While You Were Sleeping: Coronavirus updates for June 11

Coronavirus

INDIANAPOLIS — There were several developments in the coronavirus pandemic you may have missed overnight.

Here’s a look:

IU Health protest. Some employees are responding to IU Health’s mandate that all workers get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Starting September 1, employees must be fully vaccinated or they will be terminated. That’s unless they’re approved for an exemption or deferral.

Some employees plan to protest against the mandate on Saturday. They say it will be peaceful and centered on education and support.

Organizers say getting the vaccine is a personal choice and should not be forced by their employer.

Testing sites to close. The Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) announced Thursday it will close COVID-19 testing sites run by OptumServe Health Services effective June 30.

ISDH said the decision comes now that a robust community-led testing network is in place, including pharmacies, providers, clinics and local health departments.

“We are grateful to OptumServe for its work to ensure that Hoosiers had COVID testing available to them while we worked to build more local capacity,” said State Health Commissioner Kris Box, M.D., FACOG.

The 14-month partnership began in April 2020 with the goal of “bringing large-scale testing to Hoosiers and remove barriers to testing by providing free and nearby access at a time when community resources were limited.”

Mask anxiety. As restrictions loosen and mask mandates end, some fully-vaccinated Americans are still suffering from “mask anxiety.”

“It’s sort of this emotional experience of thinking that you might be doing something wrong,” said Katie Boucher, a social psychologist and assistant professor of psychology at the University of Indianapolis.

Boucher said mask anxiety is very common and completely normal. She said it’s now happening more frequently as fully-vaccinated people enter a business that is no longer requiring masks.

“Whenever there is a big change in a community — when we are asked to start a new behavior or stop a new behavior — there’s always some level of anxiety,” Boucher said.

Boucher said those anxious emotions happen because you are deviating from a habit 18 months in the making, and it comes with some risks.

Heart inflammation. U.S. health officials are investigating what appear to be higher than expected reports of heart inflammation in male teens and young adults after they get a second dose of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

It’s not clear if the heart inflammation is caused by the shots and the reports still are rare, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It urges everyone 12 and older to get vaccinated.

As of May 31, the agency had 275 preliminary reports of such inflammation in 16- to 24-year-olds, CDC’s Dr. Tom Shimabukuro told a government vaccine meeting on Thursday. That’s out of more than 12 million second-dose injections of the vaccines.

The cases seem to occur more often in men and in younger people, and most already have fully recovered, he said.

RV and boat shortage. It’s become a common occurrence amid the pandemic to expect there to be shortages of just about everything you can think of.

One thing people rediscovered thanks to the pandemic’s peak last year was the great outdoors, and with it come shortages abounded for RVs and boats.

Local dealers say the craze hasn’t slowed. In fact, they’re busier now than ever before. 

“I thought I had my best year ever last year, but this year is turning out to be even better than last year,” said Keith Dix, president of Touchdown RV Rentals. “But it didn’t start out that way last year. It started off with cancellations, lots of them, you know cause everything was shut down. Campgrounds were shut down, and I always say we kinda did a ‘V.’ We had cancellations, then it took off.”

While Dix’s expertise is in rentals, he’s expanded his Zionsville business to include selling used RVs, parts and services; he’s got shortages on all fronts. 

“Things are booked up actually. July is usually our peak season so, that’s one of those things, you probably shoulda had the reservation in by now if you want to find one to rent,” Dix said. “Even sales, dealers can’t get their hands on units to sell – there’s just no inventory to move.”

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