Editor’s note: This is a live account of COVID-19 updates from Monday, July 11, as the day unfolded. It is no longer being updated. Click here to see all the most recent news about the pandemic, and click here to find additional resources.
Job growth in June was driven by industries recuperating from pandemic-induced losses and employment is now just a touch away from pre-pandemic levels, down 524,000, or 0.3%, from February 2020. A recovery in private-sector job creation is responsible for the overall gains. Government employment has lagged behind, with a shortfall of 664,000. A recent wave of layoffs in the tech and housing sectors have made headlines, yet employment in professional and business services is 880,000 above its February 2020 level, and overall hiring last month showed no sign of slowing.
The latest omicron offshoot, BA.5, has quickly become dominant in the United States. Antibodies from vaccines and previous COVID infections offer limited protection against BA.5, leading Eric Topol, a professor at Scripps Research who closely tracks pandemic trends to call it “the worst version of the virus that we’ve seen.”
We’re updating this page with the latest news about the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on the Seattle area, the U.S. and the world. Click here to see the rest of our coronavirus coverage and here to see how we track the daily spread across Washington.
The European Union said Monday it’s “critical” that authorities in the 27-nation bloc consider giving second coronavirus booster shots to people between the ages of 60 and 79 years and other vulnerable people, as a new wave of the pandemic sweeps over the continent.
“With cases and hospitalizations rising again as we enter the summer period, I urge everybody to get vaccinated and boosted as quickly as possible. There is no time to lose,” European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Stella Kyriakides said in a statement.
The European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the European Medicines Agency said that the second boosters can be given at least four months after the first booster.
Monday’s advice comes after the agencies in April recommended that people over age 80 be considered for a second booster.
Read the full story here.
Most Americans say their lives are at least approaching pre-pandemic normalcy, according to a recent study with 54% saying their lives are somewhat the same as it was before the pandemic.
According to the according to the poll, published Tuesday by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and The SCAN Foundation, a slim majority of 51% of Americans think that getting a COVID-19 vaccine is essential for them, while 39% think that nearly all people need to receive the vaccine before things can go back to the way they were.
22% of Americans think that wearing masks in public indoor places is essential to going back to pre-pandemic life with Black and Hispanic adults more likely than white adults to give importance to indoor masking and regular testing.
In the survey, 87% of respondents said they would socialize with friends and family; 79% were planning to go to a bar or restaurant, visit with older relatives, travel, and attend in-person religious services; 65% said they were ready to exercise at a gym or studio; and 50% would be using public transportation.
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More than two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, when Dr. Anthony Fauci tested positive for the coronavirus, his federal agency announced that he would “continue to work from his home.” So did U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg and San Francisco Mayor London Breed.
It’s become a familiar practice among professionals who can do their jobs remotely.
But rest is an important part of weathering a COVID-19 infection.
“Sleep equals immunity,” said Dr. Susan Cheng, a cardiologist, researcher and professor in the Smidt Heart Institute at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. As it fights off the virus, “you want to have your immune system not distracted by anything else,” including stress from work.
People forget that COVID-19 is not the common cold, she said — and even for a common cold, “you do not want to be going 100% or even 80%.” Cheng pointed to studies done long before the pandemic, which found that mice infected with “garden variety viruses” fared much worse if they were forced to swim.
“You really want your body to recover,” Cheng said. “Give it as much rest as possible, to recover as fully as possible.”
Family medicine specialist Dr. Caitlin McAuley said that “in any acute illness — and COVID especially — we know that rest is important.”
“Getting adequate sleep lets the immune system rebalance,” along with hormones, said McAuley, who sees patients through the COVID Recovery Clinic at Keck Medicine of USC. In addition, “we often don’t acknowledge the fact that when we’re sick, we’re not functioning appropriately mentally as well. So decision making may be impaired.”
“At a minimum, you really should unplug for three to five days,” McAuley said.
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New projections from the United Nations’ Department of Social and Economic Affairs show that the global population is expected to reach 8 billion on Nov. 15 — though population growth is at its slowest in decades, with rates dipping under 1% in 2020.
The coronavirus played a part in the stagnant population growth.
From January 2020 to December 2021, 14.9 million people died of COVID-related issues, according to the World Health Organization. Global life expectancy dropped to age 71 from 72.8 in 2019. COVID was also likely to produce short-term reductions in pregnancies and births. And with more restrictions on cross-border activity, rates of migration have also plummeted — a key driver for population growth in developing countries.
Released Monday, the agency’s “World Population Prospects” report projects that India will surpass China as the most populous country in the world by 2023 — a change, in part, because of China’s aging population and history of restricting births.
Other recent studies conducted by the United Nations have shown that by the end of the century, Africa will be the only continent to experience population growth, with 13 of the world’s 20 biggest urban areas expected to be based there.
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The U.S. government will once again extend the COVID-19 public health emergency, continuing measures that have given millions of Americans special access to health insurance and telehealth services.
The Department of Health and Human Services has repeatedly renewed the emergency since it was originally declared in January 2020, with the most recent extension set to expire July 15. The next extension is expected to take effect Friday, according to a person familiar with the matter who asked not to be identified because the details aren’t public.
HHS didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
The Biden administration has said it will give states 60 days’ notice before ending the emergency to allow sufficient time to prepare for changes to certain programs and regulatory authorities. HHS last extended the public health emergency in May.
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In the shadow of L.A.’s art deco City Hall, musicians jammed onstage, kids got their faces painted, and families picnicked on lawn chairs. Amid the festivity, people waved flags, sported T-shirts, and sold buttons — all emblazoned with a familiar slogan: “My Body, My Choice.”
