Coronavirus News Update – May 28: Vaccination Rates in the South Are Lowest in U.S. and Experts Fear New Outbreaks

Opposition to 2021 Tokyo Olympic Games Intensifies as Japan Extends State of Emergency

By Anna Breuer on 28 May 2021
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A beach at the Four Seasons Hualalai

Coronavirus vaccine rates in the South are the lowest in the entire country and U.S. health officials warn that this could lead to significant outbreaks in the region. While across the country over half of Americans are fully vaccinated, that number falls to 31.8% in Mississippi and 33.9% in Alabama. By contrast, 60.8% of the population of Maine is fully vaccinated and numerous states including California, Colorado, Iowa, Minnesota, New Mexico, and New York have crossed the 50% threshold.

As of Friday morning, the world has recorded over 169.7 million Covid-19 cases and has seen over 3.52 million deaths, according to Worldometer, a service that tracks such information. In addition, over 151.4 million people worldwide have recovered from the virus.

Since the start of vaccinations at the end of last year, the world has administered more than 1.81 billion doses as of Friday morning, the equivalent of approximately 22.9 doses for every 100 people.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that, as of Friday, 165.7 million people in the United States have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine. Approximately 62% of the population over the age of 18 – some 159.9 million people – has received at least a first inoculation, including 130.6 million people, or 50.3% of the same population, who have received both doses. Meanwhile, 59.1% of the population over the age of 12, or 165.6 million people, have received at least one shot, including 132.7 million, or 47.4% of the same population, who have received both doses. Overall, 40% of the population, or 132.78 million people, has been fully vaccinated against the virus.

The coronavirus variant that has driven India’s devastating surge this spring was detected in multiple cases in Oregon.  The Oregon Health Authority said that it had identified six cases of the B.1.617.2 variant in the state.  That variant is classified by the U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention as a “variant of interest.”

Hawaii dropped its outdoor mask mandate for residents outdoors since over 57% of the population has received at least one dose of the vaccine and almost half are fully vaccinated. In addition, as of June 1, ocean sports competitions such as surfing contests and canoe paddling races will be permitted. Governor David Ige said that he will keep in place a requirement that people wear masks indoors, whether or not someone is vaccinated. He also says he will encourage people who are in large groups outdoors to continue to wear masks.

Coronavirus cases on college and university campuses in the United States are slowing down, the New York Times reported.  The paper said that the number of new daily infections was decreasing as classes end and the vaccination rate increases. Over 400 institutions will require their students to be vaccinated when classes return in September, although NBC News is reporting that the plans to require such vaccinations “are a mess” and that loopholes and religious exemptions abound.

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga extended the current state of emergency covering Tokyo and eight other prefectures until June 20.  The move came one day after the country saw over 4,000 new cases, a mark it continues hit even as the start of the 2021 Tokyo Summer Olympic Games nears.  Opposition to the games continues: one poll showed that 83% of Japanese citizens are against holding the games and the Asahi Shimbun, one of the country’s most influential newspapers, published an open letter to the prime minister entitled “Prime Minister Sugar, Please Call Off the Olympics This Summer.”

In Florida, Universal Orlando Resort is making face masks optional for both indoor activities and those taking place outdoors. Employees currently assigned to mask enforcement duties are being redeployed to other tasks.

A Tennessee woman was charged with seven counts of reckless endangerment after she drove through a Covid-19 vaccine distribution tent as a form of protest. Virginia Christine Lewis Brown, 36, was arrested after a Blount County deputy witnessed her driving through the tent at a vaccine distribution event Monday at Foothills Mall in Maryville. More than a dozen health department and national guard personnel were inside the tent.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

Accura News

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