Coronavirus News Update – June 17: Five Weeks Ahead of Olympics, Tokyo Eases State of Emergency

By Anna Breuer on 17 June 2021
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Sunset on Maui, in Hawaii

Just five weeks ahead of the start of the 2021 Summer Olympic Games, Tokyo will ease its state of emergency as the latest coronavirus outbreak there recedes. The news was announced by Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, who said that new infections had declined sufficiently over the past month as to ease the strain on hospitals.

As of Thursday morning, the world has recorded over 177.9 million Covid-19 cases and has seen 3.85 million deaths, according to Worldometer, a service that tracks such information. In addition, over 162.4 million people worldwide have recovered from the virus.

In the United States, the death toll, which recently crossed the 600,000 mark, is now 616,157.  Since the start of the pandemic the country has recorded over 34.36 million individual cases, a higher figure than any other country.

Since the start of vaccinations at the end of last year over 2.45 billion doses have been administered across the globe as of Thursday morning, the equivalent of over 32 doses for every 100 people.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that, as of Thursday, over 175 million people in the United States – or 52.7% –have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine. Of that population, 44.1%, or 146.5 million people, are fully vaccinated, bringing the total number of doses dispensed in the United States to 312.9 million. Breaking this down further, 64.7% of the population over the age of 18 – or 167.2 million people – has received at least a first inoculation and 54.8% of the same group – or 141.5 million people – is fully vaccinated.

Royal Caribbean Group said it plans to postpone a voyage of the Odyssey of the Seas in July after eight of that ship’s crew members tested positive for Covid.  The cases were detected as part of routine tests said Michael Bayley, the cruise lines’ CEO, in a Facebook post. The news comes on the heels of problems on board another ship, the Celebrity Millennium, also part of the Royal Caribbean fleet, when two passengers sharing a cabin tested positive for Covid.

The Department of Health and Human Services said Thursday that the United States will invest $3.2 billion to create antiviral pills for Covid-19.  The treatment, which could keep patients out of hospital, has the potential to save countless lives in the years to come because the virus is expected to remain a perennial threat, such as the flu.

Thirteen states are now reporting that over half of their population has been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, according to data from the CDC.  Hawaii is the latest to cross that milestone mark and the remaining 12 states are Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington.  Meanwhile, 14 states and the District of Columbia have reached the 70% mark for first-dose vaccination. That list includes California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington, along with Washington, D.C.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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