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LATEST UPDATES: Tracking COVID-19 | Vaccines | Racial Justice

Tracking Covid 19

Live Blog: California Drops Workplace Mask Rule For Vaccinated Workers

A girls receives the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at the Family Health Centers of ...

Photo by Matthew Bowler

Above: A girls receives the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at the Family Health Centers of San Diego in Barrio Logan, May 13, 2021.

This is a breaking news blog for all of the latest updates about the coronavirus pandemic. Get our complete coronavirus coverage here →


California Drops Workplace Mask Rule For Vaccinated Workers

– 2:51 p.m., Thursday, June 17, 2021

California regulators have approved revised worksite pandemic rules that allow fully vaccinated employees the same freedoms as when they are off the job.

The revised regulations adopted Thursday come after weeks of confusion. They conform with general state guidelines by ending most mask rules for people who are vaccinated against the coronavirus.

The governor-appointed California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board approved them on a 5-1 vote.

Gov. Gavin Newsom planned to quickly issue an executive order sidestepping the usual legal review that would normally keep the rules from taking effect until June 28.

The rules apply in almost every workplace in the state, including to workers in offices, factories and retail. – Associated Press

San Diego County Reports 48 New COVID-19 Infections

– 6:40 p.m., Wednesday, June 16,, 2021

San Diego County public health officials reported 48 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday as it begins to wind down its response to the pandemic.

County officials gave the last scheduled COVID-19 update Tuesday, with any future briefings being provided as needed. Daily news releases with COVID-19 data will be replaced by a weekly news update on Wednesdays. Other news releases will be issued as needed.

Wednesday's data increased the cumulative number of infections to 281,422. No new deaths were reported and the death toll remains at 3,770.

Hospitalizations related to the pandemic dropped by one to 74 in Wednesday's data. The number of patients in intensive care units remained 21. There are 59, staffed, available ICU beds in the county.

As of Wednesday, a total of 2,123,647 people in the county had received at least one dose of vaccine. – City News Service

Survey: Baja California Faring Better Against COVID Than Other Mexican States

– 1:51 p.m., Wednesday, June 16,, 2021

As San Diego County lifts COVID-19 protocols and restrictions, Baja California is still recovering from the pandemic but maybe doing slightly better than Mexico on average, a binational report revealed Wednesday.

The report, "Survey on Prevalence of Covid-19 in Baja California," was conducted with the support of the Consulate General of Mexico in San Diego, California Health Care Foundation and the administration of the International Community Foundation.

The survey was conducted in the cities of Mexicali, Ensenada and Tijuana between Feb. 1 and 19. The main objective of the survey was to determine the prevalence of COVID-19 in the population. — City News Service

San Diego County Lifts Nearly All COVID-19 Restrictions As Pandemic Wanes

— 5:10 p.m., Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Public health officials reported 61 new COVID-19 cases Monday, increasing the cumulative total to 281,374. No new deaths were reported Tuesday. The death toll remains at 3,770.

To commemorate the 62,888 Californians who have died as a result of COVID-19, San Diego Council President Pro tem Stephen Whitburn and President of the People's Association of Justice Advocates Shane Harris lifted a wreath and flowers at San Diego City Hall Tuesday.

"Many of us are excited about this moment of reopening our state," Harris said. "We also cannot forget that the new normal we are talking about also applies differently to the families who have lost loved ones to COVID-19 in this pandemic, particularly in California.

"Over 62,888 families are facing a new normal without the people they love," he said. "We are thinking of them as we reopen San Diego and California at large."

San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria also thanked San Diegans and front-line employees for their work, but asked people to remain kind.

"I ask everyone to be patient with and look out for one another as we heal from the emotional trauma of the past year and return to a sense of normalcy," he said. "We have proven that as a community we can overcome unprecedented challenges, which gives me hope for our recovery and the opportunities that lie ahead for all of us." — City News Service

Tijuana And 3 Other Border Cities Receive Donated US Vaccine

— 2:50 p.m., Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Mexico has received 1.35 million doses of Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccines donated by the United States.

Mexican officials said Tuesday the shipment will be used to vaccinate anyone over 18 in four cities along the U.S. border: Tijuana, Mexicali, Ciudad Juárez and Reynosa.

