The latest on the Covid-19 pandemic

By Fernando Alfonso III, CNN

Updated 3:32 p.m. ET, July 17, 2021
6 Posts
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2:39 p.m. ET, July 17, 2021

Canada surpasses US in percentage of fully vaccinated against Covid-19

From CNN's Chuck Johnston

People receive their Covid-19 vaccinations at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto on June 27, 2021.
People receive their Covid-19 vaccinations at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto on June 27, 2021. Steve Russell/Toronto Star/Getty Images

Canada and the US were neck and neck early Saturday afternoon in the percentage of fully vaccinated people, according to data from the countries’ governments.

So far, 18,286,671 Canadians, or 48.65%, have been fully vaccinated, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, compared with 160,686,378 or 48.4% of Americans, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

On Thursday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that Canada could start allowing fully vaccinated US citizens and permanent residents on non-essential travel into the country by mid-August.

In a call Thursday with Canada's provincial and territorial premiers, Trudeau also said Canada could potentially open to fully vaccinated travelers in all countries by early September if the current vaccination trend continues.

Some context: The US and Canada mutually agreed to shut down the border in March 2020 as the coronavirus pandemic was just beginning.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this post included incorrect information about the number and percentage of Canadians fully vaccinated for Covid-19.

11:03 a.m. ET, July 17, 2021

UK health minister tests positive for Covid-19, self-isolates

From CNN’s Martin Goillandeau

Britain’s Health Secretary Sajid Javid leaves 10 Downing Street in London on June 30, 2021.
Britain’s Health Secretary Sajid Javid leaves 10 Downing Street in London on June 30, 2021. David Cliff/NurPhoto/Shutterstock

Britain’s Health Secretary Sajid Javid, 51, said in a video posted on Twitter Saturday that he has tested positive for Covid-19.

“I was feeling a bit groggy last night, so I took a lateral flow test this morning, which turned out positive,” Javid said, adding he was now self-isolating at home with his family until he got the result of a PCR test.

Javid was reappointed to Boris Johnson’s Cabinet as health secretary last month, following the resignation of Matt Hancock.

 

8:45 a.m. ET, July 17, 2021

TSA screened nearly 2.2 million people on Friday

From CNN’s Pete Muntean

The number of people traveling by air hit a new pandemic-era record on Friday, as summer travel continues to pick up. 

The Transportation Security Administration said it screened 2,199,815 people at airports across the country, the highest throughput since the start of the pandemic. 

More from the TSA:

12:47 p.m. ET, July 17, 2021

First case of Covid-19 detected in Tokyo's Olympic Village

From CNN’s Junko Ogura

The Tokyo Olympics athletes' village in Japan is pictured from a helicopter on June 26, 2021.
The Tokyo Olympics athletes' village in Japan is pictured from a helicopter on June 26, 2021. Carl Court/Getty Images

An unidentified overseas visitor has tested positive for Covid-19 at the Tokyo Olympics athletes' village, organizers said on Saturday, the first such case amid concerns the games could become a super-spreader event.

Speaking at a news conference, Tokyo 2020 CEO Toshiro Muto confirmed a non-resident of Japan who is involved in organizing the games had tested positive, adding that the individual has been taken into quarantine outside of the village. He would not reveal the person's nationality, citing privacy concerns.

There have now been a total of 45 Covid-19 cases linked to the games, with athletes, officials and contractors testing positive for the virus. Athletes are just starting to arrive for the games, which run July 23 through Aug. 8.

 

12:58 p.m. ET, July 17, 2021

Covid-19 cases and deaths in Thailand hit record highs

From CNN’s Kocha Olarn

Siam Nonthaburi Foundation volunteers carry a coffin with a Covid-19 victim in Nonthaburi Province, Thailand, on July 12, 2021.
Siam Nonthaburi Foundation volunteers carry a coffin with a Covid-19 victim in Nonthaburi Province, Thailand, on July 12, 2021. Sakchai Lalit/AP

Thailand has recorded its highest number of new Covid-19 cases and deaths on Saturday since the pandemic began, according to Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health.

The country had 10,082 new Covid-19 cases and 141 Covid-19 related deaths on Saturday.

The country’s total death toll stands 3,240 and a total of 391,989 people have tested positive for the disease.

The Bangkok metropolitan area reported the highest number of infections with 4,841 new cases, as well as 108 deaths.

Thailand declared semi-lockdowns in the Bangkok metropolitan and 6 other province on July 12. But the number of new cases and death has continued to rise.

Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha posted a statement on his official Facebook page on Friday, hinting that more restrictions are being considered for the 10 provinces currently under semi-lockdowns since the number of infections has not improved.

“I have instructed governors nationwide, especially 10 provinces where categorized as the darkest red zone and provinces where number of infections have increased, to prepare for the elevation of more travelling restrictions and disease control measures in each provinces,” he said in his post.

 

8:05 a.m. ET, July 17, 2021

CDC warns Covid-19 vaccines might not protect people who are immunocompromised

From CNN's Elizabeth Cohen

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday warned people who are immunocompromised that the Covid-19 vaccine may not have been effective for them and encouraged them to take precautions as if they were not vaccinated. 

“People who are immunocompromised should be counseled about the potential for reduced immune responses to COVID-19 vaccines and to follow current prevention measures (including wearing a mask, staying 6 feet apart from others staying they don’t live with, and avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated indoor spaces) to protect themselves against COVID-19 until advised otherwise by their healthcare provider,” according to the CDC’s website.

The CDC did not go so far as to tell the millions of immunocompromised people in the US to get an additional shot of a Covid-19 vaccine, noting that “the safety, efficacy and benefit of additional doses for COVID-19 vaccines in immunocompromised persons continues to be evaluated.”

A federal official told CNN that “CDC is looking into ongoing research exploring the possibility that immunocompromised could benefit from an additional dose.”

Some immunocompromised people have, on their own, received additional doses of the vaccine, and a study last month by Johns Hopkins researchers suggested that an extra shot may help increase Covid-19 antibody levels for some organ transplant recipients who did not have a full response to their original vaccinations. 

On Sunday, Dr. Anthony Fauci, President Biden’s chief medical adviser, acknowledged the reality that some people are acting ahead of official recommendations, noting that there are individual physicians “right now that are saying, ‘I want to go the extra mile with someone who might have a lower level of immunity.’” 

On Friday, the CDC said data suggest the response to the vaccines might be reduced for several groups, including organ transplant recipients, people who are receiving chemotherapy for cancer, people who have certain blood cancers, and people receiving dialysis or taking certain medications that suppress the immune system. 

The CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices is scheduled to discuss additional doses for immunocompromised individuals during its meeting on July 22.