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Biden expected to announce vaccine proof push for federal workers
President Joe Biden is expected to announce Thursday that millions of federal workers must show proof they've received a coronavirus vaccine or submit to regular testing and stringent social distancing and masking, the Associated Press reports. A source told the AP the new guidance is not a vaccine mandate for the employees and those who decide not to get vaccinated aren't at risk of being fired. The new policy amounts to a recognition by the administration that the government — the nation's biggest employer — must do more to boost sluggish vaccination rates. The president's official schedule for Thursday includes Biden delivering remarks that lay out "the next steps in our effort to get more Americans vaccinated and combat the spread of the Delta variant." Biden said Tuesday his administration had been considering requiring all federal workers to get the shots amid a surge of cases caused by the highly infectious variant.
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Team USA takes home more swimming medals ahead of gymnastics
At the Tokyo Olympics, gymnast Simone Biles continues to be the main topic of discussion. The defending gold medalist in the women's all-around competition qualified first for Thursday's final, but withdrew to focus on her mental health. Jade Carey will take Biles' place for Team USA. The question now is whether or not Biles will compete in any of next week's individual event finals. There was lots of action in the pool in Tokyo on Thursday as Bobby Finke got Team USA off to a strong start when he grabbed an unexpected gold in the men's 800-meter freestyle. Later, Caeleb Dressel set an Olympic record to win gold in the men's 100 free final. And the women's 4x200 freestyle relay team, anchored by Katie Ledecky, won silver. Elsewhere, the men's individual golf competition has begun with with opening round play.
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Apple to require masks in half of its US stores
Apple will require shoppers to wear masks again at half of its U.S. stores beginning Thursday. Stores that will require masks are in COVID-19 hotspots or in areas that have local or state mandates. The company became the first retailer to confirm a change to its masking policy on Wednesday, two days after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new guidelines recommending vaccinated people start wearing masks indoors again in areas with substantial or high transmission of COVID-19. The new CDC mask guidance also recommends that people with underlying conditions that may make them more susceptible to the coronavirus wear masks, along with anyone residing with vulnerable people.
Teams look to build future at NBA Draft
Many NBA teams and players will take a significant step Thursday when the 2021 NBA Draft takes place. The Detroit Pistons hold the No. 1 overall pick and are expected to draft guard Cade Cunningham from Oklahoma State. The draft will start picking up momentum with the Houston Rockets picking at No. 2, where analysts believe they are considering a number of players — primarily Jalen Suggs, Evan Mobley and Jalen Green. There will also be room for trades in the top half of the NBA Draft, with the New Orleans Pelicans already trading the No. 10 pick in a package deal that netted them the No. 17 overall pick and center Jonas Valanciunas. Many eyes will also be on the veteran-led Golden State Warriors, who hold the Nos. 7 and 14 picks. The draft will air on ESPN starting at 8 p.m. ET.
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Lollapalooza music festival returns
Crowds will descend on Chicago’s Grant Park on Thursday, when the four-day Lollapalooza music festival starts. It's the first major multi-genre music festival in the U.S. since March 2020, and the largest mass gathering event in the country since that time, with an expected 100,000 fans a day.Foo Fighters, Post Malone, Tyler, The Creator and Miley Cyrus are set to lead the lineup. Attendees will have to show proof they’ve had COVID-19 vaccinations or have tested negative within the last three days.
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Contributing: The Associated Press
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Biden's vaccine push, Olympics, NBA Draft: 5 things to know Thursday