hospital supply purchasing groups in the country.

    Ida pummeled much of the state Sunday evening, leaving hundreds of thousands without power at a moment when hospitals across the Southeast had already been struggling with oxygen shortages for weeks. Driven by a surge in COVID-19 cases, some hospitals are relying on reserve tanks with no other backup options.

    Honolulu to require vaccine or negative test at restaurants — 10:57 p.m.

    By The Associated Press

    Seeking to beat back a COVID-19 surge, Honolulu will soon require patrons of restaurants, bars, museums, theaters, and other establishments to show proof of vaccination or a recent negative test for the disease, the city’s mayor said Monday.

    The move comes after the highly contagious Delta variant caused a surge of infections across the state. Before the Fourth of July, Hawaii had a seven-day average of 46 daily cases. On Monday, that figure hit 874.

    New data confirm COVID-19 vaccines still provide strong protection — 9:45 p.m.

    By The New York Times

    New data presented to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention committee provided more evidence that the COVID-19 vaccines provided robust protection against severe disease through July, after the delta variant of the coronavirus had spread widely through the United States.

    Scientists also confirmed that the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna shots confer a small risk of heart problems in younger men, but that the benefits still outweighed the risks.

    At the committee’s meeting Monday, Dr. Sara Oliver, a CDC scientist, presented unpublished data from COVID-Net, a hospital surveillance system. All three vaccines used in the United States remained highly effective at preventing hospitalizations from April through July, when delta became dominant, the data suggested.

    Fully vaccinated NFL players will get COVID-19 tests weekly — 9:33 p.m.

    Associated Press

    Fully vaccinated players will be required to get tested for COVID-19 weekly instead of every 14 days as part of the revised protocols for the regular season agreed upon by the NFL and NFLPA.

    The weekly testing applies also for fully vaccinated Tier 1 and 2 staff. There’s an option for a second test for those who want it, according to a memo sent to clubs and obtained by The Associated Press on Monday.

    Fully vaccinated individuals do not need to wait for results prior to entering a team’s facility. Each club must conduct its testing over a three-day period.

    Unvaccinated players will continue to be tested daily.

    Each team’s non-player traveling party will be reduced to a maximum of 75 people. Masks must be worn during travel, eating “should be kept to a minimum” and seating will be assigned.

    School board salaries in Florida are withheld over mask mandates — 8:30 p.m.

    Associated Press

    Florida state education officials on Monday began to make good on threats to withhold funding from local school districts that defied Gov. Ron DeSantis’ ban on mask mandates, despite a circuit judge last week ruling the ban unconstitutional.

    Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran announced that the Florida Department of Education has withheld an amount equal to monthly school board member salaries in Alachua and Broward counties, as directed by the State Board of Education. Funds will continue to be withheld until the districts comply, Corcoran said.

    DeSantis, a Republican who is eyeing a possible presidential run in 2024, had been threatening to impose financial penalties on school boards for weeks. Democratic President Joe Biden has said if that happened, federal money would be used to cover any costs.

    Booster vaccines may not be needed yet, members of advisory panel say — 7:47 p.m.

    Jonathan Saltzman, Globe Staff

    Several members of a US advisory panel on vaccines expressed skepticism Monday that COVID-19 booster shots are needed as urgently as the Biden administration has suggested.

    Some members of the advisory committee to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said inoculating the unvaccinated in the country was a higher priority and that the Biden administration may have jumped the gun by announcing plans to offer boosters starting Sept. 20.

    “Process really does matter,” said Dr. Beth Bell, a clinical professor of global health at the University of Washington. “At the moment, we don’t have a lot of evidence of reduced vaccine effectiveness” against the most serious potential outcomes of COVID-19, meaning hospitalizations and deaths.

    Liberty University in Virginia moves to virtual classes during coronavirus outbreak — 6:57 p.m.

    Washington Post

    Liberty University switched abruptly to virtual classes beginning Monday – just a week after they began – because of a spike in coronavirus cases.

    The decision to temporarily pause indoor events, teach online and ramp up other safety measures was not taken lightly, according to a university announcement Friday. “The campus infection rate is higher than at anytime last year, our only local hospital is reaching capacity for ICU COVID treatment, and we project our Annex quarantine capacity to be reached soon,” school officials wrote.

    On Aug. 15, the campus reported just three positive cases, according to the school’s online dashboard. By Aug. 24, that number among students had spiked to 124. There are an additional 35 cases among the faculty and staff.

    Nearly 500 people had been asked to quarantine. The dashboard, last updated Wednesday, reported 274 students on the Lynchburg, Va., campus in quarantine and an additional 111 commuter students and 107 employees in quarantine.

    Colleges across the country are starting classes this month with varying levels of restrictions and efforts to limit the spread of the coronavirus. With vaccines widely available, many have resumed in-person classes and traditions that had been disrupted by the pandemic. But the surging delta variant has left some schools scrambling to rethink their plans.

    Puerto Rico to limit alcohol sales, gatherings amid rise in COVID-19 cases — 6:20 p.m.

    By The Associated Press

    Puerto Rico’s governor on Monday announced new restrictions to fight a rise in COVID-19 cases, including closing certain private businesses and banning alcohol sales after midnight.

    Social activities such as concerts, weddings, birthdays and anniversaries also will be banned during those hours, and people will be required to wear masks outside if there is a crowd of 50 or more. In addition, elective surgeries that require the use of intensive care units will be prohibited.

    The measures will be in effect Sept. 2-23 and affect businesses including restaurants and theatres.

    “We’re on the right track, but there was no alternative,” Gov. Pedro Pierluisi said, referring to a recent spike in cases and deaths blamed largely on the delta variant.

    The announcement comes on the same day that people in the U.S. territory are required to start showing proof of vaccination to enter gyms, casinos, beauty salons and other places. In addition, employees at supermarkets are required to show proof of vaccination starting Monday.

    The island of 3.3 million people is reporting a 10% positivity rate, compared with a 1.4% rate reported in late June, a number that Pierluisi called “unacceptable.”

    Indianapolis Colts put three starters, including QB Carson Wentz, on reserve/COVID-19 list — 6:12 p.m.

    By The Associated Press

    Carson Wentz’s big week was cut short Monday when the Indianapolis Colts put three starters, including their top quarterback, on the reserve/COVID-19 list.

    Wentz, center Ryan Kelly, and receiver Zach Pascal join two-time Pro Bowl left tackle Eric Fisher on the sideline because of health and safety protocols. Fisher tested positive for the virus last week.

    Three-time All-Pro Quenton Nelson was activated Monday after multiple negative tests. Nelson was deemed a close contact to Fisher.

    Coach Frank Reich planned to use this week to test Wentz and Nelson, who both had foot surgery earlier this month to remove a bone fragment. Both did limited work three straight days last week and were cleared for full action this week.

    Christian Pulisic clears coronavirus protocol ahead of USMNT’s first World Cup qualifiers — 5:52 p.m.

    US soccer star Christian Pulisic cleared coronavirus protocol and participated in national team workouts Monday, three days before the Americans’ World Cup qualifying opener in El Salvador. It remains unclear, however, whether he will play in the first match.

    The Chelsea attacker, who was vaccinated, tested positive about two weeks ago and, per British guidelines, remained in isolation at least 10 days in London. He was allowed to travel over the weekend, flying commercial via Washington with several English-based US teammates.

    Last week, US coach Gregg Berhalter said several hurdles stood in the way of Pulisic joining the squad on time. The question now, US team officials said Monday, is Pulisic’s fitness level after being sidelined for about two weeks and missing two Chelsea matches.

    Tennessee moms of 2 ill kids sue to require masks — 5:41 p.m.

    By The Associated Press

    Mothers of two children with serious illnesses are asking a federal judge to block enforcement of Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee’s order allowing parents to opt out of pandemic mask requirements in schools. They argue that it endangers kids with health conditions and hurts their ability to attend in-person classes.

    U.S. District Judge Sheryl H. Lipman heard testimony in Memphis on Monday as part of the lawsuit filed by the parents of two students in the Shelby County suburbs of Collierville and Germantown.

    The school districts had been under a mask mandate issued by the county health department when the school year began earlier in August. However, the governor’s Aug. 16 order allows parents to send their children to school without masks, and hundreds of students have been attending classes without masks.

    Even as COVID cases rise, US Open, other events welcome fans — 5:32 p.m.

    By The Associated Press

    Full-throated shouts and hearty applause returned to the U.S. Open tennis tournament Monday, bursts of sound that offered some form of reaction to nearly each and every action. Also back: lengthy lines to get through the gates and to buy something to eat or drink.

    A year after spectators were banned entirely from Flushing Meadows because of the coronavirus pandemic, lending a dystopian feel to a normally lively event, 100% capacity is once again being permitted — proof of vaccination needed; no masks required — at this and other sports events.

    College football resumed Saturday, with tends of thousands on-hand for such as matchups as Illinois vs. Nebraska or Hawaii vs. UCLA. The NFL is letting its teams sell every ticket for the regular season; its first Sunday is Sept. 12.

    Makes it tough to tell there’s been a recent surge in COVID-19 cases thanks to the highly contagious delta variant. Ready or not, our fun and games are moving forward, with full stadiums and, in some cases, few protocols.

    Martín Pérez becomes latest Red Sox player to test positive for COVID-19 — 5:06 p.m.

    By Julian McWilliams, Globe Staff

    Martín Pérez has tested positive for COVID-19, Red Sox manager Alex Cora said prior to the team’s series opener against the Rays Monday.

    Perez is the fourth member of the Sox to test positive since Friday, joining Kiké Hernández, Christian Arroyo, and strength and conditioning coach Kiyoshi Momose on the COVID-related injured list.

    “We found out not too long ago, so now we go into the process through a protocol and close contact,” Cora said.

    The team is going through extensive testing to determine who else might have contracted the virus.

    Jesse Jackson’s wife out of ICU, still on oxygen for COVID — 4:12 p.m.

    By The Associated Press

    The Rev. Jesse Jackson’s wife has been moved from intensive care back into a regular room at the Chicago hospital where she’s being treated for COVID-19, her family said in a statement Monday.

    Jonathan Jackson, one of the couple’s five children, said in the statement that their 77-year-old mother, Jacqueline, remains at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, where she “continues to receive oxygen.”

    Rev. Jackson, a famed civil rights leader and former presidential candidate, was transferred last week to a hospital focused on physical rehabilitation after receiving treatment for a breakthrough COVID-19 infection.

    He has been vaccinated against the virus. But he told The Associated Press last week that Jacqueline, also a civil rights activist, had not been vaccinated because she has a “preexisting condition” that worried them.

    Oklahoma City hospitals running out of space — 3:57 p.m.

    By The Associated Press

    The four largest hospitals in Oklahoma City on Monday said they either have no intensive care bed space available or no space for COVID-19 patients.

    Mercy, Integris and SSM Health said they had no ICU beds available and OU Health had none for COVID-19 patients in the state’s largest city.

    OU Health, the state’s only trauma center, must keep some ICU beds available for other critically ill or injured patients.

