June 14 coronavirus news

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

Updated 7:59 p.m. ET, June 14, 2021
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6:29 p.m. ET, June 14, 2021

What you need to know about California's reopening

From CNN’s Cheri Mossburg

Restaurant chairs and tables remain covered at an outdoor mall in Los Angeles on Friday, June 11.
Restaurant chairs and tables remain covered at an outdoor mall in Los Angeles on Friday, June 11. Damian Dovarganes/AP

More than 15 months after becoming the first state in the nation to implement a stay-at-home order due to the Covid-19 pandemic, California is set to fully reopen its economy Tuesday after more than 70% of eligible residents received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine and new case rates have remained steadily below 1%.

What restrictions are going away? For all business sectors, Covid-19 restrictions including capacity limitations and social distancing requirements will be lifted. 

What restrictions will remain? Mega-events like concerts, conventions, and sports will still have some restrictions. Vaccine verification will be required for those attending indoor events with 5,000 people or more, and recommended for outdoor events with more than 10,000 attendees.

Will people still need to wear masks? A new health order will go into effect Tuesday, allowing for vaccinated individuals to go without a face covering in most situations, in accordance with US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines. Unvaccinated people will still need to wear a face covering in public indoor settings.

  • Masks will still be mandated in certain places including on public transportation, and indoors in hospitals, and jails.
  • K-12 schools and child care centers will continue to require face coverings.
  • Businesses can still require masks at their discretion.
  • Cal/OSHA is set to adopt new rules for face coverings in the workplace, but because that isn’t expected until the end of June, Gov. Gavin Newsom indicated Monday he will sign an executive order later this week “to clear up any ambiguity.”

What’s the vaccination situation in California? California has administered nearly 40 million vaccines, and about 72% of the state’s population is at least partially vaccinated, Newsom said Monday. Approximately 47% of residents are fully vaccinated.

There will be no vaccine requirement or so-called vaccine passport, but Newsom plans to announce an electronic version of their vaccine cards later this week.

The state has invested a whopping $116.5 million in incentives, offering gift cards and cash prizes. On Tuesday, state officials will hold a drawing where 10 people who have been vaccinated will each win a $1.5 million grand prize.

On Monday, California added six “dream vacations” to the prize pool, which include popular destinations like San Francisco, San Diego, Palm Springs, and Anaheim. Each package will focus on a specific area and include prizes like theme park admission, Giants, Padres, or Lakers tickets, or a luxury hotel stay. Winners will be chosen on July 1.

What happens to California’s reopening tier system? California’s “Blueprint for a Safer Economy,” which assigned each of the state’s 58 counties to a four-tiered, color-coded category with easing restrictions, will be retired.

What about the state of emergency? Newsom is not ending state of emergency, saying the pandemic is not yet behind us.

All changes will be implemented at midnight local time.

5:56 p.m. ET, June 14, 2021

Human immune system keeps generating protection against coronavirus, even a year after infection, study finds

From CNN's Virginia Langmaid

The human immune system continues generating protection against coronavirus for at least a year after Covid-19 infection, researchers reported Monday.

And giving a vaccine, even a year later, to people who have recovered from Covid-19 boosts this immune response even more, they reported in the journal Nature.

While doctors focus mostly on the production of immune system proteins called antibodies after infection or vaccination, the new study shows immune system cells called memory B-cells continue generating protection.

Studies have shown that people who have recovered from coronavirus infections may be vulnerable to new variants of the virus. Studies also show coronavirus vaccines, especially mRNA vaccines made by Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna, generate a strong response that protects people against the new variants.

An extra boost with a vaccine may expand the protection that recovered patients have, they said. “The data suggest that immunity in convalescent individuals will be very long lasting and that convalescent individuals who receive available mRNA vaccines will produce antibodies and memory B cells that should be protective against circulating SARS-CoV-2 variants,” the researchers wrote.

“The antibodies produced by the memory cells evolved increased breadth and potency,” molecular immunologist Michel Nussenzweig of The Rockefeller University, who worked on the study, told CNN.

