June 8 coronavirus news

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

Updated 8:40 PM ET, Tue June 8, 2021
13 Posts
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5:04 p.m. ET, June 8, 2021

Here are some tips to assess the risk when going mask-free

From CNN's Sanjay Gupta

Enrique Matamoros shops for lumber at a Home Depot store on May 27, in Doral, Florida.
Enrique Matamoros shops for lumber at a Home Depot store on May 27, in Doral, Florida. Joe Raedle/Getty Images

For more than a year now, many of us have followed the standard drill: wash our hands, stay 6 feet apart, choose outdoor activities over indoors, and – most of all – wear a mask.

But as more people get vaccinated, the rules are stating to loosen. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced in May that fully vaccinated people no longer needed to wear masks outdoors or even indoors, except in a few circumstances.

While the news was certainly a cause for celebration, it also was a cause for confusion.

Here's are some things you should assess when going mask-free.

Rethink you mental shortcuts: When we try to solve problems or make decisions, we rely on "heuristics," a fancy name for the rules of thumb, intuition and mental shortcuts that help with our judgment, according to Eve Wittenberg, a health decision scientist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

But with Covid there is ambiguity – the not knowing what the probability of certain outcomes are. And she said that it makes taking a risk, like whether to dine indoors, board a plane or attend that concert, even harder.

The most crucial tip for decision-making in poker and life is to update your decisions based on the incoming information.

Assess how protected you are: First, for the most part, unvaccinated people are primarily a risk to other unvaccinated people. They aren't much of a risk to the vaccinated and the vaccinated aren't much of a risk to them.

There are two key points to remember. One is that vaccinated people are very unlikely to get really sick, even if they do have the rare breakthrough infection. Second, for people who live with a child under 12 or someone who for health-related reasons can't mount an immune response from a vaccine – even if you do get infected, the science is beginning to show that you're very unlikely to then be contagious enough to spread the virus to somebody else in your family or community.

Experts say for most people, in most situations where we are not close to people for a long period of time, it's really about assessing the situation that you're in and taking steps to mitigate the risk.

Think about if you are risk-tolerant or risk-averse: This is the idea that some people's nature makes them more cautious – or in other words, people differ in what they worry about.

Experts say people should take in information and evaluate how trustworthy they consider it and how relevant it is to their own situation.

2:15 p.m. ET, June 8, 2021

Report shows lowest number of new Covid-19 cases in children in nearly a year

From CNN's Virginia Langmaid

The United States added 16,281 new Covid-19 cases in children between May 27 and June 3, the lowest number of new child cases in a week since the week ending in June 6, 2020, according to data published Monday by the American Academy of Pediatrics. 

These numbers represent a nearly 52% decline from the previous week, which logged 34,463 new cases in children. This is the largest percentage decline of the pandemic, according to AAP data. 

Cumulatively, nearly 4 million children have tested positive for Covid-19 in the United States, according to AAP data. Even with the week-by-week decline, children accounted for nearly 1 in 5 new cases reported overall between May 27 and June 3. 

Total cases in children remain the highest in California, but Vermont has the highest percentage of cases in children. Per AAP reporting, nine states have 18% or more of their Covid-19 cases in children. 

AAP pulls data from individual states, which means reporting can be inconsistent. In this most recent report, Texas only contributed age distribution for 3% of cases, Massachusetts only reported age distribution for cases within the last two weeks, and New York only contributed age distribution for cases reported from New York City. States also define “child cases” differently, ranging from 0-14 in some states to 0-20 in others. 

2:15 p.m. ET, June 8, 2021

New York state's vaccination rate reaches 68.9%

From CNN's Kristina Sgueglia

Families visit a pop-up COVID-19 vaccine site on June 5, 2021 in Jackson Heights, in the Queens borough of New York City. 
Families visit a pop-up COVID-19 vaccine site on June 5, 2021 in Jackson Heights, in the Queens borough of New York City.  Scott Heins/Getty Images

New York state continues to break its own record-low Covid-19 positivity metrics, the governor said Tuesday, noting that the statewide vaccination rate is at 68.9%.

When 70% of adult New Yorkers have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said he plans to lift "virtually all" pandemic-related restrictions.

12:45 p.m. ET, June 8, 2021

US working closely with Canada on travel across the border, secretary of state says

From CNN's Jennifer Hansler

Trucks enter a queue to cross the Ambassador Bridge into Detroit, Michigan, from Windsor, Ontario, on May 26.
Trucks enter a queue to cross the Ambassador Bridge into Detroit, Michigan, from Windsor, Ontario, on May 26. Cole Burston/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Tuesday that the US is "working closely with the Canadians" to ensure that necessary travel across the border is not impeded by Covid-19 restrictions.

