U.S. Hits 300 Million Doses With Covid in Retreat: Virus Update
The U.S. passed the milestone of administering more than 300 million vaccine doses. New cases and deaths continue to plunge and are back to the levels just after U.S. states began imposing restrictions in March 2020.
The U.K. will accelerate its vaccination program in a bid to stay on its path out of lockdown, the Telegraph reported. Meanwhile, civil servants are drawing up contingency plans to delay the June 21 easing of virus restrictions, the Financial Times reported.
China authorized the emergency use of Sinovac Biotech Ltd.’s coronavirus vaccine for children, becoming the first major country to grant approval for those as young as three. Singapore canceled its Formula One race for a second year because of the pandemic.
- Global Tracker: Cases exceed 172.7 million; deaths pass 3.7 million
- Vaccine Tracker: More than 2.09 billion doses administered
- Bribing people to get vaccinated just might be working in the U.S.
- Why the mutated coronavirus variants are so worrisome: QuickTake
- ‘Covid zero’ risks being ‘Covid limbo’ amid slow vaccine uptake
- Is Covid still a threat in a vaccinated world?
U.S. Passes 300 Million Vaccine Doses (5:07 p.m. NY)
The pace of vaccination has slowed to the lowest level since January. President Joe Biden has set a goal to administer at least one dose to 70% of adults by July 4. That number is now 63.4%, according to the CDC.
N.Y. Positive Rate Continues to Fall (3:12 p.m. NY)
New York state’s positive test rate declined to a record for the seventh consecutive day. The 0.54% rolling seven-day average is among the lowest positive rates in the U.S.
The number fell to 0.73%, the lowest since the beginning of the pandemic, on May 29 and has steadily declined since. It has dropped for 61 consecutive days, Governor Andrew Cuomo said in a statement.
Cuomo reported 761 new cases and 14 deaths.
Idaho Underreported School Cases (2:25 p.m. NY)
Idaho’s schools reported only about half the number school-aged children who tested positive statewide for Covid-19, according to an analysis by the Idaho Statesman newspaper. Schools reported 8,660 known cases between September 2020 and May 2021, though the analysis of state data show more than 16,000 children tested positive in that period.
The newspaper said the discrepancy likely made it harder for Idaho’s schools to handle the crisis and could make it more difficult to plan for the next year. The main problem, the newspaper said, was that testing laboratories, health care providers and parents were not required to pass along to schools when a student tested positive.
California’s Positive Rate Stays Below 1% (1:25 p.m. NY)
California’s seven-day average positive test rate was 0.8%, according to the state’s health department website. The rate has remained below 1% since May 17. The state reported 1,157 new Covid-19 cases yesterday, a rate of 2.0 new cases per 100,000. There were 63 deaths. California has administered more than 38.2 million vaccines in total.
Namibia Central Bank Warns on New Lockdown (10:59 a.m. NY)
Namibia’s central bank governor warned that another lockdown would damage the economy and add to the government’s debt burden, as a third viral wave sweeps through the country.
The southwest African nation has already seen numerous jobs destroyed and businesses paralyzed as a result of the coronavirus, Johannes Gawaxab, Governor of the Bank of Namibia, told state media on Friday.
“We cannot afford another hard lockdown,” he said.
Vietnam Outbreak Hits Factory Area (10:47 a.m. NY)
More than half of Vietnam’s new infections were reported in Bac Giang province, home to Apple Inc. and Samsung suppliers along with almost a quarter million factory workers from outside the province. New locally acquired infections were 246, and three people died, the government reported Saturday. Total infections are 8,541, with 53 fatalities.
About 150,000 vaccine doses have been administered to factory workers in Bac Giang, two days ahead of schedule, the health ministry said without specifying how many more plant workers there will be inoculated.
The northern province plans to send tens of thousands of factory workers back home to reduce transmission risk at dense quarantine facilities and areas under social distancing, newspaper Tuoi Tre reported.
U.S. Outbreak Continues to Weaken (7:17 a.m. NY)
The U.S. recorded almost 17,000 new infections on Friday, in a week with a third of the cases of a month ago. Another 600 people died, according to data from Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg, in a week in which fatalities dropped by more than half from the level of two months ago.
