Republicans, FoxNews soften anti-health messages as delta-driven COVID-19 spike accelerates

Canada now has vaccinated a higher percentage of its population than the USA, as "hesitancy" turns to hard opposition in many counties across the country.

There’s a lot to cover this week. Here are the top items:

  • The FDA says COVID-19 vaccines will get “priority review” for full approval, which could mean one or more of the vaccines could clear the agency’s formal review process within the next 2-3 months.

  • With the delta variant accounting now for more than 4 out of every 5 new COVID-19 cases, some communities are seeing new surges of hospitalizations even though many of the infected have mild symptoms.

  • The rate of deaths in the USA remains low (239/day average in past seven days,) but this represents a 50% increase over the prior week.

  • Two out of every three counties in the USA have less than 40% of their population vaccinated, according to CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky.

And a few other stories of note:

Disinformation watch: In the latest Senate health committee hearing on COVID-19, Sen. Rand Paul once again attacked White House Chief Medical Adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci. Although this was mostly a sideshow, Paul was once again attempting to “prove” that the SARS-CoV-2 virus was created by a Chinese lab funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health — and kept interrupting Dr. Fauci’s explanation that Paul was misrepresenting the research. Here’s the video:

How disinformation spreads: NPR traced the journey of one of the more common COVID-19 vaccine myths to illustrate how “influencers” and ethically dubious publishers amplify “questions” that fuel vaccine hesitancy or rejection.

FoxNews turnaround on COVID shots? Two prominent FoxNews personalities, Steve Doocy and Sean Hannity, advocated for COVID-19 vaccinations in the past 24 hours. However, prime time stars Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham both continued to “question” them.

An advocacy group found more than 200 Facebook groups that were spreading COVID-19 misinformation.

Check your sources #1: A Wall Street Journal commentary by a Johns Hopkins professor criticizes the push to vaccinate teenagers, saying that COVID-19 presents too small a risk to justify vaccinating children. This is the same expert who said in February, “I expect Covid will be mostly gone by April, allowing Americans to resume normal life.”

Check your sources #2: Florida’s governor says COVID-19 is a “seasonal virus” that will start going away next month.

RIP: A Massachusetts politician who spread false conspiracy theories and other misinformation about COVID-19 died of the infection after returning from a trip to South Dakota, according to Raw Story and the Cape Cod Times.

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