    The Oklahoma State Department of Health, which reported 1,572 virus-related hospitalizations statewide Monday, including 422 in ICU, stopped providing daily hospital bed availability data in May when Gov. Kevin Stitt ended a COVID-19 emergency declaration. The department has said it will resume providing the data, but has not yet done so.

    SSM Health spokesperson Kate Cunningham said the information provided by the hospitals is not in response to anything the state agency has or has not provided.

    “The only motive for acting together in this is because of regular requests for information from reporters, and we want to be transparent to the public,” Cunningham said.

    Anti-vax talk show host dies of COVID — 3:50 p.m.

    By Bloomberg

    A conservative talk radio host in Florida who said he wouldn’t get vaccinated has died from Covid-19, making him the third on-air personality who voiced skepticism about the shots to die in August, the New York Post reported.

    Marc Bernier, 65, who had characterized himself as “Mr. Anti-Vax” on his weekday WNDB radio show from Daytona Beach, died after a three-week fight against the virus, station officials announced.

    Bernier died about a week after Tennessee conservative talk radio host Phil Valentine, 61, died from a protracted battle against the virus. Weeks earlier, Newsmax anchor and conservative radio host Dick Farrel, who questioned the efficacy of vaccines, died from the virus on Aug. 4.

    Biden team urges states to pay low-income people to get shots — 3:30 p.m.

    By Bloomberg

    The Biden administration is encouraging states to offer gift cards or similar incentives to low-income people on Medicaid who get the Covid-19 vaccine, in a bid to boost inoculation rates that trail the broader public.

    The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services issued new guidance Monday to state Medicaid directors, offering federal funding and other assistance to boost vaccination rates among people covered by the health plan. There’s been confusion about whether federal funding can support vaccination efforts in the program, an official familiar with the matter said.

    Measures encouraged in the guidance include funding “incentives,” such as gift cards, to Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program recipients who get a shot. They also include increasing reimbursement rates for health providers who administer shots and financial incentives for Medicaid plans that meet vaccination milestones.

    Baker says Mass. has one of highest youth vaccination rates; five million residents have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine shot — 2:56 p.m.

    By Travis Andersen and Felicia Gans, Globe Staff

    Governor Charlie Baker said Monday that more than 5 million Massachusetts residents have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine shot, and that roughly two thirds of kids 12 and up are currently inoculated against the virus, a statistic that has officials hoping the return to in-person learning at public schools can be done safely.

    Governor Kemp of Georgia orders 1,500 more National Guard troops for COVID response — 2:46 p.m.

    By The Associated Press

    Georgia’s governor is calling up as many as an additional 1,500 National Guard soldiers to help with COVID-19 response.

    More than 5,600 COVID-19 patients were hospitalized across Georgia on Monday, nearly one-third of all people in hospitals. That’s just short of the record of 5,715 set on Jan. 13.

    Kemp signed the executive order Monday increasing the ceiling on guard members from 1,000 to 2,500.

    The Guard had deployed more than 100 personnel to 20 hospitals across the state to help them deal with the latest surge of COVID-19 cases.

    Vaccinated Anchorage teachers can get more leave — 2:45 p.m.

    By The Associated Press

    Fully vaccinated employees in Alaska’s largest school district will receive up to 10 extra days of paid time off if they test positive for COVID-19 but can’t work from home while quarantining.

    A spokesperson for the Anchorage School District tells the Anchorage Daily News in an email that employees who are not fully vaccinated are not eligible for the leave.

    The district said in an Aug. 23 memo that employees will have to show proof of vaccination to be eligible.

    The district is not requiring people to be vaccinated, but Superintendent Deena Bishop encourages employees to do so. Masks must be worn inside school district buildings despite opposition on that policy by new Anchorage Mayor Dave Bronson.

    Senator King of Maine says ‘vaccine saved my life’ after recovering from COVID — 2:36 p.m.

    By The Associated Press

    Sen. Angus King said that his breakthrough case of COVID-19 produced symptoms that were double the worst head cold he’d ever experienced, and he credited the vaccine for keeping him out of the hospital.

    The 77-year-old independent said he hopes his rough-and-tumble experience in which he received an infusion to help fight the virus will help others who might be on the fence about getting the vaccine.

    “I’m convinced the vaccine saved my life,” he told The Associated Press.

    King, who’s resting at home, said he’s feeling fine now. He has no idea whether he got the virus in Washington or at home in Maine. He was one of several senators who tested positive for the virus around the same time.

    His symptoms started with a runny nose and headache, he said, and he was feeling bad enough to get tested the following day. He tested positive on Aug. 19, and began isolating at home in Maine.

    The symptoms were worrisome. He said he had extreme sinus congestion and kept coughing to the point his ribs hurt. It was nearly impossible to sleep, he said.

    Brazil overtakes US in first-dose count after vaccine drive — 1:28 p.m.

    By Bloomberg

    Brazil became the latest major country to pass the U.S. in the percentage of its citizens who have had at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine as the government’s inoculation campaign picks up speed and resistance to the shots fades away.

    About 63% of Brazilians have now received at least one dose, versus 62% of people in the U.S., according to Bloomberg’s Covid-19 Vaccine Tracker. Countries including Germany, France and the U.K. have vaccinated at least 65% of the population with one shot, the data show.

    While Brazil was late to start administering vaccines, deploying the first shots in mid-January and often struggling with shortages, the campaign has gained momentum. Relying on a de-centralized public health-care system that’s known for excelling in mass immunizations, the country has regularly deployed more than 2 million jabs a day this month, according to the 10-day moving average compiled by Bloomberg.

    Vaccine hesitancy has also faded, with some states like Sao Paulo reporting an immunization rate of more than 97% among adults when it comes to first doses.

    Full immunization, however, is still slow. Brazil’s dependence of foreign supplies and long interval between doses — Pfizer Inc and AstraZeneca Plc shots are being given 12 weeks apart, while Sinovac Biotech Ltd’s jabs are one month apart — has meant just 28% of the population had completed the immunization, almost half the U.S.’s level.

    New Hampshire Governor Sununu visits Kentucky to learn about COVID surge — 1:25 p.m.

    By The Associated Press

    New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu and state and health care officials met with their counterparts in Kentucky on Monday to hear about the state’s most recent surge of COVID-19 cases and how they are handling it.

    “Like New Hampshire, Kentucky is a rural state with small cities,” Sununu said in a news release. “Today, I joined New Hampshire state officials in visiting Kentucky to help inform our decision making in the weeks and months ahead to see how they are handling their COVID surge, how hospitals are managing through this crisis, and to hear what tools they have found to be effective in battling this most recent wave virus.”

    Sununu and staff were visiting Frankfort Regional Medical Center and the University of Louisville Hospital. Sununu also met with Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear and staff.

    On Friday, Beshear said more than half of his state’s hospitals are struggling with “critical staffing shortages” as medical teams treat record numbers of COVID-19 patients. He noted that 90% of virus-related hospitalizations and ICU admissions are among the unvaccinated.

    As of Friday, there were 2,129 virus patients in hospitals, 592 in intensive care and 349 on ventilators. The escalation has been precipitous since July 14, when Kentucky had 239 COVID patients hospitalized, including 60 in intensive care and 25 patients on ventilators.

    The state reported 4,815 new COVID-19 cases Friday. Kentucky had 56% of its population fully vaccinated as of Sunday; New Hampshire had 54%.

    State mask bans face federal civil rights inquiries — 1:07 p.m.

    By The Associated Press

    The Education Department announced Monday that it’s investigating five Republican-led states with universal mask bans, saying the policies could amount to discrimination against students with disabilities or health conditions.

    EU takes United States off safe travel list amid rising COVID infections — 12:27 p.m.

    By The Associated Press

    The European Union recommended Monday that its 27 nations reinstate restrictions on tourists from the U.S. because of rising coronavirus infections there.

    The decision by the European Council to remove the U.S. from a safe list of countries for nonessential travel reverses advice that it gave in June, when the bloc recommended lifting restrictions on U.S. travelers before the summer tourism season. The guidance is nonbinding, however, and U.S. travelers should expect a mishmash of travel rules across the continent.

    The EU has no unified COVID-19 tourism policy and national EU governments have the authority to decide whether they keep their borders open to U.S. tourists.

    Coolidge Corner Theatre announces it will require proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test — 12:21 p.m.

    By Maria Elena Little Endara, Globe Correspondent

    The Coolidge Corner Theatre announced in an Instagram post on Monday that it will begin requiring proof of full vaccination or a negative COVID test for all screenings and events beginning Friday, Sept. 3.

    “We care deeply about the well-being and safety of our audiences and staff,” wrote the theater in its post.

    Puerto Rico to limit alcohol sales, gatherings amid pandemic — 12:16 p.m.

    By The Associated Press

    Puerto Rico’s governor on Monday announced new restrictions to fight a rise in COVID-19 cases, including closing certain private businesses and banning alcohol sales after midnight.

    Social activities such as concerts, weddings, birthdays and anniversaries also will be banned during those hours, and people will be required to wear masks outside if there is a crowd of 50 or more. In addition, elective surgeries that require the use of intensive care units will be prohibited.

    The measures will be in effect Sept. 2-23 and affect businesses including restaurants and theatres.

    “We’re on the right track, but there was no alternative,” Gov. Pedro Pierluisi said, referring to a recent spike in cases and deaths blamed largely on the delta variant.

    European Union countries to reimpose restrictions on non-essential travel from the US — 11:57 a.m.

    By Bloomberg

    European Union countries voted to reimpose restrictions on non-essential travel from the U.S. amid a surge in new coronavirus cases, dealing a fresh blow to the tourism industry.

    A qualified majority of ambassadors voted to reintroduce the curbs, which had been lifted in June, according to an EU statement.

    The U.S. had 588 new Covid-19 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in the two weeks ending Aug. 22, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, well above the limit of 75 set out in the EU guidelines.

    The guidance from the bloc is a recommendation and any decision on who to let in, and what restrictions to impose, ultimately rests with the governments of each member state. Countries can also choose to accept proof of vaccination to waive travel restrictions.

    Albania imposes new pandemic restrictions including curfew and fines — 11:07 a.m.

    By The Associated Press

    Albania’s health authorities reinstalled new tough restrictive measures and warned of a possible obligatory vaccine shot for some categories in their effort to prevent a further spread of the new Delta virus variant.

    Health minister Ogerta Manastirliu said that “soon we shall start the application to passing over to a new stage of the vaccination campaign, making obligatory the vaccines for some categories on behalf of the right of the other people not to get infected.”

    Albania has noted a significant rise of the daily cases this month to more than 900 from about 100 times less a month ago.

    An experts’ committee extended the overnight curfew time by one hour to 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. Face masks are obligatory in closed areas. But both rules on the curfew and holding face masks existed during the summer season but authorities did not impose a tough control on that.

    Penalties will be 3,000-5,000 leks ($28-48) for the individuals and 100,000-700,000 leks ($954-6,682) for businesses.

    US monthly deaths highest since March — 10:32 a.m.

    By The Associated Press

    The the number of U.S. Covid-19 fatalities in August is already the highest since March, underscoring the deadly nature of the delta variant. The nation recorded 24,274 deaths this month as of Sunday, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg. Confirmed cases of 3.8 million are the highest since January, which was part of the peak of the winter surge.

