The latest updates on the coronavirus pandemic for Wednesday, June 15, 2022.
Registrations for the vaccine are now open for Hoosiers 5 and older through the Indiana State Department of Health. This story will be updated over the course of the day with more news on the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dr. Fauci tests positive for COVID-19
Dr. Anthony Fauci, 81, has tested positive for COVID-19 and is experiencing mild symptoms, the National Institutes of Health said Wednesday.
Fauci, director of NIAID and President Joe Biden’s chief medical advisor, is fully vaccinated and has been boosted twice, the NIH said. He is currently isolating while working from home and has not recently been in close contact with Biden or other top government officials.
Fauci’s positive COVID test comes two days after U.S. Health Secretary Xavier Becerra again tested positive for COVID-19, less than a month after he came down with virus symptoms while on a trip to Germany.
FDA advisers move COVID-19 shots closer for kids under 5
COVID-19 shots for U.S. infants, toddlers and preschoolers moved a step closer Wednesday.
The Food and Drug Administration’s outside vaccine advisers gave a thumbs-up to Moderna’s two shots for the littlest kids. The panel is set to vote later Wednesday on whether to also recommend Pfizer’s three-shot series for those youngsters.
The outside experts voted unanimously that the benefits of Moderna’s shots outweigh any risks for children under 5 — that’s roughly 18 million youngsters.
They are the last remaining group in the U.S. to get vaccinated and many parents have been anxious to protect their little children. If all the regulatory steps are cleared, shots should be available next week.
FDA reviewers said both brands appear to be safe and effective for children as young as 6 months old in analyses posted ahead of the all-day meeting. Side effects, including fever and fatigue, were generally minor in both, and less common than seen in adults.
The two vaccines use the same technology but there are differences. In a call with reporters earlier this week, vaccine experts noted that the shots haven’t been tested against each other, so there’s no way to tell parents if one is superior.
If the FDA agrees with its advisers and authorizes the shots, there’s one more step. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will decide on a formal recommendation after its own advisers meet Saturday. If the CDC signs off, shots could be available as soon as Monday or Tuesday at doctor’s offices, hospitals and pharmacies.
CDC map shows Floyd County at ‘high risk,’ 14 Indiana counties at ‘medium’ risk
On Wednesday, June 15, 2022, Floyd County was listed on the CDC data map as having “high” community risk of spreading COVID-19, while 14 other counties (Boone, Brown, Clark, Crawford, Grant, Greene, Harrison, Knox, LaPorte, Miami, Monroe, Owen, Wabash, Washington) were listed as “medium” risks.
Surrounding Indiana, the Louisville (medium) and Chicago (high) metro areas are also deemed at risk by the CDC.
Latest US, world numbers
There have been more than 85.76 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States as of 7:30 a.m. ET Wednesday, according to Johns Hopkins University. There have been more than 1.01 million deaths recorded in the U.S.
Worldwide, there have been more than 536.72 million confirmed coronavirus cases with more than 6.31 million deaths and more than 11.56 billion vaccine doses administered.
For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness like pneumonia, or death.
Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine safe for children 6 and older, FDA expert panel says
The Food and Drug Administration’s outside experts voted unanimously that Moderna’s vaccine is safe and effective enough to give kids ages 6 to 17. If the FDA agrees, it would become the second option for those children, joining Pfizer’s vaccine.
The same FDA expert panel will meet Wednesday to consider tot-sized shots from Moderna and Pfizer for the littlest kids, those under 5.
Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine has long been available for adults in the U.S. and elsewhere, and more than three dozen countries offer it to children, too. If the FDA authorizes Moderna’s vaccine for teens and younger children, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will next decide whether to recommend the shots.
The Massachusetts company is seeking clearance for two doses, and plans to later offer a booster. Tuesday’s vote was only for two doses — full-strength for 12-17 and half-sized doses for those 6-11.
US lifts COVID-19 test requirement for international travel
The Biden administration is lifting its requirement that international air travelers to the U.S. take a COVID-19 test within a day before boarding their flights, easing one of the last remaining government mandates meant to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Friday that the requirement would end Sunday, June 12 at 12:01 a.m. ET. The health agency said it will continue to monitor state of the pandemic and will reassess the need for a testing requirement if the situation changes.
“This step is possible because of the progress we’ve made in our fight against COVID-19,” said U.S. Health Secretary Xavier Becerra.
Airline and tourism groups have been pressing the administration for months to eliminate the testing requirement, saying it discourages people from booking international trips because they could be stranded overseas if they contract the virus on their trip.
White House offering additional 8 free COVID-19 tests to public
The government website for people to request free COVID-19 at-home tests from the U.S. government is now accepting a third round of orders.
The White House recently announced that U.S. households can request an additional eight free at-home tests to be shipped by the U.S. Postal Service.
President Joe Biden committed in January to making 1 billion tests available to the public free of charge, including 500 million available through covidtests.gov. But just 350 million of the amount available for ordering online have been shipped to date to addresses across the continental U.S., its territories and overseas military bases, the White House said.
People who have difficulty getting online or need help placing an order can call 1-800-232-0233 for assistance.
The third round brings to 16 the total number of free tests available to each U.S. household since the program started earlier this year. Households were eligible to receive four tests during each of two earlier rounds of ordering through the website.
2nd COVID-19 booster shot available to Hoosiers 50 and up
The Indiana Department of Health announced that Hoosiers age 50 and older, as well as those 12 and older with weakened immune systems, are now eligible to receive a second mRNA COVID-19 booster shot at least four months after their first booster dose.
The announcement comes one day after the Food and Drug Administration authorized an extra dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine for that age group and and certain younger people with severely weakened immune systems.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention later recommended the extra shot as an option but stopped short of urging that those eligible rush out and get it right away.
The IDOH is advising vaccine providers that they can begin administering second boosters of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines to people who qualify.
The CDC also says that adults who received a primary vaccine and booster dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine at least four months ago may now receive a second booster dose of either mRNA vaccine.
You can find a vaccine location at ourshot.in.gov or by calling Indiana 211 (866-211-9966). Appointments are recommended, but many sites do accept walk-ins.
Indiana coronavirus updates for Wednesday, June 15, 2022