Should you start wearing a mask again as the delta variant grows in California?

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San Francisco Chronicle 29 June, 2021 - 12:02am 35 views

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The increasing spread of the delta coronavirus variant has many across the world concerned — with Los Angeles County health officials on Monday “strongly recommending” that all residents again wear mask in indoor public spaces, regardless of vaccination status.

Should people in the Bay Area also be so worried that they again routinely wear masks, even if they’re fully vaccinated?

Los Angeles County’s new recommendation was not a mandate but a precautionary change from recent state and local guidance, which allows fully vaccinated people to go maskless in most settings. County officials said “fully vaccinated people appear to be well protected from infections with Delta variants,” but concerns are rising for those who are unvaccinated and at higher risk for COVID-19.

The new guidance follows several similar moves worldwide due to the highly infectious delta variant. On Friday, the World Health Organization began urging that people continue to wear their masks regularly, socially distance and avoid crowding, even if they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Israel, which has one of the world’s highest vaccination rates, has seen a rise in coronavirus cases tied to the delta variant, including among fully vaccinated people. The government reimposed an indoor mask mandate, but it has declined to reinstate more stringent measures, stating confidence in the effectiveness of vaccines and declaring that very few infected individuals have become seriously ill.

The delta variant spread quickly through the United Kingdom and by mid-June was responsible for 90% of all infections, according to a study from the government. White House chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci warned last week that it is the “greatest threat” to the U.S. and its ability to end the pandemic.

The variant makes up 20% of new cases in the U.S., and Los Angeles County officials noted that in the week ending June 12, it comprised nearly half of all variants genetically sequenced there. Santa Clara County in the Bay Area recently reported that the delta variant now makes up 7% of all cases sequenced.

About 59% of Californians are fully vaccinated and 68% have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, according to the latest state data.

California reopened its economy on June 15, dropping its mask requirement in most settings for fully vaccinated people. Unvaccinated people must still wear masks indoors, and outdoors where distancing cannot be maintained. Counties may choose to implement tighter — but not looser — restrictions.

Bob Wachter, chair of the Department of Medicine at UCSF, declared Monday on Twitter that while he has been lax about wearing a mask in recent weeks, he is changing his behavior now with the threat of the delta variant. He said he will wear his mask in most indoor settings if he isn’t certain everyone around him is vaccinated.

“I’m not concerned that the vaccines work less well because the data seem pretty clear that the vaccines hold up very well against the delta variant,” he said in an interview Monday.

However, he continued, “The chance of getting infected is also related to how much virus there is in your environment, and how infectious the virus is. Even if the vaccines are 90% efficacious...the risk is going to go up considerably if more people have delta because it spreads more easily.”

Monica Gandhi, an infectious disease expert at UCSF, is not concerned about the rise in the delta variant breakthrough infections in Israel, and pointed to evidence that they are only causing mild illness. She does not think the Bay Area should be worried, due to the region’s high rate of vaccination.

“We are well protected against the delta variant,” she said. “This is likely to cause outbreaks among unvaccinated individuals, which is why we must continue to educate on vaccine hesitancy. But our current COVID-19 vaccines are highly protective against the delta variant, and with high levels of population immunity in California, most California-based scientists are not worried.”

She said fully vaccinated people “can continue to live their lives more normally as the CDC has advised, including no need to wear masks indoors for COVID protection.”

Peter Chin-Hong, an infectious disease expert with UCSF, said the Bay Area is “good for now” but that things could change the fastest in poorly vaccinated communities in California.

“Most of the most vaccinated counties in the country are in the Bay Area, so we will likely continue to be the COVID safehouse of the state and of the country, even in the face of delta,” he said. “If anyone is going to be safe from delta, we are.”

Chin-Hong said people visiting from less-vaccinated regions will “inevitably” cause an increase in cases from the delta variant.

“I would be shocked if we see a full-on surge here given our robust community vaccination rate,” he said. “This may translate into higher numbers of hospitalizations locally, but will be comprised of mainly unvaccinated folks.”

Wachter’s personal concern is that there is “zero data about the probability that someone with a breakthrough case can get long COVID” — meaning a case in which symptoms linger or develop weeks or months after the onset of infection — and he would prefer not to put himself at that risk.

