June 4 coronavirus news

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

Updated 7:47 PM ET, Fri June 4, 2021
17 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
6:57 p.m. ET, June 4, 2021

Bans on school mask mandates "only promote more children getting sick," says vaccine expert

From CNN’s Lauren Mascarenhas

School children wearing facemasks walk outside Condit Elementary School in Bellaire,Texas, on December 16, 2020.
School children wearing facemasks walk outside Condit Elementary School in Bellaire,Texas, on December 16, 2020. François Picard/AFP/Getty Images/FILE

Bans on school mask mandates in states like Texas are irresponsible and could result in more children getting sick, Dr. Paul Offit, director of the Vaccine Education Center at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, said Friday.

“To have those kinds of rules which only promote the spread of this virus — which only promote more children getting sick – is just nonsensical,” Offit told CNN’s Jake Tapper.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says it’s safe for vaccinated people to stop wearing masks in most cases, but unvaccinated people should continue to use them. Only children ages 12 years and older are currently eligible to receive a Covid-19 vaccine in the US.

“Because you never really know who has been vaccinated or who hasn't been vaccinated when you're in a large group, it's probably just safer to wear a mask indoors,” Offit said.

6:28 p.m. ET, June 4, 2021

Increased Covid-19 hospitalizations are a reminder that even children can suffer from the virus, expert says

From CNN’s Lauren Mascarenhas

Research showing an increase in Covid-19 hospitalization rates among adolescents in the US is a reminder that even children can suffer from the virus, Dr. Paul Offit, director of the Vaccine Education Center at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, said Friday.

The researchers say the data, published Friday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, reinforces the importance of vaccination among eligible children and teens.

“It tells you children can still suffer and be hospitalized by this virus,” Offit told CNN’s Jake Tapper.

“We had this notion, initially, that this was just a disease of older people. It's not true. This virus can also hurt children,” he added. 

The data on Covid-19 vaccines in children ages 12 years and older shows that they are safe and effective, Offit noted. 

“The good news is now we have a vaccine for children down to 12 years of age. Get it.”

6:14 p.m. ET, June 4, 2021

Biden's July 4 Covid-19 vaccination goal is "laudable and achievable," Fauci says

From CNN's Lauren Mascarenhas

The US can achieve President Biden’s goal of vaccinating 70% of the population by July 4, though it will take some work, Dr. Anthony Fauci said Friday.

“The goal is a laudable and achievable goal, although it will be challenging to get 70% of the adult population vaccinated by July 4,” Fauci said at an event hosted by US Department of Health and Human Services.

“Not that that's going to be the end game, because we're going to go beyond that,” added Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a medical adviser to Biden. 

Fauci said the Biden administration’s rollout of Covid-19 vaccines has so far been a “striking success.”

6:11 p.m. ET, June 4, 2021

FDA vaccine advisers will meet next week to discuss Covid-19 vaccines for young children, expert says

From CNN’s Lauren Mascarenhas

Dr. Paul Offit
Dr. Paul Offit CNN

Vaccine advisers to the US Food and Drug Administration will meet next week to discuss the parameters for authorizing Covid-19 vaccines for children 11 and under, Dr. Paul Offit, a member of the advisory committee, said Friday.

“What I think we’re going to do with that meeting is we're going to decide what the parameters are for approval – either through emergency use authorization or for licensure – for much younger age groups,” Offit, the director of the Vaccine Education Center at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, told CNN’s Jake Tapper.

The FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC), which Offit sits on, is set to meet on June 10 to discuss what the FDA should consider in either authorizing or approving the use of coronavirus vaccines in children under 12.

Covid-19 vaccines are currently authorized for adults and children ages 12 years and up in the US. Both Moderna and Pfizer are testing their vaccines in children ages 11 and under. The FDA has said it’s likely to want more discussion and data as it considers the use of the vaccines in younger kids.

“Do we want a two-month follow up? Do we want a six-month follow up? What level of efficacy are we looking for?” Offit added. “It's those sort of parameters we'll be discussing.”

5:35 p.m. ET, June 4, 2021

US average vaccination rate back above 1 million a day, CDC data shows

From CNN's Deidre McPhillips

People enter a mobile Covid-19 vaccine clinic at Brighton Beach in Brooklyn on Monday, May 31.
People enter a mobile Covid-19 vaccine clinic at Brighton Beach in Brooklyn on Monday, May 31. Nina Westervelt/Bloomberg/Getty Images

The average US Covid-19 vaccination rate is back up above 1 million shots a day, according to data published Friday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

About 1.4 million new doses of Covid-19 vaccine have been administered since Thursday, boosting the seven-day average of doses administered back to just over 1 million doses per day. It had fallen to under a million a day on average earlier in the week.

All six states in New England have now fully vaccinated at least half of their total population, with New Hampshire the latest to join Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Vermont, according to CDC data.

More data: In the United States overall, nearly 170 million people – about 51% of the US population – have received at least one dose of vaccine, and about 137.5 million people – 41.4% of the population – are fully vaccinated.

And with one month left until July 4 and the Biden administration’s push to vaccinate 70% of adults with at least one dose by that date, 63.2% of adults 18 and older have now received at least one dose.

In total, about 299 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine have been reported administered, about 81% of the 369 million that have been delivered, according to the CDC.

To note: Data published by the CDC may be delayed, and doses may not have been administered on the date reported.

4:57 p.m. ET, June 4, 2021

Fauci says the pandemic "ain't over 'til it's over – and it is not over yet"

From CNN's Lauren Mascarenhas

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, listens during a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on May 26.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, listens during a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on May 26. Sarah Silbiger/AFP/Getty Images

The best way to avoid another Covid-19 surge – and another shutdown – is to get vaccinated, Dr. Anthony Fauci said Friday.

