A look at major COVID-19 developments over the past week

New coronavirus infections continue to trend down in Georgia, with the number of cases at its lowest level since the earliest days of the pandemic.

Just more than half of the state’s adults — 50.8% — have gotten at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Even so, Georgia lags most states and the national average, which stands at 62.9%, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

President Joe Biden announced a raft of new private-sector initiatives meant to encourage Americans to get vaccinated. His administration is increasingly looking to outside partners to help meet its goal of having 70% of American adults at least partially vaccinated by the Fourth of July.

Twelve states have passed the 70% mark.

Declaring June as a “national month of action,” the administration is enlisting companies to offer a range of perks to hesitant Americans, including free food delivery, baseball tickets, Xboxes and chances to win cruise tickets, groceries for a year and free airline flights.

The White House also announced a handful of community-based outreach initiatives, which include a media blitz, college campaign and an effort to recruit 1,000 Black-owned barbershops and beauty salons in Atlanta and other cities across the country as vaccination venues.

Here’s a look at major developments related to COVID-19 over the past week.

Vaccine site at Mercedes-Benz stadium closing

With demand for COVID vaccines continuing to fall in Georgia, the community vaccination site at Mercedes-Benz Stadium is scheduled to close on Monday.

Eight other large vaccine sites operated by the state closed as expected in late May.

Still, officials are looking for ways to “reach deeper into communities” to find those who have not been vaccinated, said Gracia Szczech, regional administrator for the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Vaccines are now widely available at many places, including grocery stores, pharmacies and health care facilities in metro Atlanta and across Georgia. Many don’t require appointments. Vaccine locators are available at the Georgia Department of Public Health and www.vaccine.gov.

Credit: TNS

Credit: TNS

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CDC loosens mask guidance for summer campers

Kids at summer camps can skip wearing masks outdoors unless in a crowd, federal health officials said Friday.

The guidelines came out in the nick of time, just before camps start opening in some parts of the country, said Tom Rosenberg, president of the American Camp Association.

Children who aren’t fully vaccinated should still wear masks inside, when in sustained close contact with others and outside when they’re in crowds, the CDC said. Fully vaccinated kids do not need to wear masks indoors or outside, the agency said.

Previously, the CDC had advised that just about all people at camps should wear masks with only a few exceptions, like while eating, drinking or swimming.

The U.S. government authorized the Pfizer vaccine for 12- to 15-year-olds earlier this month.

If vaccinated, “it’s going to be a camp experience that is much more like (before the pandemic),” said Erin Sauber-Schatz, who leads the CDC task force that prepares recommendations meant to keep Americans safe from COVID-19.

The new guidance also says social distancing is still recommended for the unvaccinated.

Camps likely will have mixed groups of vaccinated and unvaccinated kids and should be prepared to have guidelines for masks and distancing in place, CDC officials said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.