Amid concerns over the spread of the delta variant, President Joe Biden is set to deliver remarks Tuesday afternoon about the state of his administration's vaccination effort and the "strong progress" the U.S. has made as it nears 160 million people fully vaccinated by the week's end, a White House official said.
Biden will outline five areas his team is focusing on to ramp up vaccination efforts, including door-to-door outreach, a larger emphasis on sending vaccines to health care providers and pediatricians who can encourage adolescents to get shots as part of their "back to school" check-ups and expanding mobile clinics and vaccination sites for workers, according to the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to preview the president's address.
The remarks will come after Biden is briefed by members of his COVID-19 response team. About 157 million Americans and 58% of U.S. adults have been fully vaccinated so far, and 67% of adults have had at least one vaccine shot – falling short of Biden's goal to have 70% of U.S. adults receive at least one jab by July 4.
– Courtney Subramanian
Also in the news:
►About 7,550 out of 19.5 million fully vaccinated Californians have contracted the coronavirus, a rate of infection of one in 2,582 that's a testament to the vaccines' effectiveness, according to an analysis by CalMatters of state data through June 23.
►Hundreds of Italian health care workers have sued local health authorities to avoid being suspended after they refused to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
►Fourteen people have been arrested in Mumbai, India, in connection with a scheme to administer fake COVID-19 vaccines to thousands of people, who actually got injected with salt water.
►Prime Minister Boris Johnson says people in England will no longer be required by law to wear face masks in indoor public spaces and to keep at least 3 feet apart as soon as July 19, the country's so-called "Freedom Day.''
►Germany will ease strict rules on travel from Britain, Portugal, Russia, India and Nepal that were imposed because of a surge in cases from the delta variant.
?Today's numbers: The U.S. has more than 33.7 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and more than 605,500 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The global totals: More than 184.2 million cases and nearly 3.98 million deaths. More than 157.3 million Americans have been fully vaccinated – 47.4% of the population, according to the CDC.
?What we're reading: Since the beginning of the pandemic, a third of the 64 people who oversee the nation’s vaccination programs have left. In the midst of the largest vaccination effort in the country's history, the nation lost a staggering amount of institutional knowledge. Read the full story.
COVID-19 cases were up in nearly half of U.S. states, a USA TODAY Network analysis of Johns Hopkins University data shows. Alaska and Arkansas more than doubled cases in just the last week. South Carolina and Kansas are up more than 50%.
In Missouri, the number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients jumped by nearly 30% over the Fourth of July weekend in a hard-hit area where immunization rates are low, leading to a temporary ventilator shortage and a public call for help from respiratory therapists. The delta variant, first identified in India, is spreading rapidly throughout the state, straining hospitals in Springfield and raising fresh fears that the situation could soon grow worse as holiday gatherings seed fresh cases. Missouri leads the nation with the most new cases per capita in the past 14 days; 39.4% of residents there are fully vaccinated.
COVID-19 cases in Mississippi increased by almost 15% in June. Mississippi's fully vaccinated rate of 31% is the lowest in the nation.
"It feels very reminiscent of where we were in an early part of the pandemic," State Epidemiologist Paul Byers said during a June 29 press conference. "It feels like we're in the same situation now with the delta variant."
With the beginning of the Summer Olympics a mere 17 days away, the host country of Japan has fully vaccinated less than 14% of its population against COVID-19, as a recent inoculation push has been undercut by supply shortages.
Organizers have steadfastly resisted calls for canceling or postponing the Tokyo Games, scheduled to start July 23, and concerns are starting to turn into actual problems.
Gaps in border controls have emerged, highlighted by the discovery of infections among the newly arrived team from Uganda and positive tests for the highly contagious delta variant. As cases grow in Tokyo, so have fears that the influx of tens of thousands of visitors – even with foreign spectators banned – will spread the virus.
“We must stay on high alert,” Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga told reporters Thursday. Noting the rising caseloads, he said “having no (domestic) spectators is a possibility.”
More than 60 people died when a public hospital on Indonesia’s main island of Java ran out of oxygen as COVID rages around the country and oxygen supplies dwindle, said a senior health official.
At least 63 coronavirus patients died during treatment in the hospital since Saturday – 33 of them when the central liquid oxygen supply ran out – even though the hospital switched to using oxygen cylinders during the outage, the official said. Medical oxygen comes in liquid and compressed forms. The oxygen supply was stabilized early Sunday morning.
After a slow vaccination rollout, Indonesia is now racing to inoculate as many people as possible as it battles an explosion of COVID-19 cases that have strained its health care. But inadequate global supply of vaccines, the complicated geography of the world's largest archipelago nation and hesitancy among some Indonesians stand as major roadblocks.
Residents of England got reassurances Monday that plans for the July 19 "Freedom Day'' remain in place, just as they were learning that Duchess Kate is self-isolating after coming in contact last week with a person who has tested positive for the coronavirus.
She has received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, and on Tuesday the British government said that self-isolating requirement will be scrapped Aug. 16 for those who are fully vaccinated.
The juxtaposition of the approaching end of COVID-19 restrictions in England with Prince William's wife being confined to home for 10 days underscores one of the key messages British Prime Minister Boris Johnson delivered with Monday's announcement:
"I want to stress from the outset that this pandemic is far from over," he said in a news conference. "It certainly won't be over by the 19th."
Johnson pointed out there has been a marked increase in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations recently, and the number of new infections could rise to 50,000 per day by July 19.
Contributing: The Associated Press