Mexico has said the goal is to boost vaccination rates there to levels similar to the U.S. cities they adjoin.

Foreign Relations Secretary Marcelo Ebrard said that after the vaccinations, “there will be no public health arguments for keeping the border closed.” — Associated Press

UC To Require Students, Staff To Be Vaccinated Against COVID

– 2:41 p.m., Tuesday, June 15, 2021

The University of California is reversing course and will require all students, staff and faculty to be vaccinated against the coronavirus this fall.

The San Francisco Chronicle says the decision reverses a proposed policy UC announced in April of requiring vaccinations only after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration fully approved at least one of the three vaccines now being administered under emergency authorization.

It’s not clear when the FDA will give full approval.

UC has already said it would exempt students from the vaccination requirement if they have medical or religious reasons. — Associated Press

County Prepares To Fully Reopen Tuesday As First Dose Vaccines Reach Goal

– 6:35 p.m., Monday, June 14, 2021

Most COVID-19 restrictions throughout California will end Tuesday as the state retires its Blueprint for a Safer Economy tier system and lifts capacity and physical distancing restrictions for most businesses and activities.

Certain COVID-19 guidance will continue to be in place for large-scale event settings. Organizers of the so-called mega events with more than 5,000 people indoors or more than 10,000 outdoors will need to take extra steps to ensure the safety of attendees.

People attending mega events indoors will be required to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test before arriving at the venue.

Organizers of outdoor mega events will be strongly encouraged to implement the same safety protocols, though they will not be required to do so.

Face covering mandates will remain in effect after Tuesday in nine settings — on public transit, indoors in kindergarten through 12th-grade schools and child care settings, in health care settings, long term care facilities, detention centers, homeless shelters, emergency shelters and cooling centers.

San Diego County public health officials reported 46 new COVID-19 cases Monday, increasing the cumulative total to 281,313. No new deaths were reported Monday. The death toll remains at 3,770.

First-dose vaccinations reached a county-set goal of inoculating 75% of the eligible population on Monday. – City News Service

San Diego County's Remaining Vaccination Super Stations Closing By End Of The Month

– 5:33 p.m., Monday, June 14, 2021

San Diego County's remaining vaccination super stations are getting ready to close.

Sharp HealthCare officials said Monday the Grossmont Center site in La Mesa will close this Friday, the Cal State San Marcos site will end operations on June 23 and the South Bay site at an old Sears in Chula Vista will stop administering doses permanently on June 27.

Any second-dose appointments after those dates will have to rescheduled, with some appointments moving to nearby Sharp facilities.

Scripps Health officials said Monday the super station at the Del Mar Fairgrounds will also be closing on June 30.

"Which represents the completion of our original commitment," said Scripps Chief Medical Officer Dr. Ghazala Sharieff about the site which first opened in February. – Matt Hoffman, KPBS Health Reporter

Gov. Newsom Adds California Vacation Incentive To Spur COVID-19 Vaccinations

– 2:56 p.m., Monday, June 14, 2021

California will offer six “dream vacation” incentives to spur more people to get coronavirus vaccinations, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Monday on the eve of the state awarding of $15 million in cash prizes.

Aside from boosting California's vaccination rate as it lifts most pandemic restrictions Tuesday, the latest promotion aims to jump-start the Golden State's travel and tourism industry after more than a year in virtual hibernation because of stay-at-home orders and travel restrictions.

The tourism industry “had a sledgehammer taken to it,” Newsom said.

Tourism revenues nose-dived from a record $145 billion in 2019 to $65 billion last year as California enacted some of the nation's toughest restrictions.

But Newsom said it's safe to return as the state of nearly 40 million people boasts among the nation's lowest virus transmission rates. – Associated Press

Novavax Says Its COVID Vaccine Is Extremely Effective

– 12:50 p.m., Monday, June 14, 2021

The first results from a large efficacy study of a new kind of COVID-19 vaccine are now out, and they are good. Very good.

According to Novavax, the vaccine's manufacturer, it had a 100% efficacy against the original strain of the coronavirus and 93% efficacy against more worrisome variants that have subsequently appeared.

