While You Were Sleeping: Coronavirus updates for June 21

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

Here’s a look:

Respiratory viruses on the rise. The masks are coming off and winter-like respiratory viruses seem to be coming out of lockdown at the same time.

“A number of our ER visits include patients with common respiratory viruses that we only see during winter months,” said Dr. Kurt Sobush, pulmonologist at SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital in St. Louis.

Cardinal Glennon is seeing a 20% increase in winter-like viruses, including RSV in children up to age 2.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) is a common respiratory virus that typically causes mild, cold-like symptoms that can become more severe, especially in infants and older adults.

“It’s a virus that can escalate beyond just the common cold to something that would include a faster kind of breathing,” Sobush said. “It can increase fever, it can cause at least some difficulties with respiratory distress, where children can have an increased cough that doesn’t seem to quit.”

Tokyo Olympics capacity set. The Tokyo Olympics will allow some local fans to attend when the games open in just over a month. This goes against the country’s top medical adviser who has recommended the safest way during the COVID-19 pandemic is without any fans.

Fans from abroad were banned several months ago.  

Japanese organizers have set a limit of 50% of capacity up to a maximum of 10,000 fans for all Olympic venues. Officials says fans will be under strict rules. They will not be allowed to cheer, must wear masks, and are being told to go straight home after the event. Tokyo and other area are under “quasi-emergency” status until July 11.

The Olympics are set to open July 23.

Vaccine hesitancy in India. India’s vaccination efforts are being undermined by widespread hesitancy and fear of the jabs, fueled by misinformation and mistrust. That’s especially true in rural India, where two-thirds of the country’s nearly 1.4 billion people live.

Health workers are facing stiff resistance in villages, where some flee their homes until the workers are gone. Vaccine workers have been physically attacked by people who believe the shots can cause infertility and even death.

To allay the fear and confusion, state governments have mounted aggressive awareness campaigns through posters and radio announcements. But India already has struggled with low vaccination rates and will have to get many millions more people vaccinated to end the pandemic.

Japanese companies vaccinate workers. Thousands of Japanese companies began distributing COVID-19 vaccines to workers and their families Monday in an employer-led drive reaching more than 13 million people that aims to rev up the nation’s slow vaccine rollout.

Yuka Daimaru, among the Suntory workers getting the shot on a sprawling office floor, was visibly relieved after spending more than a year worrying about the coronavirus.

“I was nervous, but it didn’t hurt as much as I thought it would,” she said. “Now I don’t have to worry as much on commuter trains or at meetings.”

The Tokyo-based beverage maker plans to inoculate 51,500 people, including part-time workers and employees’ families, with the Moderna vaccine.

About 3,500 companies have signed up for the free vaccines, and that number is growing. The companies must present a plan to inoculate at least 1,000 people per site. But they decide whom to include, such as families, affiliate companies and suppliers.

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