“So when you vaccinate a convalescent individual that was infected a few months earlier, the B cells that respond produce antibodies are far better than those that would be called up in a naïve vaccinee.”

The team tested blood from volunteers against the B.1.1.7 or Alpha variant first seen in Britain; the B.1.351 or Beta variant first seen in South Africa, the P.1. or Gamma variant first seen in Brazil, and a variant first seen in the US called Iota. Nussenzweig said he believes the immunity generated by current vaccines would also protect against the B.1.617.2 or Delta variant, first identified in India.

“I think the monoclonal antibody results would be applicable to B.1.617 because the mutations in the target site of the antibodies (the receptor binding domain) in that variant are closely related to the others,” he told CNN in an email.

“Convalescent individuals who are vaccinated should enjoy high levels of protection against emerging variants without a need to modify existing vaccines,” wrote the researchers.

Nussenzweig said the research should encourage people who had Covid-19 to get vaccinated if they haven’t already. “Yes they should get vaccinated,” he said, “And if they do they should be bulletproof for SARS-CoV-2.”

4:29 p.m. ET, June 14, 2021

Biden says there's still "too many lives being lost" to Covid-19 as US approaches 600,000 deaths

From CNN's Maegan Vazquez

Francisco Seco/Pool/AFP via Getty Images
Francisco Seco/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden began his news conference at the NATO summit in Brussels on Monday by acknowledging that though much of the US is returning to normal, there are still too many lives being lost to Covid-19.

“We made enormous progress in United States. Much of the country is returning to normal, and our economic growth is leading the world, and the number of cases and deaths are dropping dramatically. But there's still too many lives being lost,” Biden said. “We're still averaging the last seven days the loss of 370 deaths per day … that's significantly lower than at the peak of this crisis, but it's still a real tragedy.” 

“We're approaching a sad milestone — almost 600,000 lost lives because of Covid-19 in America,” Biden continued. “My heart goes out to all those we lost a loved one. I know that black hole that seems to consume you, that fills up your chest when you lose someone's close to you that you adored.”

Biden reiterated his call for Americans to get vaccinated as soon as possible.

“We have plenty vaccinations, plenty of sites. We have more work to do to beat this virus. And now's not the time to let our guard down. So please, please get vaccinated as soon as possible. We’ve had enough pain – enough pain,” Biden said. 

2:54 p.m. ET, June 14, 2021

14 states have reached Biden administration's goal to vaccinate 70% of adults against Covid-19

From CNN's Deidre McPhillips

Fourteen states have reached the Biden administration’s goal to reach 70% of adults with at least one dose of Covid-19 vaccine by July 4, according to data published Monday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

New York is the latest state to reach this threshold, joining California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington. Washington, DC, has now also vaccinated at least 70% of its adult residents.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said earlier this month that most of the remaining coronavirus restrictions in the state would lift once 70% of adult New Yorkers had received at least a first dose of the vaccine.

Overall, more than 174 million people – 52.5% of the total US population – have received at least one dose of Covid-19 vaccine, and nearly 145 million people – 43.7% of the US population – are fully vaccinated, CDC data shows.

About 311 million doses of vaccine have been administered in total, about 83% of the 374 million doses that have been delivered. More than 1.3 million doses have been reported administered since Sunday, for a seven-day average of about 1.1 million doses per day. 

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

3:05 p.m. ET, June 14, 2021

"We’re going to have to learn to live with the virus," UK prime minister says

From CNN’s Nada Bashir

Jonathan Buckmaster/Pool Photo via AP
Jonathan Buckmaster/Pool Photo via AP

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has warned that people are “going to have to learn to live with the virus,” adding that that country will have to “manage as best we can” as cases of the Delta coronavirus variant, first identified in India, continue to rise. 

“Vaccination greatly reduces transmission and two doses provides a very high level of protection against serious illness and death, but there are still millions of younger adults who have not been vaccinated and, sadly, a proportion of the elderly and vulnerable may still succumb even if they have had two jabs,” Johnson said Monday. 

Speaking alongside the Prime Minister at a Downing Street news briefing, the government’s Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance warned that “this is a virus that is going to be with us forever.” 