    Maine dad sues school system over mask mandate — 10:48 a.m.

    By Bloomberg

    A father is suing in federal court over a mask mandate imposed on his 12-year-old daughter in the Winslow school system.

    The lawsuit names the town of Winslow, school board, public schools and Superintendent Peter Thiboutot as defendants, and accuses them of “aggrandizing” the risk COVID-19 poses to children.

    In the lawsuit, filed Friday, Scott Fortuna contends the mask mandate violates his rights under the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution “to make decisions concerning the medical care of his child.” The lawsuit said COVID-19 poses “little, if any, health risk to children.”

    Fortuna, who lives in Penobscot County, could not be reached immediately for comment. His attorney didn’t immediately return a message.

    Face masks have been a flashpoint in pandemic politics since the earliest weeks of the government response to the virus.

    Mask mandates were eased in the spring, but they’re coming back with a COVID-19 resurgence caused by the delta variant.

    Masks are currently recommended in 15 of the state’s 16 counties by the Maine Center for Disease Control.

    Delta variant batters airline bookings for Labor Day weekend — 9:26 a.m.

    By The Associated Press

    After a surge in bookings early this summer, U.S. airline passengers are planning fewer trips as the spread of the coronavirus Delta variant continues to discourage travel.

    Spending for the Labor Day holiday was down 16% from 2019 as of Aug. 21, while bookings were off 15%, according to the Adobe Digital Economy Index. The weekend typically marks the end of stepped-up summer travel for U.S. carriers and demand often rises as families seek to squeeze in a last trip before school resumes.

    Adobe’s findings line up with recent warnings from airlines that increased illnesses tied to the variant are slowing sales and prompting customers to cancel reservations, threatening to derail a recovery from last year’s collapse in demand. Southwest Airlines Co. has said the weakness may make it difficult to turn a third-quarter profit. American Airlines Group Inc. said August revenue is coming in below its expectations.

    “We expect spend in the month of August to be significantly under July,” Vivek Pandya, Adobe Digital Insights lead analyst, said in a statement Monday. “These two months historically have similar spend levels.”

    The number of travelers passing through U.S. airport security checkpoints has hovered around 77% in recent weeks, down from an average of 79% in mid-July, according to the Transportation Security Administration.

    Denmark suggests a third vaccine for compromised — 8:54 a.m.

    By The Associated Press

    Danish Health Authorities recommended Monday that people with severe immune deficiency get a third dose of coronavirus vaccine.

    The Danish Medicines Agency said that some people “may have insufficient effect of vaccination against COVID-19, just as they may have reduced effect of other vaccines.”

    The government agency said it was a recommendation as to which groups should be offered revaccination with a third dose COVID-19 vaccine on the basis of severely weakened immune systems.

    As of Sept. 10, Denmark will no longer consider COVID-19 as “a socially critical disease” and phase out the digital pass that required to enter restaurants, among other places, because of the large number of vaccination.

    More than 80% of all people in Scandinavian the country over the age of 12 have been vaccinated twice, and Denmark has a target of reaching 90% by Oct. 1.

    Dartmouth workers not at college yet asked to stay remote — 8:40 a.m.

    By The Associated Press

    Dartmouth College is asking employees who have not yet returned to campus to keep working remotely until Oct. 4.

    The previous plan was for workers to return at the start of September, but the college is adjusting its plans as COVID-19 cases increase regionally and nationally, said Scott Bemis, chief human resources officer.

    “We recognize that many of have already returned to campus — and those individuals who have returned can continue to work on-site,” Bemis said in an email to the community on Friday.

    He said the date is being pushed back a month “to help slow the increase in the density of people on campus, with the goal of interrupting COVID-19 transmission wherever possible.”

    Bemis also said that weekly surveillance testing will be conducted for vaccinated employees, instead of every 30 days. Unvaccinated employees who are coming to campus are still required to test twice a week.

    Demand surges for deworming drug for COVID, despite no evidence it works — 8:27 a.m.

    By The New York Times

    For the past week, Dr. Gregory Yu, an emergency physician in San Antonio, has received the same daily requests from his patients, some vaccinated for COVID-19 and others unvaccinated: They ask him for ivermectin, a drug typically used to treat parasitic worms that has repeatedly failed in clinical trials to help people infected with the coronavirus.

    Yu has refused the ivermectin requests, he said, but he knows some of his colleagues have not. Prescriptions for ivermectin have seen a sharp rise in recent weeks, jumping to more than 88,000 per week in mid-August from a pre-pandemic baseline average of 3,600 per week, according to researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    New COVID variant found in South Africa has concerning mutations — 8:15 a.m.

    By Bloomberg

    South African scientists said they identified a new coronavirus variant that has a concerning number of mutations.

    The so-called C.1.2. variant was first identified in May in the South African provinces of Mpumalanga and Gauteng, where Johannesburg and the capital, Pretoria, are situated, the scientists said in a research paper. It’s since been found in seven other countries in Africa, Oceania, Asia and Europe.

    The mutations on the virus “are associated with increased transmissibility” and an increased ability to evade antibodies, the scientists said. “It is important to highlight this lineage given its concerning constellation of mutations.”

    Changes in the virus have driven successive waves of the coronavirus with the delta variant, first found in India, now pushing up infection rates across the world. Mutations are first classified as variants of interest by the World Health Organization. Once they are identified as being more severe or transmissible, they’re termed variants of concern.

    C.1.2. evolved from C.1., a lineage of the virus that dominated infections in the first wave of the virus in South Africa in mid-2020.

    The research was published by South African groups including the KwaZulu-Natal Research Innovation and Sequencing Platform, known as Krisp, and the National Institute for Communicable Diseases.

    South African scientists also discovered the beta variant in 2020, but have been keen to stress that the country’s advanced ability to sequence the genomes of the virus means that while new strains may be identified in the country, they could have originated elsewhere.

    EU set to recommend reinstating restrictions on US travelers — 6:00 a.m.

    By Associated Press

    The European Union plans to recommend that its member states reinstate restrictions on tourists from the US because of rising coronavirus infection levels in the country, EU diplomats said Monday.

    A decision to remove the US from a safe list of countries for nonessential travel would reverse advice from June, when the 27-nation bloc recommended lifting restrictions on US travelers before the summer tourism season.

    A judge asked a mother if she got the COVID vaccine. She said no, and he revoked custody of her son — 5:35 a.m.

    By Washington Post

    When Rebecca Firlit joined a virtual court hearing with her ex-husband earlier this month, the Chicago mother expected the proceedings to focus on child support.

    But the judge had other plans.

    “One of the first things he asked me . . . was whether or not I was vaccinated,” Firlit, 39, told the Chicago Sun-Times.

    She was not, she said, explaining that she has had “adverse reactions to vaccines in the past” and that a doctor advised her against getting the coronavirus vaccine.

    “It poses a risk,” she added.

    Cook County Judge James Shapiro then made what the parents’ attorneys called an unprecedented decision — he said the mother could not see her 11-year-old son until she got the vaccine.

    France requires virus pass for 2m workers — 5:32 a.m.

    By Associated Press

    Some 2 million French workers in restaurants and other service jobs must now show a health pass to go to work, as part of government virus-fighting efforts.

    The public is already required to show the pass to go to French restaurants, tourist sites and many other public venues.

    Starting Monday, all staff members must also show the pass, which requires proof of vaccination, a fresh negative virus test or recovery from COVID-19. Those who don’t risk suspension or other punishment, and businesses that don’t comply face potential fines.

    Nearly 72% of French people have had at least one virus dose and more than 64% are fully vaccinated. A small but vocal minority of people who oppose vaccinations or the health pass system have held weekly protests around the country since July.

    France recorded the second-highest number of infections in Europe over the past month, but its summer spike in cases has started to subside since the government imposed stricter vaccination and other virus rules. The country has reported more than 114,000 virus-related deaths.

    Need a PCR test for your next trip? That could be $6,000 — 2:34 a.m.

    By Bloomberg

    Joey Levy, a luxury travel adviser with Embark Beyond, was helping clients plan a long-awaited honeymoon. They wanted to go to Zambia, Zimbabwe, and South Africa on a once-in-a-lifetime trip to see wild animals and Victoria Falls, staying at some of the region’s best lodges.

    For that, they were prepared to pay five figures. But then PCR testing costs got in the way. Each country required a negative result 72 hours before entry, and the remote lodge they’d chosen in Zimbabwe said the only way they could arrange for one was to fly in a doctor — for $6,000.

    Some Indonesian students return to schools, at a distance — 2:33 a.m.

    By Associated Press

    School bells in some parts of Indonesia’s capital have rung again after classes closed by the coronavirus for more than a year were allowed to start reopening on Monday now that the daily count of new COVID-19 cases continues to decline.

    A total of 610 schools that have passed the required tests by the Jakarta Education Agency reopened their doors for the first time since the pandemic started, though with many precautions still in place.

    Ardern partially eases New Zealand lockdown outside Auckland — 1:36 a.m.

    By Bloomberg

    New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said lockdown restrictions will be partially eased outside of largest city Auckland amid encouraging signs that a community outbreak of COVID-19 is being brought under control.

    All areas south of Auckland will move to Alert Level 3 at midnight tomorrow, Ardern told a news conference Monday in Wellington. The Northland region in the far north may also move to Level 3 later this week but Auckland, the epicenter of the outbreak, will remain at Level 4 for another two weeks, she said.

    “We are seeing a decrease in cases outside of households, a decreasing number of locations of interest, and the reproduction rate reducing,” Ardern said. “All of that helps but the job is not yet done and we do need to keep going.”

    Earlier, health officials reported 53 new cases in the outbreak of the highly infectious Delta strain of the virus, down from 83 new cases the previous day. Director General of Health Ashley Bloomfield said the estimated R-value in the outbreak — the number of people that each case infects on average — appears to have fallen below 1, meaning case numbers should continue to decline.

    Level 3 doesn’t mean the lockdown is lifted. It allows some businesses to resume operations but people are still asked to stay at home and work remotely if possible. Schools, daycare centers, shops, and public venues are largely closed, and gatherings are restricted to 10 people.

    US hospitalizations at level not seen since winter peak — 11:00 p.m.

    By New York Times

    The United States is averaging more than 100,000 hospitalized COVID-19 patients, higher than in any previous surge except last winter’s, before most Americans were eligible to get vaccinated. The influx of patients is straining hospitals and pushing health care workers to the brink as deaths have risen to an average of more than 1,000 a day for the first time since March.

    Hospitalizations nationwide have increased by nearly 500% in the past two months, particularly across Southern states, where intensive care unit beds are filling up, a crisis fueled by some of the country’s lowest vaccination rates and widespread political opposition to public health measures like mask requirements.

    New Zealand has first big case drop in 2 weeks — 10:48 p.m.

    By Associated Press

    The number of new coronavirus cases in New Zealand has fallen significantly for the first time since an outbreak was detected nearly two weeks ago.

    Officials hope it is an indication that a strict nationwide lockdown might be working to halt the virus’s spread.

    Health authorities on Monday reported 53 new community cases, down from 83 a day earlier. Some of that decrease may have been attributable to fewer tests being completed.