"We're very much engaged on this," he said at a Senate Appropriations hearing. "I've had multiple conversations with my Canadian counterpart on this. We understand in particular our, our fellow citizens who live in border states, the difficulties, challenges that has presented."

"I'm particularly concerned with communities especially that have to transit through Canada," he said. "What I can tell you is we're working closely with the Canadians to see if we want to make sure that the ability of our citizens to go to and fro is sustained."

Nonessential travel across land border crossings between the US and Canada has been limited for more than a year.

12:11 p.m. ET, June 8, 2021

"A very, very small fraction" of Covid-19 doses will go unused, White House adviser says

From CNN’s Virginia Langmaid and Deidre McPhillips

A nurse fills a syringe with the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine at a vaccination site in San Antonio, Texas, on March 29.
A nurse fills a syringe with the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine at a vaccination site in San Antonio, Texas, on March 29. Sergio Flores/Getty Images

The potential for Covid-19 vaccine doses to go unused and expire in individual states should not impact plans to distribute vaccines globally, White House Covid-19 adviser Andy Slavitt said in a briefing on Tuesday.

“Our first goal and our first opportunity is that every dose that’s been ordered by a governor in a state gets used,” he said. “There is a very, very small fraction of doses that have been sent out to states that will ultimately not be used."

“These will be fractional amounts and really will not have any significant bearing on our ability to commit to distribute vaccines globally,” he added.

On Tuesday, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine urged residents of his state to get vaccinated, saying in a news release that 200,000 doses of the state’s Johnson & Johnson vaccine stock were set to expire before the end of the month. In the release, the governor’s office said Ohio does not have the ability to share these doses with other states or countries.

“Look, it's not realistic to expect that not a single dose will go to waste,” Slavitt said, responding to a question from CNN’s Kaitlan Collins. “I will tell you that a very, very small fraction of the doses that have been sent to states, that are in the hundreds of millions, will end up not being used. Remember those doses were ordered by states, delivered by states and should end up in people's arms.”

Slavitt said they’re “working aggressively” to get doses administered, and encouraged states to work with the US Food and Drug Administration on storage solutions. 

They “would encourage every governor to who has doses that they worry may be expiring to work with the FDA directly on the proper storage procedures … as they continue to examine processes that will allow the doses to potentially last longer, as they go through those trials,” he said. 

The numbers: Only about 11 million people have received the Johnson & Johnson shot – a small fraction of the 171 million people who have been vaccinated in the United States. But nearly twice as many J&J doses – about 21.4 million – have been delivered to states and other jurisdictions, according to data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. With the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, however, about 83% of the doses delivered have been administered.  

11:39 a.m. ET, June 8, 2021

Fauci: We cannot let B.1.617.2 variant become dominant in the United States

From CNN’s Virginia Langmaid

The White House
The White House

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci pleaded with the public to get vaccinated against Covid-19 on Tuesday, saying the spread and dominance of the B.1.617.2 (Delta) variant first identified in India – that is now dominant in the UK – is a “powerful argument” for people to get two doses.

“Clearly now its transmissibility appears to be greater than the wild type,” Fauci said of the Delta variant during a White House Covid-19 briefing. “It may be associated with an increased disease severity, such as hospitalization risk compared to (the Alpha variant, B.1.1.7), and in lab tests associated with modest decreased neutralization by serum, from previously infected and vaccinated individuals compared to the Alpha.”

The Alpha variant refers to the B.1.1.7 variant that was first identified in the UK.

Fauci said the Delta variant accounts for more than 6% of sequenced virus in the United States, which is similar to a tipping point in the UK.

“This is a situation, the way it was in England where they had a B.1.1.7 dominant, and then the 617 took over. We cannot let that happen in the United States,” Fauci said, adding it’s “such a powerful argument” to get vaccinated. “Particularly, if you had your first dose, make sure you get that second dose. And for those who have been not vaccinated yet, please get vaccinated.”

Fauci said the Delta variant show susceptibility to available two-dose vaccines from Pfizer and AstraZeneca, but that protection from these vaccines requires following a two-dose schedule. 

“There is reduced vaccine effectiveness in the one dose,” he said. “Three weeks after one dose, both vaccines, the (AstraZeneca) and the Pfizer/BioNtech, were only 33% effective against symptomatic disease from Delta.”

10:45 a.m. ET, June 8, 2021

CDC study shows how vaccination coverage reduces Covid-19 cases, severe illness and death

From CNN’s Naomi Thomas

Declines in US Covid-19 cases, emergency department visits, hospital admissions and deaths were largest in age groups that were most vaccinated and show how vaccinations are working to fight the coronavirus, according to a new study published Tuesday in the US Centers For Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

CDC researchers calculated the rates of Covid-19 cases, emergency department visits, hospital admissions and deaths by age group between Nov. 29 and Dec.12, before vaccines were available, and April 18 to May 1, after vaccines had been available for several months.

