June 4 coronavirus news

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

Updated 2347 GMT (0747 HKT) June 4, 2021
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11:13 a.m. ET, June 4, 2021

New increases in teen hospitalization rates reinforce importance of Covid-19 vaccination, CDC study says

From CNN's Naomi Thomas

A teenager is inoculated with Pfizer's vaccine against Covid-19 at Dekalb Pediatric Center in Decatur, Georgia, on May 11.
A teenager is inoculated with Pfizer's vaccine against Covid-19 at Dekalb Pediatric Center in Decatur, Georgia, on May 11. Chris Aluka Berry/Reuters

A recent increase in Covid-19 hospitalizations among people ages 12 to 17 reinforces the importance of practicing prevention measures against the coronavirus and vaccination, according to a study released Friday in the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

The report looked at hospitalization data for 12- to- 17-year-olds from a large coronavirus surveillance network. It found 204 adolescents who were likely hospitalized primarily for Covid-19 between Jan. 1 and March 31, 2021. Nearly a third — 31.4% — were admitted to intensive care units and 4.9% required invasive mechanical ventilation. There were no associated deaths. 

Hospitalization rates among young people from March 1, 2020 to April 24, 2021 peaked in the week ending Jan. 9 at 2.1 per 100,000, then lowered to 0.6 in the week ending March 13. Rates then rose again to 1.3 and 1.2 respectively for the weeks ending April 17 and April 24. 

The trend contrasts with hospitalization rates among people age 65 and older – the group with the highest Covid-19 vaccination coverage. During that period, hospitalization rates stabilized for that older age group

Hospitalization rates for adolescents were lower than rates among adults, but exceeded those among children ages 5 to 11. The recent increase in hospitalization rates among people ages 12 to 17 might be related to more transmissible coronavirus variants, large numbers of children returning to school and other indoor activities, and changes in physical distancing, mask wearing and other prevention behaviors, researchers wrote. The Covid-19 vaccine made by Pfizer was authorized for use in people as young as 12 in May. 

Compared with flu-associated hospitalization rates, cumulative Covid-19 associated hospitalization rates from Oct. 1, 2020 to April 24, 2021 were 2.5 to 3.0 times higher than three recent flu seasons. 

During a White House Covid-19 briefing Thursday, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky, referenced the research and urged parents to get their teens vaccinated. 

“In the month leading up to the recommendations of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine for teens and adolescents 12 and older, CDC observed troubling data regarding the hospitalizations of adolescents with Covid-19. More concerning were the number of adolescents admitted to the hospital who required treatment in the intensive care unit with mechanical ventilation,” Walensky said, adding that the data “force us to redouble our motivation to get our adolescents and young adults vaccinated.” 

She also recommended that young people continue to wear masks and take precautions to protect themselves and others until they are fully vaccinated. 

11:09 a.m. ET, June 4, 2021

Biden praises May jobs report and US pandemic recovery: "This is progress, historic progress"

Susan Walsh/AP
Susan Walsh/AP

President Biden applauded the May jobs report and thanked the American people for their cooperation in helping "get Covid-19 under control."

"The signs of further progress are already here," Biden said in remarks from Delaware. "This is progress, historic progress. Progress that is pulling our economy out of the worst crisis it's been in 100 years. Its testament to the new strategy that is growing this economy, not only growing it, but growing it from the bottom up and the middle out."

The President said the latest economic indicators are proof that the efforts of his administration and the country to battle the pandemic are working.

"No other major economy in the world is growing as fast as ours. No other major economy is gaining jobs as quickly as ours. And none of the success is an accident. It isn't luck," the President said. "It's due in no small part, first of all, to the cooperation of the American people in responding to my effort to get Covid-19 under control — wearing masks initially and getting vaccinated — and it's no small part to the bold action we took by passing the American Rescue Plan."

Biden called on Congress to pass his American Jobs Plan and the American Families Plan, and urged Americans to continue to get vaccinated.

"Everyone needs to get their shots though. Now is the time to accelerate the process we've been making. Now is the time to build on the foundation we laid. Progress is undeniable, it is not assured. That's why I propose the American Jobs Plan and the American Families Plan. We need to make the investments today to continue to succeed tomorrow," Biden said.