    New Zealand’s government is pursuing an elimination strategy in which it tries to stamp out the virus entirely whenever it appears. The government put the country into the toughest form of lockdown after the first case of the current delta-variant outbreak was detected Aug. 17.

    New Zealand reports first death linked to Pfizer COVID vaccine — 9:43 p.m.

    By Bloomberg

    New Zealand health authorities reported what they believe to be the country’s first death linked to the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.

    A woman died from myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart muscle wall, following her Comirnaty Pfizer vaccination, New Zealand’s COVID-19 Vaccine Independent Safety Monitoring Board said in an emailed statement on Monday. It said myocarditis is known to be a rare side effect of the Pfizer vaccine.

    The case has been referred to the coroner and the cause of death has not yet been determined. However, the board “considered that the myocarditis was probably due to vaccination,” it said. “This is the first case in New Zealand where a death in the days following vaccination has been linked to the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.”

    The board noted that there were other medical issues occurring at the same time which may have influenced the outcome following vaccination. Further details cannot be released while the coroner investigates.

    Scotland hits record coronavirus cases — 9:30 p.m.

    By Bloomberg

    Scotland reported a record 7,113 new cases Sunday, only days after First Minister Nicola Sturgeon warned that restrictions on movement and social interaction could be reimposed if infections don’t drop.

    Cases have soared since most restrictions were lifted on Aug. 9 and Scottish pupils returned to school. At the start of the month new cases were averaging less than 1,000 a day. The latest Scottish numbers don’t bode well for the rest of the U.K., with the bulk of school pupils in England preparing to return early next month.

    More women are saying ‘no’ as the pandemic grinds on — 8:48 p.m.

    By Beth Teitell, Globe Staff

    The pandemic has caused such burnout — and laid bare the greater burden shouldered by women — that Boston therapist Elaine Espada is currently coaching multiple women on how to say a single word: “No.”

    As fall looms, with nothing certain — other than sudden day-care closings — a growing number of women are saying that they can’t do it anymore.

    Maine lawmaker compares vaccine mandate to Nazi death camp doctor — 7:42 p.m.

    By Associated Press

    A group of Maine Democrats wants a state Republican lawmaker to resign over comments in which she compared vaccine mandates for health care workers to the Nazi doctor known as the “Angel of Death” for experiments on Jews during the Holocaust.

    A letter dated Aug. 27 called Representative Heidi Sampson’s remarks “wildly unacceptable and inappropriate.”

    Christian Arroyo tests positive for COVID-19, will quarantine with Kiké Hernández in Cleveland — 6:09 p.m.

    By Julian Benbow, Globe Staff

    After being deemed a close contact to Red Sox super utility man Kiké Hernández, who tested positive Friday for COVID-19, infielder Christian Arroyo has tested positive for the virus along with Sox strength and conditioning coach Kiyoshi Momose.

    As the Sox wrapped up their series against Cleveland and traveled to face the Tampa Bay Rays, the group had to stay behind to quarantine in Cleveland. The organization is in the process of contact tracing.

    In Los Angeles, price for admission at nation’s second-largest school district is a negative COVID test, every single week — 5:39 p.m.

    By The Washington Post

    As hundreds of thousands of youngsters return to class in the nation’s second-largest school district, they’re participating in what amounts to a massive public health experiment unfolding in real time: Every single student, teacher, and administrator in the Los Angeles public schools must get tested for the coronavirus every single week — indefinitely.

    Even the fully vaccinated are required to get tested. Those who test positive stay home for at least 10 days. And those who decline to get tested can’t come at all.

    Along with multiple other protocols the Los Angeles Unified School District is implementing — including masking for all and mandatory vaccines for teachers and staff — it amounts to by far the most aggressive anticoronavirus campaign undertaken or announced by a major school district in the United States.

    Why is it taking so long to get a COVID vaccine for kids? — 4:46 p.m.

    By New York Times

    There is disappointing news for parents of children younger than 12 as schools reopen around the country: While many health experts had hoped for an early fall approval of a vaccine for young children, two of the nation’s top public health officials say it’s not going to happen.

    “I’ve got to be honest, I don’t see the approval for kids 5 to 11 coming much before the end of 2021,” said Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, on the NPR program “Morning Edition.”

    Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease specialist, offered a slightly more hopeful timeline. He told the “Today Show” on NBC that there was a “reasonable chance” that COVID-19 shots would be available to children younger than 12 by mid- to late fall or early winter. Both Pfizer and Moderna are gathering data on the safety, correct dose, and effectiveness of the vaccines in children, he said.

    Israel extends booster shots to everyone ages 12 and older — 3:09 p.m.

    By New York Times

    Israel on Sunday extended its booster shot campaign to all citizens ages 12 and older amid a surge of delta variant infections that has made the number of new daily cases among the highest in the world.

    After a remarkably swift vaccination campaign in the winter and spring, about 80% of Israel’s adult population has been inoculated with at least two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine administered three weeks apart.

    But a new study by Israeli experts points to a waning of the vaccine’s protections over time for all ages, a finding that contributed to a U.S. decision to begin offering booster shots to Americans starting next month.

    When new COVID surge struck, Mississippi was uniquely unprepared — 2:37 p.m.

    By New York Times

    On the ground floor of a parking garage at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, there are coronavirus patients where the cars should be — about 20 of them on any given day, laid up in air-conditioned tents and cared for by a team of medical personnel from a Christian charity group. Another garage nearby has been transformed into a staging area for a monoclonal antibody clinic for COVID-19 patients.

    These scenes, unfolding in the heart of Mississippi’s capital city, are a clear indication that the health care system in the nation’s poorest state is close to buckling under the latest avalanche of cases triggered by the highly contagious delta variant of the virus.

    US sticks with booster shot recommendation, Fauci says — 1:20 p.m.

    By Associated Press

    The government’s top infectious disease expert says the U.S. is sticking with its recommendation for Americans to get COVID-19 booster shots eight months after receiving the vaccine but will be open to changes based on evolving data.

    Dr. Anthony Fauci says there’s “no doubt” in his mind that people will need to get an extra shot after they have received the two-dose Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, given the highly contagious delta variant.

    He indicated the administration remained focused on doing that in an “expeditious” and “feasible” way after the eight-month mark, with doses beginning the week of Sept. 20, pending approval from the Food and Drug Administration.

    President Joe Biden had suggested on Friday that his administration was considering whether to give booster shots as early as five months after vaccination, citing advice he received from the Israeli prime minister.

    But on Sunday, Fauci said regarding the eight-month U.S. guidance, quote “We’re not changing it, but we are very open to new data as it comes in. We’re going to be very flexible about it.”

    Fauci spoke on ABC’s “This Week,” CNN’s “State of the Union” and NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

    Texas man who worked against COVID measures dies from virus — 11:49 a.m.

    Associated Press

    A man who led efforts in his Central Texas community against mask wearing and other preventative measures during the coronavirus pandemic has died from COVID-19, one month after being admitted to the emergency room.

    Caleb Wallace died on Saturday, his wife Jessica Wallace said on a GoFundMe page where she had been posting updates on his condition, the San Angelo Standard-Times reported Saturday. He was 30 years old and a father of three children. His wife is pregnant with their fourth child.

    “Caleb has peacefully passed on. He will forever live in our hearts and minds,” Jessica Wallace wrote.

    On July 4, 2020, Caleb Wallace helped organize “The Freedom Rally” in San Angelo. People at the event carried signs that criticized the wearing of masks, business closures, the science behind COVID-19, and liberal media. He also organized the group “The San Angelo Freedom Defenders.”

    Jessica Wallace said her husband began experiencing COVID-19 symptoms on July 26 but refused to get tested or go to the hospital. He instead took high doses of Vitamin C, zinc aspirin and ivermectin, an anti-parasitic medicine that officials have urged people not to take for COVID-19.

    Hostile school board meetings have members calling it quits — 11:02 a.m.

    Associated Press

    Nevada school board member said he had thoughts of suicide before stepping down amid threats and harassment. In Virginia, a board member resigned over what she saw as politics driving decisions on masks. The vitriol at board meetings in Wisconsin had one member fearing he would find his tires slashed.

    School board members are largely unpaid volunteers, traditionally former educators and parents who step forward to shape school policy, choose a superintendent and review the budget. But a growing number are resigning or questioning their willingness to serve as meetings have devolved into shouting contests between deeply political constituencies over how racial issues are taught, masks in schools, and COVID-19 vaccines and testing requirements.

    In his letter of resignation from Wisconsin’s Oconomowoc Area School Board, Rick Grothaus said its work had become “toxic and impossible to do.”

    He resigned Aug. 15 along with two other members, including Dan Raasch, who wondered if his car and windshield would be intact after meetings.

    The National School Boards Association’s interim executive director, Chip Slaven, said there isn’t evidence of widespread departures, but he and several board members reached by The Associated Press said the charged political climate that has seeped from the national stage into their meetings has made a difficult job even more challenging, if not impossible.

    In Vail, Arizona, speakers at a recent meeting took turns blasting school board members over masks, vaccines and discussions of race in schools — even though the board had no plans to act on, or even discuss, any of those topics. “It’s my constitutional right to be as mean as I want to you guys,” one woman said.

    The board moved on after more than an hour, only to be interrupted by more shouting. Board member Allison Pratt recalled thinking that if she weren’t already on the board, she wouldn’t aspire to be.

    Chinese health official rejects US allegations on coronavirus investigation — 9:01 a.m.


    A senior Chinese health official rejected a U.S. report blaming China for stonewalling an investigation into the origins of the coronavirus.

    China opposes the politicization of tracing the origins of the virus or using the subject as a tool to shift blame, according to Zeng Yixin, vice head of National Health Commission.

    The U.S. should treat origins tracing as a “scientific matter” and support scientists in various countries who are seeking answers on how the virus started, Zeng said in a statement posted on the commission’s WeChat account. He reiterated that the Chinese government fully supports virus-tracing work based on open, transparent, scientific and cooperative principles.

    Switzerland warns of terror attacks on vaccine sites — 3:52 a.m.

    By Bloomberg

    Switzerland’s Federal Intelligence Service is warning of potential terrorist attacks on coronavirus vaccine infrastructure including vaccination centers, transport, and manufacturing facilities, newspaper NZZ am Sonntag reported.

    “Attacks on such targets would both hit large crowds and generate intensive media coverage,” the NDB spokesperson, Isabelle Graber, said in a written response to questions from NZZ.

    Packed with virus patients, Louisiana hospitals await Ida — 1:57 a.m.

    By The Associated Press

    Louisiana hospitals already packed with patients from the latest coronavirus surge are now bracing for a powerful Category 4 hurricane, which is expected to crash ashore Sunday.

    “Once again we find ourselves dealing with a natural disaster in the midst of a pandemic,” said Jennifer Avegno, the top health official for New Orleans. She called on residents to “prepare for both.”

    Japan may consider mixing COVID shots for speedier vaccinations — 1:55 a.m.

    By Bloomberg

    Japan could mix AstraZeneca Plc’s COVID-19 shots with those developed by other companies in order to speed up its vaccination effort, according to the minister in charge of the country’s rollout.

