According to reports in The Washington Post and The New York Times, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is expected to make public Friday an internal federal health document about the delta variant of the coronavirus that can be spread “as easily as chickenpox” by vaccinated and unvaccinated people.
The newspapers reported the document is a slide presentation distributed to CDC officials. The presentation details the difficulties the agency has experienced in convincing some populations to get vaccinated and wear masks.
The presentation urges CDC officials to develop public service messages that “emphasize vaccination as the best defense against a variant so contagious that it acts almost like a different novel virus, leaping from target to target more swiftly than Ebola or the common cold.”
With the delta variant of the virus that causes COVID-19 rapidly spreading across the country, U.S. President Joe Biden has announced civilian federal government employees must be vaccinated or submit to regular testing and wear masks.
“Every federal government employee will be asked to attest to their vaccination status,” Biden said Thursday in a speech from the White House East Room. “Anyone who does not attest or is not vaccinated will be required to mask, no matter where they work, test one or two times a week to see if they’ve acquired COVID, socially distance, and generally will not be allowed to travel for work.”
The federal government employs more than 4 million Americans, including over 2 million in the federal civilian workforce, a White House statement said.
The same standards will apply to federal contractors, Biden added.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte announced lockdown measures Friday for the Manila capital region, home to 13 million people. The move is designed to curb the spread of the delta variant of the coronavirus. The lockdown will go into effect beginning Aug. 6 and lasting until Aug. 20.
Tokyo’s neighbors are being placed under a state of emergency from Aug. 2-31, according to the Japanese daily Asahi Shimbun. Tokyo, where the Olympic Games are currently being held, and Okinawa have already been placed under a state of emergency due to the spread of the coronavirus.
Saitama, Chiba, Kanagawa and Osaka are the new prefectures to have the emergency state imposed on them.
Hokkaido, Ishikawa, Kyoto, Hyogo and Fukuoka prefectures, also neighboring Tokyo, will be placed under pre-emergency measures.
Under a state of emergency, business is suspended in locations that serve alcohol or have karaoke.
Business are asked not to serve alcohol under pre-emergency measures.
Japan has reported a record number of daily COVID cases as the country hosts the Olympics Games in Tokyo.
Asahi Shimbun reported late Thursday that Japan had more than 10,000 daily coronavirus cases, the first time the country’s daily count has exceeded 10,000. Tokyo had 3,865 infections, eclipsing the previous day’s total of 3,177, according to the publication. The newspaper also reported that 24 people associated with the Olympic Games tested positive for COVID-19, including three athletes, bringing the total to 193 for people connected with the Games who have tested positive for COVID-19.
WHO officials fear that 47 of Africa’s 54 countries will miss a September target of vaccinating 10% of their populations, a goal set earlier this year by the World Health Assembly, the world’s highest health policy-setting body. Africa accounts for less than 1% of the more than 4 billion vaccine doses administered globally.
Many Latin American countries also are lagging. The region, along with the Caribbean, has suffered 1.25 million COVID-19-related deaths and is struggling to secure the vaccines needed by those countries. While Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay have inoculated about 50% of their populations, most of the others have managed to vaccinate only about 30% — with Honduras, Guatemala and Venezuela trailing at under 10%.
The U.S. sent millions of doses of vaccine to Latin America earlier this month as part of Biden's commitment to end the pandemic across the globe. One million doses of Johnson & Johnson's vaccine were shipped to Bolivia, a million doses of Pfizer to Paraguay on Friday, and 1.5 million doses of Moderna to Guatemala, according to the White House.
Overall, across the globe, just 1.1% of people in low-income countries have received at least one vaccine dose.
The Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center reported 196,634,210 global COVID infections early Friday.