What you missed in Columbus for Aug. 2

Franklin County now at ‘substantial’ COVID spread, Simone Biles set to return for Tuesday’s balance beam final and more from the weekend

Andy Downing
Columbus Alive
Simone Biles will compete in the balance beam final at the Olympic Games on Tuesday

According to recent CDC data, Franklin County has moved from “moderate” to “substantial” COVID-19 spread, meaning the county has registered between 50 and 100 cases per 100,000 residents over a seven-day period. As a result, Franklin County officials said masks are strongly recommended for everyone in indoor settings, regardless of vaccination status. Masks can help slow the spread of the highly contagious delta variant, which is currently causing a nationwide spike in coronavirus numbers, particularly in areas where vaccine uptake has lagged.

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Yahoo News takes a look at the special election for Ohio’s traditionally Republican 15th Congressional District, describing the Republican primary as “a high-stakes test of Trump’s endorsement power.” The former president, who lost his reelection bid against Joe Biden, endorsed coal lobbyist Mike Carey for the seat, which was formerly held by Republican Rep. Steve Stivers. Stivers has endorsed state Rep. Jeff LaRe in the crowded field, which has drawn a number of high-profile candidates, including Republican state Sens. Bob Peterson and Stephanie Kunze.

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Columbus-born gymnast Simone Biles, who previously withdrew from the all-around competition and three final events, announced that she will return to compete in Tuesday’s balance beam final at the Olympic Games. Biles' participation was confirmed on Twitter by USA Gymnastics.

Biles initially withdrew from the competition following the vault last week and has not competed since, writing on Instagram Friday that she was still suffering from “the twisties,” a term used by gymnasts to describe the disorienting experience in which they lose control of their bodies mid-trick, losing a sense of where they are in the air and increasing the potential for injuries. (Live Science has a rundown of what happens in an athlete’s brain to create the effect here.)

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In other local Olympic news, Ohio State sophomore swimmer Hunter Armstrong earned a gold medal Saturday after helping the U.S. men reach the final with a strong showing in the heats of the 4x100 medley relay. Armstrong served as the leadoff swimmer for Team USA in the opening heat, helping it to a fourth-place finish and clinching the last spot in the finals. In the finals, the USA swapped out all of the swimmers who competed in the heats and proceeded to win the gold over Great Britain with a world-record time.

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U.S. soccer experienced an up and down 24 hours, beginning with the U.S. men defeating Mexico 1-0 in the finals of the 2021 Gold Cup on Sunday on a header from Miles Robinson in extra time. Hours later, the U.S women’s national team lost to Canada in the Olympic semifinals by the same 1-0 score. Following the game, forward Megan Rapinoe described the upset as “a bitter one to swallow.”

"It's terrible. We just didn't have it today," Rapinoe said after the match. "Just too many errors from us again. I felt like the space was there for us to play and we just couldn't get into it, too many touches or, you know, an errant touch.”