Wed, 19 May 2021

President Donald Trump ventures to Mount Rushmore in South Dakota on Friday for an early Independence Day celebration that thousands of people are expected to attend.

Although the U.S. leads the world in the number of COVID-19 cases, local officials say there are no plans for observing social distancing or mask wearing at the event However, free masks will be available for those who want them.

South Dakota Republican Governor Kristi Noem, said on Fox News earlier this week: "We've told folks that have concerns that they can stay home."

The Washington Post reports that U.S. Vice President Mike Pence's trip to Arizona this week was delayed from Tuesday to Wednesday after Secret Service agents organizing the trip either fell sick with the virus or displayed symptoms.

The U.S. on Thursday reported more than 50,000 new cases. Four states - Arizona, California, Florida, Texas - were responsible for half of the new cases.

The jump in coronavirus numbers is blamed in part on what New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy called "knucklehead behavior" - people not wearing masks or practicing social distancing.

There are nearly 11 million global COVID-19 cases. The U.S is approaching 3 million cases.

Australian officials say 10,000 people in Victoria have refused to take the coronavirus test this past week because they believe the outbreak is not real and is instead a "conspiracy theory."

The New York Times reports that Australia, which has been successful in keeping COVID cases to a minimum, is now locking down an area of 300,000 people in a largely immigrant community in the state of Victoria.

India reported nearly 21,000 new daily cases of the coronavirus Friday.

India said Thursday that it had it had recorded about 100,000 cases in four days. Johns Hopkins University said early Friday that the South Asian nation has more than 625,000 COVID-19 cases.

South Africa reported a new record number of 8,100 new cases in 24 hours Thursday.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki told voters not to be afraid to come out and cast ballots in the second round of the presidential election July 12.

Despite hundreds of new cases reported daily, Poland has been relatively successful in fending off COVID-19, with 1,500 deaths.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Thursday he is easing the mandatory quarantines for travelers arriving in Britain. He said he would announce details Friday or Saturday.

And in Mexico, a medical supply company has started using unmanned drones to deliver masks, gloves and other equipment to hospitals.

Doctors, nurses and other medical workers have staged nationwide protests against what they say is a shortage of protective equipment.

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