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Wednesday morning news - July 28, 2021

WORLD Radio - Wednesday morning news - July 28, 2021

CDC reverses mask guidance, record COVID cases in Tokyo, Capitol riot commission begins, China convicts Hong Kong activist, Atlanta spa shooter sentenced

Washington Metropolitan Police Department officer Michael Fanone testifies during a House select committee hearing on the Jan. 6 attack on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, July 27, 2021 Jim Bourg/Pool via Associated Press

For WORLD Radio, I'm Kent Covington. 

CDC reverses mask guidance » The CDC made a u-turn Tuesday on its mask guidelines.

The agency had maintained that vaccinated people generally don’t need to wear masks indoors. But CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky announced on Tuesday…

WALENSKY: In areas with substantial and high transmission, CDC recommends fully vaccinated people wear masks in public indoor settings to help prevent the spread of the delta variant and protect others.

She said with earlier strains of the virus, vaccinated people were unlikely to spread the virus very much. But the delta variant plays by different rules.

Researchers tested the level of virus in the noses and throats of both vaccinated and unvaccinated people infected with the delta strain. And she said the level of the virus found was "indistinguishable” between the two groups.

That means vaccinated people can spread the virus, but it does not mean that they will get just as sick.

Vaccinated Americans are far less likely to get sick from COVID-19. And when they do, symptoms are generally milder.

Walensky stated earlier this month that 97 percent of those now hospitalized with COVID-19 are unvaccinated.

Tokyo reports record virus cases days after Olympics begin » Meantime in Tokyo, officials just reported a record number of new coronavirus cases. WORLD’s Kristen Flavin has more.

KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga Tuesday urged people in Tokyo to avoid non-essential outings, but said there was no need to consider suspending the ongoing Olympic Games.

Tokyo reported more than 2,800 new COVID-19 cases, topping its earlier record of about 2,500 daily cases back in January.

Tokyo is under its fourth coronavirus state of emergency, which is to continue through the Olympics Games.

Still, Japan has kept its cases and deaths lower than many other countries. Nationwide, it has reported a pandemic total of about 15,000 deaths. For comparison, the number of deaths per capita in the United States is 15 times greater.

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Kristen Flavin.

House select committee on Capitol riot hears officer testimony » Police officers who tried to defend the U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6th siege testified inside that very building on Tuesday.

The hearing featured emotional testimony from four officers and video clips of violence and mayhem.

Sergeant Aquilino Gonell told members of a House panel...

GONELL: I could feel myself losing oxygen and recall thinking to myself - This is how I’m going to die, defending this entrance.

And Washington Metropolitan Police Officer Michael Fanone said he also wasn’t sure he would survive the day.

FANONE: I was at risk of being stripped of and killed with my own firearm as I heard chants of ‘kill him with his own gun.’ I can still hear those words in my head today.

Tuesday’s hearing marked the beginning of the House select committee’s efforts to investigate the events of Jan. 6th.

That panel has been the subject of a bitter partisan split. Many Republicans opposed its formation, saying the panel is redundant as other probes were already ongoing and that the committee’s scope would be too narrow. They also complained that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi stacked the committee with members who will ask only the questions she wants asked.

Democrats counter that Republicans blocked the formation of a bipartisan panel.

The House select committee is comprised of seven Democrats and two Republicans: Representatives Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger—both of whom voted to impeach President Trump in the wake of the Capitol riot.

China convicts first person tried under Hong Kong security law » The Chinese government has convicted the first person to be tried under Hong Kong’s sweeping so-called national security law. WORLD’s Sarah Schweinsberg has that story.

SARAH SCHWEINSBERG, REPORTER: A Chinese court found a 24-year-old restaurant worker guilty of secessionism and terrorism on Tuesday.

The government charged Tong Ying-kit with those crimes for driving his motorcycle into a group of police officers last year while carrying a flag emblazoned with a pro-liberty slogan. The flag read “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our times.”

Tong pleaded not guilty to the charges, but he now faces a possible maximum sentence of life in prison.

Under Hong Kong’s new “national security” law, which Beijing imposed last year, trials have no juries. Instead, judges handpicked by Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam preside.

Many similar convictions could lie ahead. The communist government arrested more than 100 people under the sweeping new law, which gives Beijing immense power to crack down on liberties in Hong Kong.

Reporting for WORLD, I’m Sarah Schweinsberg.

Atlanta spa shooter sentenced » The man accused of killing eight people last month in a shooting spree at Atlanta-area massage parlors pleaded guilty to murder Tuesday in four of those killings.

Twenty-two-year-old Robert Aaron Long will spend the rest of his life in prison after yesterday’s sentencing.

But he still faces a possible death penalty in the other deaths, which are being prosecuted in another county.

Many of his victims were of Asian descent, but prosecutors found no evidence that the murders were racially motivated.

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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