In addition to efficacy, the PREVENT-19 (the PRE-fusion protein subunit Vaccine Efficacy Novavax Trial COVID-19) trial showed the Novavax vaccine was safe for users. Like other COVID-19 vaccines, it caused headaches, chills and muscle aches after injection, but few of these side effects were considered serious or severe.

The study involved 29,960 volunteers in the United States and Mexico. In the study, two-thirds of the volunteers received two shots of the vaccine and one-third received two shots of a placebo.

A total of 77 cases of COVID-19 occurred during the study: 63 in the placebo group and 14 in the vaccine group. According to the Novavax statement describing the results, none of the cases of COVID-19 in the vaccine group were related to the original strain of the virus, hence the 100% efficacy against the original strain.

The breakthrough cases were all caused by the newer, more worrisome variants, and all of the breakthroughs in the vaccine group were mild. By contrast, 10 in the placebo group were considered moderate and four severe. Novavax's statement did not specify which variants in particular were prevented.

The company says it intends to file for authorization from regulators in the U.S., Europe and the United Kingdom later this summer. Novavax says it will be able to deliver 100 million doses per month by the end of September and 150 million doses per month by the end of the year. – NPR

San Diego County Reports 59 New COVID-19 Cases, 2 Deaths

– 11:10 a.m., Saturday, June 13, 2021

San Diego County public health officials have reported 59 new COVID-19 infections and two deaths, as first-dose vaccinations inch closer to a county-set goal of inoculating 75% of the eligible population.

A total of 2,098,135 people have received one of two doses of vaccines, just under 4,000 short of the goal of vaccinating 2,101,936 people 12 and older, based on 75% of April's population estimate for that age group. Fully vaccinated residents number 1,728,882. Those two numbers represent 74.9% and 61.7%, respectively, of all residents 12 and older eligible for vaccines.

The county set the 75% goal to attempt to reach community herd immunity.

More than 4.21 million doses have been received by the county, with more than 3.86 million administered.

Saturday's data increases the cumulative case total to 281,202, while the death toll increased to 3,770.

Of 10,634 tests reported by the county on Saturday, 0.6% returned positive. The 14-day rolling average percentage of positive cases is 0.8%.

Hospitalizations increased to 86 on Saturday, up from 85 on Friday, with the number of patients in intensive care units increasing unchanged at 21. There are 54 available, staffed ICU beds in the county. – City News Service

San Diego County Reports 92 COVID-19 Cases, 2 Deaths

– 7:17 p.m.., Friday, June 11 2021

San Diego County public health officials reported 92 new COVID-19 infections and two deaths, as first-dose vaccinations inch closer to a county-set goal of inoculating 75% of the eligible population.

A total of 2,098,135 people have received one of two doses of vaccines, just under 4,000 short of the goal of vaccinating 2,101,936 people 12 and older, based on 75% of April's population estimate for that age group. Fully vaccinated residents number 1,728,882. Those two numbers represent 74.9% and 61.7%, respectively, of all residents 12 and older eligible for vaccines.

The county set the 75% goal to attempt to reach community herd immunity. — City News Service

California Governor Signs Orders To Roll Back Virus Rules

– 5:13 p.m.., Friday, June 11 2021

It's official: Most of California's coronavirus rules governing public gatherings will disappear on Tuesday after Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an executive order Friday afternoon that heralds the end of the pandemic's hold on much of public life for the nation's most populous state.

Newsom's action on Friday ensures the state will end the stay-at-home order and its various amendments on Tuesday after more than 15 months on the books as more than 70% of adults in the state have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine. Starting Tuesday, there will be no capacity limits or physical distancing requirements for businesses. People who are fully vaccinated won't be required to wear a mask — including indoors.

While much of public life will officially return to normal on Tuesday, the state will still be under a statewide declaration of emergency. That means Newsom retains his authority to alter or suspend state laws indefinitely, either until he decides to end the emergency declaration or the state Legislature does it for him. That latter option is not likely because Democrats dominate the Legislature by a wide margin and are allied with the Democratic governor. — Associated Press

State To Award $50,000 Prizes To 15 More Vaccinated Residents

– 11:00 a.m.., Friday, June 11 2021

State officials will award $50,000 prizes Friday to another 15 vaccinated residents as part of a financial-incentive program to encourage inoculations against COVID-19, with Gov. Gavin Newsom set to be in San Diego with one of last week's winners to help announce the new lucky residents.