“It ain’t over 'til it’s over – and it is not over yet,” Fauci said at an event hosted by the US Department of Health and Human Services.

The country's top infectious disease expert warned against falling into the “trap” of believing the pandemic is over and no longer needs to be addressed.

“Because if we do, we could get another surge – particularly with variants floating around – that could set us back to the time when we had to shut down things,” said Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

“The best way to avoid that is to get vaccinated,” he added.

4:34 p.m. ET, June 4, 2021

White House stresses temporary nature of enhanced unemployment benefits

From CNN's Jason Hoffman

National Economic Council Director Brian Deese speaks as White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki looks on during a daily press briefing at the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House on June 4 in Washington, DC. 
National Economic Council Director Brian Deese speaks as White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki looks on during a daily press briefing at the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House on June 4 in Washington, DC.  Alex Wong/Getty Images

The White House stressed Friday that the enhanced unemployment benefits are only temporary.

When asked about the disappointing job numbers in April, and if he felt enhanced unemployment benefits were keeping people home as opposed to rejoining the workforce, President Biden flatly said “no.”

However earlier Friday, Biden stressed that the enhanced benefits are only temporary, something echoed by National Economic Council director Brian Deese and White House press secretary Jen Psaki.

“[The] temporary boost in unemployment benefits that ended, that we enacted, I should say, helped people who lost their jobs through no fault of their own, and who still may be in the process of getting vaccinated. But it’s going to expire in 90 days. That makes sense it expires in 90 days,” Biden said from Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, Friday after the May jobs numbers were released.

Psaki also stressed the temporary nature of the unemployment benefits during Friday’s White House press briefing while not directly answering whether the President believed the enhanced benefits were keeping people from returning to the workforce.

“It is important for people to understand, factually, that the President, no one from the administration, has ever proposed making these permanent or doing it over the long term and sometimes I think that that was just an effort an effort to make that clear in the public,” Psaki said. 

She added that the governors who are choosing to end the enhanced benefits in their states, something she called a “political decision,” are doing so for June, so they have no data to look at the impact that might have on the job market.

“I don't think we can evaluate the data that hasn't been applied in states across the country yet. And what we're really talking about from state to state is governors making a decision to pull back on accepting unemployment benefits for six weeks or eight weeks. That's it, it hasn't even started yet,” she added. “So I would leave it to all of you and your outside analysts to decide whether that is a big factor in terms of economy and data or whether that is a political discussion we're having.”

Some context: More than 20 Republican-led states have decided to end the enhanced unemployment benefits early as those governors claim the enhanced benefits are keeping Americans from returning to the labor market. At least four states will offer return-to-work bonuses instead.

Psaki said the administration still thinks the benefits will help those still out of work and Americans should still receive them – up until September.

 

2:55 p.m. ET, June 4, 2021

Kentucky announces "Shot at a Million" vaccine incentive 

From CNN's Melissa Alonso 

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear speaks during a press conference on June 4.
Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear speaks during a press conference on June 4. Gov. Andy Beshear

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear on Friday announced the state's new Covid-19 vaccine incentive which will give vaccinated adults "a shot at a million dollars."

"In the coming weeks, three vaccinated Kentuckians, 18 years or older, will become millionaires," he said at a briefing.  

Every adult resident who has "received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine or one dose of Pfizer or Moderna, can enter for a chance to win a million dollars," the governor said.  

Additionally, "15 Kentuckians, ages 12 to 17, will win full ride scholarships to a public Kentucky college, university, or technical or trade school which includes tuition, room and board," Beshear said.

"We watch what every other state is doing, and we tried to take the very best of each one," he said.  

Drawings will be held on July 1, July 29, and Aug. 26, and the winners will be announced the day after each drawing, the governor said.  

Residents who have been vaccinated can register at shotatamillion.ky.gov for a chance to win, he said.  

More than 2 million Kentuckians have already been vaccinated but Beshear said he anticipates "a significant increase" following Friday's announcement.

2:11 p.m. ET, June 4, 2021

Why it could take another 2 weeks to determine where the US stands on its Covid-19 progress

From CNN's Madeline Holcombe

Memorial Day was "the first big stress test" for the US as Americans returned to a sense of normalcy from the Covid-19 pandemic, CNN medical analyst Dr. Leana Wen said.

She said it could take another two weeks to determine where the US really stands on its Covid-19 progress.

"In some ways, this was the first big stress test," Wen said. "We have restrictions lifted en masse, people going about their normal lives. We know that in the past, after major holidays and an increase in travel, that we then had a substantial uptick in the rate of infections."

The US has had a lot to celebrate when it comes to recovery from the pandemic: More than half of the US has received at least one dose of Covid-19 vaccine, and 12 states have reached President Biden's goal of having 70% of Americans getting at least one dose by July 4.

For the first time since March 2020, the US recorded a seven-day average of fewer than 20,000 new daily cases Tuesday. Less than 5% of the population lives in a county considered to have high Covid-19 transmission, according to data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

But Wen cautioned the US will have to wait to see if the protection of a country still not fully vaccinated can overpower the risk of forgoing masks and engaging in public settings.

Even if cases plateau or taper off from their current falling rate, Wen said she worries some communities will remain vulnerable.

"You have parts of the country with very low vaccination rates," she said. "I really worry about the unvaccinated people in those areas spreading coronavirus to one another."

Read more here.