President Biden commented on the Delta variant and a document from Catholic Bishops that may rebuke him for his support of abortion rights.
The Biden administration won’t reach its “aspirational” goal of getting 70% of adult Americans at least partially vaccinated for COVID-19 by the Fourth of July, Jeff Zients, the White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator, said Tuesday.
Sixteen states and the District of Columbia have reached the goal already – but four states are at less than 50% of all adults, he said. Still, the goal of at least partially vaccinating 70% of Americans ages 30 and older has been reached, he said, adding that the administration is on track to hit the 70% target for ages 27 and older by the Fourth of July weekend.
Zients said the press to get more people vaccinated will continue. He called the numbers “amazing progress” and said it will take a few more weeks to reach 70% of all adults.
“This is cause of celebration, and that is exactly what Americans will be able to do on July 4th, celebrate independence from the virus,” Zients said.
Also in the news:
►Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s administration scaled back workplace safety rules Tuesday, keeping mask and other requirements only in health care settings.
►Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has threatened to order the arrest of Filipinos who refuse COVID-19 vaccination and told them to leave the country if they would not cooperate with the efforts to contain the pandemic.
►Western Michigan University said it will hold a series of drawings, from August to December, to give away more than $100,000 to students who have been vaccinated against COVID-19.
►North Korea has told the World Health Organization it tested more than 30,000 people for the coronavirus through June 10 but has yet to find a single infection. Experts widely doubt North Korea’s claim that it has not had a single case of the virus.
📈 Today’s numbers: The U.S. has more than 33.5 million confirmed coronavirus cases and at least 602,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The global totals: More than 178.8 million cases and more than 3.87 million deaths. More than 150.46 million Americans have been fully vaccinated – nearly 45.2% of the population, according to the CDC.
📘 What we’re reading: Kids’ birthday parties may be partly to blame for increased coronavirus transmission rates, a new study shows. Read more here.
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Young people less likely to get vaccinated, CDC study shows
Young Americans are less likely to get vaccinated against COVID-19 than their elders, a new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study showed. By May 22, 2021, 57% of adults had received at least one vaccine dose, the study said. But coverage was highest among those 65 and older (80%) while it was lowest among those 18-29 years old (38.3%). Nearly 25% of the latter age group reported that they probably or definitely would not get vaccinated, while 23% were unsure. Their biggest questions: concerns about vaccine safety and effectiveness, a second study said.
Adults 18–39 years with lower incomes, lower educational attainment, without health insurance, who were non-Hispanic Black adults who lived in suburbs areas had the lowest reported vaccination coverage and intent to get vaccinated, the study added.
Urban counties and women were more likely to get vaccinated, the first study said. Perhaps pointing to the causes of falling rates, the study also notes that “people living in counties with higher social vulnerabilities or higher percentages of the population who are uninsured, living in poverty, lacking access to a computer, and lacking access to a computer with Internet were less likely to be vaccinated.”
California to pay off all past-due rents, may extend evictions ban
Gov. Gavin Newsom says California will pay off all the past-due rent that accumulated in the nation’s most populated state because of the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, a promise to make landlords whole while giving renters a clean slate. The $5.2 billion multiple aid packages approved by Congress appear to be more than enough to cover all of the unpaid rent in the state, according to Jason Elliott, senior counselor to Newsom on housing and homelessness.
“California is planning rent forgiveness on a scale never seen before in the United States,” Gov. Newsom tweeted.
Still to be determined is whether Neswom will continue to ban evictions for unpaid rent beyond June 30, when federal eviction eviction protections also are set to expire.
Florida outbreak: 2 die, 3 hospitalized – but vaccinated worker not infected
Two employees of Florida’s Manatee County have died and three others were hospitalized after an outbreak in the IT department, County Administrator Scott Hopes said. None were vaccinated, and another worker who was vaccinated did not become infected, Hopes said. One person died June 14, and Hope said one of the other workers went to a physician complaining of sore throat and other symptoms Wednesday – two days after the first death – and died Thursday. All the victims are relatively young, he said.
“My concern is that this may very well be a variant, and one that appears to be infecting young people,” Hopes said. “You’ve got five known cases in one department and nearly 50% (died), and all were hospitalized.”
India vaccines record 8 million people in one day
India said it vaccinated more than 8 million people on the first day of a program administering free shots to all adults. Monday’s total comes as the government faces continued criticism, accused of failing to provide sufficient supply of vaccines for the nation of 1.4 billion people.
“Today’s record-breaking vaccination numbers are gladdening,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted. “The vaccine remains our strongest weapon to fight COVID-19. Congratulations to those who got vaccinated and kudos to all the front-line warriors working hard to ensure so many citizens got the vaccine. Well done India!”
COVID-19 cases are increasing in California, analysis shows
New coronavirus cases increased 6.2% in California in the week ending Sunday as the state added 6,530 cases. The previous week had 6,148 new cases of the virus that causes COVID-19. California ranked 31st among the states where coronavirus was spreading the fastest on a per-person basis, a USA TODAY Network analysis of Johns Hopkins University data shows. In the latest week, coronavirus cases in the United States decreased 19.6% from the week before, with 79,884 cases reported. With 11.87% of the country’s population, California had 8.17% of the country’s cases in the last week.
Across the country, eight states had more cases in the latest week than they did in the week before.
Within California, the worst weekly outbreaks on a per-person basis were in Modoc, Sierra and Mendocino counties. Adding the newest cases overall were Los Angeles County, with 1,489 cases; San Diego County, with 546 cases; and Sacramento County, with 439. Weekly case counts rose in 26 counties from the previous week. The worst increases from the prior week’s pace were in Los Angeles, Tulare and San Diego counties.
– Mike Stucka
Study shows mRNA vaccines don’t decrease sperm count
Fertility concerns surrounding the COVID-19 vaccines aren’t exclusive to women. Men are worried, too. Seeking to dispel these fears, researchers at the University of Miami conducted a study to assess men’s fertility after vaccination and found no negative effects on their sperm. From Dec. 17, 2020, to Jan. 12, 2021, they recruited 45 healthy volunteers ages 18 to 50 who were scheduled to get the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, according to the study published in JAMA Network.
The participants were prescreened to ensure they had no previous or underlying fertility issues. Semen samples were taken before the first vaccine dose and approximately 70 days after the second, which is about how long sperm takes to regenerate.
– Adrianna Rodriguez
Moderna to add production lines in preparation for booster shots
Moderna will be adding two new production lines to their plant in Norwood, Massachusetts, to prepare for making booster shots. Officials said the additions will allow for a 50% increase in production capacity.
The biotechnology company struggled to get investors for their mRNA technology prior to the pandemic. Now it has a market capitalization of $81 billion. Its manufacturing partners are also preparing for expanding production outside of the U.S., preparing to triple their annual global output of the COVID-19 vaccine.
“Our plan and our hope is that, as soon as the U.S. has enough doses, we’re allowed to export so we can help as many countries as we can around the world,” Moderna Chief Executive Stéphane Bancel told the Wall Street Journal.
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Contributing: The Associated Press.
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