The prizes are part of a $116.5 million "Vax for the Win" incentive program announced by Newsom in hopes of luring people to get the COVID-19 shots.

Under the program, $50 gift or grocery cards were being awarded to 2 million people who get their first dose of vaccine. Last Friday, 15 winners were chosen to receive the first round of $50,000 prizes. The winners included three each from Los Angeles and San Diego counties, and one from Orange County.

Another 15 winners will be picked Friday. During his appearance in San Diego, Newsom is also expected to announce partnerships with other businesses in an effort to continue providing incentives for people to get vaccinated.

On Tuesday, the day California lifts the bulk of its COVID-19 restrictions, the state will pick 10 winners who will receive $1.5 million each. — City News Service

RELATED: Tracking COVID-19 In San Diego County

Almost everyone in the state who has received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine is eligible for the drawing. However, to actually receive the money, winners will have to complete the vaccination protocol by receiving their second dose, unless they received the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

According to the governor's office, there has been a 13% week-over- week increase in vaccine administration in the state, making California one of the only states in the nation to see an uptick.

Newsom, taking on the roll of game-show host, presided over last Friday's selection of the first 15 $50,000 winners.

— City News Service

San Diego County Inches Closer To Herd Immunity

– 5:23 p.m., Thursday, June 10, 2021

San Diego County public health officials reported 111 new COVID-19 infections and one death Thursday as first-dose vaccinations inch closer to a county-set goal of inoculating 75% of the eligible population.

A total of 2,091,665 people have received one of two doses of vaccines, just over 10,000 short of the goal of vaccinating 2,101,936 people 12 and older — based on 75% of April's population estimate for that age group — 99.5% of the goal. Fully vaccinated residents number 1,715,603, 81.6% of that goal. Those two numbers represent 74.6% and 61.2%, respectively, of all residents 12 and older eligible for vaccines.

The county set the 75% goal to attempt to reach community herd immunity.

More than 4.21 million doses have been received by the county, with more than 3.84 million administered.

A full list of available vaccination sites can be found here.

Thursday's data increases the cumulative case total to 281,051, while the death toll increased to 3,766.

Of 10,743 tests reported by the county on Thursday, 1% returned positive. The 14-day rolling average percentage of positive cases is 0.8%. — City News Service

Regulators Withdraw Controversial California Work Mask Rules

– 10:53 a.m., Thursday, June 10, 2021

California’s workplace regulators have withdrawn a controversial pending mask regulation while they consider a rule that more closely aligns with Gov. Gavin Newsom’s promise that the state will fully reopen from the pandemic on Tuesday.

The California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board’s revised rule, adopted last week after it was initially rejected, would have allowed workers to forego masks only if every employee in a room is fully vaccinated against the coronavirus. That contrasts with the state’s broader plan to do away with virtually all masking and social distancing requirements for vaccinated people in concert with the latest recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The board's decision late Wednesday to withdraw that worksite rule before it goes into effect allows the board to consider changes at its June 17 meeting and potentially have them go into effect by month’s end.

But some business leaders on Wednesday kept up their pressure on Newsom to override the board. – Associated Press

RELATED: Tracking COVID-19 In San Diego County

“After the confusion and lack of clarity on reopening guidelines at the Cal/OSHA hearing tonight, the statewide business community must once again request the governor issue an Executive Order before June 15 to provide all employers with the consistency and certainty in guidelines,” Rob Lapsley, president of the California Business Roundtable, said in a statement after the vote. That, he said, "will be the catalyst for a full economic reopening and create a powerful incentive to get even more Californians vaccinated.”

San Diego County Moves Into State’s `Yellow Tier’ As 62 Cases, 1 Death Reported

– 6:30 p.m., Wednesday, June 9, 2021

San Diego County moved into California's least restrictive "yellow tier" Wednesday, following two consecutive weeks of an adjusted new daily COVID-19 case rate of fewer than two cases per 100,000 residents.

