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Indiana coronavirus updates for Wednesday, June 2, 2021

The latest updates on the coronavirus pandemic from Wednesday, June 2, 2021.

INDIANAPOLIS — Here are Wednesday's latest updates on the coronavirus pandemic, including the latest news on COVID-19 vaccinations and testing in Indiana.

Registrations for the vaccine are now open for Hoosiers 12 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.

RELATED: Here's everything we know about the COVID-19 vaccine

Vaccine protection may diminish need for yearly boosters

Scientists have found clues that the world's leading COVID-19 vaccines offer lasting protection that could diminish the need for frequent booster shots, but they caution that more research is needed and that virus mutations are still a wild card.

Critical studies are underway, and evidence is mounting that immunity from the mRNA vaccines made by Pfizer and Moderna does not depend exclusively on antibodies that dwindle over time. The body has overlapping layers of protection that offer backup.

Pfizer and Moderna have fueled booster questions by estimating that people might need yearly shots, just like with flu vaccinations, and the companies are working to have some candidates ready this fall. But companies will not decide when boosters get used. That will be up to health authorities in each country.

Other experts say boosters may be needed only every few years.

FULL STORY: Vaccine protection may diminish need for yearly boosters

White House science chief wants next pandemic vaccine ready within 100 days of outbreak

The new White House science adviser wants to have a vaccine ready to fight the next pandemic in just about 100 days after recognizing a potential viral outbreak. 

Eric Lander is a mathematician and geneticist by training who was part of the human genome mapping project and directed the Broad Institute at MIT and Harvard. He said he is particularly focused not so much on this pandemic, but the lessons learned from this one to prepare for the next one.

“It was amazing at one level that we were able to produce highly effective vaccines in less than a year, but from another point of view you’d say, ‘Boy, a year’s a long time,’” even though in the past it would take three years or four years, Lander said. “To really make a difference we want to get this done in 100 days. And so a lot of us have been talking about a 100-day target from the recognition from a virus with pandemic potential.”

“It would mean that we would have had a vaccine in early April if that had happened this time, early April of 2020,” Lander said. “It makes you gulp for a second, but it’s totally feasible to do that.”

FULL STORY: White House science chief wants next pandemic vaccine ready within 100 days of outbreak

US eviction moratorium to stay in place after appeals court ruling

A three-judge U.S. appeals court ruled Wednesday that the nationwide moratorium on evictions enacted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention due to the COVID-19 pandemic can stay in effect.

A federal judge ruled last month that the eviction moratorium exceeded the CDC's authority. The government appealed and the judge put a temporary stay on the order. 

The stay was upheld Wednesday as the appeals court wrote that the government's case made a "strong showing that it is likely to succeed on the merits" of the appeal, Reuters reported

The moratorium is set to expire on June 30 and will cover renters who were expecting that they would earn below $99,000 per year, which would be $198,000 for those filing taxes jointly. It also covers those who did not report any income, or those who qualified for and received stimulus checks. 

FULL STORY: US eviction moratorium to stay in place after appeals court ruling

Indianapolis leaders provide update on Marion County's response to COVID-19 pandemic

Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett and Marion County Public Health Department Director Dr. Virginia Caine shared an update Wednesday afternoon on Marion County's response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hogsett said just over one-third of Marion County residents are vaccinated. The goal is to have half of Marion County residents vaccinated by July 4.

Dr. Caine provided additional measures set to go into effect Monday, June 7:

  • Public pools will be open at 100 percent capacity.
  • Golf courses will be open at 75 percent capacity.
  • Dance studios and summer camps should take the following steps:
    • Strongly encourage all eligible people to get vaccinated, including staff
    • Continue using masks
    • Continue social distancing
    • Keep campers in assigned groups
    • Meals and snacks should be eaten outdoors, if possible.

Summer schools should follow current school guidance, which uses 3 feet of social distancing for all students.

RELATED: Health Department partnering with schools to host mass vaccination clinics for ages 12 to 17

Last month, Hogsett announced a plan in returning to normalcy.

Beginning Monday, June 7, all Hoosiers who are fully vaccinated will no longer need to wear masks in Marion County unless a business or venue requires it.

Masks must still be worn for everyone while at hospitals and on public transportation, which includes the Indianapolis International Airport.