Covid-19 incidence was 69% lower among all adults during April 18 to May 1 when compared with the prevaccination period. For people age 65 and over, 50 to 64 and 18 to 49, it was 79%, 71% and 66% lower, respectively. 

Emergency department visits for Covid-19 per 100,000 visits during the latter time frame were 59% lower among all adults when compared to the prevaccination period. People 65 and older had the largest change – 77% lower.

For hospital admissions, when compared with the prevaccination period, overall adult Covid-19 hospital admission rates were 63% lower in April 18 to May 1, again with the largest change – 78% – happening among people age 65 and older.

The study notes that although hospital admissions remained highest among people age 70 and over, the proportion of adult Covid-19 hospital admissions among that age group decreased from 45.6% in the first time period to 27.6% during the second. 

People age 65 and older had the highest mortality, but the proportion of Covid-19 deaths that occurred in this group decreased from 84.2% during the prevaccination period to 68%. 

“Comparing the 2-week prevaccination period with 2 weeks in late April, declines were significantly greater among older adults, who had higher vaccination coverage, than younger adults, who had lower coverage,” said the report. 

The study suggests that tailored efforts from states and local jurisdictions to increase vaccine coverage among all groups could help to further reduce Covid-19 cases and severe outcomes. The efforts should include effective communication of the benefits of vaccination and ensuring equitable access, the study said.

10:05 a.m. ET, June 8, 2021

Bipartisan bill would improve US stockpile of medical supplies

From CNN's Lauren Mascarenhas

The U.S. Capitol is pictured on June 1, in Washington, DC.
The U.S. Capitol is pictured on June 1, in Washington, DC. Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

A bipartisan group of lawmakers released a bill in Congress Tuesday that they say will overhaul and improve the nation’s stockpile of critical medical supplies as the country looks to better prepare for pandemics.

The bill, sponsored by Sens. Maggie Hassan, Bill Cassidy and Rep. Elissa Slotkin and called the Strengthening America’s Strategic National Stockpile Act, would increase manufacturing of medical supplies in the US and provide more federal resources for states to maintain their own supplies.

The bill would increase funding for the stockpile from $610 million to $705 million for fiscal years 2022 through 2024.

Maintained by the federal government, the Strategic National Stockpile contains supplies – including vaccines and personal protective equipment – for use during public health emergencies.

The lawmakers say the Strategic National Stockpile was insufficient in the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic, leaving the nation lacking critical supplies such as N95 respirators, other types of masks and gloves.

“This failure must never happen again,” Hassan said in a statement. “Our bill will make long overdue improvements to the Strategic National Stockpile and strengthen domestic manufacturing to help create jobs and reduce our reliance on foreign countries for PPE, ventilators, and other necessary supplies that keep Americans and Granite Staters safe.”

The bill would task the Health and Human Services secretary with ensuring supplies are sufficient and in working order.

The lawmakers note that the US had to rely on foreign suppliers during the Covid-19 pandemic. The bill aims to boost domestic production of supplies, including a $500 million pilot program to diversify sources of personal protective equipment.

“COVID-19 showed the danger of our nation’s dependence on China and other foreign countries for life-saving supplies,” Cassidy said in a statement. “We need to strengthen the Strategic National Stockpile by producing these supplies at home, which creates jobs and bolsters our independence.”

The bill would introduce a $3.5 billion pilot program, which would award grants to support states in expanding and maintaining their own stockpiles. States would be required to match the grants with equal funding, though the HHS secretary could waive this requirement for the first couple of years.

The bill also includes reporting requirements around allocations aimed at making the process more transparent.

 

9:44 a.m. ET, June 8, 2021

Pfizer to trial smaller doses of its Covid-19 vaccine in children 11 years old and younger

From CNN's Nadia Kounang

Syringes with the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine are placed on a tray at a pop-up COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Las Vegas, Nevada, on May 21.
Syringes with the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine are placed on a tray at a pop-up COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Las Vegas, Nevada, on May 21. Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Pfizer announced it will trial smaller doses of its Covid-19 vaccine for children 11 years old. The company said it is moving to a Phase 2/3 trial, and plans to enroll up to 4,500 children across 90 sites in the US, Finland, Poland and Spain.

“Based on the safety, tolerability and immunogenicity from our Phase 1 study, we’ve select a 10 ug to advance in children from 5-11 and 3 ug between 6 months to below the age of five,” a Pfizer spokesperson said in a statement to CNN on Tuesday.

Children will also be on a two-dose regimen. Currently the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine has emergency authorization in the US for people 12 years and older at 30 micrograms per dose, taken two times, 21 days apart.