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Today s coronavirus news: COVID-19 cases have nearly tripled in the U.S. over two weeks; More Olympic athletes test positive in Tokyo

Today s coronavirus news: COVID-19 cases have nearly tripled in the U.S. over two weeks; More Olympic athletes test positive in Tokyo
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The latest coronavirus news from Canada and around the world Thursday. This file will be updated throughout the day. Web links to longer stories if available.

6:21 a.m.: A second Dutch athlete and a staff member have tested positive for COVID-19 at the Tokyo Games.

Team Netherlands says taekwondo athlete Reshmie Oogink and a rowing team staff member have tested positive and will quarantine for 10 days.

“I am speechless” Oogink said. “I have done everything I could and have worked so hard to get so close to the Games. I even overcome major knee injuries and now it has come to a sudden end. This is the end of my career.”

Chef de Mission of TeamNL Pieter van den Hoogenband says the team is doing everything to keep infection to a minimum, but the situation is having an impact.

A day earlier, on Wednesday, Dutch skateboarder Candy Jacobs said on Instagram that she had tested positive and been sent into quarantine.

6:10 a.m.: President Joe Biden expressed pointed frustration over the slowing COVID-19 vaccination rate in the U.S. and pleaded that it s "gigantically important” for Americans to step up and get inoculated against the virus as it surges once again.

Biden, speaking Wednesday night at a televised town hall in Cincinnati, said the public health crisis has turned largely into a plight of the unvaccinated as the spread of the delta variant has led to a surge in infections around the country.

“We have a pandemic for those who haven’t gotten the vaccination — it’s that basic, that simple,” he said on the CNN town hall.

The president also expressed optimism that children under 12 will be approved for vaccination in the coming months. But he displayed exasperation that so many eligible Americans are still reluctant to get a shot.

"If you’re vaccinated, you’re not going to be hospitalized, you’re not going to be in the IC unit, and you’re not going to die," Biden said at the forum at Mount St. Joseph University. "So it’s gigantically important that ... we all act like Americans who care about our fellow Americans.”

6 a.m.: Residents and workers in Canada’s long-term-care system have been harmed by the COVID-19 pandemic — and those who are racialized and from immigrant communities likely have been affected most, a new report says.

But the lack of demographic data on what these groups face in long-term care makes it difficult to pinpoint how they’ve been impacted, and what their needs are, according to physicians and researchers who authored the report, published Thursday by the Wellesley Institute and the National Institute on Aging.

“Without data we couldn’t look at the impact of COVID-19 in long-term care,” said Seong-gee Um, a researcher at the Wellesley Institute, a Toronto-based research and policy non-profit organization. “We know there are great disparities in terms of access to long-term care and health outcomes among diverse senior population groups, especially in the GTA.”

Without information on who is living in long-term care, what socio-economic factors they are facing and what their needs are, it’s hard to know how to improve conditions, the report explains.

5:45 a.m.: COVID-19 cases have nearly tripled in the U.S. over two weeks amid an onslaught of vaccine misinformation.

The spike in infections is straining hospitals, frustrating doctors.

Across the U.S., the seven-day rolling average for daily new cases in the U.S. rose over the past two weeks to more than 37,000 on Tuesday, up from less than 13,700 on July 6. Health officials blame the delta variant and flattening vaccination rates. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says 56.2 per cent of Americans have gotten at least one dose of a vaccine.

“Our staff, they are frustrated," said Chad Neilsen, director of infection prevention at UF Health Jacksonville, a Florida hospital that is cancelling elective surgeries and procedures after the number of mostly unvaccinated COVID-19 in-patients at its two campuses jumped to 134, up from a low of 16 in mid-May.

“They are tired. They are thinking this is déjà vu all over again, and there is some anger because we know that this is a largely preventable situation, and people are not taking advantage of the vaccine.”

“It is like seeing the car wreck before it happens,” said Dr. James Williams, a clinical associate professor of emergency medicine at Texas Tech, who has recently started treating more COVID-19 patients. “None of us want to go through this again.”

He said the patients are younger — many in their 20s, 30s and 40s — and overwhelmingly unvaccinated.
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