While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Aug 10

Delta coronavirus variant pushes US cases, hospitalisations to 6-month high

Coronavirus cases and hospitalisations in the United States are at a six-month high, fueled by the rapid spread of the Delta variant across swathes of the country grappling with low vaccination rates.

Nationwide, Covid-19 cases have averaged 100,000 for three days in a row, up 35 per cent over the past week, according to a Reuters tally of public health data. The surge of the disease was strongest in Louisiana, Florida and Arkansas. Hospitalisations rose 40 per cent and deaths, a lagging indicator, registered an 18 per cent uptick in the past week with the most fatalities by population in Arkansas.

The intensifying spread of the pandemic has led to cancellation of some large high-profile events. One notable exception is an annual motorcycle rally in South Dakota which has been proceeding as planned.

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Canada welcomes fully vaccinated Americans across reopened border

American visitors trickled across the Canada-US border on Monday, cheering the reopening of the world’s longest land boundary 17 months after all non-essential travel was halted to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Ottawa lifted quarantine requirements for US citizens and permanent residents arriving with proof of vaccination.

“It’s absolutely wonderful,” Vicki Poulin said of the border reopening. “We’re just so happy to be here.”

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Pentagon to seek approval to make Covid-19 vaccines mandatory for US military

The Pentagon on Monday said that it will seek US President Joe Biden’s approval by the middle of September to require military members to get vaccinated against Covid-19.

After setting Covid-19 rules for federal workers, Biden last month directed the Pentagon to look into “how and when” it will require members of the military to take the vaccine.

The Defense Department is targeting mid-September for a vaccination deadline based on expectations for the Food and Drug Administration to give full approval to the Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE vaccine. Currently it falls under an emergency use authorisation.

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Nine Russian coronavirus patients die after oxygen supply malfunctions

Nine coronavirus patients died in a Russian hospital in the southern city of Vladikavkaz after an oxygen pipe burst underground, cutting supply to an intensive care ward, Russian news agencies reported on Monday.

“Nine patients with coronavirus died due to a lack of oxygen,” the TASS news agency cited the local health ministry as saying.

“A total of 71 people were in intensive care, not all were (receiving) oxygen supply,” TASS quoted the ministry as saying.

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Tennis: Murray added to US Open main draw after Wawrinka withdrawal

Former champion Andy Murray has been added to the main draw of the US Open following the withdrawal of Swiss Stan Wawrinka, tournament organisers said on Monday.

Murray, who had hip surgeries in 2018 and 2019, has only played a handful of ATP Tour-level events this year having missed the Australian Open because of a positive Covid-19 test and opting out of competing at the French Open.

The 34-year-old Murray reached the third round at Wimbledon but withdrew from the men’s singles tournament at the Tokyo Olympics on the advice of his medical team, dashing his hopes for a third consecutive gold medal.

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