June 15 coronavirus news

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

Updated 7:58 p.m. ET, June 15, 2021
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12:14 p.m. ET, June 15, 2021

Nearly a quarter of Covid-19 patients have a post-Covid condition, study finds 

From CNN's Naomi Thomas

Nearly a quarter of Covid-19 patients, 23.2%, had at least one post-Covid condition 30 or more days after their initial diagnosis, according to a new white paper study from FAIR Health posted on Tuesday.  

While post-Covid conditions were found to a greater extent in patients who had more severe Covid-19, they were also found in a “substantial” share of asymptomatic cases. 

Half of patients who were hospitalized with Covid-19 had a post-Covid condition 30 days or more after their initial diagnosis, as did 27.5% of those who had symptoms but were not hospitalized and 19% who were asymptomatic. 

The five most common post-Covid symptoms were pain, affecting 5.1% of patients; breathing difficulties, 3.5%; hyperlipidemia, 3%; malaise and fatigue, 2.9%; and hypertension, 2.4%. While these were the five most common overall, the rankings did change by age group. For example, among 0- to 18-year-olds, pain and breathing difficulties were the top two conditions, but intestinal issues replaced hyperlipidemia as the third most common. 

The nonprofit FAIR Health looked at nearly 2 million people who had a Covid-19 diagnosis between February and December 2020, from a database of over 34 billion private health care claim records.

FAIR Health says the study was not formally peer-reviewed, but was evaluated by an independent academic reviewer. The organization says it believes this is the largest population studied for post-Covid conditions.

Most of the post-Covid conditions studied were more common in females. However, there were 12 conditions which were more commonly experienced by males. 

One of these, cardiac inflammation, the researchers call “notable” as the age distribution was skewed towards a younger cohort. The largest share — 25.4% — of patients reporting this condition were in the 19- to 29-year old age group, a number which was also disproportionate to the age group’s share of Covid patients overall. 

Four mental health conditions were also evaluated as post-Covid conditions: anxiety, which was associated with the highest percentage of patients in all age groups, followed by depression, adjustment disorders and tic disorders.  

When it came to risk of death 30 or more days after initial diagnosis, patients who were hospitalized and discharged had the highest percentage of deaths — 0.45% of these patients died. For symptomatic, non-hospitalized patients, 0.02% of patients died and 0.01% of asymptomatic patients died.  

Regardless of how severe their Covid-19 was, males were more likely to die 30 or more days after initial diagnosis, with 57%, 53% and 55% of these deaths happening among hospitalized, non-hospitalized symptomatic and asymptomatic males, respectively. 

11:41 a.m. ET, June 15, 2021

White House will host a July 4 celebration to mark "independence from the virus" 

From CNN's Kate Sullivan

The South Lawn of the White House is seen in Washington, D.C., on May 4.
The South Lawn of the White House is seen in Washington, D.C., on May 4. Erin Scott/Bloomberg/Getty Images

The White House will host a celebration for thousands of essential workers and military families on July 4 on the South Lawn to mark the US’s “independence from the virus,” according to a White House official. 

The White House is also encouraging state and local partners to host their own events across the nation to celebrate the progress the country has made in its fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

The National Mall will be open for the traditional July 4 fireworks. 

President Biden had set July 4 as the deadline for a return to normalcy in the US, saying in March that he was hopeful Americans would be able to gather with family and friends to celebrate the holiday. The President has also set a goal of vaccinating 70% of US adults with at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, but the country is not currently on track to reach that goal. 

The AP was first to report the news. 

12:08 p.m. ET, June 15, 2021

US donates batch of Johnson & Johnson vaccines to Mexico

From CNN's Karol Suarez

A shipment of Johnson & Johnson vaccines are delivered at Toluca International Airport in Toluca, Mexico, on June 15.
A shipment of Johnson & Johnson vaccines are delivered at Toluca International Airport in Toluca, Mexico, on June 15. Secretaria de Relaciounes Exteriores

Mexico has received a batch of 1,350,000 Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine doses donated by the US, officials from both countries have confirmed. 

Early Tuesday, Mexico's Director for North America Affairs, Roberto Velasco Álvarez, and the Chargé d'affaires at the US Embassy in Mexico, John S. Creamer, received the shipment from the US at Toluca International Airport. 

Mexico's President Andrés Manuel López Obrador thanked President Joe Biden for the vaccines in his daily briefing, saying, "Thanks to President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris for this donation, this gesture of solidarity."

López Obrador said the single-dose J&J vaccines would be distributed across 39 municipalities along the Mexico-US border, adding more doses were needed.  

"As they will not be enough, we're requesting that they send us another [shipment of the] same amount of 1,350,000 doses to vaccinate people along the border: [in] Baja California, Sonora, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo León, Tamaulipas, [all] 39 municipalities," he said. 

Mexico has to date received over 47 million Covid-19 vaccine doses and has so far administered almost 38 million, according to Mexico’s Health Ministry.

