India becomes the second country to report 20 Million total cases but many more are undetected, according to experts. India’s popular cricket league was suspended. And in the U.S., Pfizer’s vaccine is set to be authorized for adolescents.
Here’s what you need to know:
Biden announces a strategy change as the pace of vaccination slows. Pfizer says it will seek clearance in September for its vaccine to be used in children aged 2 to 11. New cases are climbing in Arizona while most of the U.S. improves. The New York region’s reopening offers relief, but some worry it’s too soon. India’s reported infections surge past 20 million, though the number is likely higher. Members of the Indian diaspora race to find oxygen for Covid patients and are ‘inundated with responses.’ New York extends its eviction moratorium through August.
As the pace of U.S. vaccination slows, President Biden announced a shift in federal strategy on Tuesday afternoon away from mass vaccination sites to smaller, more local settings in an attempt to boost the campaign to get more shots in arms.
He said that he is directing tens of thousands of pharmacies to offer walk-in appointments for coronavirus vaccine shots, creating more pop-up and mobile clinics and shipping more doses to rural clinics, all aimed at vaccinating 70 percent of American adults at least partially by July 4.
“We’re going to keep at it,” he said in his remarks. Ultimately, “most people will be convinced by the fact that their failure to get the vaccine may cause other people to get sick and maybe die.”
The federal government has also decided that if states do not order their full allocation of doses in any given week, that supply can be shipped to other states that want more. States previously were able to carry over to the following week doses that were available to them but that they did not order.
In the afternoon address, the president pledged more funding for outreach campaigns designed to convince those reluctant to get shots of the need to protect their own health and that of others. Despite a flood of vaccine available, providers are administering about 2.29 million doses per day on average, about a 32 percent decrease from the peak of 3.38 million reported on April 13, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Senior health officials have decided that herd immunity — the point at which the virus dies out for lack of hosts to transmit it — will likely remain elusive. But if 70 percent of the population is at least partially vaccinated, the nation can keep gradually removing restrictions that impede normal life, one senior administration official said, speaking on condition of anonymity at a briefing for reporters.
The president will call for about 160 million adults to be fully vaccinated by Independence Day. As of Monday, more than 105 million Americans were fully vaccinated and at least 56 percent of adults — or 147 million people — had received at least one shot. That has contributed to a steep decline in infections, hospitalization and deaths across all age groups, federal officials said.
To increase availability of shots, the White House informed states that if they choose not to order their full allocation of vaccine each week, the doses will go back into a federal pool so that other states can draw on it, according to state and federal officials.
States that do not claim their full allotment one week will not be penalized because they will still be able to request the full amount the next week, officials said.
The shift, reported earlier Tuesday by The Washington Post, makes little difference to some states like Virginia that have routinely drawn down as many doses as the federal government was willing to ship. But it could help some states that are able to use more doses than the federal government allotted to them based on their population. They will now be allowed to ask for up to 50 percent more doses than the government allotted them.
Until now, White House officials had been unwilling to shift doses to states that were faster to administer them out of concern that rural areas or underserved communities would lose out to urban or richer areas where residents were more willing to get shots.