By wire reports
Troy Warren for CNT #EditorsPicks
Wind forecasts bring new worries to California fire lines
Firefighters battling flames in Northern California forests girded Monday for new bouts of windy weather, and a utility warned thousands of customers it might cut their electricity to prevent new fires from igniting if gusts damage power lines.
Conditions that suppressed the huge Dixie Fire overnight were expected to give way late in the day to winds that could push flames toward mountain communities in a region where drought and summer heat have turned vegetation to tinder.
“In this environment, any type of wind, no matter what direction — especially the way the fire’s been going — is a concern for everyone,” said information officer Jim Evans.
Growing explosively at times, the Dixie Fire has scorched 890 square miles in the northern Sierra Nevada and southern Cascades since it ignited on July 13 and eventually merged with a smaller blaze called the Fly Fire.
Ongoing damage surveys have counted more than 1,100 buildings destroyed, including 625 homes, and more than 14,000 structures remain threatened. Numerous evacuation orders were in effect.
Florida seniors hospitalized with COVID-19 as much as in January
The COVID-19 wave that has recently struck young people in the U.S. has ensnared the country’s elderly population, with hospitalizations among seniors in some hot-spot states nearing their previous peaks.
In Florida, the rate of new daily COVID-19 hospitalization among the 70-and-over age group is as high as it was in January — a possible signal of more mortality ahead because seniors have been much more susceptible to severe outcomes. Hospital admissions of the elderly also have jumped in Louisiana and Mississippi.
“What this underscores is the degree to which there is so much more transmission with the delta variant,” said University of South Florida epidemiologist Jason Salemi. “When you have spread that is that pronounced, it is going to find those vulnerable people.”
Antibody cocktails to treat COVID take off as delta surges
Outside, in letters a foot tall, the wall of the trailer reads: “GET TESTED. GET TREATED. CRUSH COVID.” Inside, leathery recliners cradle patients as a freshly mixed concoction drips into their veins: a combination of two monoclonal antibodies.
Now, amid the delta variant surge, the cocktail is rapidly becoming a more common, even routine medical response to a positive coronavirus test in a high-risk patient. Federal and state officials are promoting it, particularly in hard-hit areas, and demand has exploded from a trickle to more than 120,000 doses a week by the latest count from its maker, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc.
The company’s combination was bolstered by recent data showing that it cuts the risk of hospitalization or death by roughly 70% in high-risk patients, and can reduce the chance of infection among a patient’s household members by more than 80%. Further fueling its momentum: a recently added option to deliver it in quick shots as well as the slower, more logistically complex infusions.
Detainee says China has secret jail in Dubai, holds Uyghurs
A young Chinese woman says she was held for eight days at a Chinese-run secret detention facility in Dubai along with at least two Uyghurs, in what may be the first evidence that China is operating a so-called “black site” beyond its borders.
The woman, 26-year-old Wu Huan, was on the run to avoid extradition back to China because her fiancé was considered a Chinese dissident. Wu told The Associated Press she was abducted from a hotel in Dubai and detained by Chinese officials at a villa converted into a jail, where she saw or heard two other prisoners, both Uyghurs.
She was questioned and threatened in Chinese and forced to sign legal documents incriminating her fiancé for harassing her, she said. She was finally released on June 8 and is now seeking asylum in the Netherlands.
Trudeau triggers Canadian election, voting day Sept. 20
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau triggered an election Sunday as he seeks to capitalize on Canada being one of the most fully vaccinated countries in the world.
Trudeau announced the election would be held on Sept. 20 after visiting the governor general, who holds a mostly ceremonial position representing Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II as head of state.
“We’ve had your back, and now it’s time to hear your voice,” Trudeau said. “Canadians need to choose how we finish the fight against COVID-19.”
Trudeau is seeking to win a majority of seats in Parliament. His Liberal Party fell just short of that two years ago and must rely on the opposition to pass legislation.
World’s third-busiest port remains partially shut in China
China’s Ningbo-Zhoushan container port, the world’s third busiest, remained partially closed for a sixth day Monday, amid ongoing concern over whether the shutdown will disrupt trade from the region longer term.
The port hasn’t published any updates on its operations since Wednesday, when it halted all inbound and outbound container services at its Meishan terminal after one employee tested positive for the coronavirus. Consultant GardaWorld estimated the terminal accounted for about 25% of container cargo through the port, though Ningbo-Zhoushan had said it would redirect ships to other terminals and adjust operating hours at other docks.
Greece wildfires: Winds fan 2 new blazes outside of Athens
Fanned by strong winds, two new big wildfires erupted Monday in hard-hit Greece, triggering evacuation alerts for villages southeast and northwest of Athens — only days after blazes consumed large tracts of forest north of the capital.
No injuries have been reported, but Greek media said a few buildings had been damaged.
Greece has been roiled by hundreds of wildfires this month, on the heels of its most severe heat wave in decades, which left its forests tinder dry. Other Mediterranean countries — Turkey, Italy, Algeria and Spain among them — have suffered similar problems.
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