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Coronavirus Outbreak: Latest Updates

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This article was updated June 18, 2021, at 5:07 p.m. ET.

The United States leads the world in cases of COVID-19. We'll provide the latest updates on coronavirus cases, government response, impacts to our daily life, and more.

What is the latest news?

More Than 300 Million COVID-19 Vaccines Administered in U.S., Biden Says

June 18, 5:07 p.m.

President Joe Biden announced on Friday that more than 300 million COVID-19 vaccines have been administered during the first 150 days of his administration, according to The New York Times.

Biden focused on the milestone in lieu of his other goal to provide 70% of U.S. adults with at least one vaccine dose by July 4. As of Friday, 15 states and the District of Columbia have already reached the 70% threshold, but the country is unlikely to meet the deadline, the newspaper reported.

The 300 million mark is an “important milestone,” Biden said during a news briefing at the White House.

“It just didn't happen on its own or by chance,” he said, adding that the vaccination effort has been one of the “most complicated logistical challenges in American history.”

More than 316 million doses have been administered, according to the latest CDC tally updated on Friday, and 148.5 million people are fully vaccinated. About 65% of adults have received at least one dose, and 55% are fully vaccinated.  

The number of Americans getting their first shot has declined steadily this month, from about 500,000 per day to 200,000 per day, The New York Times reported. If a similar rate continues, the newspaper calculated, the U.S. will likely reach about 67.6% by July 4.

The Biden administration is continuing a final major push to reach the July 4 goal -- with Vice President Kamala Harris in Georgia and Xavier Becerra, the health and human services secretary, heading to Colorado. Speaking at a vaccination mobilization event at Clark Atlanta University on Friday, Harris talked to students about the barriers to vaccination, such as time, transportation, and child care, and the options available in the area, according to 11 Alive.

“We need to meet people where they are,” she said. “We can't have these lofty ideals about how everybody needs to get vaccinated and associate judgment with that without recognizing the challenges that people have in their lives every day.”

During his speech on Friday, Biden called for unvaccinated people to get a shot, especially as the delta variant, which was first identified in India, becomes more prominent in the U.S.

“The data is clear. If you are unvaccinated, you are at risk of getting seriously ill or dying or spreading it,” he said. “The new variant will leave unvaccinated people even more vulnerable than they were a month ago.”

More Than 300 Heart Inflammation Cases Reported After Vaccination, CDC Says

June 18, 5 p.m 

The CDC has received reports of more than 300 cases of heart inflammation in young people after COVID-19 vaccination, according to NBC News.

More than 20 million adolescents and young adults have been vaccinated in the U.S., the news outlet reported. Although rare, the 300 cases are higher than expected for the age group.

The CDC's independent vaccine advisory group, called the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, was slated to hold an emergency meeting on Friday to talk about the myocarditis and pericarditis cases. The meeting was rescheduled late Thursday after President Joe Biden signed a bill that declared Juneteenth a federal holiday, which will be observed on Friday this year, according to Reuters.

During its regularly scheduled June 23-25 meeting, the committee will discuss the latest research and safety data, as well as a potential link between the heart inflammation cases and the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. However, the group isn't expected to make any changes to its current COVID-19 vaccination recommendations, NBC News reported.

In late May, the CDC began monitoring rare reports of myocarditis after COVID-19 vaccination. The cases seemed to be more common in males than females and occur more often after a second dose of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

The CDC has asked doctors to look for and report patients who have symptoms of myocarditis or pericarditis after vaccination, NBC News reported. Symptoms include fever, fatigue, chest pain and shortness of breath. Most cases have been mild so far.

“The vast majority have fully resolved with rest and supportive care,” Rochelle Walensky, MD, director of the CDC, said Thursday during a White House COVID-19 Response Team briefing.

“I look forward to hearing this important discussion, which is yet another demonstration of our ongoing efforts to keep safety central to everything we do,” she said.

Hundreds of Vaccinated Medical Workers in Indonesia Hospitalized

June 17, 5:20 p.m. 

More than 350 doctors and medical workers in Indonesia who received a Chinese-made COVID-19 vaccine have tested positive for the virus, Reuters reported.