The county moved into the yellow tier just six days before the state scraps the tiered reopening blueprint, on Tuesday, joining other urban counties such as Los Angeles, San Francisco and Orange.

As of Tuesday, the county's new adjusted case rate is 1.2 cases per 100,000 people after declining to a case rate of 1.7 cases last week. The yellow tier means there is minimal spread of COVID-19 in the region.

On Wednesday, the county reported 62 new COVID-19 infections and one death, bringing the cumulative case total to 280,940, while the death toll increased to 3,765.

A man in his 60s with underlying medical conditions died Monday.

A total of 11,385 tests were reported by the county on Wednesday, with 0.5% returning positive. The 14-day rolling average percentage of positive cases is 0.8%.

Two new community outbreaks were reported Wednesday, one in a business setting and one in a school setting.

As of Wednesday, more than 1.7 million San Diego County residents — 60.1% of residents 12 and older — were fully vaccinated and more than 2.08 million residents have received one of two doses.

More than 4.21 million doses have been received by the county, with more than 3.82 million administered.

A full list of available vaccination sites can be found on the county's website. – City News Service

San Diego County Confirms First COVID-19 Death Of Fully-Vaccinated Resident

– 8:10 p.m., Tuesday, June 8, 2021

The first death of a San Diego County resident who contracted COVID-19 after being fully vaccinated was reported Tuesday. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines these rare instances as “breakthrough” cases — which are infections or death after a person has completed all recommended doses of a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-authorized COVID-19 vaccine.

San Diego County Public Health Officer Dr. Wilma Wooten made the initial announcement during a COVID-19 update for the board of supervisors Tuesday morning. The person who died was a female in her 70s with a pre-existing condition. County officials would not say when the woman died and are not sure if it is because of a more contagious variant of the virus.

Of the 1,677,291 people fully vaccinated in San Diego, the death represents .0001% of persons fully vaccinated and .08% of all county COVID-19 cases since January 2021, according to Mike Workman, county director of communications.

Vaccinated persons contracting COVID-19 is not unheard of: Workman added that 458 fully vaccinated San Diegans (0.027% of the vaccinated population) have been reported falling ill with SARS-CoV-2 infections with four individuals hospitalized since the beginning of the year.

“This is a small number compared to the 5,106 hospitalizations and 1,204 deaths overall reported since January 1st of this year,” Wooten said Tuesday during her board update.

The CDC says no vaccine is 100% effective and that, “There will be a small percentage of fully vaccinated people who still get sick, are hospitalized, or die from COVID-19,” according to the CDC website.

There have been other reports of deaths in California among fully vaccinated residents, including in Napa and Los Angeles counties.

According to San Diego County data, 60.1% of eligible San Diegans are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus. Eligible population is San Diego County residents age 12 years and older, or 2,802,581 individuals. –Health Reporter Matt Hoffman, Web Producer Lara McCaffrey

San Diego Enters State's 'Yellow Tier' As COVID-19 Case Rate Drops

– 11:11 a.m., Tuesday, June 8, 2021

San Diego County has an adjusted case rate of fewer than two new daily COVID-19 cases for a second consecutive week, meaning the county will move into the least restrictive or "yellow tier" of the state's four-tiered, color-coded reopening plan Wednesday morning — six days before the state scraps the tier system altogether. – City News Service

San Diego County Reports 65 New COVID Cases, As Officials Await State Case Rate Data

– 6:17 p.m., Monday, June 7, 2021

San Diego County reported 65 new COVID-19 infections and no new deaths Monday, as public health officials await data from the state tomorrow which could allow the county to move to a less restrictive tier.

San Diego County's state-calculated, adjusted case rate is currently 1.7 cases per 100,000 residents, placing the county in the "yellow tier" of the state's four-tiered, color-coded reopening plan for one week. The county needs to have two consecutive weeks with a case rate of fewer than two cases per 100,000 residents to fully move into the yellow tier.

That move would occur Wednesday if the case count is low enough, and indoor capacity for most businesses would increase a week before the state lifts nearly all pandemic-related restrictions on June 15.

