June 2 coronavirus news

By Mike Hayes, Melissa Macaya, Melissa Mahtani, Meg Wagner and Veronica Rocha, CNN

Updated 0003 GMT (0803 HKT) June 3, 2021
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11:35 a.m. ET, June 2, 2021

WHO says epidemiological studies required to investigate origins of Covid-19

From CNN’s Naomi Thomas

Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, the World Health Organization’s chief scientist, on June 2.
Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, the World Health Organization’s chief scientist, on June 2. CNN

The way to find the origin of Covid-19 is to really focus on the science and investigate all hypotheses, Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, the World Health Organization’s chief scientist, said on CNN International Wednesday. 

“It’s a question of really focusing on the science because, you know, this is how we’ve got to the bottom of previous outbreaks and got to the origin,” Swaminathan said. “It’s through very systematic, detailed, scientific interrogation of all the hypotheses on the table, but then you need epidemiological studies, you need to look at data, you need to go back to stored blood samples and examine them. So, there’s a huge amount of work, and I hope that it can get going in the coming weeks.” 

Swaminathan said that the WHO team who went to China earlier this year to investigate the origins of Covid-19 have a detailed report on their findings as well as a plan for the future.  

“This was only phase one,” she said. “From the very beginning everyone knew that you are not going to get to the origins in that limited period of time. So there’s a scope of work, of phase two and potentially, you know future phases of work that need to be done looking at all the options that were on the table.”

Hypotheses around the origin of Covid-19 include an animal to human jump and that it was accidentally leaked from a lab, she said. 

She said that there are a number of studies that have been planned and outlined in the report from the China team, and that WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has said he will support further investigation into all hypotheses and that nothing was off the table. 

11:49 a.m. ET, June 2, 2021

New York City will begin in-school Covid-19 vaccinations for kids aged 12-17, mayor says

From CNN's Laura Ly

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks on June 2.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks on June 2. NYC Media

New York City will begin offering in-school Covid-19 vaccinations for kids aged 12 to 17, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Wednesday. 

The program will start at four schools in the Bronx on Friday and will eventually expand to all five boroughs in the next few weeks. The city is partnering with UFT, a labor union that represents most teachers in the NYC public school system, to get as many kids over 12 years of age vaccinated before the school year ends later this month, de Blasio said.

Currently, around 118,000 New York City kids aged 12 through 17 have been vaccinated, comprising about 23% of the city’s kids in that age range, de Blasio said.

To date, New York City has administered over 8.3 million vaccine doses, de Blasio said.

The mayor also announced that the New York Aquarium will become a vaccine site and it will offer the Pfizer vaccine to anyone aged 12 and over. Anyone who gets vaccinated there will also get a free admission ticket, de Blasio said.

On Wednesday, New York City reported 240 new Covid-19 cases and a second-straight day with a Covid-19 positivity rate of 0.83% — the lowest rate the city has seen since it began recording that statistics, according to the mayor.

66 people were reported to be hospitalized due to Covid-19 for a rate of 0.56 per 100,000 people, city statistics show.

10:50 a.m. ET, June 2, 2021

US Chamber of Commerce to urge states to use rescue funds to help parents with childcare

From CNN’s Matt Egan

To combat a growing shortage of workers, the US Chamber of Commerce said it will urge states on Wednesday to use American Rescue Plan funding to help parents struggling with the high cost of childcare.

“There is no question the disruption of in-person schooling and childcare has reduced the number of caregivers, principally women, who are in the workforce and able to work,” Neil Bradley, the US Chamber’s chief policy officer, told CNN.

Arizona announced plans on May 13 to use funds from the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan to assist working parents with childcare costs. The state said it will provide three months of childcare assistance to people making $52,000 or less who return to work after collecting unemployment benefits. The initiative is part of Arizona’s decision to end the $300 enhanced unemployment benefits.

“We will encourage other states to do that,” Bradley said, adding that the “affordability and accessibility to childcare” were problems even before the pandemic erupted.

The pressure from the Chamber of Commerce comes as businesses grapple with a shortage of workers and a record-high 8.1 million job openings as of March.

“We have to find a way to bring [women] back to work,” Minneapolis Federal Reserve President Neel Kashkari told CNN’s Poppy Harlow on Tuesday.