The prime minister’s remarks follow his announcement that the easing of coronavirus restrictions in England will be delayed by a further four weeks until July 19, following a rise in the number of positive cases and, in particular, the growing spread of the Delta variant.

According to Johnson, the Delta variant “is now spreading faster than the third wave that was predicted” by the government in February, with cases growing by “about 64% a week.”

“What we’re trying to do now with this delay is to reduce the current surge. We think we can do that and we think a two-week delay could make a substantial difference and a four-week delay would make even more of a difference in reducing the overall number of deaths,” he said. 

Addressing members of the media, the Chief Medical Officer for England, Professor Chris Witty, agreed that the delay would help to limit the spread of the virus. 

“Whatever rate of increase we’re seeing now, and would see over the next few weeks, would be significantly increased if we took the next step,” Whitty said. 

“No one thinks that at the end of the four-week delay the risk will be gone. There will still be substantial numbers, there will be substantial numbers in hospitals, and sadly there will be people who will go on to die. The question is a matter of balance,” he added. 

Despite such warnings, the prime minister affirmed that he believes the country will have built up a “wall of immunity around the whole of the population” against coronavirus by July 19, when remaining restrictions across England are set to be lifted. 

“On the basis of the evidence that I can see now, I’m confident that we will be able to go forward with the full step four, the full opening,” Johnson said. 

“Looking at the effectiveness of the vaccines against all variants, I think that we will be able to deliver step four on 19 July,” he added. 

2:16 p.m. ET, June 14, 2021

Harris tours pop-up vaccination site in South Carolina

From CNN's Jasmine Wright

Alex Wong/Getty Images
Alex Wong/Getty Images

Vice President Kamala Harris toured a pop-up vaccination site at a YMCA in Greenville, South Carolina.

It's the second stop on the first day of her “month of action” tour, as the administration looks to hit their goal of 70% American adults vaccinated by July 4. 

“I'm here in Greenville because they're… a good number of people in Greenville, South Carolina, who haven't said they're not going to get it, but haven't yet made the decision to get the vaccine,” she said during brief remarks after her tour, with her black mask on inside a gymnasium. 

“So, I'm here on behalf of President Joe Biden and myself to say thank you for your leadership. And we encourage you to keep on talking with folks. And let's make sure we all say ‘hey, as a country. It is a good thing for us if we love our country, we're proud of our country, let's roll up our sleeves and get the shot,’” Harris added.

She walked around tables, speaking to workers alongside Walgreens CEO Rosalind Brewer and Walgreens Healthcare Supervisor Niki Pappos-Elledge. At one point, she witnessed a woman getting her vaccine shot, talking her through it by asking why she made the decision to come today.

Harris reiterated her stance from earlier, that getting a shot was the neighborly thing to do and it was up to Americans to have those talks “over the fence, literally or figuratively,” to keep the vaccinated rate rising. She weighed in fully to the administration's vision that the way to “slow down and then stop this thing from spreading,” meaning Covid-19, is to get as many Americans vaccinated as possible.

1:35 p.m. ET, June 14, 2021

Harris aims to combat vaccine misinformation on first stop of nationwide tour

From CNN's Jason Hoffman

 Alex Wong/Getty Images
 Alex Wong/Getty Images

Vice President Kamala Harris kicked off a nationwide “month of action” tour in an effort to get currently unvaccinated Americans vaccinated, delivering remarks in Greenville, South Carolina, where she stressed that the vaccines are safe and effective, aiming to combat misinformation people have heard about them.  

“And I know there are folks out there who aren't saying they won't get the vaccine. What they're saying is they're just not sure and a lot of that has to do with the misinformation, or maybe the lack of correct information,” Harris said at the Phillis Wheatley Community Center on Monday, a site that has served as a pop-up vaccination clinic. 

Harris, speaking directly to those Americans questioning the safety or efficacy of the vaccines, noted that while the vaccines began being distributed about one year after the coronavirus outbreak, they have been developed over a decade of research and passed the US Food and Drug Administration’s trials. 

“So the vaccines, let me say it again, are safe. They are safe and they are free and they are effective and it is that simple. If you are vaccinated, you are protected,” the vice president said. 

