June 11 (Reuters) – Here’s what you need to know about the coronavirus right now:
Young, Indian, Unvaccinated
Vaccines remain unavailable to a large part of India’s population that cannot afford it or has little or no access to private hospitals.
India began an inoculation drive for its 1.38 billion people in earnest in mid-January. Following a surge in COVID-19 infections across the country in April, Prime Minister Narendra Modi accelerated plans to broaden the programme and opened up vaccinations from May 1 for the roughly 600 million people aged between 18 and 45.
The decision led to a rush by people in that age group to sign up to the government’s CoWIN vaccination website. Critically, there was no corresponding increase in vaccine supplies. By June 4, India had provided at least one dose to roughly 50 million people aged between 18 and 44, representing just 8% of that population group.
G7 to donate 1 billion vaccine doses to poorer countries
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson expects the Group of Seven to agree to donate 1 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses to poorer countries during its summit starting on Friday, and help innoculate the world by the end of next year.
Just hours after U.S. President Joe Biden vowed to supercharge the battle against the coronavirus with a donation of 500 million Pfizer shots, Johnson said Britain would give at least 100 million surplus vaccines to the poorest nations.
Heart inflammation in young men higher than expected after Pfizer, Moderna vaccines
A higher-than-expected number of young men have experienced heart inflammation after their second dose of the mRNA COVID-19 shots from Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna, according to data from two vaccine safety monitoring systems, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said on Thursday.
The agency said it is still assessing the risk from the condition and has not yet concluded that there was a causal relationship between the vaccines and cases of myocarditis or pericarditis. While some patients required hospitalization, most have fully recovered from their symptoms, the CDC said.
Two guests onboard a Royal Caribbean cruise test positive
Cruise operator Royal Caribbean RCL.N said on Thursday two guests onboard its Celebrity Millennium ship have tested positive for COVID-19, but are asymptomatic and currently in isolation. Celebrity Millennium was one of the first cruises in North America to restart sailing last week, after more than a year.
The guests, who were sharing a room, are being monitored by the company’s medical team, the cruise operator said, adding that it was conducting contact tracing, and expediting testing for all close contacts of the individuals.
Masks off in U.S. transit systems; no vaccine required for gov’t workers
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Thursday it will no longer require travelers to wear masks in outdoor transit hubs and in outdoor spaces on ferries, buses and trolleys, due to the lower risk of coronavirus transmission outdoors.
U.S. government employees should not be required to receive a COVID-19 vaccine before returning to the office or made to disclose their vaccination status, according to guidance set to be released by the Biden administration on Thursday. Workers can voluntarily disclose this information and federal agencies should base their reopening plans, in part, on how many employees are vaccinated, the guidance said.