    The idea would be to combine the dose with one from Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE or Moderna Inc., Taro Kono said Sunday on a Fuji TV news program. Since AstraZeneca recommends eight weeks between its two shots, it’s likely that time could be shortened if combined, Kono added.

    Japan aims for full vaccinations by this fall — 11:24 p.m.

    By The Associated Press

    Taro Kono, the Japanese minister in charge of the vaccine rollout, promised Sunday a timely administering of booster shots for the coronavirus, as the nation aims to fully vaccinate its population by October or November.

    He said Pfizer and Moderna booster shots will arrive early next year, in time for medical workers and the elderly, who were prioritized and mostly got their second shots by July.

    “Japan is aiming for 80% vaccination levels,” Kono said on a nationally broadcast Fuji TV show.

    A digital system for proof of vaccination will be available later this year, he added.

    Japan has lagged among developed nations on vaccinations, with its fully vaccinated now at about 43%. Hospitals are getting swamped, and more than 118,000 people infected with the coronavirus are waiting at home, according to the health ministry. Japan has recorded about 15,800 COVID-related deaths.

    Singapore hits 80 percent vaccine threshold — 10:58 p.m.

    By Bloomberg

    Singapore has outpaced most advanced economies to fully vaccinate 80% of its population against Covid-19, paving the way for the small but wealthy city-state to forge ahead with reopening in an approach that’s closely watched by the rest of the world still figuring out how to live with the virus.

    Senior officials have pegged the milestone to its cautious strategy, pledging to use the high inoculation rate to gradually have more economic and social activities, as well as quarantine-free travel.

    Sydney breaks another record for COVID cases — 10:15 p.m.

    By Bloomberg

    Sydney had a record number of Covid-19 infections, accounting for the bulk of cases in New South Wales as Australia’s most populous state battles to contain the spread of the highly infectious delta variant.

    The state saw a record 1,218 daily infections in the 24 hours to 8 p.m. local time on Saturday, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian told reporters Sunday in Sydney. Six more people died.

    Meanwhile, Victoria state will extend its sixth lockdown past Thursday, Premier Daniel Andrews said without giving details on how long the restrictions will last.

    There’s uncertainty around Boston area college students going back to campuses because of Delta variant — 9:40 p.m.

    By Laura Krantz, Globe Staff

    For a brief moment early this summer, as vaccination rates rose, it seemed as though the fall season on college campuses might bring a blissful rush of normalcy. Teeming dorms, packed lectures, bustling dining halls, raucous parties.

    Now, as students return, the reality is a more subdued version of that dream. Most institutions will have full dorms, side-by-side desks, and in-person activities, but they’ll also require masks, regular testing, and proof of vaccination for students and staff. And a sense of foreboding looms: The Delta variant is extremely contagious, and no one knows what the colder months will bring. Many professors, especially those with unvaccinated children, fear for their safety and that of their families.

    Oregon counties request trucks for bodies as deaths climb — 8:54 p.m.

    By Associated Press

    The death toll from COVID-19 in Oregon is climbing so rapidly in some counties that the state has organized delivery of one refrigerated truck to hold the bodies and is sending a second one, the state emergency management department said Saturday.

    So far, Tillamook County, on Oregon’s northwest coast, and Josephine County, in the southwest, requested the trucks, said Bobbi Doan, a spokeswoman for the Oregon Office of Emergency Management.

    Maine ICU beds tie previous peak amid Delta variant surge — 7:26 p.m.

    By Associated Press

    The number of patients in intensive care units in Maine hospitals has tied the pandemic’s previous high as the delta variant of the coronavirus continues to surge.

    The number of COVID-19 patients in the ICU hit 71 on Friday, tying the previous high on Jan. 20 in Maine after a holiday surge in infections.

    Almost 750,000 third COVID vaccine doses given in US — 6:29 p.m.

    By Bloomberg

    The U.S. recorded slightly above a million vaccine doses on Saturday, including 87,000 third doses, Cyrus Shahpar, the White House’s Covid-19 data director, tweeted. It was the fifth of day above 1 million shots in the last 10 days, with vaccinations rising over the last month as the delta variant has spread.

    A total of 732,000 additional shots have officially been given since Aug. 13, according to data compiled by the U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention. That was when federal health regulators permitted third shots for people with compromised immune systems. President Joe Biden said he wants to begin administering booster shots to all vaccinated adults starting Sept. 20.

    Hospitals in US South run low on oxygen, as region sees high numbers of COVID hospitalizations — 4:52 p.m.

    By Bloomberg

    Hospitals in the U.S. Southeast are running low on oxygen, with the worst-hit left only 12 to 24 hours worth, said Premier Inc., a hospital-supply purchasing group.

    This comes amid the region’s struggle over the summer with high numbers of Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations. Now Hurricane Ida is set to hit the Gulf Coast in the coming days.

    Premier has notified the White House, Federal Emergency Management Agency, and Health and Human Services department about the scarcity of oxygen in the region, said Blair Childs, Premier’s senior vice president of public affairs. There is “so much more demand for oxygen than there ever has been,” Childs said.

    French health pass protesters rally for 7th week — 3:52 p.m.

    By Associated Press

    PARIS (AP) — Demonstrators opposed to France’s health pass took to the streets for a seventh Saturday of vocal protests, but crowds were smaller than in past weeks.

    About 200 marches were called around the country, four in Paris, gathering both people opposed to COVID-19 vaccinations and those denouncing the health pass in place since early August.

    Polls show that a majority of French back the health pass but the demonstrators Saturday were of all ages and a mix of social classes. They included some health care workers, who must be vaccinated by mid-September.

    The pass, which is required to enter restaurants, museums, sports arenas or other popular venues in France, shows its holder is fully vaccinated, recovered or had a recent negative test.

    Signs carried by the crowd include one that read “Welcome to Controlistan.”

    Far-right politician Florian Philippot, a presidential candidate in next year’s election, has organized such protests for months.

    “The spirit of France is here and it is rising,” he tweeted, posting photos of crowds at his demonstration.

    French media, citing the Interior Ministry, said there were less than 158,580 protesters Saturday around France, compared to 175,500 a week ago.

    Health authorities said Saturday that nearly 72% of France’s population has received at least one vaccine injection and 64.5% have been fully vaccinated.

    Antibodies waning? The immune system has a backup plan for that — 2:53 p.m.

    By Bloomberg

    Antibodies against the coronavirus wane over time, but the immune system has a backup plan that doesn’t rely on boosters, according to a study by scientists at the University of Pennsylvania, where technology for mRNA vaccines was developed.

    Researchers at the university’s Perelman School of Medicine tracked 61 people for six months after immunization with mRNA vaccines. The team noted that antibodies gradually ebbed, but that the shots generated durable immune memory to SARS-CoV-2 in the form of B and T cells that increased over time to help ward off serious illness.

    Booster shot rollout against COVID-19 is likely to differ from the first vaccine effort — 2:16 p.m.

    By Felice J. Freyer, Globe Staff

    The federal government has recommended booster shots for Americans vaccinated against COVID-19, possibly starting as early as next month. But right now, it’s unclear how and where those shots will be administered in Massachusetts.

    State health officials and health care providers said they are awaiting guidance from the federal government on the booster program, which was spurred by evidence that immunity wanes some months after the initial vaccination.

    But already, one thing seems clear: This new phase of vaccine distribution will most likely bear little resemblance to the initial rollout earlier this year, which was characterized by insufficient and unpredictable supplies, an emphasis on mass vaccination sites, and a state-run sign-up system that initially defeated even seasoned computer users.

    NBA referees to be vaccinated this season — 1:51 p.m.

    By Associated Press

    NBA referees will all be vaccinated against the coronavirus this season.

    The NBA announced Saturday that it has struck a deal with the National Basketball Referees Association on that requirement. Part of the referees’ agreement with the NBA also says that those working games will receive booster shots once they become recommended.

    The NBRA voting on the issue took place earlier this week.

    The agreement with the referees was revealed one day after the league told its teams that anyone within close proximity — defined in most cases as being 15 feet — of players and referees will also have to be vaccinated. That mandate covers, among others, coaches, support staff traveling with teams, locker room attendants and those working at official scorer’s tables in NBA arenas.

    Players are not required to be fully vaccinated, though many were last season after the league encouraged them to do so by agreeing to relax some health and safety protocols for those who were — including fewer mandated coronavirus tests, no quarantine requirements following contact tracing issues and more freedoms on road trips.

    As is the case with team employees, any referees who have a documented medical or religious reason to not be vaccinated may seek an exemption. Without that exemption, any unvaccinated referee will not be eligible to work games, the NBA said.

    What went wrong with the pandemic in Florida — 1:23 p.m.

    By New York Times

    The unexpected and unwelcome coronavirus surge now unfolding in the United States has hit hardest in states that were slow to embrace vaccines. And then there is Florida.

    While leaders in that state also refused lockdowns and mask orders, they made it a priority to vaccinate vulnerable older people. Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, opened mass vaccination sites and sent teams to retirement communities and nursing homes. Younger people also lined up for shots.

    DeSantis and public health experts expected a rise in cases this summer as people gathered indoors in the air-conditioning. But what happened was much worse: Cases spiraled out of control, reaching peaks higher than Florida had seen before. Hospitalizations followed. So did deaths, which are considerably higher than the numbers currently reached anywhere else in the country.

    An elementary school teacher took off her mask for a read-aloud. Within days, half her class was positive for Delta variant — 12:32 p.m.

    Washington Post

    The Marin County, Calif. elementary school had been conscientious about following covid-19 protocols. Masks were required indoors, desks were spaced six feet apart, and the students kept socially distant. But the Delta variant found an opening anyway.

    On May 19, one teacher, who was not vaccinated against the coronavirus, began feeling fatigued and had some nasal congestion. She dismissed it as allergies and powered through. While she was usually masked, she made an exception for story time so she could read to the class.

    By the time she learned she was positive for the coronavirus two days later, half her class of 24 had been infected — nearly all of them in the two rows closest to her desk — and the outbreak had spread to other classes, siblings and parents, including some who were fully vaccinated.

    “The mask was off only momentarily, not an entire day or hours. We want to make the point that this is not the teacher’s fault — everyone lets their guard down — but the thing is Delta takes advantage of slippage from any kind of protective measures,” Tracy Lam-Hine, an epidemiologist for the county, said in an interview.

    The case study, published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and highlighted by CDC director Rochelle Walensky during a briefing on Friday, highlights the potential danger for children under the age of 12 — the only group in the United States ineligible for coronavirus vaccines as a hyper-infectious variant tears across the country.

    Contact tracing takes a back seat during latest COVID surge — 11:35 a.m.

    Associated Press

    Health investigators across the U.S. are finding it nearly impossible to keep up with the deluge of new COVID-19 infections and carry out contact tracing efforts that were once seen as a pillar of the nation’s pandemic response.

    States are hiring new staff and seeking out volunteers to bolster the ranks of contact tracers that have been overwhelmed by surging coronavirus cases.

    Some states trimmed their contact tracing teams this spring and summer when virus numbers were dropping and are now scrambling to train new investigators. Others have triaged their teams to focus on the most vulnerable, such as cases involving schools or children too young to be vaccinated.