What the jobs report showed: America's job market recovery picked up some steam last month, with 559,000 positions added back to the economy. It was a second sizable miss of analyst expectations after a big disappointment in April. Economists had predicted 650,000 jobs added in May.

The unemployment rate fell to 5.8%, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday. Still, it was a big improvement from the revised 278,000 jobs added in April. The initial read of 266,000 jobs last month was the biggest miss versus expectations since Refinitiv started recording that data in 1999.

CNNs Anneken Tappe contributed reporting to this post.

10:37 a.m. ET, June 4, 2021

France will start a color-coded system for international travelers

From CNN’s Barbara Wojazer

Passengers line up at the passport control area of Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport on April 25.
Passengers line up at the passport control area of Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport on April 25. Ian Langsdon/Pool/AFP/Getty Images

France has introduced a new color-coded system for international travel that will begin June 9.

In a document published online Friday, the government outlined new travel regulations for travelers coming from “Green,” “Orange” or “Red” list countries, depending on their vaccination status. 

Vaccinated travelers arriving in France from “Green” list countries – including within the European Union, Australia, South Korea, Israel, Japan, Lebanon, New Zealand and Singapore – will be permitted to travel to France without any restrictions.

Those who have not been vaccinated will need to provide a negative PCR or antigen test result within 72 hours of travel. 

Vaccinated travelers arriving in France from the US and the UK, or from any other “Orange” country, will also be required to show a negative PCR or antigen test; however those who have not been vaccinated will only be permitted to travel from “Orange” list countries for essential purposes, and will be required to self-isolate upon return to France for seven days.

More stringent rules will be applied to arrivals from “Red” list countries, which include India, South Africa and Turkey, as well as others in South America and South East Asia. 

Visitors arriving from “Red” list countries, whether vaccinated or not, will only be permitted to enter France for urgent reasons and will be required to provide a negative coronavirus test result and quarantine upon arrival.

According to the government’s update, the list of countries and their categorization could change depending on the epidemiological situation.

France is set to enter its next phase of reopening on June 9, with indoor dining and non-contact sports to be permitted and a relaxation of the national curfew to 11 p.m. local time. 

9:55 a.m. ET, June 4, 2021

Biden will speak soon on the economy and pandemic recovery. Here's what the May jobs report showed.  

From CNNs Anneken Tappe

Recruiters meet with candidates at a job fair at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago on May 19.
Recruiters meet with candidates at a job fair at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago on May 19. Scott Olson/Getty Images

President Biden is set to deliver remarks at 10:15 a.m. ET on the US economy following the release of the May jobs report.

America's job market recovery picked up some steam last month, with 559,000 positions added back to the economy.  

It was a second sizable miss of analyst expectations after a big disappointment in April. Economists had predicted 650,000 jobs added in May.

The unemployment rate fell to 5.8%, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday.

Still, it was a big improvement from the revised 278,000 jobs added in April. The initial read of 266,000 jobs last month was the biggest miss versus expectations since Refinitiv started recording that data in 1999.

The labor market is in a weird spot, showing just how uneven and awkward the recovery is.

Even though millions of people remain unemployed or have had to leave the labor force, businesses complain of worker shortages. Companies are raising wages to attract and retain employees.

Meanwhile, various states have announced they will end the pandemic era expanded jobless benefits before the official expiry in September. Whether that will spur a jump in job applicants remains to be seen.

Critics of higher unemployment aid say the bigger payments have kept people sitting on their couches. But the pandemic isn't over yet and workers are still balancing health and exposure risks, as well as child care, with going back to work.

Hopes are high that the full return to in-person schooling in September will allow those kept at home due to care responsibilities to rejoin the labor force.

9:37 a.m. ET, June 4, 2021

UK medicines regulator authorizes use of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for 12 to 15 year olds

From CNN's Niamh Kennedy

A health worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNtech Covd-19 vaccine in London on May 20.
A health worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNtech Covd-19 vaccine in London on May 20. Dinendra Haria/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images

The UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has authorized use of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine for children aged 12 to 15 years old in the UK. 

“We have carefully reviewed clinical trial data in children aged 12 to 15 years and have concluded that the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective in this age group and that the benefits of this vaccine outweigh any risk,” MHRA Chief Executive Dr June Raine said Friday. 

