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Indiana coronavirus updates for Sunday, June 5, 2022

The latest in the coronavirus pandemic for Sunday, June 5, 2022.

INDIANAPOLIS — Here are Sunday'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 5 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

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CDC map shows 13 Indiana counties at 'medium' risk

On Sunday, June 5, 2022, 13 Indiana counties (LaPorte, St. Joseph, Starke, Marshall, Pulaski, Fulton, Benton, White, Tippecanoe, Carroll, Clinton, Lawrence, Orange) were listed on the CDC data map as having "medium" community risk of spreading COVID-19. Surrounding Indiana, the Louisville (medium) and Chicago (high) metro areas are also deemed at risk by the CDC.

Special Olympics drops vaccine rule after $27M fine threat

The Special Olympics has dropped a coronavirus vaccine mandate for its games in Orlando after Florida moved to fine the organization $27.5 million for violating a state law against such requirements. 

Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis on Friday announced the organization had removed the requirement for its competition in the state, which is scheduled to run from June 5 to June 12. 

The Florida health department notified the Special Olympics of the fine in a letter Thursday that said the organization would be fined $27.5 million for 5,500 violations of state law for requiring proof of coronavirus vaccination for attendees or participants.

Latest US, world numbers

There have been more than 84.74 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States as of 7 a.m. ET Sunday, according to Johns Hopkins University. There have been more than 1,008,560 deaths recorded in the U.S.

Worldwide, there have been more than 531.71 million confirmed coronavirus cases with more than 6.29 million deaths and more than 11.66 billion vaccine doses administered.

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.

White House outlines plan for 1st COVID shots for kids under 5

The Biden administration said Thursday that children under 5 years old may be able to get their first COVID-19 vaccination doses as soon as June 21, if federal regulators authorize shots for the age group, as expected. 

White House COVID-19 coordinator Aashish Jha outlined the administration's planning for the last remaining ineligible age group to get shots. He said the Food and Drug Administration's outside panel of advisers will meet June 14-15 to evaluate the Pfizer and Moderna shots for younger kids. Shipments to doctors' offices and pediatric care facilities would begin soon after FDA authorization, with the first shots possible the following week. 

Jha said states can begin placing orders for pediatric vaccines on Friday, and said the administration has an initial supply of 10 million doses available.

Jha acknowledged the “frustration” of parents of young children who have been waiting more than a year for shots for their kids.

“At the end of the day, we all want to move fast, but we’ve got to get it right," he said.

MORE: White House outlines plan for 1st COVID shots for kids under 5

Gridlock could delay COVID funds until fall — or longer

The U.S. is headed for “a lot of unnecessary loss of life," the Biden administration claims, if Congress fails to provide billions more dollars to brace for the pandemic’s next wave. Yet the quest for that money is in limbo, the latest victim of election-year gridlock that’s stalled or killed a host of Democratic priorities.

President Joe Biden’s appeal for funds for vaccines, testing and treatments has hit opposition from Republicans, who've fused the fight with the precarious politics of immigration. Congress is in recess, and the next steps are uncertain, despite admonitions from White House COVID-19 coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha of damaging consequences from “every day we wait.”

Administration officials say they're running low on money to stock up on, or even begin to order, the latest vaccines, tests and treatments. Also lacking are funds to reimburse doctors treating uninsured patients and to help poor countries control the pandemic.

House and Senate Democrats have been wrangling over how to resolve the stalemate and even over which chamber should vote first. It’s an open question whether they’ll ever get the GOP votes they’ll need to pull the legislation through the 50-50 Senate, and prospects in the narrowly divided House are unclear as well.

US making COVID-19 antiviral drug more available at test sites

The White House has announced more steps to make the antiviral treatment Paxlovid more accessible across the U.S. as it projects COVID-19 infections will continue to spread over the summer travel season. 

The nation’s first federally backed test-to-treat site is opened Thursday in Rhode Island. The site will provide patients with immediate access to the drug once they test positive. 

More federally supported sites are set to open in the coming weeks in Massachusetts and New York City, both hit by a marked rise in infections. 

Next week, the U.S. will send authorized federal prescribers to several Minnesota-run testing sites, turning them into test-to-treat locations.

RELATED: Administration expands availability of COVID antiviral pill

CDC encourages considering mask use indoors

COVID-19 cases are increasing in the United States – and could get even worse over the coming months, federal health officials warned in urging areas hardest hit to consider reissuing calls for indoor masking.

Increasing numbers of COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations are putting more of the country under guidelines issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that call for masking and other infection precautions.

Right now, about a third of the U.S. population lives in areas that are considered at higher risk — mostly in the Northeast and Midwest. Those are areas where people should already be considering wearing masks indoors — but Americans elsewhere should also take notice, officials said.

White House offering additional 8 free COVID-19 tests to public

The government website for people to request free COVID-19 at-home tests from the U.S. government is now accepting a third round of orders.

The White House recently announced that U.S. households can request an additional eight free at-home tests to be shipped by the U.S. Postal Service.

President Joe Biden committed in January to making 1 billion tests available to the public free of charge, including 500 million available through covidtests.gov. But just 350 million of the amount available for ordering online have been shipped to date to addresses across the continental U.S., its territories and overseas military bases, the White House said.

People who have difficulty getting online or need help placing an order can call 1-800-232-0233 for assistance.

The third round brings to 16 the total number of free tests available to each U.S. household since the program started earlier this year. Households were eligible to receive four tests during each of two earlier rounds of ordering through the website.

2nd COVID-19 booster shot available to Hoosiers 50 and up

The Indiana Department of Health announced that Hoosiers age 50 and older, as well as those 12 and older with weakened immune systems, are now eligible to receive a second mRNA COVID-19 booster shot at least four months after their first booster dose.

The announcement comes one day after the Food and Drug Administration authorized an extra dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine for that age group and and certain younger people with severely weakened immune systems.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention later recommended the extra shot as an option but stopped short of urging that those eligible rush out and get it right away.

The IDOH is advising vaccine providers that they can begin administering second boosters of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines to people who qualify.

The CDC also says that adults who received a primary vaccine and booster dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine at least four months ago may now receive a second booster dose of either mRNA vaccine.

You can find a vaccine location at ourshot.in.gov or by calling Indiana 211 (866-211-9966). Appointments are recommended, but many sites do accept walk-ins.

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