Most are asymptomatic, but dozens have been hospitalized with a high fever and other symptoms, Badai Ismoyo, head of the health office in the district of Kudus in central Java, told Reuters

Health care workers in Indonesia were among the first to be vaccinated. Almost all of them were given the vaccine developed by Chinese biopharmaceutical company Sinovac, the Indonesian Medical Association (IDI) told Reuters.

The number of infected medical workers raises questions about how well that vaccine works against the delta variant, which is thought to be causing the recent surge in cases in Indonesia.

"The data shows they have the Delta variant (in Kudus) so it is no surprise that the breakthrough infection is higher than before, because, as we know, the majority of healthcare workers in Indonesia got Sinovac, and we still don't know yet how effective it is in the real world against the Delta variant,” Dicky Budiman, an epidemiologist at Australia's Griffith University, told Reuters.

The World Health Organization said the Sinovac vaccine prevented symptomatic disease in 51% of recipients and prevented severe COVID-19 and hospital stays, Reuters said.

Last month, the WHO gave emergency authorization for the Sinovac vaccine, meaning it could be used in COVAX, the global vaccination program for low-income nations, Reuters said.

The pandemic has hit Indonesia hard. The WHO says the nation of about 270 million people recorded more than 1.9 million infections and 53,000 deaths. Reuters said around 950 doctors and nurses have died in the pandemic.

Reuters, citing health ministry data, reported that Indonesia recorded 12,624 new COVID-19 infections on Thursday, the most since Jan. 30.

Man Refuses Vaccine, Gets COVID-19, Double Lung Transplant

June 17, 1:54 p.m.

A Texas man who declined the COVID-19 vaccine earlier this year contracted the coronavirus and needed a double lung transplant to survive. Now he's speaking up and encouraging others to learn from his experience by getting vaccinated, according to ABC News.

Joshua Garza, 43, of Sugarland, decided not to get vaccinated in January because he didn't think he needed it. Later that month, he tested positive and became severely ill.

“COVID ended up attacking my lungs,” he told ABC. “It was quick, it was within 3 weeks, the lungs were already shot.”

In early February, Garza fell down while trying to walk in his house, and his wife called for an ambulance to take him to the hospital. He was transferred to Houston Methodist and placed on a machine to pump his blood.

“They're telling you your lungs are failing, so you don't know if you're going to go to bed tonight and wake up tomorrow,” he said.

Garza was put on the lung transplant list and was able to undergo surgery in mid-April. He spent several weeks in recovery and was released from the hospital on May 27.

Lung transplants are rare for COVID-19 patients but sometimes necessary for those who don't have any other options, ABC News reported. Houston Methodist has performed eight double lung transplants on COVID-19 patients and has several patients who are waiting for a transplant right now while on life support.

“These people are still fighting for their lives,” Howard Huang, MD, Houston Methodist's medical director of lung transplantation and one of the doctors who treated Garza, told the news outlet.

Huang said it was “almost miraculous” that Garza was able to match with a donor during the peak of COVID-19 hospitalizations in the U.S. this winter. Houston Methodist continues to treat severe COVID-19 patients, including many who haven't yet been vaccinated, he said.

“The data that's now coming out suggests that the vaccines are very good at preventing severe illness,” Huang said. “Even if [Garza] had ended up in a hospital, maybe it wouldn't have progressed all the way to complete lung failure that couldn't be salvaged without a lung transplant.”

Garza told ABC News that he's sharing his story to help others and prevent them from experiencing what he did.

“If I knew what I know now, I would have definitely went through with the vaccination,” he said.

Cruise Ship's Inaugural Sailing Postponed as Crew Members Test Positive

June 16, 5:45 p.m.

The inaugural sailing of the cruise ship Odyssey of the Seas has been postponed because eight of 1,400 crew members tested positive for COVID-19, Royal Caribbean CEO Michael Bayley said.

The launch for the ship has been postponed from July 3 to July 31, Bayley said on Facebook. A simulation cruise set for June has also been rescheduled.

“During routine testing, eight crew members received a positive test result for COVID-19,” he wrote. “All 1,400 crew on board Odyssey of the Seas were vaccinated on June 4th and will be considered fully vaccinated on June 18. The positive cases were identified after the vaccination was given and before they were fully effective.”

Six crew members are asymptomatic and two have mild symptoms, he said. As a precaution, all crew members will quarantine for 14 days.