Monday's data brings the cumulative case total to 280,807, while the death toll remained unchanged at 3,764. — City News Service

San Diego County Reports 67 New COVID-19 Cases, No New Deaths

– 11:53 a.m., Monday, June 7, 2021

San Diego County public health officials have reported 67 new COVID-19 infections and no new deaths, bringing the cumulative case total to 280,742, while the death toll remained at 3,764.

A total of 8,378 tests were reported to the county on Saturday with 0.8% returning positive. The 14-day rolling average percentage of positive cases is 0.8%.

Hospitalizations rose to 92 Sunday after dropping to 91 on Saturday, the fewest this year. The number of patients in intensive care also rose Sunday, from 31 to 37.

There are 49 available, staffed ICU beds in the county. — City News Service

RELATED: Tracking COVID-19 In San Diego County

More than 100 mobile vaccination events during June will seek to increase the portion of county residents who are vaccinated to the county's goal of 75% of those 12 and older.

The number of people with at least one dose of vaccine crossed the 2 million mark Saturday. — City News Service

COVID Hospitalizations Drop To Lowest Level This Year

– 6:23 p.m., Saturday, June 5, 2021

San Diego County public health officials on Saturday reported 120 new COVID-19 infections and one new death, as hospitalizations dropped to 91 and the number of people with at least one dose of vaccine crossed the 2 million mark.

Saturday's data reflect a decrease of four hospitalized COVID-19 patients from Friday, along with a decline of two patients in intensive care units to 31. There are 40 available, staffed ICU beds in the county.

The 91 patients — the fewest this year — represent only the fourth time this year the number of coronavirus-related hospitalizations has dropped below 100.

Saturday's figures increased the cumulative case count to 280,675 and the death toll to 3,764.

A total of 10,625 tests were reported to the county on Saturday with 1.1% returning positive. The 14-day rolling average percentage of positive cases is 0.7%. — City News Service

California Virus State Of Emergency Remains, For Now

– 10:47 p.m., Saturday, June 5, 2021

Gov. Gavin Newsom says he will not lift a coronavirus state of emergency on June 15. But he still intends to lift most mask and other restrictions on that date.

Newsom said Friday he will keep in place the emergency order that gives him broad authority to issue, alter or suspend state laws and regulations. Newsom said he is not taking the summer months off from the threat posed by the coronavirus.

Republicans in the state Senate have tried repeatedly to pass a concurrent resolution to end the state of emergency. But Democrats in the majority have blocked their efforts. — Associated Press

COVID-19 Hospitalizations Drop Again As First Vaccinations Cross Milestone

– 6:31 p.m., Friday, June 4 2021

San Diego County public health officials reported 126 new COVID-19 infections and two new deaths, as hospitalizations dropped to 95 and the number of people with at least one dose of vaccine crossed the 2 million mark.

Thursday's data reflect a decrease of two hospitalized COVID-19 patients from Thursday, along with a decline of one patient in intensive care units to 33. There are 52 available, staffed ICU beds in the county.

The 95 patients — the fewest this year — represent only the third time this year the number of coronavirus-related hospitalizations has dropped below 100.

Thursday's figures increased the cumulative case count to 280,555 and the death toll to 3,763.

A total of 17,437 tests were reported to the county on Friday with 0.7% returning positive. The 14-day rolling average percentage of positive cases is 0.7%.

More than 100 mobile vaccination events during June will seek to increase the portion of county residents who are vaccinated to the county's goal of 75% of those 12 and older. – City News Service

The U.S. Is Sending 1 Million Vaccines To Mexico Border Cities And Resort Spots

– 11:12 a.m., Friday, June 4 2021

One million Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines are heading to Mexico from the U.S. with most of the shots set to service resort areas and spots along the border.

The batch of vaccines is part of the 25 million excess doses the White House announced on Thursday would be shipped to other countries around the world. Much of the vaccine distribution will be through COVAX, an international system aimed at helping to vaccinate people in the world's poorest countries.

In a bid to boost the country's economy, Assistant Health Secretary Hugo López-Gatell said much of those 1 million vaccines will be sent to Caribbean resort hotspots such as Cancún, Pacific coast resorts like Los Cabos, and cities along the U.S. border.

