June 21 coronavirus news

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

Updated 7:58 PM ET, Mon June 21, 2021
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7:46 p.m. ET, June 21, 2021

CDC reports just over 45% of total US population fully vaccinated against Covid-19

From CNN's Lauren Mascarenhas

More than 45% of the US population is fully vaccinated against Covid-19, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Here’s some more current data on vaccination efforts in the United States: 

  • 45.2% of US population is fully vaccinated (150,046,006 million people)
  • 16 states have fully vaccinated more than half of their residents: Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Washington, as well as Washington, DC.
  • 16 states have reached President Biden’s goal to vaccinate 70% of adults with at least one dose: Virginia, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington, as well as Washington, DC. 
  • The current seven-day average daily pace of vaccinations: 732,381 new people fully vaccinated per day, 1.1 million doses per day. 


7:04 p.m. ET, June 21, 2021

There's no real "Hail Mary pass" to reach Biden's July 4 Covid-19 vaccine goal, health official says

From CNN's Jen Christensen

Public health officials are trying to help reach the deadline President Biden set to get at least one Covid-19 shot into the arms of 70% of US adults by July 4, but there’s no real “Hail Mary pass” to do that, Dr. Marcus Plescia, the chief medical officer at the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, said Monday.

“I just don’t know if there’s something out there that we’re not doing that for sure will get us over the score line,” Plescia told CNN. “That’s the problem — we’re doing all the things that we know can be effective, but it’s just allowing us to maintain this steady state, when what we really need to do is bump the demand back up.”

Some states such as Colorado, for example, are doing a push before July 4 to call people who have not yet been vaccinated directly to provide them with information and help schedule appointments. Plescia said past vaccine campaigns have shown that reminders like that can help. Incentives have worked in the past, even “fairly modest” incentives like free tickets to the zoo or food coupons, he said. Getting more vaccines into providers’ offices can also be helpful because people tend to trust their doctor’s advice.

“The problem is I think you can get people who are vaccine hesitant to get vaccinated by working with providers, but it’s kind of a slow process,” Plescia said. Mass vaccinations are the most efficient tool to protect people from Covid-19, and that process worked “really well” for a while, he said, “but it’s not working anymore.”

“We do anticipate that this is going to be an important function of public health for quite some time,” Plescia said.

7:06 p.m. ET, June 21, 2021

Coronavirus pandemic pushes Medicaid enrollment to record high

From CNN's Tami Luhby

A record 80.5 million Americans have health coverage through Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program, largely because states have had to keep people enrolled during the coronavirus pandemic, according to new federal data released Monday.

Between February 2020 and this past January, enrollment in Medicaid jumped by 9.7 million people to nearly 74 million Americans — also a record, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said. That's an increase of 15.2%.

Nearly 124,000 children joined CHIP during that period, an increase of 1.9%, pushing enrollment to nearly 6.8 million kids. More than 38.3 million children are covered by Medicaid and CHIP combined.

"This report reminds us what a critical program and rock Medicaid continues to be in giving tens of millions of children and adults access to care," said Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra.

All states saw jumps in their Medicaid enrollment, ranging from 7% in Alaska to 25% in Utah, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Read more here.

7:26 p.m. ET, June 21, 2021

Biden: Covid-19 pandemic has caused "devastation" for the nation's most vulnerable

From CNN's Betsy Klein

Poor People’s Campaign
Poor People’s Campaign

President Biden addressed the Poor People’s Campaign, praising their “urgent work” in brief, pre-recorded remarks to the group’s assembly.  

“I don’t think we’ve ever been together at time of such opportunity to deliver dignity for our nation’s poor and low-wage workers, and make ending poverty not just an aspiration, but a theory of change,” Biden said in a video. 

The President acknowledged that the pandemic caused “devastation” for the nation’s most vulnerable, and touted provisions in the American Rescue Plan, which, he said, “cut hunger by a quarter” and are “on track to cutting child poverty in half.” 

He also made a push for his sweeping physical and social infrastructure agenda and renewed calls for a $15 minimum wage, currently stalled in Congress.  

“We have to build back better than before with millions of jobs that deliver dignity, a $15 minimum wage, affordable housing, universal pre-K, tuition-free community college. We need to build worker power through organization and collective bargaining, and heed the cry for racial justice some 400 years in the making,” he said.

5:28 p.m. ET, June 21, 2021

Delta Air Lines to hire 1,000 pilots by next summer

From CNN's Pete Muntean

Elijah Nouvelage/Bloomberg/Getty Images
Elijah Nouvelage/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Delta Air Lines says it will hire more than 1,000 pilots next summer, citing a “remarkable” rebound in air travel demand.

In a company memo, Delta’s head of flight operations John Laughter called the news “another positive indicator” that air travel is bouncing back, forecasting that domestic leisure travel will return to pre-pandemic levels sometime this month.  

“We have to foster a strong pipeline of pilot candidates in order to support our future demand and manage pilot attrition,” Laughter said.

The news comes as air travel continues to grow.

The Transportation Security Administration screened 2.1 million people at airports across the country on Sunday, the most since March 7, 2020. 

The new pandemic record marks the fifth day this month that air travel figures have exceeded 2 million passengers, roughly 75% of a normal day for the airline industry pre-pandemic. 

But carriers are struggling to keep up with the crush of passengers. Flight-tracking site FlightAware says American Airlines canceled 6% of all flights on Sunday. The airline cites labor issues with both its own crews and contractors and says it is rebooking passengers on new flights in advance through mid-July.

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: