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Vaccines are required by the California university system as COVID cases increase in the US

The University of California said Thursday that COVID-19 vaccinations will be required before fall term begins for all students and teachers, amid an increase in cases in the state.

“Vaccination is by far the most effective way to prevent serious illness and death after exposure to the virus and to reduce the spread of disease to those who are unable or not yet eligible to receive the vaccine, "UC President Michael V. Drake said in a letter to the system's 10 presidents, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The announcement makes them the largest university system to require vaccines They previously proposed imposing them only after the Food and Drug Administration fully approved a vaccine.

College students pose a high risk to efforts to control the pandemic. Last September, counties that host universities suffered. many of the nation's worst COVID-19 outbreaks. By the end of May, 400 colleges and universities plan to require vaccinations for students.

The announcement also comes as multiple California counties have reported an increase in cases. Los Angeles County reported 1,000 cases daily for most of the week, and San Diego County reported 2,000 cases throughout the week.

The US also reports more than 1,000 new coronavirus infections every hour, according to a USA TODAY analysis of Johns Hopkins University data for the week ending Wednesday.

Children were 22.3% of the total weekly reported cases last week, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. There were 9 new pediatric deaths.

Also in the news:

►A senior official at the European Medicines Agency says a decision on whether to recommend COVID-19 by Moderna The vaccine is expected to be licensed for children to end of next week.

►Joining a growing list of medical centers across the country, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital will require all employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19, the hospital confirmed in an email Thursday .

► President Joe Biden said he expects to know in the coming days when the United States will lift COVID-19 travel restrictions in much of Europe.

►New coronavirus cases rose to 1,308 in Tokyo on Thursday, a six-month high, as fears mount of a possible dramatic surge that could flood hospitals during the Olympics, which begin in eight days.

► At least 59 residents at a homeless shelter in Northern California tested positive for the coronavirus, half of whom were vaccinated, health officials said.

? Today's figures: The United States has had more than 33.9 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and more than 608,300 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. World totals: more than 188.8 million cases and more than 4 million deaths. More than 160.4 million Americans (48.2% of the population) have been fully vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

? What we are reading: J & J's COVID-19 Vaccine comes with a rare nervous syndrome warning. Here's what you need to know about it.

Keep updating this page for the latest news. They want more? Sign up for USA TODAY's Coronavirus Watch newsletter to receive updates delivered directly to your inbox and join our Facebook group.

Hundreds of protesters gathered outside the Idaho Capitol Thursday to oppose COVID-19 vaccination mandates for some state health systems.

Kayla Dunn, organizer of Thursday's Stop the Mandate Idaho rally, said the protest "was not a discussion about whether the 'vaccine is good or bad'" but a demand for bodily autonomy, according to the Idaho Statesman.

"Don't get me wrong, evidence-based practice shows us that vaccines work," said another nurse. "But it should never, never be imposed on (us), especially since there have been no long-term studies."

Saint Alphonsus and St. Luke's, two of Idaho's largest healthcare systems, both announced in early July that they would require COVID-19 vaccinations from all staff members. Both hospitals said they would allow exemptions for people with religious objections or medical conditions; employees who do not meet the exemption criteria, however, could be fired if they do not get vaccinated.

– Edward Segarra

Los Angeles County, the most populous in the US, will once again require people to wear masks indoors, regardless of vaccination status, due to a recent increase in new cases of COVID-19.

The surprising change, announced exactly one month after California became one of the last in the country to reopen and eliminate coronavirus mandates, aims to halt a rebound in new cases combined with the spread of the variant highly infectious delta. It will go into effect at 11:59 p.m. Saturday.

"This is a hands-on time," county health official Dr. Muntu Davis said during a news conference Thursday afternoon.

The director of the World Health Organization says he looks forward to better cooperation and access to data from China in the search for the origins of the coronavirus.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus says gaining access to raw data had been a challenge for the team of international experts who traveled to China this year to investigate the cause of the outbreak, which was first reported from Wuhan. .

Tedros says the Geneva-based body is "actually asking China to be transparent, open and cooperate, especially with the information, the raw data that we requested in the early days of the pandemic ".

It also says there was a "premature push" to dismiss the theory that the coronavirus could have escaped from a Chinese government laboratory in Wuhan.

"I was a laboratory technician myself, I am an immunologist and I have worked in the laboratory, and laboratory accidents happen," he said. "It is common. Verifying what happened, especially in our laboratories, is important and we need information, direct information about what was the situation of this laboratory before and at the beginning of the pandemic, then if we get complete information, we can exclude that."

Tedros says the world owed the millions who had died “to know what happened and to prevent the same crisis from happening again. And that is why we need cooperation. "

Contribution: The Associated Press

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