    Texas got out of the business entirely, with the new two-year state budget that takes effect Sept. 1 explicitly prohibiting funds being used for contact tracing. That left it up to local health officials, but they can’t keep up at a time when Texas is averaging more than 16,000 new cases a day.

    Mississippi has 150 staff working full time to identify people who have had close contact with an infected person, but they are swamped, too.

    Since the pandemic began, states have been relying on the practice of contact tracing to track down, notify and monitor those who were exposed to someone who tested positive for the coronavirus.

    COVID-19 cases rise in South Dakota after Sturgis motorcycle event — 10:25 a.m.

    Associated Press

    Rumbles from the motorcycles and rock shows of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally have hardly cleared from the Black Hills of South Dakota, and the reports of COVID-19 infections among rallygoers are already streaming in — 178 cases across five states, according to contact tracers.

    In the three weeks since the rally kicked off, coronavirus cases in South Dakota have shot up at a startling pace — sixfold from the early days of August. While it is not clear how much rallygoers spread the virus through secondary infections, state health officials have so far reported 63 cases among South Dakota residents who attended the event.

    The epicenter of the rally, Meade County, has become red-hot with new cases, reaching a per capita rate that is similar to the hardest-hit Southern states. The county reported the highest rate of cases in the state over the last two weeks, according to Johns Hopkins researchers.

    The Black Hills region’s largest hospital system, Monument Health, warned Friday that it has seen hospitalizations from the virus rise from five to 78 this month. The hospital was bracing for more COVID-19 patients by converting rooms to intensive care units and reassigning staff.

    Virus cases were already on the rise when the rally started, and it’s difficult to measure just how much the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is to blame in a region where local fairs, youth sports leagues and other gatherings have resumed.

    Mask debate moves from school board meetings to courtrooms — 9:11 a.m.

    Associated Press

    The rancorous debate over whether returning students should wear masks in the classroom has moved from school boards to courtrooms.

    In at least 14 states, lawsuits have been filed either for or against masks in schools. In some cases, normally rule-enforcing school administrators are finding themselves fighting state leaders in the name of keeping kids safe.

    Legal experts say that while state laws normally trump local control, legal arguments from mask proponents have a good chance of coming out on top. But amid protests and even violence over masks around the United States, the court battle is just beginning.

    Mask rules in public schools vary widely. Some states require them; others ban mandates. Many more leave it up to individual districts.

    Big school districts that want to require masks are in court and battling governors in Florida, Texas and Arizona. Worried parents are suing over similar legislative bans on mandates in Utah, Iowa and South Carolina.

    Suits fighting mask requirements have popped up in Missouri, Illinois, Michigan, Kentucky and Montana.

    How COVID-19 is still causing problems for the NFL — 8:29 a.m.

    By Ben Volin, Globe Staff

    The NFL will look mostly normal in 2021. Stadiums will be full again. Players and coaches (mostly) won’t have to wear masks on the sideline. Opponents can hug each other and exchange jerseys.

    But just when it looked like the NFL had put COVID-19 behind it, the Delta variant reared its ugly head this past week and offered a stark reminder: The pandemic is still raging in many parts of the country, and it will continue to cause problems for the NFL throughout the 2021 season.

    Already this training camp we have seen the Minnesota Vikings have to go five days without any of their top three quarterbacks because one contracted COVID and the other two weren’t vaccinated. Then this past week the NFL dealt with several tricky situations.

    Japan investigates deaths of two men who received Moderna shots — 8:27 a.m.

    By Jonathan Saltzman, Globe Staff

    Two young men in Japan died after recently receiving shots of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine that were among more than 1.6 million doses subsequently pulled by the country’s government following the discovery of unspecified “particle matter,” the Cambridge biotech said Saturday.

    Both men were in their 30s and died this month within days of receiving their second doses, according to a Reuters report.

    Each had a shot from one of three lots containing over 1.6 million doses that were pulled Thursday following the discovery of contaminants traced to one product manufacturing lot, said Ray Jordan, a Moderna spokesman. They had gotten shots from one or two of the lots that were later suspended as a precaution, not the one identified as tainted.

    UK prepares to vaccinate children ages 12-15 — 8:01 a.m.

    By The Associated Press

    The British government says it is preparing to vaccinate children ages 12-15 against the coronavirus, even though the inoculation campaign has not yet been approved by the country’s vaccine advisors.

    The Department of Health said it wants “to be ready to hit the ground running” once approval comes and be in position to deliver shots in schools when the new academic year starts in most of the country. The return of children to class in September is expected to drive up Britain’s already high coronavirus infection rate.

    Britain is currently giving coronavirus vaccinations to people 16 and up, as well as those between 12 and 15 with underlying health conditions or who live with vulnerable adults.

    Britain’s medicines regulator has approved the use of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines for the 12 to 15 age group. But the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization, which sets policy, has not signed off on shots for most adolescents that young.

    The United States, Canada and several European countries are already vaccinating people who are at least 12 years old.

    A Texas father stripped down to his swim shorts at a town meeting to make a point about masks — 7:51 a.m.

    By Brittany Bower, Globe Staff

    Kids are headed back to school, and in many states, they will be accompanied by mask mandates.

    Parents across the country are making their voices heard as school districts decide whether to require students and staff to wear masks to curb the spread of COVID-19 as cases spike due to the highly transmissible Delta variant. And while the mask mandate has been issued for all school districts in Massachusetts, many other states have yet to take that step.

    In Texas, one father made his stance clear.

    At a school board meeting for Dripping Springs Independent School District Monday, James Akers took off one article of clothing at a time until he was stripped down to just swim shorts. The stunt was captured on video and widely circulated this week.

    Tokyo apologizes for vaccine rollout confusion — 5:23 a.m.

    By The Associated Press

    Japan’s Tokyo city hall has apologized for “confusion” amid its vaccination rollout targeting young people, after crowds looking to get the shot were turned away from a facility in the Shibuya district.

    Health authorities on Saturday switched to a reservation system instead of first come, first served. But more than 2,200 people showed up to get vaccine appointment vouchers, some waiting in line since dawn, and 354 were selected by lottery to receive shots, Japanese media reported.

    Inoculations for those ages 16 through 39 began Friday.

    Japan, which has one of the slowest COVID-19 vaccine rollouts in the developed world, has prioritized giving shots to elderly people and then gradually working its way down by age group.

    The latest development appears to counter critics who had suggested young people wouldn’t be interested in getting vaccinated.

    Sydney has worst day with Delta despite vaccinations — 1:52 a.m.

    By Bloomberg News

    The outbreak of the delta variant continued unabated in Sydney, with Australia’s largest city accounting for the bulk of new daily Covid-19 infections as New South Wales state had its worst day.

    The state saw a record 1,035 daily infections in the 24 hours to 8 p.m. local time on Friday, the largest figure since the outbreak began in the city in mid-June, NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard told reporters in Sydney on Saturday. Two more people died.

    NSW first passed 1,000 on Thursday, with 1,029 daily infections. Sydney’s lockdown isn’t managing to reduce the number of new infections, despite being in place for more than two months.

    Hundreds of thousands of people per day are now being vaccinated after a slow start to Australia’s rollout, though cases continue to rise in various areas of NSW and have spread to other parts of the country. A record number of people were vaccinated on Friday, Hazzard said.

    “While we are seeing massive vaccination numbers, we are also seeing substantial cases,” the minister said. “At the end of the day, vaccinations is the way out of this.”

    US Open tightens protocols, fans must provide proof of COVID vaccination — 10:35 p.m.

    By The New York Times

    NEW YORK — Under pressure from Mayor Bill de Blasio and other city leaders, the U.S. Tennis Association reversed its lax coronavirus protocols for the upcoming U.S. Open tournament, which opens to thousands of fans Monday.

    Originally, the tournament did not require any proof of vaccination or a recent negative coronavirus test for fans to enter, and there were no mask mandates. But the mayor’s office stepped in over the past two days and demanded stricter protocols.

    On Friday evening, the tournament announced on its Twitter account that proof of at least one vaccine shot would be required for entrance to the grounds for all fans age 12 and older. No masks are required.

    The mayor’s office was adamant that fans entering Arthur Ashe Stadium, the largest venue on the grounds of the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, be vaccinated. But the USTA took it a step further and made it a requirement for all fans entering the grounds of the tournament.

    Family stunned as COVID kills high schooler — 9:19 p.m.

    By The Associated Press

    MIAMI — In Columbia County, which now leads Florida in COVID-19 cases per capita, 17-year-old Jo’Keria Graham died just days before she started her senior year of high school. The teen, who loved taking care of kids and called her grandparents daily to check on them or help at their office, was still in quarantine at her Lake City home after testing positive for COVID days before school started.

    The high schooler had seemed to be on the mend and asked her grandparents to bring her breakfast. Her family was on the phone with her grandparents on their way to drop off breakfast when she collapsed in the bathroom earlier this month.

    “She was saying, ‘I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe’,” her grandmother Tina Graham said Friday, noting the teen was buried in her cap and gown.

    “We thought she was doing fine. Both of my sons had it and one of my sons was really really sick and she wasn’t near as sick as he was,” Graham said.

    COVID-19 deaths straining some Florida hospital morgues — 8:16 p.m.

    By The Associated Press

    Mounting deaths from the latest surge in COVID-19 have strained capacity at hospital morgues and funeral homes across central Florida.

    While Florida’s record levels of new cases and hospitalizations for the disease have leveled off over the past week, averages of daily reported deaths have continued to climb. Hospitals in Florida have reported to the federal government that roughly 279 patients have died every day for the past week, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, though that figure includes deaths suspected, but not yet confirmed to have been, from COVID-19. The figure just a month ago was 52 deaths per day.

    By The Associated Press

    A new British study suggests people who get COVID-19 from the extra-contagious delta variant are about twice as likely to be hospitalized than those who caught an earlier version of the coronavirus.

    The delta variant spreads much more easily than the alpha variant that previously was widespread in much of the world. But whether it also causes more severe disease is unclear, something hard to tease out — in part because delta took off just as many countries relaxed their pandemic restrictions even as large swaths of the population remained unvaccinated.

    Researchers with Public Health England examined more than 40,000 COVID-19 cases that occurred between March and May, when the delta variant began its surge in Britain, to compare hospitalization rates. The results were similar to preliminary findings from a Scottish study that also suggested delta triggered more hospitalizations.

    Importantly, less than 2% of all the cases tracked in the newest study were among the fully vaccinated.

    The findings were published Friday in The Lancet Infectious Diseases.

    Mass. early education commissioner seeks state board’s approval to require masks for children, staff — 7:03 p.m.

    By Nick Stoico Globe Correspondent

    Face coverings may soon be required for children as young as 5 years old and staff members working in early education, pending a state board’s decision on the plan by Early Education and Care Commissioner Samantha Aigner-Treworgy.

    Aigner-Treworgy is asking the Board of Early Education and Care to grant her the authority to implement an indoor mask mandate at all state-licensed child care centers, according to a statement.

    NBA, pair of MLB teams latest to mandate COVID-19 vaccination — 6:17 p.m.