UC Berkeley infectious disease expert John Swartzberg said the trajectory of the delta variant suggests it is doubling every two weeks, which puts it on par with the alpha variant in the spring before it became the dominant type. The delta variant is estimated to be 60% more transmissible than the alpha variant, which originated in the U.K.

Swartzberg advises vaccinated people to add “a little more caution to their daily routines” including choosing to eat outdoors instead of indoors, and wearing a mask at indoor businesses where it is unclear if everyone is vaccinated.

“We should be more cautious than we were three weeks ago,” he said. “The little things add a layer of safety to the already great safety of being fully vaccinated.”

But Swartzberg doesn’t think California will need to backtrack and face any new restrictions this summer. Rather, he sees that happening in pockets across the country where the vaccination rates are much lower.

Chin-Hong doesn’t think it’s time yet to impose new restrictions given that the vaccines offer strong protection against hospitalizations against the delta variant, and most of the vulnerable population that would more likely need to be hospitalized due to COVID has been vaccinated. If a spike in cases occurs down the line, he imagines we may again see a mask mandate for everyone in indoor public areas.

He said the WHO’s advice is more applicable for vaccinated individuals living in regions that have not achieved herd immunity and in places where the most effective vaccines have not been administered.

Wachter said people will have to make decisions based on their own risk tolerance, but if cases and hospitalizations continue to rise, the first thing to do would be to reinstate a mask mandate indoors for everyone.

“It was always a bad idea to be unvaccinated, but now is a really, really bad time to be unvaccinated,” he said.

Kellie Hwang is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: kellie.hwang@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @kelliehwang

Read full article at San Francisco Chronicle

iPhone 13 plays catch-up with Samsung with this new camera feature

SamMobile 29 June, 2021 - 01:06am

Renowned Apple insider Ming-Chi Kuo says (via MacRumors) that the iPhone could finally get autofocus support on the ultra-wide camera with the iPhone 13. However, only the high-end iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max will get the feature. This will put the iPhone 13’s camera subsystem somewhat on par with the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra, which happened to be the first-ever Samsung device to include the feature. Interestingly enough, the lower-specced Galaxy S21 and Galaxy S21+ do not support it.

Autofocus on an ultra-wide lens is still somewhat of a high-end feature reserved for flagship smartphones. Most OEMs, Samsung included, chose to neglect the feature for the longest time. Thankfully, most modern-day flagship smartphones include it. Our Galaxy S21 Ultra review determined that the ultra-wide lens’ autofocus support greatly enhanced the visual fidelity of captured images. It also doubled up as an excellent macro lens for close-up shots.

Of course, even Samsung wasn’t the first smartphone OEM to add autofocus support to its ultra-wide camera. The earliest smartphone we could find with the functionality enabled was the Huawei Mate 20 Pro, which was launched all the way back in 2018. Then again, Huawei has always remained ahead of the pack when it comes to high-end camera features. The real question is: Will all three Galaxy S22 phones ship with autofocus on their ultra-wide lenses? Based on what little we know about the matter so far, it’s hard to tell.

Poll: Which new colors do you want to see in the iPhone 13 lineup? - 9to5Mac

9to5Mac 28 June, 2021 - 07:52pm

We’re getting closer to the official announcement of the iPhone 13, which is expected to take place sometime between September and October. According to the rumors, this year’s iPhones will keep the same design as the iPhone 12, but that doesn’t mean that we won’t see some minor changes. Now we want to know which new colors you want to see in the iPhone 13 lineup.

Based on rumors, although the iPhone 13 (or iPhone 12S) is expected to have a similar design to the current iPhone 12 design, Apple will finally reduce the size of the notch — which is the area that houses the Face ID sensors and the top speaker.

Looking at previous models, Apple introduced new colors for “revised” versions of the iPhone. For instance, iPhone 5s was the first with the gold color, while iPhone 6s got the rose gold color. iPhone XS also brought the gold color to the iPhone X form-factor, not to mention that iPhone XR, iPhone 11, and iPhone 12 came in different colors.

So if we’re going to get new iPhones that don’t exactly have a new design, it’s plausible to assume that Apple is working on some new colors for this year’s models. I don’t recall any rumors or leaks about iPhone 13 colors, but there are two that I’d like to see in the iPhone 13 Pro lineup: dark purple and Product(RED).

Earlier this year, the company announced a new purple version of the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini as a “spring color.” Since then, I’ve been wondering how beautiful a purple iPhone Pro would be, but in a darker shade. It’s also interesting to note that none of the iPhone Pro models have been released in red, so this would be a great opportunity for having an iPhone Pro in matte red.

