Coronavirus News Update – June 23: White House Concedes U.S. Won’t Hit Biden’s 70% Vaccination Goal by July 4

Fauci Calls India Variant the ‘Greatest Threat’ to U.S. Attempt to Eliminate Covid

By Anna Breuer on 23 June 2021
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White House Covid-19 coordinator Jeffrey Zients said Tuesday that the United States will not meet President Joseph Biden’s goal of having 70% of adults ages 18 and older inoculated with at least one dose of vaccine. “We want every American in every community to be protected and free from fear of the virus,” he said. “That’s why we’ll keep working to vaccinate more Americans across the summer and into the fall … we are not stopping at 70% and we’re not stopping on July Fourth.”

As of Wednesday morning, the world crossed the 180 million mark in Covid-19 cases and has seen over 3.9 million deaths, according to Worldometer, a service that tracks such information. In addition, over 164.8 million people worldwide have recovered from the virus.

In the United States, the death toll, which last week crossed the 600,000 mark, is now 617,884.  Since the start of the pandemic the country has recorded over 34.43 million individual cases, a higher figure than any other country and one that is second only to India, which just crossed the 30 million mark.

Since the start of vaccinations at the end of last year over 2.7 billion doses have been administered across the globe as of Wednesday morning, the equivalent of over 35 doses for every 100 people.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that, as of Wednesday, 177.6 million people in the United States – or 53.5% –have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine. Of that population, 45.3%, or 150.4 million people, are fully vaccinated, bringing the total number of doses dispensed in the United States to 319.2 million. Breaking this down further, 65.5% of the population over the age of 18 – or 169.2 million people – has received at least a first inoculation and 56% of the same group – or 144.6 million people – is fully vaccinated.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the White House medical advisor and the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, said Tuesday that the highly contagious India, or Delta, variant, is now the “greatest threat” to the nation’s attempt to eliminate Covid-19. The variant now makes up 20% of all coronavirus cases and scientists believe it will become the dominant form of the virus in a matter of weeks.

China said that it plans to keep pandemic border restrictions in place for at least another year. The move comes amidst fears over the potential emergence of new variants and a calendar of sensitive events, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday, citing people familiar with the matter.

United Airlines said in an internal memorandum it will only allow fully vaccinated crews to operate flights to high-risk destinations. The list of destinations includes Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, India, and Peru, and may eventually apply to China and Taiwan.

Meanwhile, in a bid to boost tourism, the U.S. territory of Guam is inviting travelers to come for vaccinations. The program, dubbed Air V&V, is open to individuals from any country. Previously, Air V&V was open only to U.S. citizens.

The organizers of the Tokyo Olympics bowed to public opinion and said they would ban alcoholic beverages at the games. The organizing committee had said it was considering allowing the sale of alcohol, a move that prompted outrage from many Japanese, considering the prolonged state of emergency there prohibits the sale of alcoholic beverages in restaurants as a virus control measure.

Kurt Stolz contributed reporting to this story.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

Accura News

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