    All NBA team personnel who will be near players and referees must be fully vaccinated against the coronavirus this season, the league told its clubs in a memo on Friday.

    It essentially covers anyone who will travel with teams; be around the bench areas; have access to home, visiting and referee locker rooms; and those working at the scorer’s table. The league also said in the memo, a copy of which was obtained by The Associated Press, that the policy may be updated when federal agencies release “expected guidance related to booster shots.”

    Team personnel will need to be fully vaccinated by Oct. 1; game-day personnel by the time of a team’s first home preseason game, which means early October.

    Here’s where the Delta wave has driven up COVID-19 vaccinations — 6:06 p.m.

    By The New York Times

    After weeks of stagnation, the U.S. vaccination campaign has had a relatively successful month, with vaccine uptake rising from early-summer lows in every state in the country.

    The upswing in vaccinations has come alongside an extended, and much more pronounced, increase in coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and deaths in the United States over the past two months. Public health officials say that in their communities, residents have been driven to get the vaccine by worries that the more-transmissible delta variant might make them, or their loved ones, sick.

    Red Sox’ Kiké Hernández out indefinitely after testing positive for COVID-19 — 5:34 p.m.

    By Peter Abraham, Globe Staff

    The Red Sox will be without Kiké Hernández indefinitely after the super utility player tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday.

    Another utility player, Christian Arroyo, was deemed a close contact of Hernández’s and will miss at least this weekend’s series against the Cleveland Indians.

    Hernández, who told reporters in April that he had been vaccinated, has a breakthrough case. Manager Alex Cora said Hernández is experiencing symptoms.

    “They will be out for an extended period of time,” Cora said.

    More big-name Boston companies delay their return to the office until January — 5:29 p.m.

    By Jon Chesto, Globe Staff

    Add insurers John Hancock, Tufts Health Plan and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care to the growing list of white-collar employers postponing their return-to-office plans because of rising COVID-19 case counts.

    John Hancock, a life insurance and investment arm of Manulife Financial Corp., had planned to reopen its Back Bay headquarters on a voluntary basis on Sept. 20. But on Friday, president Marianne Harrison told John Hancock’s 5,000 US employees, including 3,500 in Massachusetts, that the company is pushing that reopening back until January 2022.

    Only essential workers will be allowed in offices in Atlanta, Boston, and Tempe, Ariz., for the rest of 2021. The company eventually will adopt more of a hybrid model, with many workers coming in three days a week while working remotely the other two. John Hancock has encouraged office staff to take COVID-19 vaccines, but has not required it.

    1,591 confirmed cases, 6 deaths, and 11,953 vaccinations. See today’s COVID-19 data from Mass. — 5:08 p.m.

    By Peter Bailey-Wells, Ryan Huddle, Daigo Fujiwara, and Amanda Kaufman, Globe Staff

    Massachusetts on Friday reported 1,591 new confirmed coronavirus cases, 6 new confirmed coronavirus deaths, and another 11,953 vaccinations administered, the Department of Public Health said.

    The state also reported that 572 patients with COVID-19 were in the hospital.

    N.H. representatives push for border to reopen to vaccinated Canadians — 4:56 p.m.

    By The Associated Press

    New Hampshire’s congressional delegation is pressing the Biden administration to reopen the U.S.-Canada border to vaccinated Canadians, saying businesses in the state are hurting from a ban on nonessential travel.

    The U.S. government recently extended the ban to slow the spread of COVID-19, until at least Sept. 21. Canada opened its side of the border to vaccinated U.S. travelers Aug. 9.

    U.S. Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan and U.S. Reps. Annie Kuster and Chris Pappas met Thursday with representatives from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Canadian Consul in Boston, and state business leaders to discuss the effects of the ban.

    “Our businesses and tourism sector are feeling the economic impact, which they already can’t afford as they fight to get their feet back on the ground following the financial fallout from the pandemic,” Shaheen said in a statement. “I understand the serious challenges posed by the rapid spread of the Delta variant and the urgent need to keep people safe, but we also know this is vastly due to an epidemic spurred by the unvaccinated. These are difficult decisions, but I believe there is a responsible way to get this done.”

    Hassan said she does not see the reason for extending the border closure even longer, when Canadian vaccination rates “exceed our own, and while Canada is willing and able to admit U.S. visitors.”

    The travel restrictions have been in place since early in the pandemic in March 2020 and repeatedly extended while allowing commercial traffic and essential crossings to continue.

    Jesse Jackson moves to rehab hospital, wife in ICU for COVID — 4:45 p.m.

    By The Associated Press

    The Rev. Jesse Jackson has been transferred to a hospital focused on physical rehabilitation after receiving treatment for a breakthrough COVID-19 infection while his wife, Jacqueline, has been moved to an intensive care unit, according to a family statement released Friday.

    Jonathan Jackson, one of the couple’s five children, said that his father’s COVID-19 symptoms are abating.

    Jackson has Parkinson’s disease and Jonathan Jackson said he will receive “intensive occupational and physical therapy” at The Shirley Ryan AbilityLab in Chicago.

    Jacqueline Jackson is not on a ventilator but is receiving increased oxygen in the ICU at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Jonathan Jackson said.

    “Both of our parents are continuing to receive excellent medical care,” he said. “We urge that you continue to keep them in your prayers because we know this is a serious disease.”

    Kraft Heinz to require vaccines for office employees by January — 4:07 p.m.

    By Bloomberg

    Kraft Heinz Co. will require all U.S. office-based employees to be fully vaccinated prior to returning to the office in January, unless they have obtained a health-related or religious accommodation.

    “We decided to take this step after listening to employees that a fully vaccinated workplace would increase their confidence in returning to the office,” a company spokesperson told Bloomberg News in an emailed statement. The mandate doesn’t apply to manufacturing workers, though Kraft Heinz said it’s encouraging vaccinations and has “stringent health and safety protocols” at its plants.

    The company’s offices will be open in September for vaccinated employees that choose to come in, but all workers are expected to return in January. Kraft Heinz joins a growing list of major companies mandating vaccination for office employees, including Facebook Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Walmart Inc.

    US intelligence still divided on origins of coronavirus — 3:45 p.m.

    By The Associated Press

    U.S. intelligence agencies remain divided on the origins of the coronavirus but believe China’s leaders did not know about the virus before the start of the global pandemic, according to results released Friday of a review ordered by President Joe Biden.

    Alaska is dealing with a surge in COVID-19 cases — 3:20 p.m.

    By The Associated Press

    Alaska this week reported its highest daily number of confirmed resident COVID-19 cases this year as health officials struggle to keep pace with testing and contact tracing. And hospitals are juggling a surge in hospitalizations with staff shortages and admissions for other conditions.

    The Anchorage Daily News reports that Gov. Mike Dunleavy and members of his administration on Thursday announced plans aimed at increasing hospital staffing to help with COVID-19 cases.

    The measures include speeding the licensing process for health care workers and seeking federal contracts for more workers. Alaska reported 701 resident COVID-19 cases on Thursday. That’s one the highest daily infection rates since the pandemic started.

    Chicago officials accuse DoorDash, Grub Hub of misleading restaurants, customers during pandemic — 3:17 p.m.

    By The Associated Press

    Chicago officials on Friday accused DoorDash and GrubHub of harming the city’s restaurants and their customers by charging high fees and through other deceptive practices when delivery and takeout business became essential to the industry during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    The city officials believe their lawsuits against the delivery companies are the most sweeping of their kind brought by a city.

    “It is deeply concerning and unfortunate that these companies broke the law during these incredibly difficult times, using unfair and deceptive tactics to take advantage of restaurants and consumers who were struggling to stay afloat,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said in a statement.

    Representatives for the two companies called the lawsuits filed Friday in Cook County Circuit Court “baseless.”

    NBA says those around players, refs must be vaccinated — 3:15 p.m.

    By The Associated Press

    All NBA team personnel who will be near players and referees must be fully vaccinated against the coronavirus this season, the league told its clubs in a memo on Friday.

    It essentially covers anyone who will travel with teams, be around the bench areas, have access to home, visiting and referee locker rooms and those working at the scorer’s table. The league also said in the memo, a copy of which was obtained by The Associated Press, that the policy may be updated when federal agencies release “expected guidance related to booster shots.”

    Team personnel will need to be fully vaccinated by Oct. 1; game-day personnel by the time of a team’s first home preseason game, which means early October.

    Among the groups of personnel required to have vaccinations: coaches, medical and performance staff, equipment staff, front office members, team and arena security, media relations, social media producers, facility operations workers and more.

    The NBA said exemptions will be made in the cases of unionized workers who cannot be forced to be vaccinated, and for those with religious or documented medical reasons.

    Those not fully vaccinated, the NBA said, “will be prohibited from having in-person interaction with, or being within 15 feet of, any player or referee.” They would also not be permitted to travel with teams and would have to wear face masks at all times inside team facilities.

    Training camps for all 30 NBA clubs begin in late September, with preseason games in early October and the start of regular-season play Oct. 19.

    Hawaii considering lockdown as visitors continue to fly there amid surge — 3:15 p.m.

    By The Associated Press

    As visitors continue to fly to Hawaii and locals go about their business, state officials say the islands may need to go into lockdown if a surge in COVID-19 delta variant cases continue to rise.

    County mayors are asking for more restrictions, and Gov. David Ige told Hawaii News Now on Thursday that strict mandates are being considered.

    If case counts continue to rise “and we push the hospitals across that line then we will have to go to more extreme measures, lockdowns and potentially shutting businesses,” Ige said.

    Hawaii has had nearly 16,000 new infections in August amid a spike of cases that has repeatedly broken state records. Earlier this week, Ige asked that tourists stop coming to the islands, but stopped short of enacting any formal restrictions on travel.

    Big Island Mayor Mitch Roth is expected to make an announcement Friday about new rules. The island recently postponed the Ironman World Championship that was slated to be held in Kailua-Kona in October.

    Maui Mayor Michael Victorino is waiting for state approval for his newly proposed restrictions.

    Victorino is asking residents to only do essential activities and is requesting that visitors voluntarily stay at their resorts and not visit the remote Hana coastline.

    Canada approves Moderna for young teens — 2:55 p.m.

    By Bloomberg

    Canada has approved the use of Moderna Inc.’s vaccine for people 12 and over. Previously only the Moderna vaccine was approved for adults in Canada. Pfizer Inc.’s vaccine is already approved for those 12 and over in country.

    Judge tosses case over UMass Boston, Lowell vaccine mandates — 2:30 p.m.

    By The Associated Press

    A federal judge on Friday dismissed a lawsuit challenging a requirement that students at the University of Massachusetts campuses in Boston and Lowell be fully vaccinated against the coronavirus in order to return to campus.

    Students at the schools sued in July, asking the judge to find the vaccination mandates to be unconstitutional. The UMass Boston student also alleged she was improperly denied a religious exemption.

    U.S. District Judge Denise Casper said the schools have a strong interest in reducing the spread of the disease. And she found that despite the students’ assertion that the policy is “arbitrary or not based in science,” the schools “based the decision upon both medical and scientific evidence and research and guidance and thus is at least rationally related to these legitimate interests.”

