Biden administration admits it won't reach July 4 vaccination goal; CDC studies explain vaccination slowdown: Latest COVID-19 updates

·9 min read

The Biden administration won't reach its "aspirational" goal of getting 70% of adult Americans at least partially vaccinated for COVID-19 by the Fourth of July, White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Jeff Zients said Tuesday.

Sixteen states and the District of Columbia have reached the goal already – but some states are at less than 50% of all adults, Zients said at a White House briefing. Still, the goal of at least partially vaccinating 70% of Americans ages 30 and older has been reached, he said, adding that the administration also is on track to hit the 70% target for ages 27 and older by the Fourth of July weekend.

Zients said it will take a few more weeks to reach 70% of all adults but called the current numbers "amazing progress."

"This is cause of celebration, and that is exactly what Americans will be able to do on July 4th, celebrate independence from the virus," Zients said. "We will have a Fourth of July celebration that is beyond anyone's expectations."

Dr. Anthony Fauci, Biden's chief medical adviser, stressed that the press to get more people vaccinated will continue. "No one should think that when we reach 70% (of all adults) across the country that we are done," Fauci said. "We are not done until we completely crush this outbreak."

Also in the news:

►Western Michigan University said it will hold a series of drawings, from August to December, to give away more than $100,000 to students who have been vaccinated against COVID-19.

►Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has threatened to order the arrest of Filipinos who refuse COVID-19 vaccination and told them to leave the country if they would not cooperate with the efforts to contain the pandemic.

►Israel's prime minister says the country is in the grip of a "new outbreak" of the coronavirus after a spike in cases in the past week, most of them minors with the highly infectious Delta variant of COVID-19.

►North Korea has told the World Health Organization it tested more than 30,000 people for the coronavirus through June 10 but has yet to find a single infection. Experts widely doubt North Korea’s claim.

📈 Today's numbers: The U.S. has more than 33.5 million confirmed coronavirus cases and at least 602,400 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The global totals: More than 178.9 million cases and more than 3.87 million deaths. More than 150.4 million Americans have been fully vaccinated – about 45.3% of the population, according to the CDC.

📘 What we're reading: Doctors are seeing an increase in mental health issues and feelings of guilt among people recovered from COVID-19. Here's why.

Keep refreshing this page for the latest updates. Want more? Sign up for our Coronavirus Watch newsletter for updates to your inbox and join our Facebook group.

Walgreens announces $25 giveaway for new COVID-19 vaccine recipients

Walgreens, one of the nation's two largest drugstore chains, plans to give $25 in store credit to anyone who gets a COVID-19 vaccination there in the next several days.

The move comes amid a flurry of COVID-19 vaccine incentives nationwide, including giveaways at Walgreens archrival CVS, million-dollar sweepstakes in states like Ohio and free food or drinks from restaurants like Krispy Kreme.

Walgreens said it will provide its incentive in one of two forms: $25 in store credit loaded onto the customer's myWalgreens account or if they don't have one, a $25 Walgreens gift card. Kids ages 12-15 who get a COVID-19 vaccination at Walgreens are not eligible for the benefit, but their parents or guardians are. Read more.

– Nathan Bomey

Michigan lifts most COVID-19 restrictions

Michigan took its biggest step toward returning to normal Tuesday, as most COVID-19 restrictions were lifted and the state reopened to full capacity.

"Today is an exciting, happy, joyful moment," Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said. "This is an exciting announcement that we are now dropping the epi(demic) orders. Effective today, there is no more mask or gathering order. Effective today, there are no more capacity limits, indoors or outdoors. Effective today, our pure Michigan summer is back."

The pandemic isn't over, but case rates are continuing to fall in Michigan – now below 18 cases per million people, said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, the state's chief medical executive and chief deputy director of the health department. The percentage of positive tests has dropped below 2%, its lowest point yet, and hospitalizations are dwindling.

Along with those encouraging trends, 61.2% of Michiganders ages 16 and older have gotten at least one dose of a vaccine, according to the state's vaccine dashboard. Read more.

– Kristen Jordan Shamus, Christina Hall and Dave Boucher, Detroit Free Press

Nursing home deaths up 32% in 2020 amid pandemic, watchdog says

Deaths among Medicare patients in nursing homes soared by 32% last year, with two devastating spikes eight months apart, a government watchdog reported Tuesday in the most comprehensive look yet at the ravages of COVID-19 among its most vulnerable victims.

The report from the inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services found that about 4 in 10 Medicare recipients in nursing homes had or likely had COVID-19 in 2020, and that deaths overall jumped by 169,291 from the previous year, before the coronavirus appeared.