I made some quick concepts imagining these two colors, which you can see below:

For the regular iPhone 13 lineup, it would also be nice to have some darker colors, since both iPhone 11 and iPhone 12 were introduced in lighter shades.

What about you? Which new colors do you want to see in this year’s iPhones? Let me know in the poll and also in the comments section below.

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Filipe Espósito is a Brazilian tech Journalist who started covering Apple news on iHelp BR with some exclusive scoops — including the reveal of the new Apple Watch Series 5 models in titanium and ceramic. He joined 9to5Mac to share even more tech news around the world.

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Apple warns leakers to stop divulging unreleased product details

TechSpot 28 June, 2021 - 12:58pm

MacRumors notes that one reliable leaker, who goes by "Kang" on Chinese microblogging site Weibo, posted a letter from Apple's legal team demanding that he refrain from sharing details about unreleased products. It claims that his actions could share information with Apple's competitors. It could also "mislead" customers regarding devices that might not ever make it to production.

Same happened to me last year…

Kang says he is under no obligation to comply with the notice since he has never signed a nondisclosure agreement. He also says that he has never published undisclosed photos nor made any money from his leaks. Despite that, he indicated that he would be careful with future leaks.

Kang is not the only Apple dirt-disher who has reported being put on notice. Ben Gaskin said he received a similar warning letter last year. However, it's unclear if Apple's threats have any teeth.

Regular journalists reporting on information gained via anonymous sources are protected from legal actions. Online leakers are something of a grey area. Regardless, Apple and other companies will no doubt throw their legal clout around whether the threats would hold up in court or not.

Image credit: Rahayuningsih

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Apple Preps for iPhone 13 Launch by Pulling in Component Shipments

Wccftech 28 June, 2021 - 07:40am

Apple is not expected to witness the same mishaps that saw the iPhone 12 launch get delayed by a whole month. In preparation for the iPhone 13 unveiling, the technology behemoth has started ordering component shipments from various suppliers to prevent another potential delay.

The components needed to complete a single iPhone 13 model have started being pulled by Apple, according to a new DigiTimes report. With multiple partners placed in various regions such as China, Vietnam, the United States, and others, Apple has a firm grip on its supply chain, which is necessary as it enables the California-based firm to launch products without witnessing a significant delay.

Unfortunately, that was not the case last year, and it was due to the global health crises which prevented Apple’s supply chain from resuming factory operations. TSMC, Apple’s only supplier for custom silicon, started mass production of the A15 Bionic SoC last month, with the Taiwanese manufacturer even going far as to prioritize Apple for chip orders over its other clientele.

With the company well-prepared for the iPhone 13 launch, a previous report mentions that the event is expected to occur during the third week of September. This will give Apple a head start in opening up pre-orders for millions of customers around the world. We believe that due to the company’s strict schedule of unveiling the new iPhone 13 members earlier, coupled with Ming-Chi Kuo’s predictions, Apple could ship up to 240 million iPhone units in 2021, which is impressive for just vendor that only unveils a few devices each year.

Only recently, the analyst believes that the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max will ship with autofocus support for the ultra wide camera, resulting in sharper image quality. As Apple preps for the imminent launch of four new models, our readers would do well to check out our detailed rumor roundup here, as it provides nearly everything there is to know about the upcoming iPhone 13 series.

News Source: DigiTimes

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Apple reportedly starts making orders for iPhone 13 components; production start imminent

PhoneArena 28 June, 2021 - 07:16am

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'iPhone 13' shipments may be slightly earlier than 2020's iPhone 12 | AppleInsider

AppleInsider 28 June, 2021 - 06:10am

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Apple has started to receive shipments for parts it needs to assemble the "iPhone 13" by September, with the timing suggesting a very slightly earlier release than for the iPhone 12 family.

Apple usually arranges to accept shipments of components and parts for iPhone production at the start of the summer, and 2021 is no exception. A report claims Apple has taken steps to take in shipments of passive components for the "iPhone 13" range.

Based on sources within the Taiwanese supply chain, Digitimes reported on Monday that power choke supplier Cyntec will see its revenue grow 25% year-on-year for the second quarter of 2021, due to orders placed by Apple. Cyntec previously enjoyed a 30% YoY revenue increase for the first quarter.

