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The COVID-19 Olympics

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The number of Olympic athletes to test positive for the coronavirus is growing. More than 1 million acres are burning as wildfires rip through the West. And the first felony sentence was handed down in the Capitol riot.

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Olympic athletes test positive for coronavirus

Just four days before opening ceremonies, another U.S athlete will miss out on the Tokyo Olympics. Katie Lou Samuelson, who was instrumental in the U.S. qualifying for the first-ever Olympic 3x3 women's basketball competition, was in COVID-19 health and safety protocols Saturday and will not compete in Tokyo. Samuelson is one of an increasing number of athletes and others in Tokyo who have been placed in COVID-19 protocols. On Sunday, U.S. tennis player Coco Gauff said she tested positive for the coronavirus and would withdraw from the Games, and an alternate on the U.S. women's gymnastics team in Tokyo tested positive for the virus. Fifty-five people connected with Tokyo 2020 had tested positive as of Sunday, according to organizers.

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The prospect of athletes testing positive in the Olympic Village in Tokyo is looming large.
The prospect of athletes testing positive in the Olympic Village in Tokyo is looming large.

Wildfires spreading like wildfire across the West

Powerful storms forecast for parts of the drought-stricken West this week could actually do more harm than good as "fire clouds" and dry lightning sweep across a region already dotted with wildfires fueled by parched vegetation, heat and winds. The storms brought flash flooding to Phoenix and other areas of the Southwest, but less rain is forecast farther north. In California, the Dixie Fire had burned through 30 square miles and was threatening more than 800 homes and other structures. The remoteness of the fire, along with the steep terrain, was adding to the challenges faced by hundreds of firefighters. More than 80 wildfires were burning through 1,157,976 acres in 13 states on Monday, battled by almost 20,000 firefighters. Experts warned that unstable weather conditions could add to the misery in the coming days.

Dee McCarley hugs her cat, Bunny, at a Red Cross center Wednesday in Klamath Falls, Ore.
Dee McCarley hugs her cat, Bunny, at a Red Cross center Wednesday in Klamath Falls, Ore.

What everyone's talking about

First felony sentence handed down in Capitol riot

A Florida man became the first felon sentenced Monday for his role in the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. He got eight months in prison and was ordered to pay $2,000 in restitution for a portion of the damage to the building. Hodgkins, 38, of Tampa pleaded guilty to obstruction of an official proceeding for interrupting Congress' counting of Electoral College votes. He spent 15 minutes in the Senate chamber, holding a flag supporting former President Donald Trump and taking pictures. District Judge Randolph Moss called literally waving the flag for Trump an unmistakable sign of loyalty to a single person rather than the country and democracy.

Paul Hodgkins on the floor of the U.S. Senate on Jan. 6, 2021, at the Capitol in Washington, D.C.
Paul Hodgkins on the floor of the U.S. Senate on Jan. 6, 2021, at the Capitol in Washington, D.C.

All 50 states see rise in new coronavirus cases

In an ominous run not seen since the spring 2020 surge, new coronavirus cases rose in all 50 states for the fourth day in a row on a rolling seven-day average. In some states the increases were startling. New cases in Rhode Island almost tripled week over week, and Maine and Vermont's increases were almost as large. In Massachusetts, Alaska and Kentucky, new case counts more than doubled in one week, and Minnesota, Florida and Texas were right behind. The pace of deaths also is up sharply – 24.7% from its low point two weeks ago.

📚 2021-22 school year recommendation: The American Academy of Pediatrics said Monday that everyone older than 2 should be wearing masks in schools, regardless of vaccination status. The academy also "strongly recommends" in-person learning and urges all who are eligible be vaccinated to protect against COVID-19.

Visitors wear masks in a shopping district in Hollywood on July 1. Coronavirus cases jumped 500% in Los Angeles County over the past month, and health officials warned July 13 that the especially contagious delta variant spread rapidly among California's unvaccinated population.
Visitors wear masks in a shopping district in Hollywood on July 1. Coronavirus cases jumped 500% in Los Angeles County over the past month, and health officials warned July 13 that the especially contagious delta variant spread rapidly among California's unvaccinated population.

Real quick

First Guantanamo Bay detainee released under Biden

Renewing the process adopted under former Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, the Biden administration for the first time released a prisoner from Guantanamo Bay, the Pentagon announced Monday. Abdul Latif Nasir was transferred from the military prison in Cuba, which was opened after the 9/11 terror attacks, to the Kingdom of Morocco. In 2016, the board overseeing releases from Guantanamo Bay found in it was no longer necessary to detain Nasir for U.S. national security interests, but the steps for Nasir's release could not be completed by the end of the Obama administration, and transfers stalled during the Trump administration. At its peak, the prison population at Guantanamo Bay reached about 700; with Nasir's release, 39 detainees remain.

The U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, was opened after the 9/11 terror attacks.
The U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, was opened after the 9/11 terror attacks.

A break from the news

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: COVID-19 at the Olympics, Capitol riot sentencing, wildfires in the West, Guantanamo Bay. It's Monday's news.

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