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Indiana coronavirus updates for Thursday, June 17, 2021

The latest updates on the coronavirus pandemic from Thursday, June 17, 2021.

INDIANAPOLIS — Here are Thursday'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

Carmel Christkindlmarkt will return this year

The Carmel Christkindlmarkt will open again in 2021 after closing because of the pandemic last year. 

“We hated to have to close last year, but the safety of our residents and visitors was our top priority. We are thrilled that this incredible attraction, that visitors from all over the Midwest have enjoyed by the tens of thousands, is back and will be live this coming holiday season,” said Mayor Jim Brainard.

This year’s market will feature food and gift vendors, activities and special guests throughout the season. 

Opening day is set for Nov. 20, and the Market will be open Wednesdays and Thursdays from 4 to 9 p.m., and Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 9 p.m. You can find the schedule here.

Public skating at the Ice at Carter Green will also begin Nov. 20. The ice rink and skate rentals will be open from 4 to 9 p.m. on Wednesdays and Thursdays and 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. You can find more information on it here.

To volunteer at Carmel Christkindlmarkt, click here.

CDC lowers warning for cruises, recommends only fully vaccinated travel

As cruise lines get ready to resume trips from the U.S. this summer, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has lowered its travel alert for cruises. 

The CDC's updates, first posted on Wednesday, brought its warning down from level 4 to level 3, and recommends only fully vaccinated people go on cruises for the time being.

RELATED: Royal Caribbean postpones Florida sailing after crew members test positive for COVID-19

RELATED: 2 passengers onboard fully-vaccinated Royal Caribbean cruise test positive for COVID-19

The federal agency also said cruise line passengers should get tested for coronavirus 1 to 3 days before their trip and 3 to 5 days after the sailing ends. 

As part of the CDC's updated guidance, passengers who aren't fully vaccinated should self-quarantine for 7 days after going on a cruise, even if they test negative. If they do not get tested, they should self-quarantine for 10 days after cruise travel.

"Since the virus spreads more easily between people in close quarters aboard ships, the chance of getting COVID-19 on cruise ships is high," the CDC stated on its website. "It is especially important that people who are not fully vaccinated with an increased risk of severe illness avoid travel on cruise ships, including river cruises."

ISDH update

The Indiana State Department of Health reported 10,869 people are now fully vaccinated against COVID-19, as of Thursday morning. That brings the total number of Hoosiers fully vaccinated to 2,715,276.

ISDH also reported 232 new positive tests for the virus, along with one additional death that occurred June 15. Indiana has lost 13,344 people to COVID-19.

The new cases bring Indiana's total to 750,432 residents now known to have had the novel coronavirus.

Fauci: US to spend $3.2B for antiviral pills for COVID-19

The United States is devoting $3.2 billion to advance development of antiviral pills for COVID-19, officials said Thursday.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, announced the investment during a White House briefing as part of a new “antiviral program for pandemics” to develop drugs to address symptoms caused by potentially dangerous viruses like the coronavirus.

The pills, which would be used to minimize symptoms after infection, are in development and could begin arriving by year’s end, pending the completion of clinical trials.

Fauci said the new program would invest in “accelerating things that are already in progress” for COVID-19, but also work to innovate new therapies for other viruses.

U.S. jobless claims tick up to 412,000 from a pandemic low

The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits rose last week for the first time since April despite widespread evidence that the economy and the job market are rebounding steadily from the pandemic recession.

The Labor Department said Thursday that jobless claims rose 37,000 from the week before. As the job market has strengthened, the number of weekly applications for unemployment aid has fallen for most of the year. The number of jobless claims generally reflects the pace of layoffs.

With vaccinations up and more consumers venturing out to spend — on restaurant meals, airline fares, movie tickets and store purchases — the economy is rapidly recovering from the recession. All that renewed spending has fueled customer demand and led many companies to seek new workers, often at higher wages, and avoid layoffs.

