The latest updates on the coronavirus pandemic from Friday, May 14, 2021.
INDIANAPOLIS — Here are Friday’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 select groups 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.
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Lebanon 8th graders to go virtual rest of year
Lebanon Community School Corporation announced Friday that the entire 8th grade class will be moving to virtual schooling for the rest of the year. The change is effective Monday, May 17.
The district made the move after an increase in the number of COVID-19 positive cases and the number of quarantined students in the 8th grade.
Students should plan to ZOOM with their teacher during their normal class period times. Teachers will provide information to their classes via the CANVAS platform.
The school sent a letter to parents reading in part:
This is not the way we had intended to end our 2020-2021 school year for the 8th grade class and are saddened by the need to do so.
School administrators will follow up with parents on what this means regarding awards day, concerts, computer return, retrieving items from lockers, and other end-of-year activities.
12 to 15-year-olds getting vaccinated
The Indiana State Department of Health reports at least 401 Hoosiers between the ages of 12 and 15 for their first dose of Pfizer vaccine on Thursday. That was the first day of eligibility for that age group.
The new age group makes nearly 361,000 more Hoosiers eligible for the vaccine.
State reports 30K more people fully vaccinated, 16 additional deaths
The Indiana State Department of Health reported 30,345 additional people are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as of Friday morning. A total of 2,256,964 people in the state have been fully vaccinated.
ISDH also reported 16 additional deaths from the virus. Indiana has now lost 13,049 people to COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic. The deaths reported today occurred between April 27 and Thursday.
Indiana recorded 925 new positive cases, with 733,591 total COVID-19 cases registered since the start of the pandemic.
Cincinnati Reds going to full capacity June 2
The Cincinnati Reds announced Friday they will return Great American Ball Park to full capacity beginning June 2, 2021. The announcement follows Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine’s announcement ending Ohio’s coronavirus health orders.
Beginning June 2, masks will be recommended but no longer mandated to be worn at GABP.
The timeline laid out by Gov. DeWine included incentives for Ohioans to get the vaccine. To support that, the Reds $10 vaccination ticket offer for Monday-Thursday games will be available to all fans through the end of the 2021 regular season.
For more information on this ticket offer, please visit Reds.com/vaccine.
‘Great day for America’: Vaccinated can largely ditch masks
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is easing mask-wearing guidance for fully vaccinated people, allowing them to stop wearing masks outdoors in crowds and in most indoor settings.
The new guidance announced Thursday is a major step toward returning to pre-pandemic life.
President Joe Biden said, “Today is a great day for America.”
The new guidance still calls for wearing masks in crowded indoor settings like buses, planes, hospitals, prisons and homeless shelters, but it will help clear the way for reopening workplaces and schools.
CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky says: “We have all longed for this moment — when we can get back to some sense of normalcy.”
IndyCar cancels Toronto race for second straight year
Ongoing COVID-19 restrictions in Ontario have forced organizers of the Honda Indy Toronto to cancel this summer’s race. IndyCar officials issued a joint announcement Friday.
This year’s event was scheduled for July 9-11 but will now be dropped from the 2021 schedule. The 2020 race was also canceled due to the pandemic.
The series expects to return to Toronto in 2022 and in future years.
Toronto has been part of the series since 1986.
IndyCar is considering various scenarios to adjust after the cancellation of the Toronto event.
Japan expands virus emergency ahead of Tokyo Olympics
Japan on Friday further expanded a coronavirus state of emergency, currently in Tokyo and five other prefectures, to nine areas, as Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s government is determined to hold the Olympics in just over two months.
Japan has been struggling to slow the infections ahead of the Games. The three additions include Japan’s northern island state of Hokkaido, where the Olympic marathon will be held, as well as Hiroshima and Okayama in western Japan.
The three areas on Sunday will join Tokyo, Osaka and four other prefectures already under the coronavirus restrictions, until May 31, Suga announced at a government taskforce meeting Friday.
Bars, karaoke parlors and most entertainment facilities are required to close. Business owners who comply will be compensated; those who don’t could face fines.
Misinformation surges amid India’s COVID-19 calamity
Misinformation about the coronavirus is surging in India as the death toll from COVID-19 rises. Fueled by anguish, distrust and political polarization, the claims are further compounding India’s crisis.
The falsehoods include bogus cures, baseless tales of vaccine side effects and unsubstantiated allegations of blame. Fact-checkers say the pace and amount of misinformation has only picked up as the virus has spread.
Much of the misinformation travels on private messaging apps like WhatsApp, which has more than 400 million subscribers in India. WhatsApp says it is partnering with fact-checking organizations and working to give users accurate information about the virus and the vaccine.
Latest US, world numbers
There have been more than 32.85 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States as of 4 a.m. ET Friday, according to Johns Hopkins University. There have been more than 584,400 deaths in the U.S.
Worldwide there have been more than 161.1 million confirmed coronavirus cases with more than 3.3 million deaths. Nearly 1,400,000,000 vaccine doses have been administered worldwide.
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The actual number of people infected by the virus around the world is believed to be much higher — perhaps 10 times higher in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — given testing limitations and the many mild cases that have gone unreported or unrecognized.
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.