Mexico, a country of roughly 130 million, has been hard hit by the coronavirus and has struggled to control its spread.

According to government data, Mexico has given more than 23.2 million adults in the country at least one shot of a COVID-19 vaccine. As of Thursday night, Johns Hopkins University's Coronavirus Tracker reports more than 2.4 million confirmed coronavirus cases in Mexico with more than 228,000 deaths.

Government officials have indicated that the actual death toll from the pandemic is likely far higher, according to The Associated Press., with a preliminary assessment suggesting more than 350,000 excess deaths — 54% above the official toll.

– NPR

County Making Push For Vaccinations In June Before Winding Down Efforts

– 6:56 p.m., Thursday, June 3, 2021

San Diego County public health officials reported 83 new COVID-19 infections and one death Thursday as hospitalizations dropped to 97, the lowest figure this year.

Thursday's data reflects a decrease of 14 hospitalized COVID-19 patients from Wednesday, along with a decline of nine patients in intensive care units to 34.

The 97 patients represent only the second time this year the number of coronavirus-related hospitalizations has dropped below 100.

San Diego County's latest coronavirus-related death was of a man in his 70s with underlying medical conditions who died Saturday.

Thursday's figures increased the cumulative case count to 280,429 and the death toll to 3,761.

More than 100 mobile vaccination events during June will seek to increase the portion of county residents who are vaccinated to the county's goal of 75% of those 12 and older. – City News Service

The White House Says It Has Started Shipping Surplus COVID-19 Vaccines Abroad

– 1:20 p.m., Thursday, June 3, 2021

The United States will send its first shipments of surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses abroad on Thursday, spelling out for the first time how it will share its wealth of vaccines with parts of the world struggling to get shots in arms.

The Biden administration has previously said it would share 80 million doses by the end of June. "We know that won't be sufficient," said Jeff Zients, coordinator of the White House COVID-19 response. But he said it's an important step toward boosting global production and trying to end the global pandemic.

"We expect a regular cadence of shipments around the world across the next several weeks. And in the weeks ahead, working with the world's democracies we will coordinate a multilateral effort, including the G7 to combat and end the pandemic," Zients said.

The U.S. has contracts for hundreds of millions more vaccine doses than it could possibly use — and this is a major move by the Biden administration to attempt to exert global leadership after months of pressure from global health organizations.

Zients said 75% of the first 25 million doses will be allotted through COVAX, an international distribution system aimed at helping vaccinate people in the world's poorest countries.

The administration also removed contract ratings under the Defense Production Act that prioritized U.S. contracts for suppliers to AstraZeneca, Novavax and Sanofi — three vaccines not currently authorized for use in the United States.

"While the manufacturers will continue to make these three vaccines, this action will allow U.S.-based companies that supply these vaccine manufacturers to make their own decisions on which orders to fulfill first," Zients said. – NPR

Why Contact Tracing Couldn’t Keep Up With The U.S. COVID Outbreak

– 1:20 p.m., Thursday, June 3, 2021

Here's one (more) sign the COVID-19 pandemic is on the decline in the United States.

NPR's latest survey of state health departments with the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security finds many are winding down the contact tracing programs they scrambled to grow last year. More than half of the 36 health departments that responded to the survey in late May had fewer tracers than in December, and the vast majority isn't planning to hire more.

In a way, that makes sense. With coronavirus infections tapering off in most parts of the country, public health experts said a smaller workforce may be able to keep on top of current outbreaks.

But there are some big questions as these programs transition from full-throttle crisis mode to something new. Why, despite furious efforts to ramp up the workforce last year, was the U.S. not able to use testing and contact tracing to control the pandemic?

And how can the country be better positioned for the next public health emergency?

The Biden administration recently allocated $7.4 billion in funding to hire public health workers, potentially infusing the system with resources. Now state and local health departments, along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, have to figure out how to build on the success and learn from the failures of the past year.

"What's coming next — with all this funding from the federal government to scale up public health workforces — is really critical," said Crystal Watson, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security and collaborator with NPR on the contact tracing survey.

