NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Country music star Garth Brooks says he is reassessing whether to continue his stadium tour in light of the rising number of coronavirus cases across the country.
Brooks says in a statement that while he is scheduled to play the next two tour stops in Kansas City, Missouri, and Lincoln, Nebraska, he will not put tickets on sale for the next planned stop in Seattle.
The singer says he will take a three-week break to assess what to do about the remainder of the tour.
Brooks is one of the biggest selling entertainers in music. He restarted touring in July and regularly performs in front of 60,000 to 70,000 people. Many of his shows sell out well in advance.
MORE ON THE PANDEMIC:
— New York City: Vaccination proof needed for indoor events, dining, gyms
— WH: US shipped abroad more than 110M doses of vaccines
— China orders mass coronavirus testing for Wuhan
— 1st cruise ship docks in Puerto Rico since start of pandemic
HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:
PHOENIX — A science teacher in Phoenix has filed suit seeking to block a school district from imposing a mask mandate, arguing the requirement violates a new state law.
The Phoenix Union High School District confirmed the filing Tuesday, and says the superintendent and governing board members “stand behind our decision to require masks at this time and remain steadfast in our commitment to do all we can to protect our staff, students, families, and broader community.”
Phoenix Union resumed classes Monday and has roughly 28,000 students and 4,000 employees.
The fight over masks comes as Arizona reported 1,974 new coronavirus infections and 30 deaths from COVID-19.
JERUSALEM — Israel has reimposed a series of coronavirus restrictions amid a wave of rising infections, despite widespread vaccination.
The government said late Tuesday that the Cabinet had approved tighter measures, including allowing only vaccinated people at indoor gatherings of 100 or more persons and requiring the wearing of masks at outdoor gatherings of 100 or more people.
Earlier in the day, the Health Ministry ordered that all individuals — vaccinated and unvaccinated — arriving from the U.S. and 17 other countries must to quarantine for 14 days starting Aug. 11.
Authorities reported 3,834 new coronavirus cases Tuesday, the highest daily count so far in a month-long acceleration in new infections. Over 57% of the country’s 9.3 million citizens are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus. This week Israel started administering booster shots to citizens over age 60.
DOVER, Del. — As the delta variant of the coronavirus spreads in Delaware, state health officials recommended Tuesday that unvaccinated people get tested weekly and they announced more opportunities to access testing, including take-home kits offered at libraries.
In a statement, Gov. John Carney, the Division of Public Health, and the Delaware Emergency Management Agency urged everyone 12 and older to get vaccinated and encouraged anyone who is unvaccinated to get weekly testing to prevent additional infections.
Cases climbed steadily in Delaware during the month of July and more than 100 new cases have been reported every day for the last 5 days, officials said.
SALT LAKE CITY — Utah’s hospitals are feeling the strain as coronavirus cases increase, the vast majority among unvaccinated people.
Gov. Spencer Cox on Tuesday called the latest wave a “pandemic of the unvaccinated,” yet maintained the state wouldn’t be following New York in requiring people show they got the shot. But he said the state will support private companies that require some sort of proof.
Cox warns that “our hospital ICUs are filling up and our healthcare workers are feeling the strain.”
Officials say ICUs around the state have exceeded 100% capacity multiple times over the last several days.
LAYTON, Mo. — People in Missouri’s St. Louis County will not be required to wear masks for at least two more weeks, after a judge issued a temporary restraining order against a mask mandate imposed last month.
Circuit Judge Ellen “Nellie” Ribaudo on Tuesday sided with state Attorney General Eric Schmitt, who sued seeking to stop the mask mandate issued by St. Louis County Executive Sam Page and county health officials. A hearing has been set for Aug. 17.
The St. Louis County Council voted last week to rescind the mandate, but Page insisted it remained in effect.
Ribaduo said in her ruling the state is likely to prevail in its argument that the law gives the county council the authority to terminate the mask requirement issued by health officials.
LAS VEGAS — A surge in coronavirus cases driven by the highly contagious delta variant has pushed Nevada’s hospitalization rate past levels seen in last summer’s surge, well before vaccines were available.
Nevada on Monday reported 1,130 people hospitalized for confirmed cases of COVID-19. That level was last seen in late January, though it was well below the state’s pandemic peak of 1,857 hospitalizations on Dec. 15.
But the current outbreak has surpassed the highest rate when a surge in coronavirus virus infections began last summer, when there were 972 confirmed hospitalizations for COVID-19.
MINNEAPOLIS — The mayors of Minneapolis and St. Paul says they will require city employees to wear masks in indoor public spaces as the delta variant of the coronavirus spurs concern nationwide.
Mayors Jacob Frey and Melvin Carter said Tuesday that they also will require visitors to city-owned buildings to wear masks. The moves are in line with the latest recommendations from the CDC.
The mayors also are urging businesses to require masks indoors to lessen the chances of virus spread.
Minnesota reported 1,667 more infections Tuesday.
SANTA FE, N.M. — New Mexico’s court system is taking steps to ease financial upheaval as the state resumes foreclosures on delinquent mortgage loans and phases out a pandemic moratorium on commercial debt collection orders often tied to credit cards or health care.
