Check here for continuous updates on how local and national businesses, organizations and institutions are handling the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.

Local Articles

WASHINGTON (AP) — COVID-19 vaccinations are at a critical juncture as companies test whether new approaches like combination shots or nasal drops can keep up with a mutating coronavirus — even though it’s not clear if changes are needed.

UNIVERSITY CITY, Mo. (AP) — When the coronavirus pandemic first hit the U.S., sales of window coverings at Halcyon Shades quickly went dark. So the suburban St. Louis business did what hundreds of other small manufacturers did: It pivoted to make protective supplies, with help from an $870,0…

WASHINGTON (AP) — More than two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, U.S. health officials are beginning to grapple with how to keep the vaccines updated to best protect Americans from the ever-changing coronavirus.

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sens. Bob Casey, D-Pa., and Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, introduced legislation that would provide rural hospitals the ability to stay open and meet high demand due to COVID-19, according to a joint news release.

National Articles

AP

CINCINNATI — With his team down to its final out, Michael Harris, the reigning National League Rookie of the Month, stepped to the plate. He has had many big moments since the Braves called him up a little more than a month ago.

AP

Brandon Woodruff struck out eight in six scoreless innings, steering the Milwaukee Brewers to a 2-0 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates. Woodruff gave up six hits, which was his most since May 9. But it was his fifth straight start without allowing more than two earned runs. Omar Narváez hit a two-run home run in the fifth inning. Josh Hader struck out two and got Bryan Reynolds to fly out with the bases loaded in the ninth for his 25th save. Milwaukee outscored Pittsburgh 32-17 in the four-game series, but earned only a split.

AP

TAMPA, Fla. — Just three days after the Lightning lost out on a third straight Stanley Cup to the Colorado Avalanche, general manager Julien BriseBois was forced to have one of those unpleasant offseason conversations with a valued player.

AP

Tatjana Maria has pulled off another upset at Wimbledon to reach her first Grand Slam quarterfinal at the age of 34. She beat Jelena Ostapenko and will next face 22-year-old Jule Niemeier who is making her All England Club debut. It will be an all-German showdown for a semifinal spot. Heading into the second week at Wimbledon only two of the top 15 seeds remain in the women’s draw. There's just one Grand Slam champion left. That's Simona Halep. In the men’s draw, fifth-seeded Carlos Alcaraz lost to Jannik Sinner in four sets, while two Americans were eliminated. David Goffin of Belgium defeated 23rd-seeded Frances Tiafoe to set up a quarterfinal match against ninth-seeded Cameron Norrie who beat Tommy Paul.

AP

There is a reason it might seem there are more empty green seats in the stands at Wimbledon this year: There are fewer spectators than usual. Official attendance through the first six days of main-draw competition at the All England Club is down 7% from the Week 1 total at the last pre-pandemic edition of the tournament in 2019. And setting aside the last two years, the 2022 figure is the second-lowest since 2007. Crowd sizes and ticket sales were limited in 2021 because of COVID-19 concerns and the tournament was canceled altogether in 2020 amid the pandemic.

AP

The Minneapolis Police Department's budget has expanded despite calls to reduce funding for law enforcement in the wake of George Floyd's death. The Star Tribune reports that the department currently has a $196 million budget, up about $3 million from the beginning of 2020. Floyd, a Black man, died that May after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee into his neck for almost nine minutes. The incident prompted nationwide protests with rallying cries of “defund the police.” Part of the department's budget increase is attributable to federal COVID-19 relief aid. Costs also have risen and even though the agency has lost about 260 officers city officials still budget for an average of 756 to 750 officers.

AP

Roger Federer says he hopes to play one more time at Wimbledon before retiring from tennis. The 40-year-old Swiss star has won a men's-record eight singles championships at the All England Club but hasn't competed anywhere because of knee problems since a quarterfinal loss at the grass-court tournament a year ago. He was back at Wimbledon on Sunday to participate in a ceremony marking the centenary of Centre Court. Plenty of other past champions took part, including Billie Jean King, Rod Laver, Chris Evert and Bjorn Borg. Active players such as Novak Djokovic, Simona Halep and Rafael Nadal were on hand, too.

AP

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Time Warp Tea Room on North Central Street closed its doors this past week after 20 years of business in Knoxville. Along with it, the Time Warp Vintage Motorcycle Club reached the end of an era, no longer able to call the Happy Holler hangout its home.

AP

President Joe Biden is set to mark his second Fourth of July since taking office, and he's finding a far different political atmosphere today than a year ago. At this time last year, the United States had been making steady progress against the pandemic, and Biden said the country was “closer than ever to declaring our independence from a deadly virus.” But in the past year, two variants proved the coronavirus remained a threat, and Biden's presidency has become bogged down in other challenges, some of them outside of his control. His approval rating has fallen 20 percentage points between his first and second Independence Days, according to polls from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

AP

MELBOURNE, Fla. (AP) — Two German Shepherds were found all alone at Lori Wilson Dog Park in Cocoa Beach last month. They had been abandoned, and, apart from being a little dehydrated, were otherwise fine and good natured, but extremely stressed because their humans had deserted them.