10:52 a.m. ET, June 15, 2021

UK could see hundreds of Covid-19 deaths a day, government scientific adviser says

From CNN’s James Briggs in London

The UK could still see hundreds of Covid-19 deaths each day, a government scientific adviser warned on Tuesday.

When asked on BBC Radio 4 if the UK would have faced hundreds of deaths a day again without a delay in the lifting of coronavirus restrictions, Graham Medley, a member of the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), said: “Oh easily, and I think we still might at some point.”

Later in a video briefing for journalists, he said the UK’s decision to delay lifting its final coronavirus restrictions “will save other people's lives.”

It is hoped that the delay in lifting all social contact restrictions from June 29 to July 19 will allow for more vaccinations to be administered, making those most as risk better protected against new variants, especially the more transmissible Delta one, first discovered in India, which is now the dominant strain in the UK. 

Medley said “we're having a wave of infections” due to greater mixing, with yet more people expected to be “exposed to the virus” over the coming months.

He urged caution when trying to predict where the UK will be in weeks to come with cases as, “we don't have absolute knowledge of all the parameters, we don't know for example exactly what people will do.” Along with no clear way of seeing how the virus will evolve, and what the “long term consequences of vaccination are in terms of immunity.” 

Despite the concerns of possible further spreads, Medley praised the vaccine rollout saying it has been “working extremely well” and if it were not for the success of the distribution, it would be hard to “survive” at the current level of lockdown lifting. 

When asked if this predicted wave of cases would be the last peak the UK sees, SAGE member Dr. Anne Cori, said: “I would say I hope this was the last time, but I don't think so.”

 

10:35 a.m. ET, June 15, 2021

NIH researchers find more evidence Covid was circulating in the US in December 2019 

From CNN’s Maggie Fox

Researchers have found more evidence that coronavirus was circulating at low levels across the United States as early as December 2019 – weeks before the first officially reported cases.

Frozen blood samples indicate people in five states – Illinois, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Mississippi and Massachusetts – were infected with coronavirus days or weeks before any cases were officially reported in those states.

Volunteers taking part in the National Institutes of Health's All of Us study, an ongoing effort to gather health information on 1 million people, donated blood as part of the study. Tests of 24,000 samples taken in early 2020 showed antibodies to coronavirus in the blood of at least nine people, the All of Us researchers reported in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases.

"These included individuals with specimens collected January 7 from Illinois, January 8 from Massachusetts, February 3 from Wisconsin, February 15 from Pennsylvania, and March 6 in Mississippi," they wrote.

The first previously recognized case of Covid-19 in Illinois was reported on January 24 in a woman who has just returned from Wuhan, China, the researchers said.

The first confirmed case in Massachusetts was not until February 1. In Wisconsin, the first confirmed case had been February 5; in Pennsylvania the first reported case was March 6 and in Mississippi it was March 11.

Since it takes about two weeks to develop antibodies after infection, the findings indicate some of the volunteers were infected in December, the researchers said.

"This study contributes to the evidence of low-level circulation of SARS-CoV-2 in many states at the start of the US epidemic," the researchers wrote. 

Early in the pandemic, the federal government only recommended testing people with symptoms who had a history of travel, or direct contact with a traveler.

These findings suggest that policy missed cases, the researchers said.

10:33 a.m. ET, June 15, 2021

AstraZeneca says its antibody treatment doesn’t prevent symptomatic Covid-19 after exposure

From CNN’s Jen Christensen

AstraZeneca announced Tuesday that its antibody combination treatment called AZD7442 was not successful at preventing symptomatic Covid-19 after exposure.

In a trial it called Storm Chaser, the company tested the antibody combination to see if it prevented symptomatic Covid-19 after an unvaccinated person had been exposed to the virus within the last eight days. The treatment reduced the risk of developing symptoms by 33% compared to placebo, but that was not considered statistically significant. 

The trial included 1,121 participants. There were 23 cases of symptomatic Covid-19 out of 749 who received the drug and 17 cases among 372 people who received a placebo.

Among those who tested negative for the coronavirus at the time they were given the treatment, the risk of developing symptoms fell by 92% compared with placebo more than seven days after treatment, and by 51% up to seven days after dosing.

The company says it will further test this treatment to see if it could be used to prevent symptomatic Covid-19 in those not already infected. It is also studying the drug as a treatment to prevent more severe disease.

