While You Were Sleeping: Coronavirus updates for June 25

Coronavirus

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

Here’s a look:

CDC on booster shots. Now that many who want the vaccine have been able to get it, the question is shifting to whether boosters will be necessary in the future.

The CDC says maybe down the road, but there’s no evidence boosters are necessary right now. During their meeting Wednesday, the CDC laid out the current research into boosters shot for COVID vaccines.

CDC representatives say said they felt the research shows people have enough protection from the primary vaccine. Also, the protection has been lasting long enough, according to the research, though the CDC will keep updating information.

“Similar to the flu shot, there’s maybe a chance that as the virus slightly changes, as the effectiveness of the initial vaccine regime wears off that to keep that effectiveness up we may need to initiate booster shots and things like that,” Dr. Matthew Connelly an Emergency Medicine Physician said.

The CDC stressed that before we should focus on boosters, we should try and get as many people vaccinated as possible to stop the spread of COVID-19 variants.

Unvaccinated deaths. Nearly all COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. now are in people who weren’t vaccinated, a staggering demonstration of how effective the shots have been and an indication that deaths per day — now down to under 300 — could be practically zero if everyone eligible got the vaccine.

An Associated Press analysis of available government data from May shows that “breakthrough” infections in fully vaccinated people accounted for fewer than 1,200 of more than 853,000 COVID-19 hospitalizations. That’s about 0.1%.

And only about 150 of the more than 18,000 COVID-19 deaths in May were in fully vaccinated people. That translates to about 0.8%, or five deaths per day on average.

The AP analyzed figures provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC itself has not estimated what percentage of hospitalizations and deaths are in fully vaccinated people, citing limitations in the data.

Among them: Only about 45 states report breakthrough infections, and some are more aggressive than others in looking for such cases. So the data probably understates such infections, CDC officials said.

Still, the overall trend that emerges from the data echoes what many health care authorities are seeing around the country and what top experts are saying.

Hawaii updates traveler rules. Hawaii Governor David Ige announced major changes on Thursday to the state’s emergency rules on travel and social gatherings.

With the state expected to have 60% of residents fully vaccinated by July 8, the governor believes restrictions currently in place may be relaxed.

Beginning July 8, Hawaii will accept vaccination records from other states and U.S. territories to allow fully vaccinated travelers to bypass pre-travel testing and quarantine rules.

Also effective on July 8, social gatherings will increase to 25 indoors and 75 outdoors statewide. This includes restaurants, which means they can increase to 75% capacity. The six-foot distance requirement between tables must still be enforced.

Vaccine mandates in Russia. They tried grocery giveaways and lotteries for new cars and apartments. But an ambitious plan of vaccinating 30 million Russians by mid-June still has fallen short by a third.

So now, many regional governments across the vast country are obligating some workers to get vaccinated and requiring the shots to enter certain businesses, like restaurants.

As many Western countries lift coronavirus restrictions and plan a return to normal life after mass vaccinations, Russia is battling a surge of infections — even though it was the first in the world to authorize a vaccine and among the first to start administering it in December.

Daily new cases have grown from about 9,000 in early June to about 17,000 on June 18 and over 20,000 on Thursday, with Moscow, its outlying region and St. Petersburg combining for about half of all new infections.

Officials have blamed Russians’ lax attitude toward taking necessary precautions and the growing prevalence of more infectious variants. But perhaps the biggest factor is the lack of vaccinations.

Only 20.7 million people, or 14% of its population of 146 million, have received at least one shot as of Wednesday, and only 16.7 million, or about 11%, have been fully vaccinated.

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