"We knew this was going to be bad, but I don't think even those of us who work in this area thought it was going to be this bad," said Harvard health policy professor David Grabowski, a nationally recognized expert on long-term care, who reviewed the report for The Associated Press.

Chicago offers in-home vaccinations for all, with $50 gift card

All Chicago residents ages 12 and up are eligible to get vaccinated at home, and those who choose at-home shots will receive a $50 gift card from Grubhub, the city's Department of Public Health announced Tuesday.

The city's "Protect Chicago At Home" plan will allow up to 10 people at a residence to be vaccinated, even if people in the group are not Chicago residents, according to the department.

People will be allowed to choose between the Pfizer-BioNTech and Johnson & Johnson vaccines. Dr. Allison Arwady, the city's commissioner of public health, said Chicago is "the only large city that has expanded this kind of eligibility."

"This is completely free," she said in a press conference Tuesday. "As always, there is no insurance required. There is no co-pay. There is no billing after the fact. There is also no formal identification required."

Nearly 55% of Chicagoans have received at least one shot, and about 48% have been fully vaccinated, according to city data. Many of the city's most vulnerable neighborhoods are still seeing low rates of vaccine uptake. In several neighborhoods, fewer than 30% of people are fully vaccinated.

– Grace Hauck

Vaccine symptoms lead woman to discover Stage 2 breast cancer

Jennifer Moseley received the COVID-19 vaccine to protect herself from one disease. She ended up saving herself from another.

The Iowa grandmother remembers exactly when she got the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine: 4:30 p.m., Tuesday, April 20 – she had wanted to get the shot before visiting her daughter, Madie Kornberg, and her grandson, Sam, in Jacksonville for his birthday later that week.

The day after her shot, she came down with the flu-like symptoms that are commonly reported as symptoms of the vaccine. Days later, she found a lump. Read more.

– Sarah Kay LeBlanc, Des Moines Register

Young people less likely to get vaccinated, CDC study shows

Young Americans are less likely to get vaccinated against COVID-19 than their elders, a new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study showed.

By May 22, 2021, 57% of adults had received at least one vaccine dose, the study said. But coverage was highest among those 65 and older (80%) while it was lowest among those 18-29 years old (38.3%). Nearly 25% of the latter age group reported that they probably or definitely would not get vaccinated, while 23% were unsure. Their biggest questions: concerns about vaccine safety and effectiveness, a second study said.

Adults 18-39 years with lower incomes, lower educational attainment, without health insurance, who were non-Hispanic Black adults who lived in suburbs areas had the lowest reported vaccination coverage and intent to get vaccinated, the study added.

California to pay off all past-due rents, may extend evictions ban

Gov. Gavin Newsom says California will pay off all past-due rent that accumulated in the nation’s most populated state because of the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, a promise to make landlords whole while giving renters a clean slate.

The $5.2 billion multiple aid packages approved by Congress appear to be more than enough to cover all of the unpaid rent in the state, according to Jason Elliott, senior counselor to Newsom on housing and homelessness.

"California is planning rent forgiveness on a scale never seen before in the United States," Newsom tweeted.

Still to be determined is whether Newsom will continue to ban evictions for unpaid rent beyond June 30, when federal eviction eviction protections also are set to expire.

Florida outbreak: 2 die, 3 hospitalized – but vaccinated worker not infected

Two employees of Florida's Manatee County have died and three others were hospitalized after an outbreak in the IT department, County Administrator Scott Hopes said.

None were vaccinated, and another worker who was vaccinated did not become infected, Hopes said. One person died June 14, and Hope said one of the other workers went to a physician complaining of sore throat and other symptoms Wednesday – two days after the first death – and died Thursday. All the victims are relatively young, he said.

"My concern is that this may very well be a variant, and one that appears to be infecting young people," Hopes said. "You've got five known cases in one department and nearly 50% (died), and all were hospitalized."

Eight states, including California, report rise in weekly COVID-19 cases

In the latest week, cases in the United States decreased 19.6% from the week before, but eight states had more cases in the latest week than they did in the week before, a USA TODAY Network analysis of Johns Hopkins University data shows.

In California, new cases increased 6.2% in the week ending Sunday, and the state ranked 31st among the states where coronavirus was spreading the fastest on a per-person basis. With 11.87% of the country's population, California had 8.17% of the country's cases in the last week. Read more.

– Mike Stucka

Contributing: The Associated Press.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Biden administration won't hit July 4 COVID-19 vaccination goal