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Wednesday morning news - July 21, 2021

WORLD Radio - Wednesday morning news - July 21, 2021

COVID in Washington, CDC sounds alarm on Delta, Canada opens U.S. border, Bezos rockets into space, and Biden celebrates the Tampa Bay Bucs

Rochelle Walensky, Director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), left, and Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, listen during a Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee hearing, Tuesday, July 20, 2021, on Capitol Hill in Washington Stefani Reynolds/The New York Times via Associated Press

For WORLD Radio, I'm Kent Covington. 

White House, Capitol Hill staffers test positive for COVID-19 » Staffers at the White House and on Capitol Hill have tested positive for COVID-19.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters...

PSAKI: A fully vaccinated White House official tested positive for COVID-19 off campus. In accordance with our rigorous COVID-19 protocols, the official remains off campus as they wait for a confirmatory PCR test.

She said officials have conducted contact tracing interviews and have “determined no close contacts among White House principles or staff.

Also on Tuesday, a top spokesperson for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi tested positive. That after coming in contact with Democratic state lawmakers who fled Texas last week to stymie new election legislation.

Five of those Texas lawmakers tested positive for COVID-19 over the weekend.

CDC: Delta variant now 83% of U.S. COVID-19 cases » Meantime, the CDC continues to sound alarms about the delta variant.

CDC Director Dr. Rochele Walensky said Wednesday that the strain is spreading rapidly.

WALENSKY: The delta variant now represents 83 percent of sequenced cases. This is a dramatic increase, up from 50 percent the week of July 3rd.

The variant is also fueling an increase of so-called breakthrough infections—fully vaccinated people testing positive. But those who are vaccinated are still far less likely to contract COVID-19 and if they do, it’s likely to be less severe. The CDC stresses that almost all of those now hospitalized are unvaccinated.

New cases have tripled since late June, and hospitalizations have almost doubled.

The good news is that the number of deaths in the United States from COVID-19 has not increased substantially—up about 9 percent from early July.

Canada to reopen U.S. border to vaccinated Americans » Canada announced this week that it will once again allow vaccinated Americans to travel into the country early next month. WORLD’s Kristen Flavin reports.

KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that vaccinated U.S. citizens can once again travel into the country, effective Aug. 9th. And it will allow travel from the rest of the world on Sept. 7th.

But the United States has not yet indicated any plan to change current restrictions at the land border. Canadians are able to fly into the United States with a negative COVID-19 test.

The White House says it will follow the guidance of medical experts in determining when to reopen the northern border.

Canada now leads G20 countries in vaccination rates. About 80 percent of eligible Canadians are vaccinated with their first dose and over 50 percent are fully vaccinated.

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Kristen Flavin.

Amazon founder rockets into space » AUDIO: [Sound of Blue Origin launch]

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos blasted into space Tuesday on his rocket company’s first flight.

He was the second billionaire in a span of nine days to travel into space. Richard Branson crested the Earth’s atmosphere aboard his Virgin Galactic spacecraft last week.

Joining Bezos was a small, hand-picked group: his brother, an 18-year-old from the Netherlands, and an 82-year-old aviation pioneer from Texas.

His capsule touched down on the desert floor in remote West Texas Tuesday after the 10-minute flight.

BEZOS: What we’re doing is the first step of something big.

His upstart space tourism company plans to take many more people into space.

He called Tuesday's flight the “best day ever!”

Biden welcomes Super Bowl champs at White House » President Biden hosted the Super Bowl champions at the White House on Tuesday.

The president honored Tom Brady and the rest of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a ceremony on the South Lawn.

BIDEN: In the middle of a long, dark winter, every Sunday people were able to sit down and watch you play. You created memories that helped folks make it through and believe that we could get back to normal again.

He added—quote—“This Buccaneer team is a testament to the fact that it’s never too late to come together and achieve extraordinary things.”

The Bucs defeated the Kansas City Chiefs 31-to-9 in Super Bowl 55.

I’m Kent Covington. For more news, features, and analysis, visit us at wng.org. 

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.


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