The latest updates on the coronavirus pandemic for Tuesday, June 14, 2022.
INDIANAPOLIS — Here are Tuesday’s latest updates on the coronavirus pandemic, including the latest news on COVID-19 vaccinations and testing in Indiana.
Registrations for the vaccine are now open for Hoosiers 5 and older through the Indiana State Department of Health. This story will be updated over the course of the day with more news on the COVID-19 pandemic.
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CDC map shows Floyd County at ‘high risk,’ 14 Indiana counties at ‘medium’ risk
On Tuesday, June 14, 2022, Floyd County was listed on the CDC data map as having “high” community risk of spreading COVID-19, while 14 other counties (Boone, Brown, Clark, Crawford, Grant, Greene, Harrison, Knox, LaPorte, Miami, Monroe, Owen, Wabash, Washington) were listed as “medium” risks.
Surrounding Indiana, the Louisville (medium) and Chicago (high) metro areas are also deemed at risk by the CDC.
Latest US, world numbers
There have been more than 85.62 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States as of 6:30 a.m. ET Tuesday, according to Johns Hopkins University. There have been more than 1.01 million deaths recorded in the U.S.
Worldwide, there have been more than 535.87 million confirmed coronavirus cases with more than 6.31 million deaths and more than 11.55 billion vaccine doses administered.
For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness like pneumonia, or death.
FDA: Pfizer COVID-19 shot appears safe, effective for kids under 5
Federal health officials said Sunday that kid-sized doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccines appear to be safe and effective for kids under 5, a key step toward a long-awaited decision to begin vaccinating the youngest American children.
The Food and Drug Administration posted its analysis of the Pfizer shot ahead of a Wednesday meeting where outside experts will vote on whether the shots are ready for the nation’s 18 million babies, toddlers and preschoolers. Kids under 5 are the only group not yet eligible for COVID-19 vaccination in the U.S.
Late last week the FDA posted a similar analysis of Moderna’s shots for children under 6.
If regulators clear the shots by one or both companies, vaccinations could begin as soon as next week with the drugmakers ready to rapidly ship doses ordered by the government. Parents have been pressing federal officials for months for the opportunity to protect their smallest children as more adults shed masks and abandon other public health precautions.
While only about 3% of U.S. COVID cases are in the age group 6 months to 4 years, hospitalization and death rates in that group are higher than those for older children, according to the FDA’s analysis — one reason experts have said protecting this group is important.
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Mick Jagger has COVID, Rolling Stones gig off
The Rolling Stones canceled their concert in Amsterdam on Monday, just hours before it was due to start after lead singer Mick Jagger tested positive for COVID-19.
The band announced the cancelation in a statement, saying the 78-year-old Jagger tested positive “after experiencing symptoms of COVID upon arrival at the stadium” on the outskirts of Amsterdam. There were no further details about his condition.
“The Rolling Stones are deeply sorry for tonight’s postponement, but the safety of the audience, fellow musicians and the touring crew has to take priority,” the statement said, adding that the show would be rescheduled and tickets for the concert at Amsterdam’s Johan Cruyff Arena would be honored for the new date.
Some fans were already in the stadium when it was announced that the show had been scrapped.
Small businesses are facing ‘summer of uncertainty’
Small businesses that depend on outdoor crowds and free-spending tourists aren’t sure what to expect this summer. Consumers likely have a lot of pent-up demand after more than two years of the pandemic.
The U.S. Travel Association predicts travel spending will be slightly above pre-pandemic levels. But consumers are also facing some significant financial headwinds.
Inflation is making day-to-day living more expensive, which could leave less money for discretionary spending. Gas prices are up more than 60% from a year ago and hotel rooms and airfare are pricier as well, putting pressure on travel budgets.
“It’s a summer of uncertainty,” said Ray Keating, chief economist with advocacy group the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council. “Inflation is a major worry and tied to that is increases in costs small businesses are seeing from their own vendors and suppliers. There’s a tight labor market. It’s a tough mix.”
And COVID-19 remains a looming presence.
Samuel Clark’s business, Broadway Crew, a promotional staffing agency and street team that promotes Broadway shows, is heavily dependent on face-to-face interaction with tourists in Times Square. While his business has recovered since Broadway reopened, it isn’t smooth sailing. Shows still close temporarily because of COVID-19 cases.
“That is a clear and present existential threat – we see events and shows closing and having a week off,” he said.
US lifts COVID-19 test requirement for international travel
The Biden administration is lifting its requirement that international air travelers to the U.S. take a COVID-19 test within a day before boarding their flights, easing one of the last remaining government mandates meant to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Friday that the requirement will end early Sunday morning. The health agency said it will continue to monitor state of the pandemic and will reassess the need for a testing requirement if the situation changes.
“This step is possible because of the progress we’ve made in our fight against COVID-19,” said U.S. Health Secretary Xavier Becerra.
Airline and tourism groups have been pressing the administration for months to eliminate the testing requirement, saying it discourages people from booking international trips because they could be stranded overseas if they contract the virus on their trip.
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Moderna says updated COVID shot boosts omicron protection
Moderna’s experimental COVID-19 vaccine that combines its original shot with protection against the omicron variant appears to work, the company announced Wednesday.
COVID-19 vaccine makers are studying updated boosters that might be offered in the fall to better protect people against future coronavirus surges.
Moderna’s preliminary study results show people given the combination shot experienced an eight-fold increase in virus-fighting antibodies capable of targeting the omicron mutant, the company announced.
Today’s COVID-19 vaccines all are based on the original version of the coronavirus. They’re still providing strong protection against severe disease, hospitalization and death even after the appearance of the super-contagious omicron variant — especially if people have had a booster dose.
MORE: Moderna says updated COVID shot boosts omicron protection
White House offering additional 8 free COVID-19 tests to public
The government website for people to request free COVID-19 at-home tests from the U.S. government is now accepting a third round of orders.
The White House recently announced that U.S. households can request an additional eight free at-home tests to be shipped by the U.S. Postal Service.
President Joe Biden committed in January to making 1 billion tests available to the public free of charge, including 500 million available through covidtests.gov. But just 350 million of the amount available for ordering online have been shipped to date to addresses across the continental U.S., its territories and overseas military bases, the White House said.
People who have difficulty getting online or need help placing an order can call 1-800-232-0233 for assistance.
The third round brings to 16 the total number of free tests available to each U.S. household since the program started earlier this year. Households were eligible to receive four tests during each of two earlier rounds of ordering through the website.
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2nd COVID-19 booster shot available to Hoosiers 50 and up
The Indiana Department of Health announced that Hoosiers age 50 and older, as well as those 12 and older with weakened immune systems, are now eligible to receive a second mRNA COVID-19 booster shot at least four months after their first booster dose.
The announcement comes one day after the Food and Drug Administration authorized an extra dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine for that age group and and certain younger people with severely weakened immune systems.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention later recommended the extra shot as an option but stopped short of urging that those eligible rush out and get it right away.
The IDOH is advising vaccine providers that they can begin administering second boosters of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines to people who qualify.
The CDC also says that adults who received a primary vaccine and booster dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine at least four months ago may now receive a second booster dose of either mRNA vaccine.
You can find a vaccine location at ourshot.in.gov or by calling Indiana 211 (866-211-9966). Appointments are recommended, but many sites do accept walk-ins.