Pandemic Olympics, vaccine misinformation, and more coronavirus news | World Weekly
Pandemic Olympic Games, Vaccine misinformation, reinstatement of Covid-19 permits. Here’s what you should know:
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The Olympics could be a super evolutionary event for Covid-19
A year later than planned, the 2020 Summer Olympics kicks off in Tokyo today. For stakeholders, there was a huge incentive to make sure the Games were held in one form or another. But while about 85 percent of people coming to Tokyo for the event are vaccinated, only 22 percent of Japanese people do. Besides the fact that cases have remained relatively low in Japan, the Olympics could provide an ideal breeding ground for super-spreading and the exchange of new variables.
Outside the Olympic Village, the virus is on the rise again in Tokyo, which is currently under a state of emergency that will continue even after the Games are over. Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga recently admitted that it has been difficult to stir up enthusiasm among Japanese citizens amid fears of the pandemic. Earlier this week, Toyota announced that it would withdraw its advertisements for the Olympics in solidarity with the Japanese public’s opposition to the event.
Vaccine misinformation and frequency keep vaccination rates low and lead to a new increase in cases in the United States
The delta variant now accounts for more than 80 percent of infections in the United States, and has led to increased cases, hospitalizations, and deaths in every state and Washington, DC. However, the worst outbreaks have been in places where vaccination rates have remained low. The White House has repeatedly pointed out that misinformation has prevented many from getting vaccinated, and has accused social media platforms like Facebook of not doing enough to curb its spread.
But it’s hard to argue that any social network has the influence of conservative news channels like Fox News, where nearly 60 percent of vaccine-related sectors in a two-week period have finally undermined vaccination efforts. And hesitation about vaccines in the United States still falls largely along partisan lines. But as Delta rushes in, more and more Republicans are encouraging their base to go out and get shots, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Representative Steve Scales, the second Republican in the House.
Countries, cities, and school districts restored public health measures as Delta spreads
Amid the rise of variable delta, some countries are re-entering Covid cards or other methods of proof of vaccination before entering certain institutions. From Wednesday, visitors in France need a special permit saying they have either received a full vaccination, tested negative or recovered from Covid-19 in order to go to the top of the Eiffel Tower and visit museums and cinemas. Israel’s Green Pass program, which limits entry to public places such as restaurants, gyms and synagogues to people who have been vaccinated or have recently tested negative, is set to come back into effect next week. And Boris Johnson recently announced that English nightclubs and other places with crowds will require proof of vaccination by the end of September.
Even within the United States, some are reassessing public health measures. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced this week that workers in public hospitals will be required to either get vaccinated or be tested weekly in an effort to increase vaccination rates within the city’s hospitals. And Chicago Public Schools recently announced that all students and teachers will need to wear masks when classes begin next month regardless of whether or not they have been vaccinated.
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Civilians heralded the epidemic as an opportunity to strengthen small towns and rebuild big cities for the better, prioritizing pedestrians and cyclists over cars, figuring out ways to make buildings breathe better, and fixing rush hour. Other researchers note that the ways urban crime has decreased in 2020 provides important information that can help cities increase safety, and do so more equitably, even after the pandemic. However, there is no doubt that the pandemic has affected urban life. One example: mass transit, the lifeblood of cities like New York, is in grave danger.
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