June 2 coronavirus news

By Mike Hayes, Melissa Macaya, Melissa Mahtani, Meg Wagner and Veronica Rocha, CNN

Updated 8:03 PM ET, Wed June 2, 2021
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2:58 p.m. ET, June 2, 2021

More than 600,000 people on average became fully vaccinated in the US each day last week, CDC data shows

From CNN’s Deidre McPhillips

The seven-day average of Covid-19 vaccine doses administered has slowed to about 1.1 million doses per day, according to data published Wednesday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

This is less than a third of the peak pace of about 3.3 million doses per day in mid-April. But over the past week, an average of more than 615,000 people became fully vaccinated each day and an average of nearly 523,000 additional people got a first shot each day. 

Overall, more than 136 million people – about 41% of the US population – is fully vaccinated, and nearly 169 million people – about 51% of the population – has received at least one dose of Covid-19 vaccine, according to CDC data. 

About 509,000 more doses were reported administered since Tuesday, for a total of nearly 297 million doses administered since vaccinations began. That’s about 81% of the nearly 367 million total doses delivered. 

Note: Data published by the CDC may be delayed, and doses may not have been administered on the day reported. 

2:23 p.m. ET, June 2, 2021

Biden announced he's launching a month-long push to get Americans vaccinated. Here's what is in the plan.

From CNN's Elise Hammond

Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images
Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden just announced he is launching a month-long push to reach his administration's goal of getting at least 70% of Americans vaccinated by July 4.

"Each of you has the power to help gain this freedom as a nation," he said on Wednesday.

Biden said if people get vaccinated this week, they will be fully vaccinated by the holiday deadline.

Here are some key parts of his "National Month of Action" plan:

Access to vaccinations: Starting next week, vaccination sites will have extended hours during the month of June, including pharmacies keeping their doors open for 24 hours on Friday.

"If you're too busy at work or school, you can get vaccinated around the clock on any Friday," he said.

In addition, some companies will start offering free childcare and rideshares Uber and Lyft are providing free rides to and from vaccination sites.

Biden said right now, it is already easy for Americans to get a shot, saying, "90% of you live within five miles of a vaccination site. The vaccinations are free, and most places allow walk-up vaccinations. No appointment needed."

National vaccination tour: Biden said the administration is launching new education efforts that will be led by Vice President Kamala Harris. She and other White House officials will travel the country to address vaccine hesitancy.

"In the spirit of meeting people where they are, we'll also be working with the Black Coalition Against Covid and other organizations to launch a new initiative called Shots at the Shop," Biden said, adding that part of the outreach campaign will be to work with barber and beauty shop owners in local communities.

Time off: Small and medium-sized employers will be incentivized to give people paid time off to get a shot, Biden said, adding they will get a tax credit to cover that cost. 

Incentives: Biden pointed out several incentives to encourage people to get a vaccine including Kroger giving away $1 million to people who get a shot, Anheuser-Busch supplying free beer to vaccinated Americans who are 21 years of age and older on July 4, and Major League Baseball giving away tickets to games.

2:11 p.m. ET, June 2, 2021

Cheers! Biden says he supports free beer incentive to "celebrate the independence from the virus"

From CNN's Adrienne Vogt

Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images
Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden said he supports shots for shots — free beer for Covid-19 vaccinations, that is.

Anheuser-Busch, the national brewer that produces Budweiser, announced Wednesday it will give away free alcohol if the nation reaches Biden's goal to have 70% of US adults get at least one vaccine dose by July 4.

"That's right, get a shot and have a beer. Free beer for everyone 21 years or over to celebrate the independence from the virus," Biden said.

He also highlighted other incentives, like Ohio's Vax-A-Million lottery, free sports tickets for fans and Kroger's $1 million vaccine giveaway.

Biden said it is incumbent on all Americans to help as many people as possible get vaccinated.

"We're asking the American people to help. We need you. We need you to get your friends, family and neighbors and co-workers vaccinated. Help them find an appointment, drive them to the site, talk to them about why you made the choice for yourself," he said.

2:06 p.m. ET, June 2, 2021

Biden says childcare centers around the country will offer free care while parents get vaccinated

Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images
Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden announced today that childcare centers around the country will offer free, drop-in childcare while parents are getting vaccinated.

"For parents who haven't had the ability to get the shot because they didn't have the childcare, starting today, KinderCare, Learning Care Group, the Bright Horizons, along with hundreds of YMCA locations will offer free drop-in childcare while the parents are getting vaccinated," Biden said.

Some more context: Four of the nation's largest childcare providers will offer free childcare from now until July 4 to Americans who are getting their Covid-19 vaccine or recovering from the shot, the White House announced Wednesday.

KinderCare and Learning Care Group locations across the nation will offer free, drop-in care to support Americans getting vaccinated, and more than 500 YMCAs will offer drop-in care during vaccination appointments. Bright Horizons will also provide free childcare to support more than 10 million workers employed at participating organizations.

1:46 p.m. ET, June 2, 2021

NOW: Biden delivers remarks on US Covid-19 vaccination campaign

From CNN's Kaitlan Collins and Jeremy Diamond

Pool
Pool

President Biden is delivering remarks now on the state of the US vaccination campaign.

He's expected to issue a rallying cry to get people vaccinated against Covid-19 ahead of his Fourth of July deadline. Nearly 51% of the US population has received at least one dose of Covid-19 vaccine, and nearly 41% of the population is fully vaccinated, according to US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data. 

Biden announced in May he wants at least 70% of American adults to have one shot by the Fourth of July.

According to a White House official, Biden will deem June "a national month of action to get more people vaccinated by July 4."

Biden will detail efforts to get people vaccinated, "including by mobilizing national organizations, community-based and faith-based partners, businesses, social media influencers, celebrities, athletes, colleges, young people, and thousands of volunteers," the official added. 

