South Korea hits pandemic high for daily cases

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SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea has reported a new daily high for coronavirus cases, putting pressure on authorities to extend their toughest distancing rules.

The 1,784 cases confirmed in the previous 24-hour period is the biggest single-day jump since the pandemic began. The new cases brought the country’s total to 182,265 cases, with 2,060 deaths from COVID-19.

South Korea’s daily caseload has been above 1,000 for the past two weeks amid a slow vaccination program, lax public vigilance and the spread of the more contagious delta variant of the virus. A majority of new cases are in the densely populous Seoul metropolitan area, but officials have recently warned the virus is spreading beyond the capital region.

Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum calls the latest numbers “serious.”

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MORE ON THE PANDEMIC:

— Dr. Fauci, Sen. Paul trade charges of lying about virus

— CDC: Delta variant accounts for 83% of U.S. cases

— Britain hits most daily virus deaths in 4 months

— Research: Millions may have died in India during pandemic

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Find more AP coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic and https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine

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HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:

TOPEKA, Kan. — Families and advocates for the elderly in Kansas argue that with most nursing home residents vaccinated against the coronavirus, some facilities need to relax visiting rules.

A state official who investigates complaints against nursing homes as well as the elder-care focused Kansas Advocates for Better Care called on the state Tuesday to intervene when nursing homes aren’t open enough.

Some industry officials still see a need for caution because of the growing presence in Kansas of the faster-spreading delta variant of the coronavirus.

Operators feel they are still facing tough choices after nursing homes were COVID-19 hot spots earlier in the pandemic, but advocates for residents worry the delta variant could cause homes to lock down again.

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JACKSON, Miss. — The Mississippi state health officer is imploring people to get vaccinated as a highly transmissible variant of the coronavirus is spreading in the state, which has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the U.S.

Dr. Thomas Dobbs said Tuesday: “Y’all, we’re going to have a rough few weeks.”

He says intensive care units are full in 13 Mississippi hospitals because of the recent increase in cases, and many other hospitals have under 10% of ICU beds available.

Dobbs says unvaccinated people should take “common sense steps” to reduce transmission, including having social activities outdoors rather than indoors. He adds that people can choose to wear masks to mitigate the spread of the virus, but he is not asking Gov. Tate Reeves to reinstate widespread mask mandates.

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With COVID-19 cases soaring nationwide, school districts across the U.S. are again confronting the realities of a polarized country and the lingering pandemic as they navigate mask requirements, vaccine rules and social distancing requirements for the fast-approaching new school year.

Students in Wichita, Kansas, public schools can ditch masks when classes begin. Detroit public schools will probably require them only for the unvaccinated. In Pittsburgh, masks will likely be required regardless of vaccination status. And in some states, schools cannot mandate face coverings under any circumstances.

The spread of the delta variant and the deep political divisions over the outbreak have complicated decisions in districts from coast to coast.

School officials say decisions about whether to require masks have been complicated not only by community pressure and the delta variant but also conflicting advice from public health officials.

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BOSTON — Boston health officials are urging recent visitors to Provincetown to self-isolate and get tested after a cluster of coronavirus cases was linked to the popular Cape Cod tourist town.

The Boston Public Health Commission said Tuesday that at least 35 coronavirus cases in Boston have been traced to Provincetown, with the vast majority of cases involving people who were fully vaccinated.

Anyone who has traveled to Provincetown since July 1 is being asked to get tested at least five days after returning. The travel guidance also asks recent visitors to self-isolate and avoid gatherings for at least five days and until they receive a negative test.

Provincetown officials issued a new mask advisory on Monday after more than 100 people tested positive following the Fourth of July holiday.

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ST. LOUIS — The head of the St. Louis region’s pandemic task force says the area is facing a third wave of coronavirus infections that could cause more deaths and serious cases if residents don’t get vaccinated and return to wearing masks in public.

Dr. Clay Dunagan said Tuesday that seven COVID-19 patients have died in the St. Louis region and 91 were admitted to intensive care units during the previous 24 hours.

Dunagan says even people who have been vaccinated should…



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