NYC Woos Young People; Connecticut Has Zero Deaths: Virus Update

A Brazilian government crisis management center in São Paulo. (Photographer: Jonne Roriz/Bloomberg)

NYC Woos Young People; Connecticut Has Zero Deaths: Virus Update

New York is seeking to boost young people’s vaccination rates, with some venues set to offer “a shot for a shot” in the city’s campaign to target nightlife spots. The head of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention encouraged parents to get their teens vaccinated.

Connecticut reported its first day without Covid-19 deaths since September, while hospitalizations in New York State declined to less than 1,000 for the first time since October.

Vaccinations reached 2 billion worldwide after slightly more than six months. The White House announced how it plans to allocate an initial 25 million surplus U.S. vaccines among global regions.

Key Developments:

NYC Woos Young People; Connecticut Has Zero Deaths: Virus Update

U.S. Promotes Vaccination at Colleges (4:21 p.m. NY)

The Biden administration is stepping up efforts to enlist colleges to help community members, including faculty and staff, get shots.

The administration will host regular training sessions for college and student leaders to organize their colleges, peers, and communities in what’s being billed as a COVID Community Corps. It will also promote partnerships between retail pharmacies and high-enrollment community colleges to provide on-site clinics.

Colleges themselves, including Purdue University, and state governments are also offering incentives, such as free tuition in New York and Ohio.

Connecticut Records Zero Deaths (4:05 p.m. NY)

Connecticut reported a day without Covid-19 deaths for the first time since September, according to the state health department.

“Yesterday was the first day in months and months and months we had zero fatalities related to COVID, fewer people in the hospital than ever before, the third-lowest infection rate in the country,” the Associated Press quoted Governor Ned Lamont as telling reporters on Thursday.

CDC Head Says Adolescents Need Shots (4:15 p.m. NY)

Evidence of severe cases among adolescents and young adults leading up to the CDC’s recommendation of a vaccine for that age group underscore the urgency getting them vaccinated, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Rochelle Walensky said.

“I strongly encourage parents to get their teens vaccinated, as I did mine,” Walensky said at a White House briefing on Thursday.

Toronto Home Sales Slow Under Lockdown (2:30 p.m. NY)

Toronto’s housing market recorded its second consecutive month of slowing sales in May, as reduced supply and a lingering lockdown to contain the coronavirus helped to cool off the market.

The number of homes that traded hands in Canada’s largest city fell 8.9% in May from the month before, according to data released Thursday from the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board. The seasonally-adjusted average selling price for a home in the Toronto region still rose 1.1% from April, to C$1,061,987 ($882,300).

NYC Woos Young People; Connecticut Has Zero Deaths: Virus Update

NIH Sees Promise in Tempol for Covid (2:15 p.m. NY)

Experimental drug Tempol “may be a promising oral antiviral treatment for Covid-19,” the National Institutes of Health said, citing findings from a study of cell cultures by its researchers.

Tempol can limit Covid-19 infection by impairing the activity of a viral enzyme called RNA replicase, NIH said in a statement.

N.Y. Hospitalizations Fall to Less Than 1,000 (1 p.m. NY)

The number of people hospitalized for Covid-19 in New York State fell to less than 1,000 for the first time since Oct. 21.

While almost 58% of adult New Yorkers have completed their vaccinations, hospitalizations declined to 970 on Wednesday, Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Twitter. That compares with a second-wave peak of 9,273 in January.

NYC Woos Young People; Connecticut Has Zero Deaths: Virus Update

The positive-test rate declined to 0.44%, staying at a record low.

Delta Variant Dominant in U.K. (1:10 p.m. NY)

The Delta variant of coronavirus that was first identified in India is now the dominant variant in the U.K., according to Public Health England.

Early evidence suggests there “may be an increased risk of hospitalization” for Delta, although “more data is needed for us to have more confidence in that finding,” PHE said in an emailed statement.

U.K. cases of the Delta variant more than doubled in the last week to 12,431.

U.K. Drops Portugal From ‘Green List’ (12:51 p.m. NY)

The U.K. removed Portugal from its so-called green list of countries that Britons can visit without having to quarantine after returning home. The setback for summer tourism sent airline shares lower.

