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FS-ISAC Coronavirus Update, June 8, 2021
People who have been vaccinated against coronavirus are more than 90% protected against infection and, if they do become infected, they have milder disease than unvaccinated people, a new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study shows, with the ongoing, real-life study also showing even partially vaccinated people are 81% less likely to become infected than unvaccinated people.
Dr. Michael Ryan, the World Health Organization’s emergencies chief, told a news conference Monday that ultimately, “high levels of vaccination coverage are the way out of this pandemic,” estimating that COVID-19 vaccination coverage of at least 80% is needed to significantly lower the risk that “imported” coronavirus cases like those linked to new variants could spawn a cluster or a wider outbreak.
Experts are concerned that states across the US South, where vaccination rates are lagging, could face a surge in coronavirus cases over the summer, and while they believe it won’t be as grave as last summer’s because at least some people are vaccinated and treatments have improved, memories of last summer, when cases rose quickly after some states rushed to reopen, are still fresh, and younger people, who are less likely to be vaccinated, will be the most vulnerable.
Food and Drug Administration chief Dr. Scott Gottlieb said Monday that he expects the vaccination pace to fall further, explaining that “Vaccination rates are going to fall off quite sharply in July and August,” and “The bottom line is, people who haven’t been vaccinated at this point are more marginal customers for vaccination,” but adding they may pick back up closer to the fall as Americans start thinking about going back to work and school.
Some universities in the US began turning more attention to students who left school before earning a degree, in part, as a way to turn around enrollment declines during the pandemic, and for some former students, the push came at the right time, with the shift to virtual learning making college more accessible to millions of students who juggle school with full-time jobs, caregiving responsibilities or health issues.
Air travel just recorded its biggest day since March 7, 2020 in the US, with the Transportation Security Administration screening 1.98 million people Sunday, bigger than any day over Memorial Day weekend, which topped out on Friday, May 28, at 1.96 million people, and continuing the upward air travel trend during the Covid-19 pandemic - though far fewer people are flying than before the pandemic with 2.67 million people screened on June 7, 2019.
The coronavirus variant labeled “delta” was first recorded in India, where a slow vaccination drive and complacency about pandemic rules helped spark a record-breaking covid-19 surge this spring, and since then the variant has spread with new cases rising in Britain and becoming dominant - despite one of the most successful vaccination programs anywhere, with a newfound prevalence that could upend plans for a return to normalcy.
In the 64 weeks since Italy went hurtling into its initial coronavirus lockdown, its capital and most-visited city has had moments of subdued, locals-only charm and plenty of stretches of dire stillness, but over a matter of days - in a jarring transformation for Rome’s residents - the city is beginning to approximate its pre-pandemic self of bustling and doors wide open.
Amid criticism of the government’s handling of the coronavirus during one of the world’s deadliest outbreaks, Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India said in a nationwide address on Monday that the federal government would play a bigger role procuring vaccines on behalf of states, a process that had been mired in confusion because of squabbling between the central and state governments and a lack of vaccine supply.
Airline and airport executives from the US and United Kingdom are pushing for the lifting of restrictions that have limited travel between both countries, pointing out they're both among the world leaders in vaccination rates.
Inflation may look like a problem that will go away, but is more likely to persist and lead to a crisis in the years ahead, according to a warning from Deutsche Bank economists, and in a forecast that is well outside the consensus from policymakers and Wall Street, the company issued a dire warning that focusing on stimulus while dismissing inflation fears will prove to be a mistake if not in the near term then in 2023 and beyond.
US stocks gave up some of their recent gains Monday, though the selling eased toward the end of the day, leaving the major indexes mixed, with the S&P 500 slipping less than 0.1% after having been down 0.3% in the early going, the Dow Jones Industrial Average also closed lower, while the Nasdaq notched a modest gain.
As some states end their participation in federal pandemic-related unemployment benefits, governors in six states, including New Hampshire, are trying to entice more people to get back to work by offering a return-to-work bonus, ranging from $500 to $2,000, and some like Arizona are helping out with child care assistance, which is giving small business owners hope it will help their business return to normal.
Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff said on Monday that he expects 50% to 60% of his company’s employees to continue working from home after the pandemic, which would be up from about 20% before the pandemic hit, adding that despite hefty real estate investments in recent years, including opening the 61-floor Salesforce Tower in San Francisco in 2018, he has accepted that there’s no return to the pre-Covid days.
Celebrity Cruises crossed a major hurdle on the high seas this weekend as its Celebrity Millennium became the first ship to sail with guests from North America in more than a year, pulling away from St. Maarten on Saturday with 95% of its passengers and the entire crew fully vaccinated - making it the largest COVID-19-vaccinated cruise in the world so far.