COVID-19 cases, Middle East diplomacy, Southeast heatwave: 5 things to know Wednesday

Coronavirus cases in 2021 are already higher than in 2020 worldwide

Even with 1.7 billion COVID-19 vaccines administered, the number of reported coronavirus cases across the globe in 2021 is already more than all of 2020, a USA TODAY analysis of Johns Hopkins University data shows. Through Sunday, the world reported 83.62 million cases this year, up from 83.56 million cases last year.  The early months of 2020 reflect the gradual rise and spread of the virus around the world. But since the fall of 2020, the global pace of infections hasn’t abated. Confirmed coronavirus cases in India, the United States and Brazil have outpaced the rest of the world in 2020 and 2021, but the U.S, with half of the population at least partially vaccinated, is the only country where the number of cases have fallen this year. 

  • Moderna says its vaccine is 100% effective in 12 to 17-year-olds, two weeks after second dose
  • Downside to pre-COVID-19 hygiene habits — colds and sore throats are back, doctors say
  • CDC investigating heart inflammation in teens, young adults who got two-shot vaccine.Here’s what we know

Blinken continues maiden Mideast trip as US seeks to fix Palestinian ties

A day after arriving in Jerusalem for his first trip to the region, Secretary of State Antony Blinken will on Wednesday visit Egypt and Jordan, which have acted as mediators in the conflict between Israel and Hamas militants. Egypt succeeded in brokering the Gaza truce after the Biden administration pressed Israel to wind down its offensive. While in Israel on Tuesday, Blinken said the Biden administration would reopen its consulate in Jerusalem, which had served as a de facto embassy for Palestinians until former President Donald Trump shuttered it in 2019. Biden dispatched Blinken to the Middle East to help ensure the cease-fire sticks and to reassure both Israelis and Palestinians that the U.S. would remain engaged in the region. Biden has vowed to help with a massive recovery effort in Gaza, which bore the brunt of the destruction after being pounded by Israeli missiles for 11 days.

  • Casualty of Israeli-Hamas fighting:The Palestinian two-state solution?
  • Trump touted the Abraham Accords as a ‘new dawn’ for the Middle East. Nine months later, Gaza erupted
  • Biden chooses a US ambassador to Israel:Tom Nides was a deputy secretary of state under Hillary Clinton
  • Fact check:Black Lives Matter tweeted in support of Palestinians, not Hamas

The 11-day long military conflict between Gaza and Israel has come to a halt, and people in Gaza took to the streets to celebrate.


Adam Toledo’s family creates sanctuary for at-risk youth in honor of 14th birthday

Adam Toledo would have celebrated his 14th birthday on Wednesday. Toledo’s family announced the creation of Adam’s Place, a rural sanctuary for at-risk youth in honor of Adam, who was fatally shot by a white Chicago police offer on March 29. “This year, as they struggle with their grief, Adam’s parents and siblings are dedicating themselves to helping other families prevent the excruciating sorrow that comes from the loss of a child,” Adeena Weiss Ortiz and Joel Hirschhorn, lawyers for the Toledo family, said in a statement. Adam’s Place will provide a “safe and nurturing haven” in a rural setting where at-risk youth ages 10 to 14 from Chicago and other Midwestern cities can “develop skills, values, and self-worth by learning to care for the natural world, others, and themselves, away from the dangers of urban streets,” the lawyers said.

  • Evolution of a city’s account of a killing: How Chicago’s narrative changed in the fatal police shooting of Adam Toledo
  • ‘We failed Adam’: Body camera videos show 13-year-old Adam Toledo put hands up before fatal police shooting

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