The latest updates on the coronavirus pandemic for Thursday, May 26, 2022.

INDIANAPOLIS — Here are Thursday’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 5 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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Latest US, world numbers

There have been more than 83.71 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States as of 7:30 a.m. ET Thursday, according to Johns Hopkins University. There have been more than 1,003,780 deaths recorded in the U.S.

Worldwide, there have been more than 527.39 million confirmed coronavirus cases with more than 6.28 million deaths and more than 11.48 billion vaccine doses administered.


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.

Housekeepers struggle as US hotels ditch daily room cleaning

Many hotels across the United States have done away with daily housekeeping service, making what was already one of the toughest jobs in the hospitality industry even more grueling. 

The move away from daily cleaning gained traction during the pandemic, and industry insiders say it’s driven by customer preferences. But others say it has more to do with profit and has allowed hotels to cut their number of housekeepers. 

The change comes at a time when many of the mostly immigrant women who take these jobs are still reeling from lost work during coronavirus shutdowns.

After guests checked out of a corner room at the Hilton Hawaiian Village resort on Waikiki beach, housekeeper Luz Espejo collected enough trash, some strewn under beds, to stuff seven large garbage bags.  

“It’s a big change for us,” said Espejo, a 60-year-old originally from the Philippines who has cleaned rooms at the world’s largest Hilton for 18 years, minus about a year she was laid off during the pandemic. “We are so busy at work now. We cannot finish cleaning our rooms.” 

Chip Rogers, president and CEO of the American Hotel & Lodging Association, a trade group whose members include hotel brands, owners and management companies, said it was the demands of guests — not hotel profits — that guided decisions about pandemic housekeeper services.

US making COVID antiviral drug more available at test sites

The White House has announced more steps to make the antiviral treatment Paxlovid more accessible across the U.S. as it projects COVID-19 infections will continue to spread over the summer travel season. 

The nation’s first federally backed test-to-treat site is opening Thursday in Rhode Island. The site will provide patients with immediate access to the drug once they test positive. 

More federally supported sites are set to open in the coming weeks in Massachusetts and New York City, both hit by a marked rise in infections. 

Next week, the U.S. will send authorized federal prescribers to several Minnesota-run testing sites, turning them into test-to-treat locations.

RELATED: US moves to make antiviral drug more available against COVID

Long COVID affects more older adults; shots don’t prevent it

Research in U.S. veterans provides fresh evidence that long COVID-19 can happen even after breakthrough infections following vaccination. In the study published Wednesday, about 1% who had COVID-19 shots had breakthrough infections. 

And about one-third of that group showed signs of long COVID. A separate government report found that 1 in 4 adults age 65 and up developed at least one symptom of long COVID up to a year after an initial infection. 

That compares with 1 in 5 younger adults. Long COVID involves long-term symptoms that can include fatigue, shortness of breath, brain fog and blood clots. 

Pfizer says 3 COVID shots protect children under 5

Three doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine offer strong protection for children younger than 5, the company announced Monday. Pfizer plans to give the data to U.S. regulators later this week in a step toward letting the littlest kids get the shots.

The news comes after months of anxious waiting by parents desperate to vaccinate their babies, toddlers and preschoolers, especially as COVID-19 cases once again are rising. The 18 million children under 5 are the only group in the U.S. not yet eligible for COVID-19 vaccination.

The Food and Drug Administration has begun evaluating data from rival Moderna, which hopes to begin offering two kid-sized shots by summer. 

Preliminary data suggested the three-dose series is 80% effective in preventing symptomatic COVID-19, the companies said, but they cautioned the calculation is based on just 10 cases diagnosed among study participants by the end of April. The study rules state that at least 21 cases are needed to formally determine effectiveness, and Pfizer promised an update as soon as more data is available.

RELATED: Pfizer says 3 COVID shots protect children under 5

WHO chief: The COVID pandemic is ‘most certainly not over’

The COVID-19 pandemic is “most certainly not over,” the head of the World Health Organization warned Sunday, despite a decline in reported cases since the peak of the omicron wave. He told governments that “we lower our guard at our peril.”

The U.N. health agency’s director-general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, told officials gathered in Geneva for the opening of the WHO’s annual meeting that “declining testing and sequencing means we are blinding ourselves to the evolution of the virus.” He also noted that almost 1 billion people in lower-income countries still haven’t been vaccinated.

In a weekly report Thursday on the global situation, WHO said the number of new COVID-19 cases appears to have stabilized after weeks of decline since late March, while the overall number of weekly deaths dropped. 

While there has been progress, with 60% of the world’s population vaccinated, “it’s not over anywhere until it’s over everywhere,” Tedros said.

“Reported cases are increasing in almost 70 countries in all regions, and this in a world in which testing rates have plummeted,” he added.

Reported deaths are rising in Africa, the continent with the lowest vaccination coverage, he said, and only 57 countries — almost all of them wealthy — have vaccinated 70% of their people.

MORE: WHO chief: The COVID pandemic is ‘most certainly not over’

COVID-19 vaccine booster available for Hoosiers age 5-11

The Indiana Department of Health announced Friday that Hoosiers age 5-11 are now eligible for a booster dose of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine following authorization last week from the FDA and CDC.

The IDOH is advising vaccine providers that they can begin administering boosters of the Pfizer pediatric vaccine to children in the age group whose last dose was administered at least five months ago.

The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is currently the only one authorized for children age 5-11.

You can find a vaccine location at ourshot.in.gov or by calling Indiana 211 (866-211-9966). Any site administering pediatric doses can administer a pediatric booster dose. Most sites accept walk-ins.