The Administrative Office of the Courts on Monday announced staggered deadlines for a return to debt collection orders that can be used to garnish wages or seize property to pay off commercial debts. Common forms of overdue credit are linked to credit card spending and medical expenses.
At the same time, the state judiciary said mortgage lenders can’t foreclose on properties without first providing homeowners with information about various ways to avoid foreclosure — including forbearance agreements that reduce or suspend loan payments temporarily.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice has postponed the final drawing in the state’s vaccination sweepstakes for several days, allowing more people to get their coronavirus shots and enter for a chance to receive prizes.
The final drawing had been set for Wednesday, but is now scheduled for Aug. 10. The governor’s office said Tuesday that the registration deadline also has been extended from Monday night to Sunday.
Due to a system glitch, registration for a college scholarship prize available to younger residents closed early. The problem was fixed, but rather than simply reopening registration for one prize, the registration was pushed back for all prizes.
Six other weekly drawings have been held. Among the prizes being offered in the finale are a grand prize of $1.588 million, a second-place prize of $588,000, two custom pickup trucks, lifetime hunting and fishing licenses, hunting rifles and shotguns, and state park weekend lodging trips. In addition, two people ages 12 to 25 will receive a full, four-year college scholarship.
WASHINGTON — White House press secretary Jen Psaki criticized policies in states such as Texas and Florida that have moved to block employers and proprietors from implementing mask or vaccine requirements to curb the coronavirus.
Those two states are among several facing surging cases from the delta variant. “I think the fundamental question we have is, ‘what are we doing here?’” Psaki asked.
Biden planned to speak Tuesday about U.S. strategy to slow the spread of the coronavirus at home and abroad, noting that “we’re all in this together.”
Earlier, the White House announced the U.S. had shipped more than 110 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to more than 60 countries.
BATON ROUGE, La. — Louisiana’s COVID-19 hospitalizations have surged to record levels.
The Louisiana Department of Health reported Tuesday that 2,112 mostly unvaccinated people are in hospital beds struggling with the coronavirus illness.
The state’s previous peak of people hospitalized with COVID-19 was 2,069 patients in early January, after holiday gatherings spurred a spike in cases. But the highly contagious delta variant of the virus is propelling record-breaking numbers of hospitalizations at a faster pace.
Health officials say the influx of COVID-19 patients is damaging the ability of hospitals to care for people with heart attacks, injuries from car accidents and other health conditions.
The Louisiana Department of Health says 89% of the people hospitalized with COVID-19 aren’t vaccinated.
COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina’s top prosecutor says the University of South Carolina can’t require students and staff to wear masks on campus this fall despite increasing cases of coronavirus.
Last week, university officials announced they would require face coverings at all times inside all campus buildings, unless in one’s own residence hall room, private office or eating inside campus dining facilities.
But in a letter sent Monday, state Attorney General Alan Wilson says the university’s mask mandate “is likely not consistent with the intent of the Legislature.”
A budget proviso that went into effect July 1 prohibits the state’s public colleges, universities and school districts from using any appropriated funds to institute mask requirements.
RALEIGH, N.C. — North Carolina officials say more 74,000 state residents were vaccinated against the coronavirus last week, a figure higher than during any other week in the past two months.
A push to get young adults vaccinated before the start of th eschool year and a growing number of employers requiring their workers to get the shot is likely fueling the improvement.
Vaccine providers at dozens of sites across North Carolina are currently providing $25 to residents who come in for a shot and drivers who bring people in for their initial dose.
Gov. Roy Cooper said Tuesday that his administration will raise that amount to $100 for people who get the shot starting Wednesday. Drivers will still qualify for the $25.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Cattle owners in Tennessee have incentives to inoculate their herds against animal diseases. But officials aren’t planning to offer any incentives for people to get coronavirus shots, despite having some of the lowest vaccination rates in the country.
The state has reimbursed farmers nearly a half million dollars over the past two years to vaccinate herds against respiratory and other diseases. Gov. Bill Lee says he doesn’t think the state should offer people incentives for coronavirus inoculations.
Vaccination rates hover at 39% in Tennessee vs. 49% nationally for the fully vaccinated. Meanwhile, Tennessee’s hospitalizations for COVID-19 have more than tripled over the past three weeks.
NEW YORK — Meat processer Tyson Foods will require all of its U.S. employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19, becoming one of the first major employer of frontline workers to do so amid a resurgence of the virus.
Tyson, one of the world’s largest food companies, announced Tuesday that members of leadership team must be vaccinated by Sept. 24 and the rest of its office workers by Oct. 1. Its frontline workers must be vaccinated by Nov. 1, although the company said the specifics were being negotiated with unions.
Just under half of its U.S. workforce — about 56,000 employees — have been vaccinated after the company staged more than 100 vaccination events since February, the Springfield, Arkansas, company says. It plans to continue with those events and offer a $200 bonus for all frontline workers who receive a vaccine.
In a memo to employees, CEO Donnie King expressed alarm about the rise of the delta variant and made clear the vaccine requirement was needed to overcome persistent hesitancy to get the shots.
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