AP

The grave of a one-time slave in north Alabama now has a marker 70 years after he died. Ike Coffee's obituary stated he was a former slave and had worked in a family home in Florence for 65 years helping raise 10 children. He died at age 95. Bill Simpson never knew Coffee, but he heard numerous stories about him from when his mother and aunts were growing up. He researched Coffee and discovered his grave at Florence Cemetery lacked a marker. It was installed, and a memorial ceremony was held recently that had been delayed because of the pandemic.

AP

LAFAYETTE, La. (AP) — Dr. Julie Broussard works 60 hours some weeks, going back to the hospital at night or on weekends when on-call, but other times, she can be found in a back room of her house, listening to showtunes and painting oyster shells.

AP

Kole Calhoun homered twice and drove in four runs, Martín Pérez won his seventh straight decision and the Texas Rangers beat the New York Mets 7-3. Calhoun hit a three-run shot off spot starter Trevor Williams in the second inning and third-year catcher Jonah Heim followed with his career-high 11th home run to give the Rangers a 4-2 lead. Starling Marte launched an early two-run homer and Eduardo Escobar also went deep against Pérez, who had given up only two long balls this season coming in. But the 31-year-old lefty yielded nothing else and improved to 7-0 in his last 11 starts, making a strong bid for his first All-Star selection this month.

AP

Victor Reyes and Riley Greene hit back-to-back homers in the ninth inning to give the Detroit Tigers a 4-3 win over the Kansas City Royals. With one out, Reyes tied the game off Royals reliever Joel Payamps. It was the first homer allowed by Payamps in 26 1/3 innings this season. Greene followed with the first homer of his career. Joe Jimenez (3-0) pitched a perfect ninth for the win as Detroit’s pitchers retired the last 17 batters they faced.

AP

The Hard Rock casino has reached agreement with Atlantic City’s main casino workers union, removing the last threat of a strike during the busy holiday weekend. Local 54 of the Unite Here union said it reached a tentative agreement with Hard Rock, avoiding a strike that had been threatened for 12:01 a.m. Sunday. Combined with agreements reached Thursday with the Borgata, Caesars, Harrah’s and the Tropicana, Hard Rock’s deal leaves only two smaller casinos, Resorts and the Golden Nugget, without a contract. But the union says it expects both of them to agree to one in the coming days.

AP

Tesla’s sales from April through June fell to their lowest quarterly level since last fall as supply chain issues and pandemic restrictions in China hobbled production of its electric vehicles. The company on Saturday disclosed it sold more than 254,000 cars and SUVs from April through June, an 18% drop from the first three months of this year and also well below the pace in last year’s final quarter. The last time Tesla sold fewer vehicles globally was in the third quarter of 2021 when it delivered 241,000. The erosion may put further pressure on Tesla's stock price, which has plunged by 35% this year.

AP

People in six Washington counties should begin wearing masks indoors in public and on public transportation again, according to recommendations from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.   The latest information from the CDC shows that Lewis County, Pacific County, Thurston County, Grays Harbor County, Garfield County and Spokane County have COVID-19 community levels rated “high.” That means they have 200 or more new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people in the last seven days, or more than 20 new COVID-19 hospital admissions per 100,000 people within a seven-day period.  KOIN-TV reported the counties range from Pacific County’s 418 cases per 100,000 people to Spokane County’s 207 cases per 100,000 people. The levels were calculated on June 23.

AP

LOS ANGELES — The growing dominance of two new ultra-contagious omicron subvariants is prolonging a wave of coronavirus cases in California and sparking growing concerns from health officials that coming weeks could see significant spread and increased hospitalizations.

AP

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Call it a form of long COVID, but more than two years after the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, student enrollment at the College of Southern Nevada is down some 25% from the fall of 2019.

AP

The Fourth of July holiday weekend is providing further evidence that the travel bug is at its most infectious levels since the pandemic began in 2020. Newly released numbers show 2.49 million passengers went through security checkpoints at U.S. airports Friday, surpassing the previous pandemic-era record of 2.46 million reached earlier in the week. The increase is the latest sign that leisure travelers aren’t being deterred from flying by rising fares, the ongoing spread of COVID-19 or worries about recurring flight delays and cancellations. In an even more telling indication, the average passenger volume at U.S. airports for the past week is near 2019 levels.

AP

Maryland Comptroller and Democratic candidate for governor Peter Franchot has tested positive for COVID-19. Franchot tweeted that he tested positive Friday night and was experiencing “very mild” symptoms. Franchot says he is vaccinated and boosted and will be quarantining at home. Franchot is among the nine Democrats competing for the party’s nomination for governor after a 10th candidate suspended his bid last month. Four Republicans are vying for the GOP nomination. Republican Gov. Larry Hogan is term-limited. The primary election is July 19.

AP

Life expectancy dropped in Colorado for the second straight year in 2021, driven by the pandemic and drug overdose deaths. Colorado Public Radio reports the average life expectancy for Colorado residents fell to 78 years last year. That’s slightly lower than 2020, the first year of the pandemic when it was 78.4 years. The slide represents a persistent and significant drop of nearly three years compared to 2019. Dr. Eric France, the state’s chief medical officer, says the last time life expectancy dropped like this was in 1943. That was the nation's most fatal year of World War II.

