June 21 coronavirus news

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

Updated 7:58 PM ET, Mon June 21, 2021
23 Posts
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4:02 p.m. ET, June 21, 2021

CDC advisers will discuss Wednesday whether heart ailment is linked to Covid-19 vaccines

From CNN's Ali Zaslav 

A health-care worker administers a Covid-19 vaccine to a teenager in Miami.
A health-care worker administers a Covid-19 vaccine to a teenager in Miami. Eva Marie Uzcategui/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Vaccine advisers to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are scheduled to meet Wednesday to discuss reports linking heart inflammation to the coronavirus vaccine in youths and young adults.

The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) was scheduled to meet last week but the meeting was postponed because of the Juneteenth federal holiday.

ACIP is scheduled to hear about reports of 300 or more cases of myocarditis and pericarditis in youths and young adults who have recently received the mRNA types of vaccines made by Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna, according to CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky.

Doctors who have treated such cases say they’re easily treated and most affected people have recovered. ACIP members will discuss the link and whether the benefits of vaccination outweigh any risks.

3:07 p.m. ET, June 21, 2021

Maryland reports more than 500,000 new fraudulent unemployment insurance claims since May

From CNN’s Rebekah Riess

The Maryland Department of Labor announced today that they have detected over 508,000 fraudulent new unemployment insurance claims since the beginning of May, according to a release from the Department of Labor. 

Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, over 1.3 million claims flagged and investigated in Maryland have been confirmed as fraudulent, as the Department of Labor continues to investigate potentially fraudulent in-state and out-of-state claims, the release said.

“With fraudulent activity rampant in unemployment insurance programs across the country, Maryland has consistently adapted and added new security measures to prevent, detect, and report fraud,” Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said.

On June 1, Hogan announced that the state would end enhanced pandemic federal unemployment benefits, starting early July.

“As the economy recovers and states across the country continue to opt out of the federal benefits programs, bad actors are becoming more brazen and aggressive in their attempts to exploit unemployment insurance programs than ever before,” Maryland Labor Secretary Tiffany Robinson added. “I strongly encourage all Marylanders to remain especially vigilant in the coming weeks to protect themselves against scams and identity theft.”


3:05 p.m. ET, June 21, 2021

Hospital CEO blames unvaccinated people and Delta variant for six-fold increase in Covid-19 cases

From CNN's Virginia Langmaid

CoxHealth CEO Steve Edwards talks to CNN on Monday.
CoxHealth CEO Steve Edwards talks to CNN on Monday.

A hospital CEO says low vaccination rates combined with the more transmissible Delta coronavirus variant, have led to a six-fold increase in hospitalizations in his system.

“We’ve seen now, in four and a half weeks, almost a six-fold increase in Covid patients,” CEO of Cox Health in Springfield, Missouri, Steve Edwards, told CNN.
“It appears to be related to the Delta variant,” he said. “Maybe three or four weeks ago it was 10% of those isolates that were sequenced and as of last week it appeared to be 90%.”

“I think it is the Delta variant and there is a lot of kindling with low vaccination rates so it’s spreading very rapidly," he added

The hospitals' recent patients are younger and presenting with more severe diseases than previous Covid-19 patients, he said.

“Almost all of our cases are unvaccinated people that, in my opinion, have put themselves in harm’s way during this pandemic,” he said.
2:47 p.m. ET, June 21, 2021

There's a "short window of time to get our most vulnerable protected," says WHO official on Covid-19 vaccines

A World Health Organization (WHO) executive warned Monday that the time to help the most vulnerable get vaccinated is quickly closing.

We have a very very short window of time to get our most vulnerable protected and we haven’t done it. We have not used vaccines that are available globally to provide global protection to most venerable," Executive Director of the WHO Health Emergencies Programme, Dr. Michael Ryan said.

Watch the moment:

2:16 p.m. ET, June 21, 2021

White House won't say if missing July 4 vaccination goal will delay return to normalcy

From CNN's Jason Hoffman

White House press secretary Jen Psaki speaks during Monday's daily briefing.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki speaks during Monday's daily briefing. Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

White House press secretary Jen Psaki did not directly respond to what it would mean if the US doesn’t hit President Biden's goal of having 70% of Americans with at least one dose of a vaccine by July 4, instead touting progress made so far and calling on more young Americans to get vaccinated.

Asked if there is concern that missing the President’s goal will delay a return to normalcy in the country, Psaki instead focused on the significant progress made so far, with the number of cases and deaths down dramatically.

“We've made tremendous progress in our vaccination efforts to date, and the ultimate goal has been to get America back to normal as you said, and we're looking forward to doing that even here at the White House,” Psaki said discussing the President’s July 4th celebration, a date he said American would celebrate its independence from the virus.

“What we've seen over the course of the past couple months in terms of progress is a massive reduction in the number of Covid cases by about 90%, a 95% reduction in the number of deaths that are down, that's significant progress. We set this bold ambitious goal because we wanted to continue to make progress and we're doing exactly that, we've seen 16 states meet it,” she added.

Biden has set a goal of having 70% of US adults get at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine and having 160 million US adults fully vaccinated by July Fourth, but it is unclear whether the nation will hit that mark. Psaki said that regardless of whether the administration meets that goal, they will continue to vaccinate Americans after the fourth.

“Even if we do sail past the 70% goal, we're still going to be vaccinating people on July 5th, On July 7th, on July 10th. That is still going to be continued to be part of our objective.”