In fact, the speed of the rebound from the recession has caught many businesses off guard and touched off a scramble to hire. In May, employers added a less-than-expected 559,000 jobs, evidence that many companies are struggling to find enough workers as the economy recovers faster than expected.

But many economists expect hiring to catch up with demand in the coming months, especially as federal unemployment aid programs end and more people pursue jobs. They note that the economy still has 7.6 million fewer jobs than it did before the pandemic struck. 

Though jobless claims have tumbled since the start of 2021, when they exceeded 900,000, they remain high by historical standards. Before the pandemic paralyzed the economy in March 2020, unemployment applications were running at about 220,000 a week.

Japan announces easing of virus emergency ahead of Olympics

Japan has announced the easing of a coronavirus state of emergency in Tokyo and six other areas from next week, with new daily cases falling just as the country begins final preparations for the Olympics starting in just over a month. 

Japan has been struggling since late March to slow a wave of infections propelled by more contagious variants, with new daily cases soaring above 7,000 at one point and seriously ill patients straining hospitals in Tokyo, Osaka and other metropolitan areas. 

Daily cases have since subsided significantly, paving the way for Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga to downgrade the state of emergency when it expires on Sunday to less stringent measures. They will last until July 11 — just 12 days before the Games.

Australia raises AstraZeneca safety age to 60

Australia has raised the age for which the AstraZeneca vaccine is recommended to 60 from 50 after the shot was blamed for a 52-year-old woman’s death last week from blood clots in the brain.

Health Minister Greg Hunt described the decision on Thursday as conservative and reflecting the relatively low risk of catching the virus in Australia.

Australians aged between 50 and 59 are now recommended to use the only other vaccine approved in Australia, Pfizer.

Only two deaths in Australia have been blamed on rare blood clots believed caused by AstraZeneca. The first was a 48-year-old woman who died in April.

That death led to AstraZeneca being recommended only to adults aged over 50.

People who have had their first AstraZeneca shot without developing clots have been told it is safe to have the second dose three months later.

Eskenazi Health to host vaccine clinics on Indy's east side

Eskenazi Health will be hosting two free COVID-19 vaccination events on Indianapolis’ east side. The events are for walk-ins with no appointment needed and will offer the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine.  

Eskenazi Health will provide free vaccinations on Saturday, June 19, at the Avondale Meadows YMCA, at 3908 Meadows Drive, while on Sunday, June 20, free vaccinations will be administered at New Direction Church, at 5330 E. 38th St. 

Both events are from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The vaccines are for anyone 18 and older. Eskenazi Health Center staff will be administering the vaccines.

Latest US, world numbers

There have been more than 33.49 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States as of 4 a.m. ET Thursday, according to Johns Hopkins University. There have been more than 600,600 deaths in the U.S.

Worldwide, there have been more than 177 million confirmed coronavirus cases with more than 3.83 million deaths. More than 2.44 billion vaccine doses have been administered worldwide.

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

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.

Vaccination clinics this week around central Indiana

June 17 (9 a.m. to 6 p.m.):

Tippecanoe County:
Tippecanoe County Amphitheater
4449 State Road 43
West Lafayette, IN 47906

White County:
Reynolds parking lot
401 W. Second St.
Reynolds, IN 47980

June 17 (9 a.m. to 12 p.m.)

Marion County:
Near east side vaccine clinic at Eskenazi
2325 E. New York St.
Indianapolis, IN 46201

June 17-19 (9 a.m. to 6 p.m.):

Wayne County:
Ivy Tech, Richmond
2357 Chester Blvd.
Richmond, IN 47374

June 17-19 (4 to 9 p.m.):

Jennings County:
Jennings County Fair
4920 N. S.R. 3,
North Vernon, IN 47265

June 19 (10 a.m. to 2 p.m.)

Marion County:
Avondale Meadows YMCA
3908 Meadows Dr.
Indianapolis, IN 46205

June 20 (10 a.m. to 2 p.m.)

Marion County:
New Direction Church
5330 E. 38th St.
Indianapolis, IN 46205