CDC recommends wearing masks indoors, again
Keep a mask handy when leaving your home starting this Wednesday — even if you’re vaccinated. The CDC now recommends masking up indoors if you live in an area with high COVID-19 transmission rates. The agency made the plea Tuesday, citing new “worrisome” findings. “In rare occasions, some vaccinated people infected with the delta variant after vaccination may be contagious and spread the virus to others,” CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said. The announcement comes a few days after Dr. Anthony Fauci, President Biden’s chief COVID-19 medical adviser, said the CDC was reexamining mask recommendations amid surging cases triggered by the highly transmissible variant. The delta variant accounts for more than 80% of COVID-19 cases across the U.S., according to federal data.
Tokyo Olympics: Simone Biles will not compete in gymnastics all-around final
Simone Biles will not compete in the Olympic all-around, USA Gymnastics said in a statement Wednesday. Jade Carey will replace Biles in the competition Thursday. Biles’ withdrawal from the all-around, where she is the defending Olympic gold medalist, came a day after she surprised many by pulling out of the team final after one event. USA Gymnastics said Biles will not compete so she can focus on her mental health and would continue to be evaluated to determine whether or not she would compete in event finals next week, adding that they “wholeheartedly support (Biles’) decision and applaud her bravery in prioritizing her well-being.” In other developments from the Tokyo Olympics, Katie Ledecky won her first gold medal of these Games and the first ever Olympic women’s 1,500-meter freestyle. Also, for the first time in Olympics history, medals for 3×3 basketball will be awarded. Team USA will face France in the women’s semifinal.
Supreme Court approval dips to lowest point in four years, poll finds
Democrats, Republicans and independents have at least one thing they can agree on: Nobody is particularly happy with the Supreme Court. Americans’ approval of the nation’s highest court dipped to its lowest point in four years in a Gallup poll Wednesday, falling below 50% for the first time since 2017. Forty-nine percent approved of the job the justices are doing, down from 58% a year ago. But at a time when the nation is divided over just about everything, the poll indicated the Supreme Court is viewed evenly among Democrats and Republicans – possibly reflecting the small number of high-profile decisions in the term that ended this month.
More wind, higher temps could worsen California’s largest wildfire
Strong winds and potential thunderstorms Wednesday could hurt firefighter’s efforts to contain several wildfires raging across the West. The Dixie Fire, California’s largest blaze, was only 23% contained as of Tuesday and has burned three dozen structures while threatening more than 10,000 others, according to Cal Fire. The blaze is one of 79 large fires burning 1.5 million acres across 12 states in the West, according to the National Interagency Fire Center. The effects of the fires could be felt across the country, and some East Coast cities this week saw hazy, smoky skies. That prompted air quality alerts in parts of the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and Midwest. Conditions are expected to worsen this week with likely thunderstorms, increased winds and higher temperatures, the Forest Service said.
Meteors may go flashing by tonight in rare double feature
Skywatchers this week get one of the few opportunities this summer to see a meteor shower – or actually, two. The dual showers – known as the Southern Delta Aquariids and the Alpha Capricornids – are set to peak Wednesday night and early morning Thursday, AccuWeather said. The Southern Delta Aquariids will produce 12 faint meteors per hour on average in the Southern sky, while the Alpha Capricornids will offer only about five – but some of those could be bright enough to light up the entire sky, according to the American Meteor Society. An hour or two before dawn is usually the best time to watch this showers, EarthSky said.