Psaki said there is a big gap in the vaccination rate for those older than 25 and those 18-25 years old, and said the administration will continue to focus on ways to get younger Americans vaccinated. 

“As we dig into the data, we know that what we're seeing is a lower rate among young people. That's concerning especially with the Delta variant being on the rise as it is, which does not discriminate by age, which still could cause death, serious illness,” she said.

1:36 p.m. ET, June 21, 2021

Turkey lifts all Covid-19 curfews as vaccination effort continues 

From CNN's Gul Tuysuz

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks at a news conference in Ankara, Turkey, on Monday.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks at a news conference in Ankara, Turkey, on Monday. Murat Kula/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced further easing of Covid-19 restrictions in a speech after a cabinet meeting on Monday.  

Sunday lockdowns and weekday curfews will be lifted starting July 1, Erdogan said. Government working hours will go back to normal and age restrictions on public transportation and intercity travel will be lifted, Erdogan said. 

Turkey recorded at least 5,294 new cases and 51 deaths in the last 24 hours, according to the online health ministry Covid-19 tracker. The country went into lockdown in late April and tightened restrictions after daily cases hit 60,000. 

Turkey’s vaccination effort has picked up since the beginning of June. More than 42 million people have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine, according to health ministry.

From June 14 to June 20 more than 7 million doses of vaccine were administered, Turkish health minister Fahrettin Koca said in a tweet on Monday.

12:29 p.m. ET, June 21, 2021

Newly vaccinated New Yorkers could win cash or a vacation package as Covid-19 cases plummet

From CNN’s Artemis Moshtaghian

A family enters a pop-up COVID-19 vaccine site and block party on June 5,  in the Jackson Heights neighborhood in the Queens borough in New York City.
A family enters a pop-up COVID-19 vaccine site and block party on June 5, in the Jackson Heights neighborhood in the Queens borough in New York City. Scott Heins/Getty Images

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio kicked off Monday's news conference by announcing that over 9 million vaccine doses have been administered in New York City and the city has the lowest Covid-19 positivity rate since the beginning of the pandemic at 0.53%.

See the mayor's post:

De Blasio reminded New Yorkers that their work isn't done. The city is moving in the right direction but more and more people need to get vaccinated. As an incentive, vaccinated New Yorkers can now win cash prices or even a vacation package.

Ten winners this week will be awarded $2,500 prizes and fifteen winners will receive "Staycation Packages."

The city's "Weekly NYC Vaccine Contest" runs through mid-July and is offered free of charge to first time vaccine recipients. 

See the mayor's tweet:

12:14 p.m. ET, June 21, 2021

Foo Fighters play first Madison Square Garden show since Covid-19 pandemic began

From CNN's Marianne Garvey

Dave Grohl performs onstage as The Foo Fighters reopen Madison Square Garden on June 20 in New York City.
Dave Grohl performs onstage as The Foo Fighters reopen Madison Square Garden on June 20 in New York City. Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for FF

The Foo Fighters rocked Madison Square Garden on Sunday night, with unexpected guest Dave Chappelle.

It was The Garden's first concert since the coronavirus pandemic shuttered venues in New York City in March 2020.

The band and frontman Dave Grohl kicked off the show with "Times Like These," with cheers from the crowd. They launched into "The Pretender" and Grohl stopped multiple times to ask the crowd, "Did you miss it?"

At one point, Chappelle joined the band on stage to sing Radiohead's "Creep."

The show was only for vaccinated fans and was the first 100% capacity concert in a New York arena since the start of the pandemic.

"We've been waiting for this day for over a year," Grohl said in a statement.

The Foo Fighters have additional summer concert dates planned for their "25th-26th Anniversary Tour" later this summer.

Chappelle also announced two dates with Joe Rogan on Sept. 3 in Nashville, TN. and Sept. 4 in New Orleans, LA.

12:07 p.m. ET, June 21, 2021

Biden administration announces plan to share 55 million Covid-19 doses abroad

From CNN's Betsy Klein

The Biden administration on Monday is releasing its plan for allocating an additional 55 million Covid vaccines globally by the end of this month. Roughly 75% of the doses will be shared through the COVAX global vaccine program, with the remaining 25% shared with countries with regional priorities and other considerations.

As CNN reported, the administration will be distributing 55 million doses of Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, and Pfizer’s vaccines abroad, most of which will be J&J and Moderna. As of Monday, the 55 million AstraZeneca doses are still not cleared by the US Food and Drug Administration for safety and efficacy review yet. 

Approximately 41 million of the 55 million doses will be shared through COVAX, with 14 million for Latin American and Caribbean countries, 16 million for Asia, 10 million for Africa.

The remaining approximately 14 million doses “will be shared with regional priorities and other recipients, such as: Colombia, Argentina, Haiti, other CARICOM countries, Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, Panama, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, Cabo Verde, Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, Yemen, Tunisia, Oman, West Bank and Gaza, Ukraine, Kosovo, Georgia, Moldova, and Bosnia.” 

The White House said in a statement that the vaccines will be distributed “as expeditiously as possible,” noting that the process “will take time” due to regulatory and legal transport requirements.

The doses, the White House said, should be prioritized for “those most at risk, such as health care workers, should be prioritized, based on national vaccine plans.” The White House will be announcing which vaccines will go to which country once they are shipped out.