Capacity restrictions in Marion County will also be loosened on June 7:

  • Religious services and funerals will be able to operate at 100 percent capacity (currently at 75 percent).
  • Indoor service in bars, restaurants and other businesses will move to 75 percent capacity (currently at 50 percent in bars and 75 percent in restaurants).
  • Personal service businesses will no longer have to be by appointment only. Capacity should still allow for six feet of social distancing.
  • Indoor sporting venues and other large events will move to 50 percent capacity (currently at 25 percent).
  • Entertainment and cultural venues will be able to hold up to 75 percent capacity (currently at 50 percent).
  • Large gatherings will be able to have 500 people (currently at 50 people).

Dr. Caine said the full reopening of Marion County will be recommended when 50 percent of residents are fully vaccinated and there are an average of less than 100 daily cases reported. She predicts this will happen in July.

State reports 14K more people fully vaccinated, 11 deaths

The Indiana State Department of Health reported 14,635 more people are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as of Wednesday morning. Indiana now has recorded 2,532,217 people who have been fully vaccinated.

ISDH also reported 282 more positive tests for the virus, along with 11 deaths that occurred May 28 through May 31.

The 282 additional Hoosiers diagnosed with COVID-19 brings the total number of Indiana residents now known to have contracted the novel coronavirus to 744,474. A total of 13,220 Hoosiers have died from COVID-19.

Target reopens fitting rooms, Walmart increasing store hours

For the first time in more than a year, Target will once again let shoppers try on clothes in its fitting rooms. 

"We’ll continue to frequently disinfect and clean our stores throughout the day, as we have throughout the pandemic, and have team members dedicated to high touch areas like fitting rooms," Target said in a Tuesday update on the company's website.

Target was among the many retailers which closed fitting rooms last year when COVID-19 cases began to rise around the country. 

But with more people around the U.S. getting vaccinated, retailers are making changes to welcome back customers that may have done most of their shopping online during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Walmart has announced that starting Saturday, its store hours will expand to 6 a.m. to 11 p.m., unless restricted by local mandates. The company also said Tuesday that most of its in-store pharmacies and vision centers will resume "pre-COVID hours" beginning on July 3. 

Sam's Club and Costco have also announced plans to bring back free samples for their customers. 

Multilingual hotline started

Marion County is again offering a multilingual hotline to help answer questions about the coronavirus vaccine for Hoosiers who speak one of nine different languages.

In addition to English and Spanish, volunteers will be available to assist residents from across Indiana who speak Burmese, Arabic, Mandarin, Swahili, Yoruba, Hakhan Chin and French. The volunteers can also help callers schedule their vaccination appointment.

“The end of the pandemic in Indianapolis is within our reach,” said Dr. Virginia Caine, director and chief medical officer of the Marion County Public Health Department. “It is still critical that we ensure the lifesaving protection of the COVID-19 vaccine reaches traditionally underserved members of our community through efforts like this multi-lingual hotline.”

The hotline can be reached at 317-327-2100. It is available from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Hoosiers can also still sign up for an appointment by visiting ourshot.in.gov or by calling 211.

Marion County revising schedules for vaccine clinics

The Marion County Public Health Department is changing hours for its two COVID-19 vaccination sites. 

The changes went into effect on June 1 and will allow for resources to be shifted to pop-up clinics around the county. Those pop-up clinics will be aimed at vaccinating eligible school children 12 years and older.

The new hours for the two main clinics are as follows:

3685 Commercial Drive, Indianapolis (west side) – Pfizer vaccine

  • Monday: 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
  • Tuesday: 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
  • Wednesday: Closed
  • Thursday: 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
  • Friday: 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
  • Saturday: 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
  • Sunday: Closed

9503 E. 33rd St., Indianapolis (east side) – Moderna vaccine

  • Monday: Closed
  • Tuesday: 7 a.m.-3 p.m.
  • Wednesday: 7 a.m.-3 p.m.
  • Thursday: 7 a.m.-3 p.m.
  • Friday: 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
  • Saturday: 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
  • Sunday: Closed

To make an appointment, go to ourshot.in.gov, call 211, or call the Marion County Public Health Department directly at 317-221-2100.

Latest US, world numbers

There have been more than 33.28 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States as of 3 a.m. ET Wednesday, according to Johns Hopkins University. There have been more than 595,200 deaths in the U.S.

Worldwide, there have been more than 171.1 million confirmed coronavirus cases with more than 3.56 million deaths. More than 1.93 billion vaccine doses have been administered worldwide.

RELATED: See where confirmed Indiana coronavirus cases are with this interactive map

The actual number of people infected by the virus around the world is believed to be much higher — perhaps 10 times higher in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — given testing limitations and the many mild cases that have gone unreported or unrecognized.

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.

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