INDIANAPOLIS — There were several developments in the coronavirus pandemic you may have missed overnight.
Here’s a look:
Global vaccine donations. President Joe Biden announced Thursday the U.S. will swiftly donate an initial allotment of 25 million doses of surplus vaccine overseas through the United Nations-backed COVAX program, promising infusions for South and Central America, Asia, Africa and others at a time of glaring shortages abroad and more than ample supplies at home.
The doses mark a substantial — and immediate — boost to the lagging COVAX effort, which to date has shared just 76 million doses with needy countries.
The announcement came just hours after World Health Organization officials in Africa made a new plea for vaccine sharing because of an alarming situation on the continent, where shipments have ground to “a near halt” while virus cases have spiked over the past two weeks.
Overall, the White House has announced plans to share 80 million doses globally by the end of June, most through COVAX. Officials say a quarter of the nation’s excess will be kept in reserve for emergencies and for the U.S. to share directly with allies and partners.
CDC guidance on testing for the vaccinated. The latest guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says you don’t need to be tested or to quarantine if you’re fully vaccinated, even if you’ve been exposed to someone who was sick. An exception is if you develop COVID-19 symptoms such as fever, cough and fatigue.
The updated guidance reflects recent studies showing vaccinated people face very little risk of serious disease. Even if you get an infection, you’ll be less likely to spread it to others and any symptoms will likely be milder.
As a result, the CDC says vaccinated people can also be excluded from routine workplace screening, though many companies aren’t tracking employees’ vaccination status. Screening is still recommended for people working or living in homeless shelters or prisons, due to the higher risk of outbreaks.
Kroger giveaway. Kroger on Thursday launched its “Community Immunity” giveaway, providing customers and Kroger Family of Companies associates the opportunity to win prizes like one of five $1 million checks or one of 50 “groceries for a year.”
The giveaway starts today, June 3, and runs through July 10. Winners will be selected weekly.
The giveaway was created in support of President Biden’s effort to have at least 70% of U.S. adults receive their first COVID-19 vaccine dose by July 4.
Here’s how it works:
- Between June 3, 2021 and July 10, 2021, Kroger Health is giving away $5 million, reflecting a $1 million winner each week for five weeks, as well as 50 “groceries for a year,” ten each week for five weeks, each valued at $13,000 (which is the equivalent of $250 a week for 52 weeks).
- To enter, participants must be 18 years of age or older, and legally reside and physically be located in one of the 50 United States or Washington, D.C.
- To enter online, entrants must receive or have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at a Kroger Family Company location or by a Kroger Family Company healthcare professional at an off-site event.
- To schedule a vaccine, visit Kroger.com.
- To enter the giveaway and view the Official Rules, visit KrogerGiveaway.com.
- Additionally, The Kroger Family of Companies will continue to award a one-time payment of $100 to associates who become fully vaccinated.
Mission Impossible stops filming. Paramount Pictures on Thursday temporarily shut down production on the British set of Tom Cruise’s seventh Mission: Impossible film after someone tested positive for coronavirus.
“We have temporarily halted production on Mission: Impossible 7 until June 14th, due to positive coronavirus test results during routine testing,” a Paramount spokesperson said in a statement. “We are following all safety protocols and will continue to monitor the situation.”
The company provided no further details.
In December, Cruise launched an expletive-laden rant at colleagues on the Mission: Impossible set, after he reportedly spotted two crew members violating social distancing rules. In audio released by the Sun tabloid, Cruise can be heard warning that anyone caught not following the rules to stay at least 2 meters (more than 6.5 feet) away from others will be fired.
The film, which paused production for months early last year along with the rest of the film industry when the coronavirus pandemic took hold, is scheduled to be released in 2022.