“It feels like the summer for U.K. airlines is fast ebbing away,” said Rob Morris, who heads consultancy at aviation tracker Ascend by Cirium.

NYC Woos Young People; Connecticut Has Zero Deaths: Virus Update

Separately, the European Union decided to maintain restrictions on non-essential travel from the U.S. and the U.K., meaning visitors from those countries may still need to abide by quarantine requirements. Fully vaccinated visitors to the EU won’t have to quarantine as of July 1.

Global Shots Reach 2 Billion (11:28 a.m. NY)

Inoculations against Covid-19 reached 2 billion on Thursday. It took just over six months to reach the milestone, an extraordinary accomplishment precipitated by countries’ desperation to save lives and reopen their economies.

Still, it’ll take nine more months to vaccinate 75% of the global population, a threshold that could provide so-called herd immunity.

The virus has stricken almost 172 million people and killed close to 3.7 million since the first cases emerged about 18 months ago.

NYC Offers ‘Shot for a Shot’ (11 a.m. NY)

New York City is expanding its vaccination effort to the city’s party-goers, using a vaccine bus to meet younger New Yorkers outside restaurants, clubs and other nightlife hotspots in popular neighborhoods such as the East Village and Bushwick. The city also is starting mobile vaccination sites at schools on Friday.

Some venues will offer a “shot for a shot,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said. More than 8 million shots have been delivered in the city, but the vaccine rate has dropped to about 26,000 a day from a high of more than 100,000 in April.

NYC Woos Young People; Connecticut Has Zero Deaths: Virus Update

Only 37% of New Yorkers age 18 to 24 are fully vaccinated, compared to 71% of people age 65 to 74. Positive test results reached a record low of 0.81% as of June 1, on a seven-day average.

Fauci Says Virus Origin May Never Be Known (8:18 a.m. NY)

U.S. infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci said it was possible the world would never find out the precise origin of the coronavirus pandemic, after President Joe Biden last month ordered a new 90-day review from the intelligence community about the possible origins of the virus.

NYC Woos Young People; Connecticut Has Zero Deaths: Virus Update

Fauci said during an appearance on MSNBC that while he feels it is still “more likely” that the virus jumped from animals to humans, “we still don’t know what the origin is.”

Fauci said that reports that three researchers from the Wuhan Institute of Virology became sick in November 2019 gave more credence to the possibility that Covid-19 may have emerged from a “lab leak,” but said those reports still needed to be verified, while maintaining that animal to human transition happens “all the time.”

“You need to keep looking for the link and you need to keep looking for evidence that it’s something else like a lab leak,” Fauci said. “Those are open possibilities. We may not ever find out what that is.”

China Can’t Open Up Like the U.S. (8:13 a.m. NY)

China can’t begin to ease restrictions like the U.S. even after inoculating a high level of its population because it has no way of analyzing how well its vaccines have worked in its largely Covid-free population, according to a top health official.

Despite vaccinating more than 40% of its citizens with at least one dose, Feng Zijian, the deputy director general of China’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said China “has some unique difficulties” and is unable to match the U.S.’s ability to examine vaccine effectiveness in real-time as cases and deaths ebb.

Hungary in Talks on Sputnik Production (7:59 a.m. NY)

Hungary has started talks with Russia about the production of the Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine, according to Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto.

Hungary is looking to manufacture the Russian shot at a new factory from the end of 2022, Szijjarto said in a Facebook video from the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum. Szijjarto held talks last week in China about producing the Sinopharm vaccine as well.

Swedish Lawmakers Fault Cabinet For Covid Handling (7:41 a.m. NY)

A parliamentary committee rebuked the Swedish government for mistakes in handling the Covid-19 pandemic in a fresh blow to the minority cabinet whose initial hands-off approach earned domestic and international criticism.

The government acted too slow to ramp up testing and didn’t do enough to protect the elderly and to safeguard access to protective equipment during the crisis, which has claimed the lives of more than 14,000 people in the country of 10 million, the parliament’s constitutional watchdog said on Thursday.

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