AP

Airlines worked Saturday to deliver luggage to passengers around the world after a technical breakdown left at least 1,500 bags stuck at Paris’ Charles de Gaulle airport. It was the latest of several tangles hitting travelers this summer. The airport operator said the baggage sorting system had a technical malfunction Friday morning that caused 15 flights to leave without luggage. The airport handled about 1,300 flights overall Friday, the airport operator said. It came as airport workers are on strike at French airports to demand more hiring and higher pay to keep up with inflation.

AP

A Pulitzer Prize-winning Kashmir photojournalist says she has been stopped by Indian immigration authorities from flying to Paris without giving any reason. In a tweet, Sanna Irshad Mattoo says she was scheduled to travel from New Delhi to Paris for a book launch and photography exhibition as one of 10 winners of the Serendipity Arles Grant 2020. She says she was stopped at New Delhi airport on Saturday despite procuring a French visa. She says she was told by immigration officials that she would not be able to travel internationally. There was no immediate comment by Indian authorities. She has been working as a freelance photojournalist since 2018 depicting life in Indian-controlled Kashmir, where insurgents have been active for decades.

AP

LYNCHBURG, Va. (AP) — As American citizens celebrated freedom and liberty in their nation on Independence Day, 1961, a government founded on notions of the inalienable human rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness took action at a local level to deny those rights to their fellow…

AP

Medication abortions were the preferred method for ending pregnancy in the U.S. even before the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. As more states seek abortion limits, demand is expected to grow. They involve using two prescription medicines days apart _ pills that can be taken at home or in a clinic. The drug mifepristone is taken first. It blocks the effects of the hormone progesterone, which is needed to sustain a pregnancy. Misoprostol is taken 24 to 48 hours later. It cause the womb to contract, expelling the pregnancy. Use of the pills has been increasing in recent years.

AP

The fast-changing coronavirus has kicked off summer in the U.S. with lots of infections but relatively few deaths compared to its prior incarnations. COVID-19 is still killing hundreds of Americans each day, but for many people the virus is not nearly as dangerous as it was. It’s easy to feel confused by the mixed picture: Repeat infections are increasingly likely, and a sizeable share of those infected will face the lingering symptoms of long COVID-19. Yet, the stark danger of death has diminished for many people. How long the interlude will last is impossible to know. A new more dangerous variant could be around the corner.

AP

Tourism is booming again in France, and so is COVID-19. French government officials have “invited” or “recommended” people to go back to using face masks but stopped short of renewing restrictions that would scare visitors away or revive protests. From Paris commuters to tourists on the French Riviera, many people seem to welcome the government’s light touch, while some worry that required prevention measures may be needed. Infections are rising across Europe and the United States, but government data shows France had nearly 1,000 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 per day over the past two weeks. Local officials are contemplating new measures, including indoor mask mandates, but nothing that would potentially curb economic activity.

AP

Abortion, guns and religion _ a major change in the law in any one of these areas would have made for a fateful Supreme Court term. In its first full term together, the court’s conservative majority ruled in all three and issued other significant decisions limiting the government’s regulatory powers. And it has signaled no plans to slow down. With three appointees of former President Donald Trump in their 50s, the six-justice conservative majority seems poised to keep control of the court for years to come, if not decades. Its remaining opinions issued, the court began its summer recess Thursday, and the justices will next return to the courtroom in October.

AP

Byron Buxton his second game-ending home run of the season, a two-run drive off Jorge López in the ninth inning that lifted the Minnesota Twins over the Baltimore Orioles 3-2. Baltimore took a 2-1 lead in the eighth, but Luis Arraez singled off Jorge López (3-4) to begin the ninth, ending a string of 21 consecutive batters retired by Baltimore pitchers. Buxton ended the game four pitches later, pulling an outside slider into the left-field seats for his 21st home run. Buxton hit a three-run, 10th-inning homer off Liam Hendriks of the Chicago White Sox on April 24.

AP

NEW YORK (AP) — Eduardo Escobar hit a tiebreaking three-run homer, expectant father David Peterson tied a career high with 10 strikeouts in six innings and the New York Mets beat the Texas Rangers 4-3 Friday night to stop a season-high three-game losing streak.

AP

Eduardo Escobar hit a tiebreaking three-run homer, expectant father David Peterson tied a career high with 10 strikeouts in six innings and the New York Mets beat the Texas Rangers 4-3 to stop a season-high three-game losing streak. Mark Canha hit a tying RBI single in the fourth that stopped an 0-for-14 slide. Two batters later, Escobar snapped a 0-for-10 rut by hitting a 3-2 sinker from Glenn Otto into the right field second deck for a 4-1 lead.

AP

The average number of COVID-19 cases per day reported over a 7-day period in Kansas City has surpassed 400 For the first time since February. This reported number is likely far lower than the actual case count, as home testing has made new infections harder for states to track.