June 17 coronavirus news

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

Updated 7:58 PM ET, Thu June 17, 2021
5 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
10:04 a.m. ET, June 17, 2021

Delta variant is like "Covid on steroids," says former White House coronavirus adviser

From CNN’s Lauren Mascarenhas

The B.1.617.2, or Delta, variant first identified in India is like “Covid on steroids,” Andy Slavitt, former White House senior adviser for Covid-19 response, said Wednesday.

“This is a more virulent strain,” Slavitt told CNN. “This is like Covid on steroids. You can be around people for less time and still get exposed.”

The CDC has labeled the Delta variant a “variant of concern,” noting it now accounts for about 10% of cases in the US.

Slavitt said the variant provides people with one more reason to get vaccinated against Covid-19.

“If you have been vaccinated, you have very little to worry about,” he said.

Watch:

9:44 a.m. ET, June 17, 2021

Fauci on the Delta variant: "I'm not concerned about the people who are vaccinated"

From CNN's Naomi Thomas

Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks with members of media at Abyssinian Baptist Church in New York City, on June 6.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks with members of media at Abyssinian Baptist Church in New York City, on June 6. Jeenah Moon/Getty Images

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on NPR’s Morning Edition Thursday that when it comes to the Delta variant, he’s not concerned about people who are vaccinated, and the variant is another good reason for people to get vaccinated.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention elevated the Delta variant to a variant of concern this week. Fauci said that “the combination of more transmissibility and greater severity of disease, appropriately, prompted the CDC to elevate it to a variant of concern.” 

When asked how concerned he was about the variant, Fauci said “I’m not concerned about the people who are vaccinated. Because the good news about all this, among the seriousness of the situation with regards to the variant, is that the vaccines work really quite well.” 

People who are vaccinated are protected, he said, “which is another very good reason to encourage people strongly to get vaccinated because if you are not vaccinated, you are at risk of getting infected with a virus that now spreads more rapidly and gives more serious disease.” 

He said that the United Kingdom is having a “very difficult time with this,” adding that more than 90% of their isolates are the Delta variant. 

“Ten percent of our isolates are Delta, we want to make sure we don’t get into the same situation that people in the UK did,” he said. 

9:30 a.m. ET, June 17, 2021

13 states have fully vaccinated more than half of their residents against coronavirus

From CNN's Deidre McPhillips

A healthcare worker administers a second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine at the University of New Mexico's Gallup campus in Gallup, New Mexico, on March 23.
A healthcare worker administers a second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine at the University of New Mexico's Gallup campus in Gallup, New Mexico, on March 23. Cate Dingley/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Thirteen states have fully vaccinated more than half of their residents against Covid-19, according to data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Here's a breakdown of the numbers:

  • 44.1% of the US population is fully vaccinated (about 146.5 million people)
  • 13 states have fully vaccinated more than half of their residents: Hawaii is the latest to cross this threshold, joining Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington. 
  • 14 states have reached Biden’s goal to vaccinate 70% of adults with at least one dose: California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington, along with Washington, DC.
  • Current pace of vaccinations: 761,000 new people fully vaccinated per day, 1.2 million doses per day
8:42 a.m. ET, June 17, 2021

The White House is planning a July 4th celebration for essential workers and military families

From CNN's Kate Sullivan

Fireworks explode over the White House as part of the Fourth of July celebration July 4, 2020 in Washington, DC.
Fireworks explode over the White House as part of the Fourth of July celebration July 4, 2020 in Washington, DC. Win McNamee/Getty Images

The White House will host a celebration for thousands of essential workers and military families on July Fourth on the South Lawn to mark America's "independence from the virus," according to a White House official. 

The celebration, which will be the largest in-person White House event since President Biden took office, comes as states across the nation lift restrictions put in place to stop the spread of Covid-19. 

The White House is encouraging state and local partners to host their own events across the nation to celebrate the progress the country has made in its fight against the coronavirus pandemic. More than 50% of Americans 12 and older are fully vaccinated, children are returning to in-person learning and businesses have been returning to full capacity across the nation. 

The National Mall will be open for the traditional July Fourth fireworks, with crowds expected to gather.

But the event will follow a grim milestone in the country's fight against the pandemic: The US surpassed 600,000 Covid-19 deaths on Tuesday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. In February, the President held a candle-lighting ceremony and a moment of silence after the US surpassed 500,000 deaths.

8:10 a.m. ET, June 17, 2021

Here's what we know about the coronavirus Delta variant

From CNN's Jen Christensen

People walk on Fishermans Wharf in San Francisco, California, on June 15, 2021.
People walk on Fishermans Wharf in San Francisco, California, on June 15, 2021. David Paul Morris/Bloomberg/Getty Images

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is now calling the Delta variant of the novel coronavirus, also known as B.1.617.2, a "variant of concern." 

The variant of concern designation is given to strains of the virus that scientists believe are more transmissible or can cause more severe disease. Vaccines, treatments and tests that detect the virus may also be less effective against a variant of concern. Previously, the CDC had considered the Delta variant to be a variant of interest.

What we know: The CDC said the Delta variant, which was first identified in India, shows increased transmissibility, potential reduction in neutralization by some monoclonal antibody treatments under emergency authorization and potential reduction in neutralization from sera after vaccination in lab tests.

The World Health Organization classified the Delta variant as a variant of concern on May 10.

Covid-19 cases have been declining over the past few months in the United States, but there's concern that could change as the pace of vaccinations slows and the Delta variant spreads.

Read more about the Delta variant here.