While You Were Sleeping: Coronavirus updates for June 15

Coronavirus

INDIANAPOLIS — There were several developments in the coronavirus pandemic you may have missed overnight.

Here’s a look:

600,000 deaths. The United States on Monday crossed the grim milestone of 600,000 COVID-19 deaths, according to a Reuters tally, as slowing vaccination rates threaten the Biden administration target of having 70% of U.S. adults receive at least one shot and 160 million fully inoculated by July 4.

The early success of the U.S. vaccine rollout has had a huge impact on the pace of COVID-19 fatalities in the country.

It took 113 days to go from 500,000 total U.S. COVID-19 deaths to 600,000 – the second slowest 100,000-death jump since the pandemic began. The nation went from 400,000 to 500,000 deaths in just 35 days.

No masks at Ball State. It’s masks off at Ball State University.

BSU announced a revised face covering policy that allows people who are fully vaccinated to ditch their masks.

“In light of the conditions in our community, and consistent with recent guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, effective immediately, students, employees, and campus visitors who have been fully vaccinated are no longer required to wear a face mask inside any university facility or while outside on our beautiful campus,” Ball State President Geoffrey S. Mearns wrote in a message Monday.

Fully vaccinated students and employees will enjoy some other benefits:

  • Will not be required to quarantine if they are identified as a close contact of someone who has tested positive.
  • Will not be required to engage in physical distancing.
  • Will be exempt from the pre-arrival COVID-19 testing requirement for the Fall 2021 semester.

California reopens. California, the first state in America to put in place a coronavirus lockdown, is now turning a page on the pandemic.

At the stroke of midnight, California is lifting most of its COVID-19 restrictions and ushering in what has been billed as the state’s “Grand Reopening.”

Starting Tuesday, there will be no more state rules on social distancing, and no more limits on capacity at restaurants, bars, supermarkets, gyms, stadiums or anywhere else. And masks — one of the most symbolic and fraught symbols of the pandemic — will no longer be mandated for vaccinated people in most settings, though businesses and counties can still require them.

Just in time for summer, California wants to send the message that life in the Golden State is getting much closer to normal. The economy is fully reopening for the first time in 15 months and people can largely return to pre-pandemic lifestyles. Fans can cheer mask-less at Dodgers and Giants games. Disneyland is throwing its doors open to all tourists after allowing just California residents. People can pack indoor bars and nightclubs from the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles to the Castro in San Francisco.

Deadly mask dispute. A triple shooting at a Georgia grocery store Monday afternoon started with a dispute over a mask and left a cashier dead and both the suspect and a deputy wounded, authorities say.

The suspect, 30-year-old Victor Lee Tucker, Jr., of Palmetto, Georgia, was checking out when he got into an argument about his mask with a female cashier at Big Bear Supermarket in Decatur, according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

Tucker walked out without buying anything but immediately returned, pulling out a handgun and allegedly shooting the cashier shortly after 1 p.m. She was rushed to an area hospital where she was pronounced dead.

One of several people in the store at the time of the shooting was a 30-year DeKalb County Police Dept. veteran now working with the sheriff’s office as a reserve deputy, DeKalb County Sheriff Melody Maddox said.

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