“And so that's the tradeoff, that's the tradeoff. A few hours of feeling a little under the weather, versus risking your life, risking the life of your loved ones. And I'd say given that balance it’s 100% worth it,” Harris added, noting any side effects are minimal compared to the risks of not getting vaccinated at all. 

The vice president also addressed some other barriers that the administration feels have kept people from getting vaccinated, including access, paid time off from an employer, child care and transportation. She pointed to increased pharmacy hours in June, child care partnerships and a deal with Uber and Lyft to take people to get vaccinated free of charge as steps the administration is taking to combat all of those issues.

“From day one, our administration, together with partners around the country, have been working to address those barriers that stand in the way of folks getting vaccinated. And during our ‘We Can Do This’ month of action, we are making a big push to make sure people know what's available to help them,” she said. 

Harris urged community leaders in the room to continue to encourage others to get vaccinated in order to meet President Biden’s goal of 70% of Americans having at least one dose of the Covid vaccine by July 4, something the US is currently not on pace to do.

1:08 p.m. ET, June 14, 2021

UK study finds coronavirus vaccines "highly effective" against hospitalization from Delta variant

From CNN's Nada Bashir

A new study by Public Health England (PHE) has found that two doses of a coronavirus vaccine is “highly effective against hospitalization” from the Delta (B.1.61.2) variant, originally identified in India. 

According to PHE, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has been found to be 96% effective against hospitalization after two doses, while two doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine have proven to be 92% effective against hospitalization.

“These are comparable with vaccine effectiveness against hospitalization from the Alpha variant,” PHE said in a statement on Monday, adding that further research is being undertaken to establish the level of protection vaccines offer against mortality from the Delta variant.

“As with other variants, this is expected to be high,” PHE said. 

The study carried out by PHE included 14,019 cases of the Delta variant – 166 of whom were hospitalized – between April 12 and June 4, and focused on emergency hospital admissions in England.

PHE’s head of immunization, Dr. Mary Ramsay, described the findings as “hugely important” in confirming that vaccines offer “significant protection” against hospitalization from the Delta variant. 

UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock added that the country’s vaccination program is continuing “at pace” and has already saved thousands of lives. 

“This evidence of the effectiveness of two doses against variants shows just how crucial it is to get your second jab. If you have had your first dose but haven’t booked your second yet – please do so. It will help save lives and boost us on the road to recovery,” Hancock said. 
12:49 p.m. ET, June 14, 2021

Harris kicks off nationwide tour to promote Covid-19 vaccines in South Carolina

From CNN's DJ Judd with Jeremy Diamond

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

Vice President Kamala Harris’ trip to Greenville, South Carolina, today kicks off a nationwide tour aimed at reaching still-unvaccinated Americans, highlighting vaccine accessibility, encourage vaccinations, and “mobilize grassroots vaccine education and outreach efforts.”

At her first stop today, Harris is currently being introduced by NAACP State Conference President Brenda Murphy and NAACP Greenville President Reverend J.M. Fleming. According to the White House, the local NAACP chapter in Greenville has been hosting clinics and activating their community to get vaccinated.

The vice president will deliver remarks to NAACP organizers at the Phillis Wheatley Community Center, which has served as a pop-up clinic, before they begin a canvassing session aimed at educating local residents on vaccination. 

From there, Harris will tour a pop-up vaccination site at the local YMCA, which has been offering free child care to parents getting vaccinated, before a closed press meeting with community leaders on voting rights, another part of the vice president's policy portfolio. 

Some context: Today’s stops mark the first leg of Harris' national tour of the South. The White House says there are plans in the works for the first lady, the second gentleman, and members of the Cabinet to join the administration’s tour to communities across the country. 

The tour is part of the administration’s “National Month of Action,” aimed at getting 70% of US adults at least one Covid-19 shot by July 4 by partnering with “national organizations, local government leaders, community-based and faith-based partners, businesses, employers, social media influencers, celebrities, athletes, colleges, young people, and thousands of volunteers across the nation.”

Later this week, Harris will travel to Atlanta for her second stop on the tour.