Heart Risks Called Extremely Low; NYC Home Shots: Virus Update

An employee receives a dose of the Covid-19 vaccine in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. (Photographer: Maika Elan/Bloomberg)

Heart Risks Called Extremely Low; NYC Home Shots: Virus Update

U.S. public-health leaders sought to reassure Americans that Covid-19 shots are safe after reports that a relatively small number of mostly young men had suffered a heart problem after being immunized.

A new study released Wednesday found that an estimated 20 million individuals in the U.S. were likely infected with Covid-19 by mid-July of last year, about 17 million more than previously thought. New York City will begin offering free at-home vaccinations to anyone who wants one.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government is preparing to allow Britons who have been fully vaccinated against coronavirus to travel to more than 150 countries without the need to quarantine on their return later this summer. Switzerland is reopening its borders for vaccinated overseas tourists, including from the U.S.

Key Developments:

  • Global Tracker: Cases exceed 179.3 million; deaths pass 3.88 million
  • Vaccine Tracker: More than 2.71 billion doses administered
  • U.K. optimism grows that shots end link between cases and deaths
  • Shortages hit global vaccine supply program, halting rollouts
  • Pandemic’s end is as messy as the start: Clara Ferreira Marques
  • Jill Biden pitches shots for reluctant arms in Trump country
Heart Risks Called Extremely Low; NYC Home Shots: Virus Update

Hong Kongers Rush to Book Travel Again (5:05 p.m. NY)

Hong Kong’s plan to shorten quarantine sparked a wave of searches on travel websites by residents desperate to fly abroad, even if it means a week of isolation in a hotel room and Covid tests galore upon return. Hong Kong search traffic on travel-booking website Skyscanner Ltd. soared 43% Monday, when the government said quarantine would be cut to seven days from June 30 for fully vaccinated residents arriving from all but the riskiest virus hotspots.

Top U.S. Health Officials Say Heart Risk Low (4:05 p.m. NY)

U.S. public-health leaders sought to reassure Americans that Covid-19 shots are safe and to get vaccinated after reports that a relatively small number of mostly young men had suffered a heart problem after being immunized.

About 1,200 cases of heart inflammation have been reported in people who received messenger RNA Covid-19 vaccines, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The numbers were reported at a Wednesday meeting of the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.

After the numbers were made public, top U.S. health officials, regulators and doctors said that the risk potentially posed by shots developed by the Pfizer Inc.-BioNTech SE partnership and Moderna Inc. is extremely low, and that it is much more likely that the coronavirus itself would pose a serious threat to people’s health.

South Africa Cases Rise to Third-Wave High (2:55 p.m. NY)

South Africa’s daily Covid-19 infections rose to 17,493, the highest number recorded in the country’s third resurgence of the virus.

The number of infections, announced by the National Institute of Communicable Diseases on Wednesday, is the highest since Jan. 14. Of those tested 24.9% were positive for Covid-19 and 62% of the new infections were in the commercial hub of Gauteng, the NICD said.

CDC Says Heart Issues Top 1,200 Cases (12:50 p.m. NY)

More than 1,200 cases of heart inflammation have been reported in people who received messenger RNA Covid-19 vaccines, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The numbers were reported at a Wednesday meeting of the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, which is weighing heart risks from the vaccines. The meeting is expected to be wide-ranging, with discussion of heart inflammation, booster shots and the use of mRNA vaccines in adolescents.

NYC to Offer Free At-Home Vaccines (10:40 a.m. NY)

New York City will begin offering free at-home vaccinations to anyone who wants one, Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

The city, faced with full vaccination rates of 27% among Black residents and 35% among Hispanics, has tried education and free giveaways as inducements to increase inoculations among those groups, with limited success. White residents have been fully vaccinated at a rate of 43%, according to city Health Department statistics, highlighting the disparity.

“We’re going to keep innovating in incentivizing people,” de Blasio said in a briefing Wednesday. The program will expand on a homebound campaign that has so far delivered 15,000 shots to people where they live. The city will expand the program with home deliveries to anyone who fills out a form on the city website, nyc.gov/homevaccine.

U.S. Cases Likely Higher by Millions: Study (10:12 a.m. NY)

An estimated 20 million individuals in the U.S. were likely infected with Covid-19 by mid-July of last year, about 17 million more than previously thought, according to a new study from National Institutes of Health scientists published in the peer-reviewed journal Science Translational Medicine. The data suggest that during that time period, for every one diagnosed case there were nearly five undiagnosed cases.

While the researchers said the findings speak to the prevalence of asymptomatic coronavirus infections, they also likely reflect a dearth of Covid-19 diagnostic testing infrastructure.

The results were based on blood samples obtained from about 8,000 volunteers, which were tested for coronavirus antibodies. Some of the positivity rates were among people of color, particularly Black individuals; residents of mid-Atlantic and Northeast states; adults ages 18 to 44; people living in cities; and women, the study found.

Seychelles to Assess Shots (8:50 a.m. NY)

Seychelles, which has inoculated a greater proportion of its population than any other country, said it remains unsure how effective the shots it has administered are and will have to determine if boosters are required.

“We don’t know yet the validity of these vaccines. So once that is clear we will look at the additional booster shots that we need to offer,” Foreign Affairs and Tourism Minister Sylvestre Radegonde told the Qatar Economic Forum on Wednesday.

Swiss to Reopen Borders (8:18 a.m. NY)

Switzerland is reopening its borders for vaccinated overseas tourists, including from the U.S. The move is one of several measures announced by the government as infections fall and the vaccination campaign progresses. Discos will be allowed to reopen June 26, while the requirements for wearing masks and working from home will be relaxed.

Rich Nations Caused Vaccine Gap (7:46 a.m. NY)

Strive Masiyiwa, the telecommunications billionaire tasked with helping the African Union secure vaccines, said the shortage of doses on the continent was a consequence of deliberate action by the world’s richest nations.

While the U.S. has fully vaccinated 45% of its people, the U.K. 47% and the European Union 29%, Africa has had 61.4 million doses delivered for 1.1 billion people. Just 1.1% of the population has been fully vaccinated.

“Those with the resources pushed their way to the front of the queue and took control of their production assets,” Masiyiwa told a virtual summit on vaccine equality and equitable distribution.

Heart Risks Called Extremely Low; NYC Home Shots: Virus Update

Delta Variant on Rise in Amsterdam (7:35 a.m. NY)

The delta variant was found in more than 40% of positive coronavirus tests in Amsterdam, Dutch news agency ANP reported, citing an official at the city’s public health institute. The figure relates to about a hundred test samples that were examined by the institute in the week leading up to June 20. In a sample from the previous week, the delta variant accounted for just 7%.

Japan Halts Workplace Requests (6:42 a.m. NY)

Just weeks after applications opened, Japan will suspend new requests for its workplace vaccination program on Friday as demand threatens to outstrip the supply of Moderna shots, said vaccine minister Taro Kono. Kono said vaccines through workplaces and universities are set to eat up more than 33 million doses, while mass vaccination campaigns by local governments would account for an additional 12 million.

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