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CDC director warns of "pandemic of the unvaccinated"

The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention sounded the alarm over what she called a "pandemic of the unvaccinated" as COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths are again on the rise across the U.S.

Driving the news: During a Friday news briefing, Rochelle Walensky warned that the latest seven-day average of new cases — tallying an increase of nearly 70% from the previous seven-day average — poses a risk to individuals who are not vaccinated for the coronavirus.


  • "There is a clear message that is coming through," Walensky said. "This is becoming a pandemic of the unvaccinated. We are seeing outbreaks of cases in parts of the country that have low vaccination coverage because unvaccinated people are at risk."
  • Walensky noted that individuals who are fully vaccinated are protected against severe cases of COVID-19, including the contagious Delta variant.
  • Four states accounted for more than 40% of all cases in the past week, with one in five occurring in Florida alone, White House COVID-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients said at the briefing.
  • "Unvaccinated Americans account for virtually all recent COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths," Zients added.

By the numbers: The current U.S.-wide seven-day average is about 26,300 cases per day, Walensky said, citing CDC data released Thursday.

  • The seven-day average of hospital admissions is about 2,790 daily, an increase of about 36% from the previous seven-day period.
  • The seven-day average of daily deaths has increased by 26% to about 211 per day, according to Walensky.

Go deeper: Los Angeles County to again require masking indoors

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Why the startup world needs to ditch "unicorns" for "dragons"

When Aileen Lee originally coined the term "unicorn" in late 2013, she was describing the 39 "U.S.-based software companies started since 2003 and valued at over $1 billion by public or private market investors."

Flashback: It got redefined in early 2015 by yours truly and Erin Griffith, in a cover story for Fortune, as any privately-held startup valued at $1 billion or more. At the time, we counted 80 of them.

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Scoop: Facebook's new moves to lower News Feed's political volume

Facebook plans to announce that it will de-emphasize political posts and current events content in the News Feed based on negative user feedback, Axios has learned. It also plans to expand tests to limit the amount of political content that people see in their News Feeds to more countries outside of the U.S.

Why it matters: The changes could reduce traffic to some news publishers, particularly companies that post a lot of political content.

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Scoop: Amazon quietly getting into live audio business

Amazon is investing heavily in a new live audio feature that's similar to other live audio offerings like Clubhouse, Twitter Spaces and Spotify's new live audio platform, sources tell Axios.

Why it matters: As with Amazon's efforts in podcasting and music subscriptions, the company sees live audio as a way to bolster the types of content it can offer through its voice assistant, Alexa, and its smart speaker products.

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Hurricane Ida exposes America's precarious energy infrastructure

The powerful hurricane that plunged New Orleans into darkness for what could be weeks is the latest sign that U.S. power systems are not ready for a warmer, more volatile world.

The big picture: “Our current infrastructure is not adequate when it comes to these kinds of weather extremes,” Joshua Rhodes, a University of Texas energy expert, tells Axios.

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"We must go further": 70% of adults in European Union are fully vaccinated

About 70% of adults in the European Union are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, said Tuesday.

Why it matters: The milestone makes the E.U. one of the world's leaders in inoculations, after an initially lagging vaccine campaign, the New York Times notes.

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What Elizabeth Holmes jurors will be asked ahead of fraud trial

Jury selection begins today in USA v. Elizabeth Holmes, with the actual jury trial to get underway on Sept. 8.

Why it matters: Theranos was the biggest fraud in Silicon Valley history, putting both hundreds of millions of dollars and thousands of patients' health at risk.

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