Although the Chamber of Commerce opposes elements of President Biden’s Build Back Better agenda, most notably tax hikes, Bradley applauded the administration’s efforts to ease the burden of childcare. 

“The president deserves credit for identifying a lot of important problems that we need to discuss with the American Families Plan,” Bradley said, specifically citing the affordability and accessibility of childcare. 

9:01 a.m. ET, June 2, 2021

CDC forecasts predict Covid-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths will continue to decrease

From CNN's Naomi Thomas

Ensemble forecasts published Wednesday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention project that newly reported Covid-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths will likely continue to decrease over the next four weeks.

The forecast predicts a total of 601,000 to 614,000 US Covid-19 deaths by June 26.

The previous ensemble forecast, published May 26, projected up to 606,000 US Covid-19 deaths by June 19. 

1:36 p.m. ET, June 2, 2021

Biden will issue rallying cry ahead of July 4th vaccination deadline

From CNN's Kaitlan Collins and Jeremy Diamond

President Joe Biden speaks on June 1 in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
President Joe Biden speaks on June 1 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Evan Vucci/AP

As vaccination demands slow in the US, President Biden today will issue a rallying cry to get people vaccinated against Covid-19 ahead of his Fourth of July deadline. 

Nearly 51% of the US population has received at least one dose of Covid-19 vaccine, and nearly 41% of the population is fully vaccinated, according to US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data. 

Biden announced in May he wants at least 70% of American adults to have one shot by the Fourth of July.

According to a White House official, Biden will deem June "a national month of action to get more people vaccinated by July 4."

Biden will detail efforts to get people vaccinated, "including by mobilizing national organizations, community-based and faith-based partners, businesses, social media influencers, celebrities, athletes, colleges, young people, and thousands of volunteers," the official added. 

Biden is delivering remarks at 1:15 p.m. ET on the state of the US vaccination campaign, touting the progress that has been made and the work that remains to meet his July 4th goal.

8:29 a.m. ET, June 2, 2021

UK’s latest coronavirus data seems encouraging, government advisor says

From CNN’s James Briggs

The current state of coronavirus data in the UK shows encouraging signs of improvement, according a member of the government’s vaccine taskforce, John Bell. 

He called on people to strike a “balance” in monitoring Covid-19 spread and that “if we scamper down a rabbit hole every time we see a new variant, we are going to spend a long time huddled away.” 

On Tuesday, the UK recorded zero coronavirus deaths for the first time since the start of the pandemic. However, there is still some concern about the spread in the UK of the more transmissible variant first identified in India.

Bell said he believes the current rollout of vaccines will be “good and effective.” With the main aim now to “get more people vaccinated down in the younger age groups” in a bid to stop transmission. However, he warned that while the vaccines are good for all of the variants today “that’s not guaranteed forever” and could “come back to bite us."

Some leading scientists within the UK have called for a delay in the last stage of the government's lockdown easing roadmap in England, which will see the removal of legal limits on social distancing. A final decision on this is expected to be reached on June 14.

When looking to the future Bell said “this disease is here to stay, probably forever” but he called for more progress in suppressing the virus around the world. Warning that without action “we are just going to sit here and get slammed by repeated variants.”

“Most of the world doesn’t have vaccines, they don’t have the disease under control at all,” Bell added, as he encouraged other countries to do their part “to get more of these vaccines out into the developing world.” 
9:31 a.m. ET, June 2, 2021

12 states have met the Biden administration's goal to vaccinate 70% of adults against Covid-19

From CNN's Deidre McPhillips

A health care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine in San Diego on April 1.
A health care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine in San Diego on April 1. Bing Guan/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Twelve states have now reached the Biden administration’s goal to vaccinate 70% of adults with at least one dose of Covid-19 vaccine by July 4, according to data published Tuesday by the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

California and Maryland join Connecticut, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont in reaching that benchmark.

Overall, 296,404,240 total doses of Covid-19 have been reported administered, about 81% of the 366,317,045 total doses delivered.

The CDC did not update its Covid-19 data tracker on Monday, but about 1.5 million doses have been reported administered since Sunday, for a seven-day average of about 1.2 million doses per day.

About 168.5 million people – nearly 51% of the US population – have received at least one dose of Covid-19 vaccine. About 136 million people – nearly 41% of the population – is fully vaccinated, according to CDC data.

Note: Data published by the CDC may be delayed, and doses may not have been reported on the date administered.