Singapore Cancels F1 Race Again (7:13 a.m. NY)
Singapore called off its Formula One Grand Prix race in October amid the pandemic. The cancellation for a second year is due to “ongoing safety and logistic concerns brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic,” promoter Singapore GP Pte said Friday. Formula One reiterated it will continue to work with all promoters during this “fluid time and have several options for additional races.” It didn’t elaborate.
Indonesia Cases at Two-Month High (5:41 p.m. HK)
Indonesia added the most new Covid-19 cases since April 4, with authorities reporting 6,594 confirmed infections on Saturday. Southeast Asia’s largest economy is imposing restrictions on all 34 provinces until June 14, in an effort to contain a spike in new virus cases after the Eid al-Fitr celebrations in May.
Poland Cases Slow (5:07 p.m. HK)
Poland registered 415 new coronavirus cases over the last 24 hours, down from 775 a week earlier, according to Health Ministry data. The death toll from the pandemic rose by 38 cases to 74,139.
Italy Hits Record Vaccinations (5:11 p.m. HK)
Italy administered almost 600,000 vaccine doses on Friday as the country continues to accelerate the inoculation campaign amid an easing of restrictions that started last month. Hospitals and vaccination centers gave out a record 598,510 shots, reaching a total of about 37.1 million doses to date, according to the Ansa newswire.
U.K. to Step Up Second Doses: Telegraph (4:15 a.m. HK)
The U.K. will accelerate its vaccination program so it can stay on its path out of lockdown, the Telegraph reported. People 40 years and older are set to get their second vaccine dose within eight weeks, instead of 12.
The time between doses has already been cut for people in the U.K. over the age of 50 to help keep a lid on the spread of the virus. Ministers hope that accelerating the pace will help to keep the planned June 21 lifting of restrictions, the newspaper said.
U.K. Prepares to Delay Reopening: FT (3:50 p.m. HK)
Civil servants in England are drawing up contingency plans to delay the June 21 easing of virus restrictions, the Financial Times reported. A senior civil servant closely involved with coronavirus planning said officials are drawing up plans to delay the country’s final phase of easing, possibly to July 5, and looking at trading off some measures against others, the paper said.
The U.K. reported its biggest increase in cases since March on Friday. The highly transmissible Delta variant, first identified in India, is now dominant in Britain, adding to the pressure to potentially delay the country’s reopening.
Mumbai to Open With Restrictions (3:45 p.m. HK)
The government of Maharashtra late Friday announced a five-level plan to unlock the state based on the Covid-19 positivity rate and the availability of oxygen beds in various districts.
According to the plan, which will come into effect from Monday, districts with positivity rate below 5% and oxygen bed occupancy less than 25% will fall under Level 1 and will have the least number of restrictions. Districts with positivity rate of more than 20% or with over 75% oxygen beds occupied, will be categorized as Level 5 and will have strict curbs on movement of people and business operations, according to the state government’s order.
The financial capital, Mumbai, with positivity rate of 5.56% as on June 3, is designated as Level 3, under which, all shops and private offices are allowed to remain open till 4 pm. Malls and multiplex theaters will remain closed.
Germany’s New Cases Fall (1:30 p.m. HK)
Germany reported 2,993 cases on Saturday, down from 3,688 the day before. The total number of infections in the country since the start of the pandemic exceeds 3.7 million, while the number of Covid-related deaths stands at 89,152.
China Authorizes Sinovac Vaccine for Children (11:10 a.m. HK)
China authorized the emergency use of Sinovac Biotech Ltd.’s coronavirus vaccine for children, becoming the first major country to grant approval for those as young as three.
The move comes amid reports that young people with the disease could be as infectious as adults. Singapore, Hong Kong and some U.S. states have so far authorized the use of Covid-19 vaccines for children aged 12 and above.
It’s not yet confirmed when this age group will receive their first doses of the vaccine in China. Phase I and Phase II research, involving several hundred participants, showed that the Sinovac vaccine is as safe and effective for children as it is for adults, the company’s Chief Executive Officer Yin Weidong told state broadcaster China Central Television on Friday.
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