The latest updates on the coronavirus pandemic from Friday, July 16, 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 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.
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US to send first vaccine doses to Africa in coming days
The U.S. will begin making its first COVID-19 vaccine shipments to Africa in the coming days, with the ultimate goal of sharing 25 million doses this summer across the continent in partnership with the African Union.
The first donated doses will be sent to Ethiopia, Djibouti and Burkina Faso, said State Department spokeswoman Jalina Porter, with the U.S. working with the COVAX global vaccine alliance. In all, doses will eventually go to 49 African countries.
According to the White House, Djibouti and Burkina Faso will each receive 151,200 doses of the Johnson & Johnson single-shot vaccine, while Ethiopia will receive 453,600.
FDA grants priority review for Pfizer vaccine
Pfizer and BioNTech on Friday announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has granted priority review for their two-dose mRNA coronavirus vaccine for individuals 16 and over.
The priority review shortens the approval process from 10 months to only six.
In May, the companies submitted a biologics license application with the clinical data from its Phase 3 trial of the vaccine. The companies also submitted an application with the FDA in May for full approval of the vaccine for children ages 12 through 15.
State reports 4,582 more fully vaccinated, 1 additional death
The Indiana State Department of Health reported 4,582 more Hoosiers have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as of Friday morning.
ISDH reported 561 new positive tests for COVID-19, along with 1 newly recorded death that occurred on July 12.
Indiana has administered more than 11 million coronavirus tests, which includes multiple tests of the same individual. The total number of unique individuals who have tested positive is now 760,163.
Indiana Black & Minority Health Fair to feature free COVID-19 vaccinations and health screenings
The Indiana Department of Health says it will provide $2,500 in free health screenings and free COVID-19 vaccinations during the 35th Indiana Black & Minority Health Fair, being held at the Indiana Convention Center this weekend in partnership with Indiana Black Expo’s Summer Celebration.
The health fair will run today from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday, and from noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday in Halls I, J and K.
Free COVID-19 vaccinations will be provided to individuals age 12 and older by Ascension and will be offered the same times as the vaccinations today, Saturday and Sunday.
School sports physicals will be offered by Community Health Network from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday.
LA County residents again ordered to wear masks indoors
In the face of steadily increasing COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations, Los Angeles County residents will again be required to wear masks in indoor public settings beginning Saturday night, health officials announced Thursday.
LA County Health Officer Dr. Muntu Davis said the county is “not where we need to be” in terms of vaccinations against the virus, as evidenced by seven straight days of new cases numbers that topped 1,000. On Thursday, the county reported 1,537 new infections, the highest number since early March.
As a result, Davis said a revised county Health Officer Order will take effect at 11:59 p.m. Saturday, requiring all residents to wear masks in indoor public settings, regardless of vaccination status. The county previously only recommended such mask-wearing in an effort to slow the spread of the virus and protect unvaccinated residents.
There are still nearly 4 million county residents who are unvaccinated.
UK’s end to mandatory masks sows confusion
Britain is bracing for acrimony on Monday when the government lifts a legal requirement to wear face coverings in most indoor settings, including shops, trains, buses and subways. Donning a mask in many places will stop being an order and become a request.
Already, people are divided about how to respond, with some saying they will ditch their face coverings and others vowing to keep wearing them. As cases and deaths rise again in the U.K., the government is urging people to exercise caution.
The debate is the latest sign of how the humble face mask has become a highly charged focus of debate, confusion and even anger around the world during the coronavirus pandemic.
Latest US, world numbers
There have been more than 33.97 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 608,400 deaths in the U.S.
Worldwide, there have been more than 188.929 million confirmed coronavirus cases with more than 4.066 million deaths. More than 3.53 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.
Vaccinated Americans to be able to enter Canada
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Thursday Canada could start allowing fully vaccinated Americans into Canada as of mid-August for non-essential travel and should be in a position to welcome fully vaccinated travelers from all countries by early September.
Trudeau spoke with leaders of Canada’s provinces and his office released a readout of the call. He noted that if Canada’s current positive path of vaccination rate and public health conditions continue the border can open.
“Canada would be in a position to welcome fully vaccinated travelers from all countries by early September,” the readout said. “He noted the ongoing discussions with the United States on reopening plans, and indicated that we could expect to start allowing fully vaccinated U.S. citizens and permanent residents into Canada as of mid-August for non-essential travel.”
Trudeau noted Canada continues to lead G20 countries in vaccination rates with approximately 80% of eligible Canadians vaccinated with their first dose and over 50% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated. He said case numbers and severe illness continue to decline across the country as vaccination rates continue to increase.