"It has to go beyond, how do we sustain this specific workforce very focused on contact tracing, to how do we make sure that we have the workforce we need to do better public health every day?" – NPR

San Diego County Making Big Push For Vaccinations In June Before Winding Down Efforts

– 3:40 p.m., Wednesday, June 2, 2021

San Diego County plans to make one final push to get the population vaccinated against COVID-19 during the month of June before winding efforts down to a more flu-shot-like situation this summer and fall, county officials announced Wednesday.

More than 100 mobile vaccination events during June will seek to increase the portion of county residents who are vaccinated to the county's goal of 75% of those 12 and older — 2,101,936 people. As of Wednesday, 1,952,650 people have received one jab of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines — or 92.9% of the goal — and 1,544,252 people who have fully vaccinated with either two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna coronavirus vaccine or the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine -- 73.5% of the goal.

More than 4.09 million doses have been received by the county, with more than 3.69 million administered. County officials reported receiving 145,780 doses this week.

San Diego County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher encouraged those who have been holding out to get vaccinated against the virus.

"The vaccine is free, it is safe and we know it is effective," Fletcher said.

To make the shot more appealing, the county will partner with the San Diego Padres. Any person vaccinated between Thursday and June 30 will be entered into a drawing with the possibility to win one of 100 pairs of Padres tickets. On June 12 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and June 26 from noon to 4 p.m., the county and the Padres will hold a vaccination event at Gallagher Square outside Petco Park, where the first 1,000 people to get a shot on both days will receive commemorative T-shirts.

Following June's efforts, the county will scale back vaccination efforts gradually. There will still be vaccines and tests available at sites around the county for the foreseeable future, Fletcher said.

A full list of available vaccination sites can be here.

County officials reported 42 new cases on Wednesday, increasing the cumulative total to 280,346. Deaths were not reported at a Wednesday news conference. The death toll was 3,756 as of Tuesday.

Of 6,305 tests reported Wednesday, 0.7% returned positive and the two-week rolling average remains 0.7%.

San Diego County's latest state-reported COVID-19 numbers dipped low enough to set the region on a path to lift some restrictions as soon as Wednesday — if the numbers remain below a certain threshold. – City News Service

San Diego County Reports Data Low Enough To Enter Yellow Tier, But Must Wait Another Week

– 10:45 a.m., Wednesday, June 2, 2021

San Diego County's state-reported COVID-19 numbers Tuesday dipped low enough to set the region on a path to lift some COVID-19 restrictions as soon as next week.

The county remains in the orange tier of the state's four-tiered, color-coded reopening plan. On Tuesday, the state reported the county's adjusted case rate was 1.7 new daily cases per 100,000 population — low enough to qualify for the yellow tier, the state's least restrictive. That is an improvement from last week's 2.4 new cases per 100,000.

The county's testing positivity rate is 1.3% and the health equity quartile positivity rate — the rate a county's most vulnerable quarter of people are testing positive for the virus — is 1.5%, both low enough to be in the yellow tier. Those rates have dropped from 1.5% and 1.8% from last week.

However, to land in the yellow tier next Tuesday, the county would need to report an average of fewer than two new cases per 100,000 for another week.

The state plans to lift most COVID-19-related limitations on June 15, no matter where the counties fall in those above metrics at the time. – City News Service

Alpha, Beta Instead Of Britain, South Africa. Why The WHO Is Renaming COVID Variants

– 1:23 p.m., Tuesday, June 1, 2021

The World Health Organization is hoping to simplify the way the public talks about the growing number of variants of the coronavirus. It will start assigning different letters of the Greek alphabet to each new mutation of the virus.

The new system takes the names of new variants of SARS-CoV-2 and moves them away from what can be sometimes confusing scientific nomenclature, or shorthand that puts heavy emphasis on where the variants were first discovered.

For example, under the new system, the B.1.1.7 variant, which was first identified in the U.K., will be known as Alpha. The B.1.351 variant, first spotted in South Africa, will be called Beta, while the variant initially found in Brazil, known as P.1, will go by Gamma.

The new names won't officially replace the scientific names already assigned to new variants, but the WHO said it is making the change in an attempt to avoid fueling stigma towards nations where new variants arise. – Jason Breslow, NPR

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