“While disappointing, this is the right decision for the health and well-being of our crew and guests,” Bayley wrote. Guests will be contacted about refunds and rebookings.

The Odyssey of the Seas is a massive cruise ship with 16 total decks that can accommodate more than 5,400 guests.

Royal Caribbean announced earlier that their ships will sail in coming weeks from ports in Florida and Texas and that guests are encouraged but not required to get vaccinated. People 16 and over who are sailing to Alaska are required to be fully vaccinated. After Aug. 1, the age drops to 12.

Two passengers on the Celebrity Millennium cruise ship tested positive for COVID-19 during end-of-cruise testing on Thursday.

The two guests don't have any symptoms and are in isolation. They're being monitored by a medical team, Royal Caribbean Group said on Thursday. The two guests, who are from the U.S., shared a stateroom on the 7-day cruise from St. Maarten.

Airlines Report 3,000 Unruly Passengers in U.S. This Year

June 15, 6:20 p.m.

The Federal Aviation Administration has received more than 3,000 reports of unruly airplane passengers so far this year, with the majority involving face mask regulations, according to CNN.

About 2,300 reports were related to passengers who refused to follow the federal requirement to wear a face mask on flights to protect against the spread of the coronavirus.

The FAA is investigating the highest number of potential federal law violations in unruly passenger cases since 1995, according to ABC News. The agency has identified 394 cases where passengers have broken the law by “interfering with the duties of a crew member,” which is double the number from 2020 and more than two and a half times the number from 2019.

“In a typical year, the agency will end up taking this type of enforcement action in about 100 to 160 enforcement cases, so it's nothing new,” Steve Dickson, chief of the FAA, told ABC News.

“What really is new is the volume we're seeing right now,” he said.

Under CDC and Department of Transportation policies, passengers are still required to wear a face mask on planes, buses, trains and other forms of public transportation while traveling into, within or out of the U.S., as well as in transportation hubs such as airports.

Nearly 6 million passengers were screened by the Transportation Security Administration between Friday and Sunday, which is the most in a 3-day period during the past 15 months, according to CBS News. FAA officials hope to curb bad behavior as post-pandemic travel increases.

The FAA launched a zero-tolerance policy against passenger misbehavior in January after seeing the sharp increase in reports. Officials also began tracking the overall number of unruly passenger reports, which they had never done before, CNN reported.

However, the agency hasn't seen a decrease in cases since the policy was implemented, ABC News reported.

“They seem to be escalating,” Lyn Montgomery, a spokesperson for the Southwest flight attendants' union, told the news station. “And that is why we're asking for additional help.”

Unions are urging airlines to use their no-fly lists more often, ABC News reported. In addition, Southwest and American Airlines have postponed the resumption of alcohol sales to tamp down the in-flight issues.

The FAA has publicly released details from 23 incidents and announced fines that totaled more than $400,000, CNN reported. The largest fine of $52,000 was proposed in May against a passenger who tried to open the cockpit door and physically assaulted a flight attendant twice.

On Monday, the FAA also proposed penalties ranging from $7,500 to $15,500 against four passengers who interfered with flight attendants' instructions, which all involved face mask guidelines.

On a Feb. 5 flight, a passenger was told to wear his face mask over both his mouth and nose “at least 10 times” and “repeatedly ignored their instructions,” the FAA wrote. In another February flight from New York to Cancun, a woman refused to wear her mask and inserted her finger into her nose in response to a flight attendant's directions.

“The FAA further alleges she yelled, used profanity and refused to read a warning note that a flight attendant issued to her,” the FAA wrote. “As a result of her disruptive behavior, the captain diverted the flight to Fort Lauderdale, Fla.”

The unruly behavior is “out of control,” Sara Nelson, international president for the Association of Flight Attendants, told CNN earlier this week.

“We are hearing from flight attendants who are saying, 'I'm concerned about going to work now,'” she said. “This is so pervasive in our workplace that I'm concerned about going to work.”

How many people have been diagnosed with the virus worldwide, and how many have died?

According to Johns Hopkins University, there are more than 177.58 million cases and more than 3.84 million deaths worldwide.

How many cases of COVID-19 are in the United States?

There are more than 33.51 million cases in the U.S. of COVID-19 and more than 601,200 deaths, according Johns Hopkins University.

WebMD Health News

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