A new case every second – USA TODAY

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Another wave of COVID-19 is threatening to overwhelm U.S. hospitals as the delta variant rips through communities. Forecasters updated their Atlantic hurricane season predictions – and it could get busy. And lawyers for Donald Trump tried to block Congress from his tax records.

👋 Hey y’all! It’s Laura, and here’s all the news you need to know on Wednesday.

But first, you think he would help me move? 🏋️‍♂️ Georgian weightlifter Lasha Talakhadze crushed the Olympic super-heavyweight competition, breaking three world records on his way to lifting nearly 1,100 pounds.

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Hospitals pushed to the limit as COVID-19 surges again

As a fourth wave of COVID-19 threatens to overwhelm U.S. hospitals in regions where large swaths of unvaccinated people provide little resistance to the highly contagious delta variant, the United States is again reporting more than one new coronavirus case every second. Johns Hopkins University data released through Tuesday night shows at least 620,226 new coronavirus cases reported in the latest week, much more than the 604,800 seconds in that week. The U.S. hadn’t hit that mark since Feb. 14, Valentine’s Day. At its worst, the country was reporting nearly three cases every second on average in mid-January. Nowhere is the delta strain more apparent than Florida, which reached a new peak Tuesday of 11,515 people hospitalized with COVID-19. 

👉 COVID-19 news: Global cases top 200 million as WHO calls for a global moratorium on vaccine booster shots; delta variant now 93% of new U.S. cases. Catch up on the latest.

Biden: If you aren’t going to help, get out of the way

President Joe Biden expressed frustration with Republican governors who are blocking local businesses and schools from implementing coronavirus mask and vaccine mandates, singling out Florida and Texas, both GOP-led hot spots that have pushed back against coronavirus restrictions in recent days, which he said accounted for one-third of all new COVID-19 cases in the country. “Some governors aren’t willing to do the right things to make this happen,” Biden said. “I say to these governors, please, if you’re not going to help, at least get out of the way of the people who are trying to do the right thing. Use your power to save lives.”

What everyone’s talking about

  • Happy birthday, Mr. Former President: Barack Obama scales back 60th birthday bash due to virus concerns.
  • Citing the death of Raven Saunders’ mom, IOC pauses investigation into medals podium protest.
  • Opinion: White extremism is winning in my town. I’m selling my animal sanctuary and moving.
  • ‘Mom, my head hurts.’ Then came a seven-hour emergency brain surgery.
  • QAnon followers distance themselves from the movement’s most bizarre conspiracy theories as they rebrand.
  • Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex turns 40: How she’s starting a ‘liberating’ new chapter.
  • Experts: Lollapalooza was a ‘recipe for disaster.’ Should more music festivals be canceled?

Could be a busy hurricane season

If predictions hold true, it will be a record sixth-consecutive year of above-normal hurricane activity. The federal government released its updated forecast Wednesday for the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season. In a slight increase from the forecast the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released in May, seven to 10 hurricanes are predicted to form, with 15 to 21 named storms expected to develop. That number includes tropical storms, which have wind speeds of 39 mph or higher. Storms become hurricanes when winds reach 74 mph. Of the predicted hurricanes, three to five could be major, with wind speeds of 111 mph or higher. Already this year, five named storms have formed, including Hurricane Elsa, which spun up along the west coast of Florida in early July. Historically, only two named storms form on average by early August. The season officially began June 1 and runs through Nov. 30.

Trump tries to block Congress from tax records

Claiming that congressional Democrats were searching for potentially embarrassing information on a political rival – not seeking information for legislative purposes – lawyers for the former president on Wednesday sought to block the Treasury Department from providing Donald Trump’s tax returns to Congress. The new legal filing comes less than a week after the Justice Department concluded that the tax records could be handed over to a House committee as part of a yearlong legal battle. Members of Congress have said they are researching possible legislation to regulate the auditing of presidential tax returns. Trump was the first presidential candidate in modern times not to release the report.

Real quick

Rihanna’s wealth shines bright like a diamond

This girl is on fire – and now she’s in the billionaires club. Joining the ranks with Oprah Winfrey as one of the richest entertainers in the world, multi-hyphenate star Rihanna is now a billionaire, Forbes announced Wednesday, estimating her net worth at $1.7 billion, with most of it coming from her cosmetic brand Fenty Beauty. The singer-turned-entrepreneur, born Robyn Fenty, launched Fenty Beauty in 2017 in partnership with luxury goods conglomerate LVMH, focusing on inclusivity with a then-unprecedented 40 shades of foundation. Now the brand covers everything under the sun of makeup, from brushes and blushes to lipsticks. Forbes estimates $1.4 billion of her worth comes from Fenty Beauty and $270 million coming from her lingerie brand Savage X Fenty, with the rest of the $1.7 billion sprinkled in from the Bajan star’s music and acting career.

A break from the news

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