FDA authorizes at-home test for COVID-19, flu and RSV

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has given the greenlight to the first non-prescription COVID-19 test that also detects the flu and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). 

The test involves taking a nasal swab sample at home and then sending it to Labcorp for testing. Results are then delivered through an online portal, with follow-up from a health care provider if it’s a positive or invalid test result, the FDA explained in its announcement

The test can detect multiple respiratory viruses at the same time, including influenza A and B, commonly known as the flu, RSV, along with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. 

RSV is a common virus that usually causes mild, cold-like symptoms, according to the CDC. While most people recover in a week or two, it can be serious, especially for infants and older adults, the agency explains on its website. RSV is the most common cause of bronchiolitis and pneumonia in kids younger than 1.

Labcorp’s test kit can be purchased online or in a store without a prescription and is designed for people 2 years and older.

MORE: FDA authorizes at-home test for COVID, flu and RSV

CDC encourages considering mask use indoors

COVID-19 cases are increasing in the United States – and could get even worse over the coming months, federal health officials warned Wednesday in urging areas hardest hit to consider reissuing calls for indoor masking.

Increasing numbers of COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations are putting more of the country under guidelines issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that call for masking and other infection precautions.

Right now, about a third of the U.S. population lives in areas that are considered at higher risk — mostly in the Northeast and Midwest. Those are areas where people should already be considering wearing masks indoors — but Americans elsewhere should also take notice, officials said.

On Thursday, May 26, 2022 seven Indiana counties (Lawrence, Orange, Posey, Gibson, Vanderburgh, Warrick, and Spencer) were listed by the CDC data map as having “medium” community risk. Surrounding Indiana, the Louisville and Chicago metro areas are also deemed medium risk by the CDC.

White House offering additional 8 free COVID-19 tests to public

The government website for people to request free COVID-19 at-home tests from the U.S. government is now accepting a third round of orders.

The White House announced Tuesday that U.S. households can request an additional eight free at-home tests to be shipped by the U.S. Postal Service.

President Joe Biden committed in January to making 1 billion tests available to the public free of charge, including 500 million available through covidtests.gov. But just 350 million of the amount available for ordering online have been shipped to date to addresses across the continental U.S., its territories and overseas military bases, the White House said.

People who have difficulty getting online or need help placing an order can call 1-800-232-0233 for assistance.

The third round brings to 16 the total number of free tests available to each U.S. household since the program started earlier this year. Households were eligible to receive four tests during each of two earlier rounds of ordering through the website.

2nd COVID-19 booster shot available to Hoosiers 50 and up

The Indiana Department of Health announced Wednesday that Hoosiers age 50 and older, as well as those 12 and older with weakened immune systems, are now eligible to receive a second mRNA COVID-19 booster shot at least four months after their first booster dose.

The announcement comes one day after the Food and Drug Administration authorized an extra dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine for that age group and and certain younger people with severely weakened immune systems.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention later recommended the extra shot as an option but stopped short of urging that those eligible rush out and get it right away.

The IDOH is advising vaccine providers that they can begin administering second boosters of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines to people who qualify.

The CDC also says that adults who received a primary vaccine and booster dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine at least four months ago may now receive a second booster dose of either mRNA vaccine.

You can find a vaccine location at ourshot.in.gov or by calling Indiana 211 (866-211-9966). Appointments are recommended, but many sites do accept walk-ins.

Marion County COVID-19 vaccination and test clinics continue

The Marion County Public Health Department (MCPHD) continues to provide free COVID-19 vaccination and testing to anyone interested in receiving these services.

MCPHD is operating one COVID-19 testing site, which is a drive-thru clinic located at 3838 N. Rural St. in Indianapolis.

The clinic’s current hours are Monday-Friday from 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. This clinic offers PCR testing only and no rapid testing. A list of additional test sites registered with the Indiana Department of Health is available at coronavirus.in.gov.

Appointments for COVID-19 testing at the MCPHD location are not required but are available by visiting marionhealth.org/indycovid or calling 317-221-5515.

MCPHD is also offering COVID-19 vaccines at its district health offices, ACTION Health Center, and four other locations in Marion County. Appointments for vaccines are not required but are recommended. 

Please visit ourshot.in.gov or call 2-1-1 to find a vaccination clinic.

Marion County clinic schedule

  • Northeast District Health Office, 6042 E. 21st St.
    Mondays: 12 p.m. – 4 p.m.
    Tuesdays: 3 p.m. – 7 p.m.
  • Eagledale Plaza Health Office, 2802 Lafayette Road
    Tuesdays: 8 a.m. – 12 p.m.
  • Northwest District Health Office, 6940 N. Michigan Road
    Thursdays: 3 p.m. – 7 p.m.
  • South District Health Office, 7551 S. Shelby St.
    Mondays: 3 p.m. – 7 p.m.
    Fridays: 8 a.m. – 12 p.m.
  • ACTION Health Center, 2868 N. Pennsylvania St.
    Wednesdays: 3 p.m. – 5 p.m.
  • Martindale-Brightwood Public Library Branch, 2435 N. Sherman Drive (ages 12-over only)
    Tuesday through Friday: 10 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
    Saturdays: 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
  • College Avenue Public Library Branch, 4180 N. College Ave. (ages 12-over only)
    Tuesday through Friday: 10 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
    Saturdays: 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
  • East 38th Street Public Library Branch, 5420 E. 38th St.  (ages 12-over only)
    Tuesday through Friday: 10 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
    Saturdays: 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
  • IndyGo Carson Transit Center, 201 E. Washington St.  (ages 12-over only)
    Tuesdays: 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
    Wednesdays: 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
    Thursdays: 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.



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