President Joe Biden is expected on Thursday to detail his administration’s plan to put pressure on private businesses, federal agencies and schools to enact stricter vaccination mandates and testing policies. The delta variant continues its spread across the United States, pushing the country’s daily average caseload over 150,000 for the first time since late January and killing roughly 1,500 people a day. Biden is set to deliver a speech at 5 p.m. Eastern time (2 p.m. Pacific time) that will address about six areas where his administration can encourage — or, at this point, push — more eligible Americans to receive vaccines, according to the White House.
Meanwhile, state and local health officials say Washingtonians shouldn’t be overly concerned about the mu variant of the coronavirus, first identified in Colombia in January and first detected in Washington in April. A month later, the first mu variant was detected in King County and since then, the state’s most populous county has counted 39 total mu cases, fewer than four cases per week, county public health officer Dr. Jeff Duchin said Wednesday. In August, 3,442 specimens were genetically sequenced from Washington residents, with mu representing about 0.4% of sequenced cases — compared to 98.2% of cases represented by the delta variant.
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