The timing of the orders indicates that Apple's supply chain and production processes have somewhat recovered from 2020's COVID-19 pandemic, which heavily impacted assembly lines and global supplies in many industries. While the pandemic delayed 2020's iPhone releases, it appears that the 2021 version is much closer to normal production timings, such as for the 2019 iPhone 11 range.

This, in turn, could lead to a September debut of the new iPhone family, and possibly even September or early October shipment.

Among the suppliers, Cyntec is also anticipated to enjoy more orders in the third quarter of 2021, due to the increase of production of 5G-enabled iPhones. Quartz and oscillator supplier TXC will also benefit from an improved supply ratio for iPhone parts, by achieving higher yield rates for its products.

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Apple Begins Preparation for iPhone 13 Production Ahead of Fall Launch

MacRumors 28 June, 2021 - 01:29am

Apple operates under dozens of suppliers based in China, the United States, Vietnam, and India to produce its devices. Lockdowns crippled many of Apple's supplier's ability to produce and assemble devices. TSMC, one of Apple's largest suppliers, has reportedly already started producing the A15 chip for the 2021 iPhone.

The iPhone 12 featured several changes, such as an updated flat-edged design, the introduction of LiDAR for the high-end Pro models, and improved cameras. Above all, however, Apple's largest selling point for the 2020 ‌iPhone‌ was the inclusion of 5G technology. For the upcoming iPhones, Apple may instead focus on marketing other aspects of the device, including an all-new always-on display with 120Hz ProMotion technology, improved cameras, and more. Check out our roundup to learn more about everything we're expecting.

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iPhone 13 Pro to feature ultra-wide lens with autofocus, coming to regular models next year - 9to5Mac

9to5Mac 28 June, 2021 - 12:02am

Reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo predicted earlier this year that Apple is working on an enhanced ultra-wide lens for some of the iPhone 13 models, which are expected to be introduced in the second half of 2021. In a new research note obtained by 9to5Mac, Kuo reinforced that the iPhone 13 Pro will have an ultra-wide lens with autofocus.

The current ultra-wide lenses used by Apple are fixed-focus, which means that they cannot focus on a specific object. With autofocus, users will be able to adjust the lens to choose where they want to focus, just like with wide-angle and telephoto lenses.

In addition to autofocus, the analyst also claimed that the ultra-wide lens on the iPhone 13 Pro will have six elements instead of five, which will likely result in better images and videos. With iPhone 12, Apple has considerably improved the ultra-wide lens with Deep Fusion and Night Mode, but it still does not provide the same quality as the others, especially in low light.

Kuo’s note mentions that only the Pro models of this year’s iPhones will get the upgraded ultra-wide lens. However, he says that Apple is expected to bring the same improvements to all iPhone models with the next generation in 2022.

Rumors suggest that the iPhone 13 (or iPhone 12S) will have a similar design to the iPhone 12, but with a new processor, smaller notch, better cameras, expanded 5G support, and 120Hz ProMotion display on the Pro models. The new iPhones are expected to be announced sometime between September and October of this year.

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Filipe Espósito is a Brazilian tech Journalist who started covering Apple news on iHelp BR with some exclusive scoops — including the reveal of the new Apple Watch Series 5 models in titanium and ceramic. He joined 9to5Mac to share even more tech news around the world.

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Take a Look at the Apple iPhone 13 Dummy Models

HYPEBEAST 27 June, 2021 - 11:27pm

Courtesy of tech insider Sonny Dickson, the new look shows the rears of the iPhone 13 Pro Max, iPhone 13 Pro, iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Mini models. Devoid of internal components, the look at the dummy models reveals that the iPhone 13 Pro Max model will be slightly larger than the iPhone 12 Pro Max and new camera orientations. The lenses found in the camera modules are now placed diagonally from each other rather than vertically.

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Kuo: iPhone 13 Pro Models to Feature Improved Ultra Wide Camera With Autofocus, Compared to Current Fixed-Focus Lens

MacRumors 27 June, 2021 - 07:37pm

Looking more long-term, Kuo today shared additional information on the iPhone 14, destined for 2022. According to Kuo, while autofocus on the ‌iPhone 13‌ ultra-wide camera will be limited to the high-end Pro models only, Apple plans to expand autofocus for the ultra-wide camera to all four models of the iPhone 14 lineup.

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