Coronavirus News Update – June 4: States With Low Vaccination Rates Are ‘Sitting Ducks,’ Says NIH Director

‘The Threat of a Third Wave in Africa is Real and Rising’

By Jesse Sokolow on 4 June 2021
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States that have vaccination rates far below 70% are “sitting ducks” for a new outbreak, the head of the National Institute of Health said.  “There are 12 states that are already at 70%,” said Dr. Francis Collins, the NIH’s director.  “I worry about the ones that are way below that, and they are sitting ducks for the next outbreak of Covid-19, which shouldn’t have to happen now,” Collins told CNN Thursday.

As of Friday morning, the world has recorded over 172.9 million Covid-19 cases and has seen over 3.71 million deaths, according to Worldometer, a service that tracks such information. In addition, over 155.7 million people worldwide have recovered from the virus.

Since the start of vaccinations at the end of last year, more than 2.05 billion doses have been administered across the globe as of Friday morning, the equivalent of approximately 26 doses for every 100 people.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that, as of Friday, 169 million people in the United States have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine. Approximately 63% of the population over the age of 18 –some 162.5 million people  – has received at least a first inoculation, including 134.3 million people, or 52% of the same population, who have received both doses. Meanwhile, 60.3% of the population over the age of 12, or 168.9 million people, have received at least one shot, including 136.6 million, or 48.8% of the same population, who have received both doses. Overall, 41.2% of the population, or 136.64 million people, has been fully vaccinated against the virus.

The World Health Organization is reporting that there has been a sharp sudden surge in new coronavirus cases in many parts of the African continent. Test positivity rates have risen in 14 countries there over the past seven days and eight reported a surge of over 30% in new cases. “The threat of a third wave in Africa is real and rising,” said Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO’s regional director for the continent.

The United Kingdom removed Portugal from its so-called “green list” of countries from which travelers need not quarantine upon arrival.  As of Tuesday, travelers returning to Britain from Portugal as well as from Madeira and the Azores will no longer be allowed by bypass quarantine.

Andrew Lloyd Weber said he would sue the UK government if it does not allow theaters to open at full capacity on June 21. Indoor entertainment venues were allowed to reopen in May at 50% capacity but many theaters cannot operate financially without a full house.  Lloyd Weber told the Daily Mail that any delay would be “the final death blow,” adding that he questions whether the current situation is legal: “What is the legality of the whole thing?”

Students who attend college in the United States but live elsewhere are finding that they cannot get properly vaccinated to meet their school’s requirements to return to campus in the fall. Most universities and colleges will accept any of the eight WHO-approved vaccines but not Covaxin, used in India, and Sputnik V, made in Russia.  The students are being told they would need to get inoculated with an approved vaccine although there has been little research as to whether this is safe.

Jonathan Spira and Anna Breuer contributed reporting to this story.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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