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Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Update

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06/22/2021

Congress

  • On Tuesday, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee is holding a hearing on COVID-19 vaccinations.

White House and Federal Agencies

  • President Biden marked 300 million COVID-19 vaccine doses administered and encouraged people who have not yet received a COVID-19 vaccine to do so to prevent the risk of the new Delta variant. As of last week, 65.1 percent of Americans have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
    • President Biden also warned that the Delta variant is more dangerous because it is more transmissible and more likely to cause hospitalization compared to other variants.
    • States with lower vaccination rates are at particular risk for this variant.
  • As the U.S. prepares to ship vaccines to other countries, President Biden announced the U.S. will replace the AstraZeneca vaccines we promised with 55 million doses of vaccines that have already been approved by the FDA. The AstraZeneca vaccine still has not been approved in the U.S. The U.S. will eventually include AstraZeneca vaccines in global distributions after it is approved.
  • New research found that Medicaid enrollment increased to 80.5 million people during the pandemic.
  • CMS is partnering with the HHS We Can Do This vaccination campaign to provide toolkits that various organizations can use to promote vaccinations in their communities. CMS is facilitating webinars for these toolkits.
    • Tuesday, June 15th, 1:00-1:30 pm ET: General Populations Toolkit – Recording coming soon
    • Thursday, June 17th, 1:00-1:30 pm ET: Rural Communities Toolkit - Register here
    • Tuesday, June 22nd, 1:00-1:30 pm ET: Spanish Language Toolkits – Register here (this webinar will only be offered in Spanish).
    • Thursday June 24th, 1:00-1:30 pm ET: Healthcare workers Toolkit – Register here
    • Tuesday, June 29th, 1:00-1:30 pm ET: Faith-Based Toolkit – Register here
    • Thursday, July 1st, 1:00-2:00 pm ET: Toolkits for Racial and Ethnic Minority Communities - Register here
    • Thursday, July 8th, 1:00-1:30 pm ET: Older Adults Toolkit – Register here
  • HHS is distributing $80 million to improve public health IT infrastructure to help with COVID-19 data collection in underserved communities. Organizations can apply for funding under this program.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Updates

Economy, Vaccines, Testing and Treatment

  • CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky warned that the Delta variant could become the dominant strain in the U.S. in the next few months.
  • The American Red Cross is asking for blood donations due to a “severe” national shortage of blood supplies.
  • The CDC is aware of only 300 cases of heart issues associated with the COVID-19 vaccine in young people.
  • A new poll found that only 21 percent of respondents are concerned about contracting COVID-19.
  • New research shows that lottery promotions to encourage vaccination are not yielding meaningful results.
  • A new study highlights racial disparities in COVID-19 vaccination rates in Brooklyn, NY.
  • Another study showed how African Americans experienced mortality disparities compared to other racial groups because they were more likely to be treated at a lower-quality hospital.
  • A CDC study found that younger adults are getting vaccinated at lower rates compared to older adults.
  • The U.S. extended travel restrictions to Canada and Mexico through July 21st.
  • U.S. healthcare spending is increasing as the pandemic ends.