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Indiana coronavirus updates for Monday, March 8, 2021

The latest updates on the coronavirus pandemic from Monday, March 8.

INDIANAPOLIS — Monday'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 select groups through 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

ISDH update 

The state is reporting 480 new COVID-19 cases for a total of 667,736 since the pandemic began. 

There were also an additional five deaths. That brings the state death toll to 12,315.

CDC says fully vaccinated people can gather without masks

Fully-vaccinated Americans can gather with other vaccinated people indoors without wearing a mask or social distancing, according to long-awaited guidance from federal health officials.

The recommendations also say that vaccinated people can come together in the same way with people considered at low-risk for severe disease, such as in the case of vaccinated grandparents visiting healthy children and grandchildren.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced the guidance Monday.

The guidance is designed to address a growing demand, as more adults have been getting vaccinated and wondering if it gives them greater freedom to visit family members, travel, or do other things like they did before the COVID-19 pandemic swept the world last year.

The CDC is continuing to recommend that fully vaccinated people continue to wear well-fitted masks, avoid large gatherings, and physically distance themselves from others when out in public. The CDC also advised vaccinated people to get tested if they develop symptoms that could be related to COVID-19.

Kokomo VA mass vaccination clinic

The VA Northern Indiana Health Care System will be conducting a mass COVID-19 vaccination clinic Saturday, March 13.

The clinic is only for veterans enrolled with VA Northern Indiana Healthcare System. There will be staff available to enroll people on site at the VFW Post 1152.

Walk-ins will be accepted from 9 - 11 a.m. Appointments will be accepted from 12:30 - 2 p.m. To schedule an appointment, call 765-472-8907.

Latest US, world numbers

There have been more than 28.99 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States as of 2:30 a.m. ET Monday, according to Johns Hopkins University. There have been more than 525,000 deaths in the U.S. 

Worldwide, there have been more than 116.84 million confirmed cases with more than 2.59 million deaths and 66.13 million recoveries.

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

RELATED: VERIFY: Are Indiana’s new COVID-19 case numbers inflated with multiple positive tests for the same person?

The real 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.

IMS mass vaccine clinic concludes Monday

A mass COVID-19 vaccination clinic at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway will vaccinate 4,200 people a day for four days. 

Monday is the fourth and final day of vaccinations at IMS. 

Public health officials say the arrival of Johnson & Johnson's new vaccine made mass vaccinations possible.

The demand for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is greater than expected. Appointments filled up so quickly, health officials added a fourth day. That day then filled up before it was officially publicized.

The vaccination clinic at IMS runs from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. but again, you must already have an appointment scheduled.

Fauci: COVID-19 variant discovered in New York not widespread yet, but White House taking it 'very seriously'

Dr. Anthony Fauci again cautioned the public about a new coronavirus variant that has been seen in the New York City area and is "spreading pretty efficiently," the nation's top infectious disease expert said. 

On a conference call with reporters Sunday, New York's Gov. Andrew Cuomo praised the state's vaccine rollout so far, even mentioning success where the state has tried out 24/7 vaccine sites. But, as New York decides to loosen restrictions on certain mitigation behaviors to curb the spread of the coronavirus, this new variant could prove to be a challenge.

As the Associated Press reported on Friday, Cuomo announced Wednesday that New York had decided to let up on restrictions regarding private gatherings, making way for some public performances which had been banned for almost a year, with authorities citing concerns over the coronavirus pandemic.

This came after reports that the Biden administration was taking the newly discovered COVID-19 variant in the New York City metropolitan area "very seriously," according to Dr. Fauci earlier this month. According to a CNBC report, Fauci said experts had found that the new virus strain most likely originated in the city's Washington Heights neighborhood, which is in the upper end of Manhattan. 

Fauci confirmed that the variant has spread to other boroughs in the city, but said Sunday on CBS that it isn't "widespread yet." He did confirm on CBS's "Face The Nation" that the variant is showing a resistance to antibody treatments and vaccines.

RELATED: VERIFY: Is the Johnson & Johnson vaccine worth getting?

As the New York Times reported, researchers are calling the new strain B.1.526, and say its spread through New York City has been rapid. Experts say the mutation it carries has the possibility of weakening the effectiveness of vaccines. 

Michel Nussenzweig, an immunologist at Rockefeller University, said it was not “particularly happy news,” but reassured the public that knowing about the variant means that experts and researchers now have the chance to do something about it.