    The judge also noted that students who refuse to get vaccinated may still take online classes or defer their enrollment a semester. But even if the policy meant they would be deprived of a UMass education, their argument still fails, she said.

    “Moreover, the balance of equities tips in Defendants’ favor given the strong public interest here that they are promoting—preventing further spread of COVID-19 on campus, a virus which has infected and taken the lives of thousands of Massachusetts residents,” she wrote.

    Cases spike, Liberty University to quarantine — 2:23 p.m.

    By The Associated Press

    Liberty University announced a temporary campus-wide quarantine Thursday amid a spike in COVID-19 cases.

    News outlets report that the quarantine is set to begin Monday and last until Sept. 10. The university’s online COVID-19 dashboard showed 159 known active cases among students, faculty and staff as of Wednesday.

    As the fall semester began this week, the university, which doesn’t require vaccination, lifted building capacity restrictions and distancing and masking requirements. The protocol changed late Thursday with the announcement of the campus-wide quarantine, moving classes online and suspending large indoor gatherings.

    The university will encourage masking and social distancing and host vaccine clinics on campus, but it didn’t indicate it would mandate those measures.

    Outdoor events will continue as scheduled. Worship services will move to the stadium.

    Two new studies look at COVID safety in schools — 1:40 p.m.

    By The Associated Press

    U.S. health officials say two new studies from California provide more evidence that schools can open safely if they do the right things.

    One looked at COVID-19 cases in Los Angeles County. It found that during the winter pandemic peak, case rates in children and adolescents were about 3 ½ times lower than rates in the community. Officials say that’s because schools followed CDC guidance on masking, physical distancing, testing and other virus measures.

    The second study pointed to what can happen if even one person does not follow guidelines. It focused on an outbreak at a Marin County school in May. One unvaccinated teacher got sick but taught for two days after showing symptoms, and she took off her mask to read to her class. Investigators said 26 other people were infected.

    Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, discussed the studies Friday during a White House press briefing.

    The studies looked at things that happened months ago, before the current surge of the delta variant. It spreads more easily from person to person than previous versions of the coronavirus. Walensky said there is no plan to change the agency’s school guidance, even with recently increasing cases and hospitalizations of children.

    “Most of the places where we are seeing surges and outbreaks are in places that are not implementing our current guidance,” Walensky said.

    Rhode Island’s largest health insurer will require all employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19 — 12:58 p.m.

    By Alexa Gagosz, Globe Staff

    The state’s largest health insurer, Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island, is now requiring all of its employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

    BCBSRI is one of Rhode Island’s largest employers. All employees will have to meet the company’s Nov. 1 deadline to submit proof of vaccination for COVID-19 or apply for a medical or religious exemption.

    “We are in challenging times that I believe require all of us to take strong actions to protect public health,” said BCBSRI President and CEO Martha Wofford.

    Biden says boosters may begin earlier; 5 months after second dose — 12:22 p.m.

    By Bloomberg

    President Joe Biden said his administration is considering starting booster shots of the coronavirus vaccine for people as soon as 5 months after they receive their second dose, possibly accelerating the plan for shots 8 months after full vaccination.

    Biden, speaking Friday during an Oval Office meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, said he talked with infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci about the possible change earlier in the day.

    Biden’s senior health team announced a plan this month for any adult to get a booster, beginning Sept. 20, if it’s been eight months since their second shot of either the Pfizer Inc.-BioNTech SE or Moderna Inc. vaccines. That plan is still subject to authorization by the Food and Drug Administration.

    They cited two broad trends — warning signs that vaccine efficacy was waning over time, and that it’s weaker against the delta variant.

    Biden’s team announced the boosters relying in substantial part on data from Israel, though some health experts say it’s not yet clear if they’re needed for all adults, including the young and healthy. Biden said that Israel is urging them to narrow their timeline.

    Fauci leads the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and is also a senior medical adviser to Biden.

    Judge says Florida school districts may impose mask mandates; rules Governor DeSantis overstepped his authority — 12:18 p.m.

    By The Associated Press

    School districts in Florida may impose mask mandates, a judge said Friday, ruling that Gov. Ron DeSantis overstepped his authority by issuing an executive order banning the mandates.

    Leon County Circuit Judge John C. Cooper agreed with a group of parents who claimed in a lawsuit that DeSantis’ order is unconstitutional and cannot be enforced. The governor’s order gave parents the sole right to decide if their child wears a mask at school.

    Cooper said DeSantis’ order “is without legal authority.”

    His decision came after a three-day virtual hearing, and after at least 10 Florida school boards voted to defy DeSantis and impose mask requirements with no parental opt-out.

    Boston College to require fans to show proof of COVID vaccination or negative test — 12:14 p.m.

    By Andrew Mahoney, Globe Staff

    Boston College will require fans at Alumni Stadium and other venues on campus to show proof of full COVID-19 vaccination or proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test administered within the previous 72 hours, the school announced Friday.

    The school requires faculty, staff, and students to be fully vaccinated, and as of Friday 99% of all undergraduate students and faculty and staff have been vaccinated.

    Arizona has had more than 1M coronavirus cases — 12:07 p.m.

    By The Associated Press

    Arizona has now had more than 1 million confirmed coronavirus infection cases.

    State health officials on Friday reported 3,707 additional COVID-19 cases, putting the state beyond the grim milestone.

    Arizona is the 13th U.S. state to hit that level of cases after reporting its first case in January of last year. Arizona is 13th in the country in cases per 100,000 people.

    Arizona on Friday also reported 63 more COVID-19 deaths. Hospitals and public health officials are urging people to wear masks and get vaccinated amid debates and court fights over requiring shots and mask wearing.

    Nebraska limits elective surgery — 11:57 a.m.

    By Bloomberg

    Facing hospital staff shortages aggravated by Covid-19, Nebraska is limiting elective surgeries that can be delayed four or more weeks and easing some personnel licensing requirements, the Omaha World-Herald reports.

    Governor Pete Ricketts, a Republican, said the declaration isn’t specific to Covid-19 and that hospital staffing “was a challenge we had before the pandemic.”

    COVID-strained Louisiana hospitals brace for hurricane Ida — 11:56 a.m.

    By Bloomberg

    Louisiana Children’s Medical Center will put its six New Orleans-area hospitals into lockdown Sunday morning in anticipation of a storm that’s forecast to become Hurricane Ida.

    Ida is headed toward New Orleans just as Louisiana and surrounding states buckle under rising Covid-19 infections and hospitalizations.

    Louisiana currently has more than 2,700 Covid patients in hospitals, according to the state’s department of health. Meanwhile, Ida’s top winds could reach 115 miles (185.07 kilometers) per hour when it comes ashore and small towns on the U.S. Gulf coast have already told residents to evacuate.

    “To have these disasters layered on top of each other is a big strain,” said Kevin Smiley, a professor at Louisiana State University who studies disasters and health.

    Italian premiere decries unequal vaccine access — 11:44 a.m.

    By The Associated Press

    Italian Premier Mario Draghi says the uneven global economic recovery and the “grossly unequal” access to COVID-19 vaccines, especially in Africa, are making it harder to end the pandemic.

    Draghi on Friday remotely addressed a meeting of the G-20 Compact with Africa. That’s an initiative begun in 2017 under the then-German presidency of the G-20, to promote private investment, particularly in infrastructure, in Africa.

    Draghi noted that close to 60% of the population of high-income countries have received at least one dose of the vaccine, while in low-income nations, only 1.4% have.

    “The global economy is just as uneven,’’ said Draghi, a former European Central Bank chief. He pointed out that emerging market and low-income countries have spent a far lower percentage of their GDP to boost growth after the pandemic’s economic shock.

    “We must do more – much more – to help the countries that are most in need,” said Draghi.

    The COVAX program in which wealthier nations provide COVID-19 vaccines to countries which haven’t been able to obtain them has so far shipped close to 210 million vaccines, while another initiative, the Africa Vaccine Acquisition Task Team is about to distribute 400 million vaccines on that continent.

    “Those figures must be only a start,’’ said Draghi.

    Wyoming judge cuts fines by $200 for defendants who present vaccine proof — 11:32 a.m.

    By Bloomberg

    Justice takes many forms and a judge in Wyoming is knocking up to $200 off traffic fines and other court fees for defendants who present proof they’ve been vaccinated against Covid-19.

    “It’s just another form of community service,” Natrona County Circuit Court Judge Steven Brown tells the Casper Star-Tribune. “You can go down and clean dog poop at the shelter or something, but in the big picture we need to get COVID under control … we’ll be better off if people go get that shot.”

    The judge offered a woman making an initial appearance this week $200 off a $560 fine if she got vaccinated within 30 days and presented proof at the courthouse, the newspaper reports.

    Arkansas schools have 3,100 active COVID cases — 11:25 a.m.

    By The Associated Press

    More than 3,100 active coronavirus cases have been reported in Arkansas public schools among students and employees, according to newly released numbers from the state.

    Most students returned to the classroom last week — and the majority of public school students attend districts that are requiring masks. The mask requirements emerged after a judge in Little Rock temporarily blocked a state law that bans mask mandates in schools and public places.

    The Arkansas Department of Health’s latest report on schools, released Thursday, found 3,102 active cases in 173 school districts in the state. The Bentonville, Springdale, Rogers, Cabot and Fort Smith districts all reported more than 100 active cases among students, faculty and staff.

    A week ago, the state reported just under 1,800 active cases at schools.

    Meanwhile, a judge in Lonoke County was expected to rule Friday on a lawsuit by some parents challenging Cabot schools’ mask requirement. Arkansas ranks fifth in the country for new virus cases per capita, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University.

    Scientists warn COVID set to grow exponentially in UK schools — 10:57 a.m.

    By Bloomberg

    The U.K. government’s scientific advisers said Covid-19 cases are likely to rise exponentially among children when schools resume next month after the summer holidays.

    Most U.K. children haven’t been vaccinated against coronavirus and it would be “sensible” for the government to plan for “high prevalence” in schools by the end of September, according to a document dated Aug. 11 that was released on Friday by the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies.

    “It is highly likely that exponential increases will be seen in school-attending age groups after schools open,” the scientists wrote in the document.

    Even though the bulk of U.K. adults have now been vaccinated, cases remain high, with more than 38,000 new positives registered yesterday, and almost 240,000 in the past week.

    Children are the people least protected against the virus in the U.K., because vaccinations have only recently been authorized for 16 to 17-year olds, while 12 to 15-year-olds can only get a vaccination if they have certain health conditions or live with someone who is immuno-compromised.

    Vaccination will “have made almost no difference” to children over the summer, the scientists said. They also said the role of schools in driving Covid transmission in the wider community “remains uncertain.”

    City of Cambridge issues emergency order requiring use of face masks in indoor public places — 10:53 a.m.

    By Maria Elena Little Endara, Globe Correspondent

    The City of Cambridge announced Friday it was issuing an emergency order requiring that face masks or coverings be worn in indoor public places.

    The order takes effect at 8:00 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 3 for everyone over the age of two.

    In a press release sent out by the city, the order comes as COVID cases continue to increase in Cambridge and neighboring communities.

    See more coronavirus coverage at globe.com/coronavirus.

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