“The results of Storm Chaser suggest that AZD7442 may be useful in preventing symptomatic COVID-19 in individuals not already infected,” said Dr. Myron Levin, the principal investigator on the trial on the AstraZeneca website. “While COVID-19 vaccination efforts have been successful, there is still a significant need for prevention and treatment options for certain populations, including those unable to be vaccinated or those who may have an inadequate response to vaccination.”
9:53 a.m. ET, June 15, 2021

You should "strongly consider" getting vaccinated because of Delta variant, former White House adviser says

From CNN’s Naomi Thomas

Maryland National Guard Sgt. Jason Grant, left, administers a Moderna coronavirus vaccine at CASA de Maryland's Wheaton Welcome Center on May 21 in Wheaton, Maryland.
Maryland National Guard Sgt. Jason Grant, left, administers a Moderna coronavirus vaccine at CASA de Maryland's Wheaton Welcome Center on May 21 in Wheaton, Maryland. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Andy Slavitt, former White House senior adviser for Covid-19 response, said on CNN’s New Day Tuesday that the Delta variant is a reason to encourage unvaccinated people to “strongly consider” getting a Covid-19 vaccine, as communities with low rates will be subject to potential outbreaks. 

Slavitt said there’s a lot of concerns with the variant globally, where vaccinations aren’t as accessible.

The Delta variant was first identified in India. Scientists say they believe it is more transmissible and almost double the risk of hospitalization compared to the Alpha variant, first identified in the UK.

“Here in the US, it’s a better picture – if you’re vaccinated,” he said. “So for those vaccinated, the vaccines are proving to be quite effective even against the Delta variant, so you’ve very little to worry about. If you’re not vaccinated, the Delta variant will spread in your community more quickly. It will take less exposure to get Covid-19. And so this is another reason to encourage people who haven’t been vaccinated to strongly consider doing it.” 

Slavitt said vaccinated and unvaccinated populations each “clump together.” 

“If you have more than roughly half the population vaccinated, it’s not as if half the people you know are vaccinated and half aren’t,” he said. “Either just about everybody you know is vaccinated or everybody you know isn’t.” 

Communities with lower vaccination rates are at risk of potential outbreaks, Slavitt said.

“Those outbreaks are not going to hopefully have quite the wildfire spread as we saw in 2020, but they’re still going to impact those communities pretty strongly,” he said. 

9:32 a.m. ET, June 15, 2021

Covid-19 cases drop in states where more than half of residents are vaccinated, CNN analysis shows

From CNN’s Deidre McPhillips

In the 11 states that have fully vaccinated more than half of their residents, new Covid-19 case rates are lower than average and dropping, according to a CNN analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Some states that have vaccinated less than half of their residents, however, have seen cases increase over the past week and higher average case rates. 

Over the past week, the US recorded about 3.6 cases per 100,000 residents. But the average case rate in the 11 states that have fully vaccinated more than half of their residents was about 24% lower, at about 2.8 cases per 100,000 people. With Washington as the one exception, each of those 11 states recorded fewer than 4 cases per 100,000 people.

Each of those 11 states – Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington – also recorded fewer cases in the past seven days than the week prior, dropping by an average of 25%. 

All of the states that saw an increase in cases over the past seven days compared to the week before have fully vaccinated less than half of their residents. 

In fact, the nine states that have fully vaccinated less than 35% of their residents recorded an average of about 5.9 new cases per 100,000 people over the past week. That’s about 1.6 times higher than the US rate and more than double the average rate among states that have fully vaccinated more than half of their residents. 

Wyoming recorded the highest case rate over the past week — more than 11 new cases per 100,000 people – and only a third of residents are fully vaccinated in that state. Vermont recorded the lowest case rate – about 1 case per 100,000 people — and about 62% of residents are fully vaccinated there.

9:19 a.m. ET, June 15, 2021

Athletes face potential disqualification for breaking Covid-19 rules at Tokyo Olympics

From CNN’s Aleks Klosok

The Olympic Rings are displayed by the Odaiba Marine Park Olympic venue on June 3 in Tokyo.
The Olympic Rings are displayed by the Odaiba Marine Park Olympic venue on June 3 in Tokyo. Yuichi Yamazaki/Getty Images

Athletes who fail to comply with Covid-19 rules at this summer’s Tokyo Games face the prospect of disqualification, organizers announced on Tuesday as they published their third and final version of the Tokyo 2020 "Playbook."

The range of potential sanctions that organizers could impose on athletes and/or officials for Covid-19 violations ranges from warnings, temporary or permanent exclusion from the Games, withdrawal of accreditation through to disqualification and financial sanctions.

The latest version of the "Playbook," put together by officials, provided further new information concerning the lengthy Covid-19 countermeasures that will be put in place to safely hold this summer’s showpiece sporting event.

Here are some of the procedures:

  • Athletes will be tested daily using quantitative saliva antigen tests with the processing time expected to be no longer than 12 hours.
  • Athletes who return a positive result will have to take a follow-up test with results expected within three to five hours. 
  • Should a further positive result be returned, athletes will have to isolate in a general business hotel and will not be permitted to compete.
  • Athletes will not be allowed to go outside the hotel and the length of isolation will be determined by the Japanese health authorities, depending on the severity and symptoms of infection.

The decision on applicable measures for close contacts will be made on a case-by-case basis and will take into consideration the likelihood of the potential for spreading the virus.

Tokyo 2020 Playbook (Version III) for Athletes and Officials can be found HERE