1:32 p.m. ET, June 2, 2021

Biden administration announces water assistance program to help low-income Americans affected by pandemic

From CNN's Betsy Klein

The Biden administration on Wednesday announced the rollout of a new program aimed at helping improve access to water, particularly focused on assisting low-income Americans impacted by the pandemic.

“Today the Biden-Harris administration launched the Low Income Household Water Assistance Program, a first of its kind of water assistance program that will expand access to more affordable water and help low-income households affected by the Covid-19 pandemic pay their water and wastewater bills, avoid shut-offs and support household water system reconnections related to non-payment,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said at Wednesday’s briefing.

Psaki said $1.1 billion in funding will be available through grants, and she noted that $500 million of the program’s funding comes from the American Rescue Plan Covid relief package. She added that $166.6 million of the funding will be immediately available.

The program is being administered by the Department of Health and Human Services through the Administration for Children and Families and the Office of Community Services.

HHS noted in a statement that the pandemic “exacerbated existing disparities in access to water and strained people's ability to pay their home drinking water and wastewater bills,” and that the amount of money that is past due is at a historic high.

1:41 p.m. ET, June 2, 2021

White House won't say if herd immunity against Covid-19 is achievable

From CNN's DJ Judd

Alex Wong/Getty Images
Alex Wong/Getty Images

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki declined to say if the administration considered herd immunity to be a realistic and achievable goal, telling reporters Wednesday that Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, “kind of refuted that as the right definition of how we should look to how we're going to make progress.” 

“That's why we have set out a goal of getting 70% of the American population vaccinated by July 4,” Psaki told reporters at Wednesday’s briefing, acknowledging that while there remains “a lot of work to do."

"It's really going to be up to local communities and states to see what their vaccination rate is and make determinations about what's going to work locally it's, that is how the assessments will need to be made," she said.

Some more context: Previously, Fauci has estimated that herd immunity could be reached if 70-85% of American are immune— however, vaccine resistance among certain communities could allow for the continued spread of Covid-19, experts have said. 

Psaki pointed to the White House’s newly announced National Month of Action to mobilize Americans to get vaccinated, adding that vaccinated Americans can participate in a number of normal activities like baseball games, concerts and kids’ soccer games.  

“There's huge incentives to getting vaccinated, but it doesn't mean that individuals who are not vaccinated are safe from getting the virus, and while yes, we've made a lot of progress, there's still communities where the percentage is higher than it should be,” Psaki said. “There are still larger numbers of young adults who are not vaccinated, those are many of the communities that were focused on in our month-long effort.”
12:47 p.m. ET, June 2, 2021

Central America reports highest Covid deaths to date, health organization says

From CNN’s Hira Humayun

Central America is reporting the highest number of coronavirus deaths to date, Dr. Carissa Etienne, the director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), said on Wednesday, adding, “today one-third of hospitalized patients are in ICUs.”

“Covid-19 infections are accelerating in Panama, Belize and El Salvador where new cases have doubled in the last seven days,” Etienne said.

She said that over the last week there were 1.1 million new cases of Covid-19 and over 25,000 Covid-19 related deaths in the Americas. After weeks of figures plateauing and even decreasing, Etienne said infections are back on the rise in all sub-regions except North America, where the US, Canada and Mexico are reporting overall reductions in cases and deaths, though hotspots are being reported in the Canadian provinces of Manitoba, Newfoundland and Labrador, and the Mexican states of Quintana Roo and Baja California.

Colombia is reporting the highest rate of infections in South America, where new cases “have nearly tripled in certain regions,” the PAHO director said, adding Brazil is also seeing a rise in new infections and hospitalizations. 

Etienne said she was “particularly concerned” about the situation in Haiti, where sources are reporting a “sharp rise” in cases, hospitalizations and deaths in recent weeks. She said public health measures were being largely ignored and two variants of concern have been identified.

The PAHO director said mobility data from across the region shows more movement within and between countries now than at any other point during the pandemic.

“When you combine this mobility with the premature relaxing of public health measures, what you get is the perfect environment for this virus– and its variants – to spread," she said.

12:34 p.m. ET, June 2, 2021

Online summit raises enough money to buy 1.8 billion vaccine doses for lower income countries

From CNN's Niamh Kennedy and Sarah Dean

An online global vaccines summit hosted by Gavi and the government of Japan Wednesday has raised $2.4 billion, enabling the purchase of 1.8 billion vaccine doses for lower income countries participating in the COVAX initiative. 

Gavi alongside the Vaccine Alliance, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and the WHO have coordinated the COVAX scheme which aims to ensure that all countries have equal access to Covid-19 vaccines.

The total was made up of donations from more than 40 donor governments, the private sector, and foundations "exceeding the funding target and bringing the total pledged to the COVAX AMC to US$ 9.6 billion to date," according to a news release from Gavi.

The vaccines which are set to be delivered in 2021 and early 2022, "will enable COVAX to protect almost 30% of the adult population in 91 AMC economies."

The funds raised on Wednesday will "also support COVAX to diversify its vaccine portfolio in times of supply uncertainty and new variant emergence," the release said.  

One notable donor was Japan who committed $800 million at the summit raising their total contribution to $1 billion. 

European countries such as Austria and Spain were also among those to increase their commitment to donate vaccines at the summit. 

Spain is going to send 15 million more vaccines, bringing the total to 22.5 million by the end of 2021, Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said at the summit.

"In addition, we are going to provide an additional 50 million euros to Gavi," he added.

Austria will donate another 2.6 million euros, bringing its total contribution to 5 million euros, Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said at the summit.

José Manuel Barroso, Chair of the Gavi Board, thanked all of the donors for helping to increase "our chances further of bringing the pandemic under control."