“It will now be for the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) to advise on whether this age group will be vaccinated as part of the deployment programme,” she added. 

The move follows a decision by France, announced Wednesday, to begin vaccinating adolescents aged 12 to 18 years old with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine starting on June 15. 

According to a statement from the MHRA, more than 2,000 children between 12 to 15 years old were studied as part of randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trials.

The MHRA highlighted that cases of Covid-19 were detected in the seven days following the second dose in the vaccinated group, compared with 16 cases in the placebo group.

“Data on neutralising antibodies showed the vaccine working at the same level as seen in adults aged 16-25 years,” Professor Sir Munir Pirmohamed, chair of the commission on Human Medicine, said Friday. 

“These are extremely positive results,” he added. 

The MHRA says it will continue to scrutinize though “rigorous surveillance” any suspected side effects associated with the use of the vaccine in this age group.

The US Food and Drug Administration expanded the emergency use authorization for Pfizer's Covid-19 vaccine last month to include people ages 12 to 15.

9:21 a.m. ET, June 4, 2021

Biden administration faces uphill battle to meet its July 4 vaccination goal, CNN analysis shows

From CNN's Michael Nedelman and Deidre McPhillips

Christian Valcich receives the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in Chicago on May 29.
Christian Valcich receives the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in Chicago on May 29. David Banks/Getty Images

The United States is facing an uphill battle to meet President Biden’s goal of vaccinating 70% of adults with at least one dose by July 4, according to a CNN analysis. But the administration continues to push ahead with new programs and initiatives, and key players remain hopeful that the goal will be met.

Currently, 63% of adults in the US have received one dose of Covid-19 vaccine, and an average of about 371,000 adults were added to that total each day last week, according to data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

But closer to 564,000 adults would need to initiate vaccination each day to reach Biden’s goal by July 4 – a rate that the US has only consistently fallen behind in the past week or so. The holiday weekend might have delayed some data reporting, but daily vaccinations had dipped below the required pace a few times before this week. 

Another 18 million adults will need to receive at least one dose to reach 70%. At the current pace of vaccination, the US would hit about 68% of adults on July 4 – falling short by about 6 million adults. The full 70% would be reached about two weeks later.

Even so, 12 states have already met Biden’s goal: California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont.

Eight others are on track to reach 70% of adults by July 4: Colorado, Delaware, Illinois, Minnesota, New York, Oregon, Virginia and Washington, as well as Washington, DC. But three states – Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi – might not even vaccinate half of their adult residents with at least one dose by July 4 at their current pace.

On Wednesday, Biden announced a “National Month of Action” with various initiatives aimed at boosting vaccination rates in key communities, including free child care, extended hours at pharmacies and local outreach.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky and Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy have all recently voiced their confidence in the ability to reach the July 4 goal.

“I think we absolutely can still hit that goal,” Vivek told CNN’s Jake Tapper on Wednesday, touting the administration’s new action plan and calling on Americans to talk to their family and friends.

 “Now, because we’ve had so much success early on, we are now getting to the part of the campaign which is tougher. We’ve got to look further, if you will, convince more people, get them the right information, increase access even further,” Fauci said.

Overall, about 169 million people in the US have received at least one dose of Covid-19 vaccine, and nearly 137 million people are fully vaccinated, according to CDC data. The CDC includes territories, such as Guam and the US Virgin Islands, in its national population calculations.

8:00 a.m. ET, June 4, 2021

Former CDC director says US is entering the "slog-phase of the vaccination campaign"

From CNN's Lauren Mascarenhas

The US is seeing a decline in daily Covid-19 vaccinations because most who want and can access the vaccine, have already gotten it, former Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Tom Frieden said Thursday.

“We're making a lot of progress, but frankly, we're entering kind of the slog-phase of the vaccination campaign, where the people who are most eager to have it and most able to get it, have gotten it,” Frieden told CNN.

More context: The seven-day average of Covid-19 vaccine doses administered has fallen below 1 million doses per day for the first time since January, according to CDC data published Thursday. 

Frieden noted that the US must now focus on improving access and education around the Covid-19 vaccine.

“Now we need to continue to make it easier to get, and to address people's concerns,” he said, adding that the vaccine is “astonishingly effective and very, very safe.”