While You Were Sleeping: Coronavirus updates for May 19


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

Here’s a look:

Marion County mask mandate. Marion County leaders will hold an update this morning that could provide new guidance on mask requirements as other Indiana counties have shed theirs. 

In Indiana, as of Tuesday, 2,326,908 Hoosiers have been fully vaccinated… or roughly 34 percent of the state’s population. Not counting the segment of the population which is partially vaccinated, Indiana still falls short of herd immunity, which is near 80 percent according to health experts.

Marion County and the city of Indianapolis, experts believe, may be holding off dropping masks until those numbers are slightly more favorable. 

Mask guidance and kids. When the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that fully vaccinated individuals could safely take their masks off in most settings, one group that did not necessarily breathe a sigh of relief was parents of children under 12.

The CDC said last week that fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear a mask indoors or outdoors and can stop social distancing in most places. Fully vaccinated means two weeks after the second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, or two weeks after the one-dose Johnson & Johnson shot.

The CDC’s new guidance does not, however, have any specific advice for vaccinated parents with unvaccinated kids 12 and under in their households. There aren’t any vaccines currently approved for that age group in the United States, which means the younger set needs to keep masking for the time being.

Lollapalooza returning. It’s official: Lollapalooza will be back in Chicago this summer.

The giant music festival will return in July in the city’s Grant Park. The festival was canceled last year amid the pandemic. The festival will take place “at near-to or full-capacity” from Thursday, July 29 to Sunday, Aug. 1.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot tweeted news of the festival’s return Tuesday:

The city has earlier announced a “vax pass” system for fully vaccinated residents to attend summer concerts and events. At this time, it’s unknown if Lollapalooza will be using the system.

Return to normalcy in France. It’s a grand day for the French. Cafe and restaurant terraces are reopening Wednesday after a shutdown of more than six months deprived people of what feels like the essence of life — sipping coffee and wine with friends — to save lives during the coronavirus pandemic.

The French government is lifting restrictions incrementally to stave off a resurgence of COVID-19 and to give citizens back some of their signature “joie de vivre.” As part of the first stage of the plan, France’s 7 p.m. nightly curfew will now start at 9 p.m. Museums, theaters and cinemas are reopening along with outside areas of eating and drinking establishments.

France is not the first European country to start getting back a semblance of social and cultural life. Italy, Belgium, Hungary and other nations already have started allowing outdoor dining, while drinking and eating indoors began in Britain’s pubs on Monday.

Eateries in France have been closed since the end of October, the longest time of any European country except Poland bars and restaurants reopened Saturday for outdoor service after being closed for seven months.

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