The latest updates on the coronavirus pandemic for Saturday, June 11, 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.
Small businesses are facing ‘summer of uncertainty’
Small businesses that depend on outdoor crowds and free-spending tourists aren’t sure what to expect this summer. Consumers likely have a lot of pent-up demand after more than two years of the pandemic.
The U.S. Travel Association predicts travel spending will be slightly above pre-pandemic levels. But consumers are also facing some significant financial headwinds.
Inflation is making day-to-day living more expensive, which could leave less money for discretionary spending. Gas prices are up more than 60% from a year ago and hotel rooms and airfare are pricier as well, putting pressure on travel budgets.
“It’s a summer of uncertainty,” said Ray Keating, chief economist with advocacy group the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council. “Inflation is a major worry and tied to that is increases in costs small businesses are seeing from their own vendors and suppliers. There’s a tight labor market. It’s a tough mix.”
And COVID-19 remains a looming presence.
Samuel Clark’s business, Broadway Crew, a promotional staffing agency and street team that promotes Broadway shows, is heavily dependent on face-to-face interaction with tourists in Times Square. While his business has recovered since Broadway reopened, it isn’t smooth sailing. Shows still close temporarily because of COVID-19 cases.
“That is a clear and present existential threat – we see events and shows closing and having a week off,” he said.
Latest US, world numbers
There have been more than 85.46 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States as of 7 a.m. ET Saturday, 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 534.79 million confirmed coronavirus cases with more than 6.3 million deaths and more than 11.54 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.
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 will end early Sunday morning. 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.
CDC map shows Floyd County at ‘high risk,’ 14 Indiana counties at ‘medium’ risk
On Saturday, June 11, 2022, Floyd County was listed on the CDC data map as having “high” community risk of spreading COVID-19, while 14 other counties (Brown, Clark, Clinton, 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.
The state reported 9,539 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the past seven days along with 71 new hospital admissions due to the virus.
Moderna says updated COVID shot boosts omicron protection
Moderna’s experimental COVID-19 vaccine that combines its original shot with protection against the omicron variant appears to work, the company announced Wednesday.
COVID-19 vaccine makers are studying updated boosters that might be offered in the fall to better protect people against future coronavirus surges.
Moderna’s preliminary study results show people given the combination shot experienced an eight-fold increase in virus-fighting antibodies capable of targeting the omicron mutant, the company announced.
Today’s COVID-19 vaccines all are based on the original version of the coronavirus. They’re still providing strong protection against severe disease, hospitalization and death even after the appearance of the super-contagious omicron variant — especially if people have had a booster dose.
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.