Live: Coronavirus daily news updates, July 27: What to know today about COVID-19 in the Seattle area, Washington state and the world

Table of Contents 8:15 am Tokyo reports record virus cases days after Olympics beginCDC expected

As COVID-19 cases soar throughout the country, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious diseases expert, said Sunday that the United States is going in the “wrong direction” and is in an “unnecessary predicament” fueled by unvaccinated Americans and the delta variant.

The recent rise in cases has prompted new guidance locally. Health officers from eight Western Washington counties are now recommending mask-wearing in indoor public spaces.

We’re updating this page with the latest news about the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on the Seattle area, the U.S. and the world. Click here to see previous days’ live updates and all our other coronavirus coverage, and here to see how we track the daily spread across Washington and the world.

CDC expected to backpedal on some masking guidelines

The nation’s top health agency is expected to backpedal on its masking guidelines and recommend that even vaccinated people wear masks indoors in parts of the U.S. where the coronavirus is surging, according to a federal official who spoke on condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to release the data.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is expected to make an announcement later Tuesday.

For months COVID cases, deaths and hospitalizations were falling steadily and in May the CDC eased its guidance for fully vaccinated people, allowing them to stop wearing masks outdoors in crowds and in most indoor settings.

But those trends began to change at the beginning of the summer as a mutated and more transmissible version of the coronavirus, the delta variant, began to spread widely, especially in areas with lower vaccination rates.

In recent weeks, a growing number of cities and towns have restored indoor masking rules. St. Louis, Savannah, Georgia, and Provincetown, Massachusetts, are among the places that reimposed mask mandates this month.

Read the story here.

—Mike Stobbe, The Associated Press

Russia OKs testing combination of Sputnik, AstraZeneca shots

Russia’s health officials have given a go-ahead to testing a combination of the AstraZeneca coronavirus shot and the single-dose version of the domestically developed Sputnik V vaccine, according to the country’s registry of approved clinical trials.

The small study, which was scheduled to start July 26 and end in March next year, will enroll 150 volunteers and look at the mixed regimen’s safety and capability to trigger immune response, records show. It will be conducted in five medical facilities in Moscow and St. Petersburg.

Both shots use a similar technology, employing a harmless virus to deliver genetic material from the spike protein of COVID-19 into the body, which then prompts an immune response.

Read the story here.

—The Associated Press

UK spares key workers quarantine as staff shortages bite

A “You need to self-isolate screen” on the NHS Covid-19 app on a smartphone arranged in London, U.K., on Friday, July 16, 2021. U.K. ministers are racing to change the rules on self-isolation after a surge in alerts from the country’s Covid-19 app takes people out of their workplaces and disrupts business. Photographer: Hollie Adams/Bloomberg (Bloomberg)

The British government said Tuesday it will ease coronavirus quarantine rules for thousands more essential workers — including prison guards, veterinarians and garbage collectors — in an attempt to end staff shortages that are hobbling parts of the economy.

About 26 million Britons have downloaded a health service phone app that tells them to self-isolate for 10 days if they come into contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19. With the U.K. recently recording tens of thousands of new virus cases a day, the system has caused disruptive employee absences for restaurants and other businesses and led to gaps on some supermarket shelves.

Starting Aug. 16, anyone who has been fully vaccinated in Britain will be able to take daily coronavirus tests rather than self-isolating. But many businesses are pushing for the change to happen sooner.

Last week, the government said food and transport workers, border staff, police and firefighters could opt for the daily tests. Now it has expanded that system to more jobs, including refuse collectors, prison staff, veterinarians, tax collectors and defense workers.

The government said 2,000 sites would be set up to meet the increased demand for tests.

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—Jill Lawless, The Associated Press

Cambodia seizes virus-contaminated meat imported from India

Cambodian authorities have stopped five large containers of water buffalo meat imported from India after determining the shipment was tainted with the coronavirus, officials said Tuesday.

The Health Ministry said the virus was detected in three of the five shipping containers of frozen meat being brought in by a private company.

Meanwhile, Cambodia is struggling with its own surge in cases after low numbers early on. The Health Ministry reported 685 new cases on Tuesday and another 19 deaths.

Read the story here.

—The Associated Press