This wasn’t an abortion rights rally. It wasn’t a protest against the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling that gutted Roe v. Wade. It was the Defeat the Mandates Rally, a jubilant gathering of anti-vaccine activists in April to protest the few remaining COVID-19 guidelines, such as mask mandates on mass transit and vaccination requirements for health care workers.
Similar scenes have played out across the country during the pandemic. Vaccine opponents have appropriated “My Body, My Choice,” a slogan that has been inextricably linked to reproductive rights for nearly half a century, to fight mask and vaccine mandates across the country — including in California, where lawmakers had vowed to adopt the toughest vaccine requirements in the U.S.
As the anti-vaccine contingent has notched successes, the abortion rights movement has taken hit after hit, culminating in the June 24 Supreme Court decision that ended the federal constitutional right to abortion. The ruling leaves it up to states to decide, and up to 26 states are expected to ban or severely limit abortion in the coming months.
Now that anti-vaccination groups have laid claim to “My Body, My Choice,” abortion rights groups are distancing themselves from it — marking a stunning annexation of political messaging.
“It’s a really savvy co-option of reproductive rights and the movement’s framing of the issue,” said Lisa Ikemoto, a law professor at the University of California, Davis Feminist Research Institute. “It strengthens the meaning of choice in the anti-vaccine space and detracts from the meaning of that word in the reproductive rights space.”
Hundreds of couples whose weddings were derailed or scaled back due to the COVID-19 pandemic got a do-over at no less than a New York City landmark.
The Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts hosted “Celebrate Love: A (Re)Wedding” for 500 couples on Sunday evening in the pavilion outside the center.
Lincoln Center’s website calls it ”a special day for newlyweds, those whose weddings were canceled or diminished, and people who want to recommit their love to their partners and the city we love.”
It featured a multicultural ceremony — not legally binding — as well as music, dancing and remarks from New York City Mayor Eric Adams.
Read the story here.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has tested positive for COVID-19 and reports experiencing very mild symptoms, his spokesman said Sunday night.
Schumer, 71, is fully vaccinated and has received two booster shots, spokesman Justin Goodman said in a statement.
The New York Democrat will follow federal health guidelines and quarantine this week while working remotely, Goodman said.
Read the story here.
Job growth in June was driven by industries recuperating from pandemic-induced losses and continued business investment in sectors still benefiting from formidable demand for their goods and services, even as borrowing costs increase.
Employment is now just a touch away from pre-pandemic levels, down 524,000, or 0.3%, from February 2020. A recovery in private-sector job creation is responsible for the overall gains. Government employment has lagged behind, with a shortfall of 664,000.
Job growth in educational services was solid, seasonally adjusted, suggesting that employment in that sector fell less than usual at the start of summer.
A recent wave of layoffs in the tech and housing sectors have made headlines, yet employment in professional and business services is 880,000 above its February 2020 level, and overall hiring last month showed no sign of slowing.
“High inflation and a shift of consumer spending from goods to services is causing job losses in some sectors of the economy, but most workers who are losing jobs are finding new ones quickly,” said Bill Adams, chief economist for Comerica Bank, a large commercial bank based in Dallas.
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The quickly changing coronavirus has spawned yet another super contagious omicron mutant that’s worrying scientists as it gains ground in India and pops up in numerous other countries, including the United States.
Scientists say the variant – called BA.2.75 – may be able to spread rapidly and get around immunity from vaccines and previous infection. It’s unclear whether it could cause more serious disease than other omicron variants, including the globally prominent BA.5.
The latest mutant has been spotted in several distant states in India, and appears to be spreading faster than other variants there, said Lipi Thukral, a scientist at the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research-Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology in New Delhi. It’s also been detected in about 10 other countries, including Australia, Germany, the United Kingdom and Canada. Two cases were recently identified on the West Coast of the U.S., and Helix identified a third U.S. case last week.
Read the story here.
Hong Kong authorities are considering implementing a health code system in the city that would restrict the movements of those infected with the coronavirus and overseas arrivals, as infections rise again.
The system is similar to that of mainland China, in which a red code completely restricts a person’s movement, a yellow code is for partial restriction, while a green code means freedom of movement. The colors would appear on Hong Kong’s risk-exposure app LeaveHomeSafe.
Hong Kong’s health chief said Monday that if such a system is implemented, real-name registration would be required and those who test positive for COVID-19 would be given a red code “to identify those who have been infected” and prevent them from interacting with the community.
Authorities are also considering reducing the current seven-day hotel quarantine for incoming travelers, and moving part of it to home isolation and health monitoring.
Such travelers may be issued yellow health codes, and will not be allowed to remove their masks or enter high-risk premises such as hospitals and elderly care homes.
“We hope that we will be able to enforce the home quarantine in a more effective way and try to prevent these people from causing community outbreak,” Lo said.
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WIMBLEDON, England — With the final match looming, this year’s edition of Wimbledon has already proved many points.
Rafael Nadal can play top-level tennis with a zombie foot and a tear in an abdominal muscle, but only for so long. Iga Swiatek is beatable, at least on grass. With Moscow-born, Kazakhstan-representing Elena Rybakina making the women’s singles final, barring Russian players does not necessarily make a competition free of Russian players.
But perhaps most surprisingly, after 27 months of tournament cancellations, spectator-free events, constant testing and bubblelike environments, tennis may have finally moved past COVID-19.
For nearly two years, longer than just about every other major sport, tennis struggled to coexist with the pandemic.
In November, when the NFL, the NBA, the Premier League and most other sports organizations had resumed a life that largely resembled 2019 — no masks, no testing, no bubbles — tennis players were still living with restrictions on their movements, conducting online video news conferences and having cotton swabs stuck up their noses at tournaments.
Read the full story to learn more about how tennis is moving past the pandemic.