Here’s what you need to know to navigate the markets today.
• New Zealand’s largest city, Auckland, is on lockdown for seven days, closing schools and most businesses in the community, after detecting its first new Covid-19 infection since February, The Wall Street Journal reported. The region of Coromandel, to which the 58-year-old infected Auckland man had traveled, is also locking down for seven days, while other areas of the country lock down for three days. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said officials are assuming the new case is of the more contagious Delta variant, because all the recent infections among overseas travelers have been of that strain. The genetic sequencing that would confirm that will be available Wednesday. “Going hard and early has worked for us before,” Ardern said. “While we know that Delta is a more dangerous enemy to combat, the same actions that overcame the virus last year can be applied to beat it again.” New Zealand, which has closed its borders to all travelers except citizens and long-term residents since March 2020, has had only about 2,500 confirmed coronavirus cases and few deaths, according to its health ministry. Health experts have warned that it is vulnerable to an outbreak of the Delta variant because only 18% of the population is fully vaccinated, according to Johns Hopkins University. The government wants all residents to be able to get vaccinated starting Sept. 1. In Australia, Sydney and Melbourne are also under lockdown after outbreaks there.
• The Delta variant of coronavirus appears to be breaking through the protection provided by vaccines at a higher rate than earlier strains, a Wall Street Journal analysis has found. The U.S. has confirmed at least 193,204 breakthrough infections between Jan. 1 and early August, a tiny fraction among those who have been fully vaccinated, with milder symptoms and very few hospitalizations or deaths. The data, from health departments in 44 states and Washington, D.C., represents 0.1% of the more than 136 million fully vaccinated residents in those states and the capital. Public health experts say the actual number of breakthrough cases is likely higher because fully vaccinated people with no symptoms are not getting tested for Covid-19, several states said the data weren’t available, and other states track only breakthrough cases resulting in hospitalization or death. The Delta variant became the dominant U.S. strain in July. The U.S. has confirmed 16,578,509 cases of Covid-19 since Jan. 1, according to Johns Hopkins University. The seven-day moving average of new daily Covid-19 cases rose to 130,710 on Monday, its highest level since February and up from 13,118 at the end of June, as the highly contagious strain has spread, largely among unvaccinated people.
• Tropical Storm Grace drenched Haiti two days after a magnitude 7.2 earthquake rattled the Caribbean nation, adding to the misery of thousands who lost loved ones, suffered injuries or found themselves homeless, The Associated Press reported. Heavy rain and strong winds lashed the country’s southwestern area, which was hardest hit by Saturday’s quake, and rainfall could reach 15 inches in some areas, officials warned. Grace hit Haiti as a tropical storm, raising the threat of mudslides and flash flooding on the Tiburon Peninsula before heading toward Jamaica and southeastern Cuba on Tuesday, with winds picking up to 45 miles per hour. Grace could become a hurricane before hitting Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. Haiti’s Civil Protection Agency raised the death toll to 1,419, and the number of injured to 6,000, many of whom have had to wait outside in the wilting heat for medical help. The earthquake destroyed or damaged more than 37,000 homes and other buildings, including hospitals, schools, offices and churches, leaving 30,000 families homeless.
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