U.S. Infections Ease; U.K. Deaths Slow to Two: Virus Update
A healthcare worker administers a dose Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccination at Gramps bar in the Wynwood neighborhood of Miami. (Photographer: Alicia Vera/Bloomberg)

U.S. Infections Ease; U.K. Deaths Slow to Two: Virus Update

U.S. deaths from Covid-19 have been undercounted, President Joe Biden’s top medical adviser said, with the nationwide toll approaching 582,000. New cases in the U.S. dropped over the past week to the lowest level since the end of September. Hospitalizations dipped to a seven-month low.

With more than a third of its adult population now fully vaccinated, the U.K. reported just two virus deaths on Sunday. The European Union hasn’t renewed its order for the AstraZeneca Plc vaccine beyond June.

India’s capital extended its lockdown for another week and adopted stricter controls. The world’s worst-hit nation recorded more than 4,000 coronavirus deaths for a second consecutive day.

Key Developments

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U.S. Infections Ease; U.K. Deaths Slow to Two: Virus Update

California’s Positive Rate Falls Further (5 p.m. NY)

California’s positive test rate dropped to a seven-day average of 1.1% as it continues to lead the nation. The state reported 1,853 new cases yesterday, a rate of 3.7 new cases per 100,000, the health department’s website said. There were 61 deaths, down from 141 the previous day. California has administered more than 32.5 million vaccines in total.

U.S. Hospitalizations Reach 7-Month Low (3:15 p.m. NY)

The share of U.S. hospital beds occupied by Covid-19 patients fell to 5.37%, the lowest since Oct. 5, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.

Michigan had the biggest percentage of beds occupied by Covid patients at 13.3% followed by Maryland at 10.8%, according to the latest HHS data, which reflect the situation on Thursday. Florida had 3,504 hospitalized Covid patients, the most of any state, followed by Texas with 3,080.

LA to Offer Appointment-Free Vaccinations (2:30 p.m. NY)

Los Angeles will offer appointment-free vaccinations at all sites starting Monday, Mayor Eric Garcetti said, in an effort to “knock down barriers to vaccine access.” The city is expecting to administer more than a quarter million shots for a second straight week.

Iran Sets Vaccination Goal (12:57 p.m. NY)

President Hassan Rouhani said some 13 million people in Iran, about 15% of the population, will be vaccinated against the coronavirus by July 22, as the country tries to combat the Middle East’s worst outbreak.

Rouhani said he expects all people in high-risk groups to receive at least their first dose by that date, the state-run Islamic Republic News Agency reported, adding that two domestically developed shots will be ready for mass use by June.

Third of U.K. Adults Fully Vaccinated (12:34 p.m.)

More than a third of the United Kingdom’s adult population is now fully vaccinated against Covid-19, and two-thirds of adults have received a first shot. The U.K. has now administered more than 53 million doses of coronavirus vaccines. The success of the vaccine rollout, coupled with strict lockdown measures that are now being eased, has led to a plunge in new cases and deaths. Health authorities on Sunday reported just two daily deaths from the virus in all of the U.K.

U.S. Should End Outdoor Limits, Gottlieb Says (12:15 p.m. NY)

Per capita cases in the U.S. have declined enough to allow a lifting of restrictive ordinances and a resumption of “normal activity,” former Food and Drug Administration head Scott Gottlieb said.

“Certainly outdoors, we shouldn’t be putting limits on gatherings anymore,” Gottlieb said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” People should be encouraged to go outside in states that have low prevalence, high vaccination rates and good testing in place, he said.

Even so, he predicted that “we’re going to have to contend with Covid again this winter,” which may mean renewed mask mandates and school closings “in certain settings where we have outbreaks.”

Spain Celebrates (11:03 a.m. NY)

Spaniards broke out in spontaneous celebration at midnight, after a national state of emergency that included curfews from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. in most of Spain ended at midnight. In the capital of Madrid alone, the police intervened in more than 450 incidents, the Associated Press reported, as hundreds of people, mostly youth, took to the main plazas and streets in several large cities.

“Freedom doesn’t involve holding booze parties in the street because street drinking is not allowed in the city of Madrid,” Mayor José Luis Martínez-Almeida said Sunday.

Restrictions were eased on restaurants, travel between regions, and on social gatherings.

Fauci Says U.S. Deaths Undercounted (10 a.m. NY)

There’s “no doubt” the U.S. has undercounted its number of deaths from Covid-19, which now stand at over 581,000, President Joe Biden’s top medical adviser said.

But Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that a University of Washington analysis published May 6 that the true toll is probably over 900,000 is “a bit more than I would have thought.”

U.S. Adds Fewer Than 35,000 Cases (8 a.m. NY)

The U.S. added fewer than 35,000 cases on Saturday, sending the seven-day rolling average of new infections to the lowest since the end of September. While reporting often lags on weekends, the data collected by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg is the latest sign that the pandemic in America is easing.

Another 625 people nationwide died of Covid-19, bringing the toll to more than 581,000 since the outbreak began. Detroit and New York City had the most deaths per capita among major metro areas in the week through Wednesday, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report dated May 6.

EU Hasn’t Renewed Astra Contract (7:15 a.m. NY)

The European Union hasn’t renewed its contract for vaccines from AstraZeneca Plc, Industry Commissioner Thierry Breton said Sunday on France Inter radio.

“We haven’t renewed the order after June,” he said. “We’ll see what happens.”

The bloc started legal proceedings against the company over shortfalls last month. Breton also said the region is pushing for the establishment of vaccine factories in Africa, which is just as important as the question of intellectual property protections covering the technology.

“There needs to be working factories in Africa like in Senegal, where there is the Institut Pasteur, and South Africa,” he said. “Patents, OK, but there needs to be industrial infrastructure at the same time.”

Madagascar to Start Vaccinations (6:07 a.m. NY)

Madagascar is scheduled to roll out its inoculation campaign on Monday after receiving a first batch of 250,000 doses of the Covishield vaccine through the Covax initiative. The Indian Ocean island nation, with a population of about 27.5 million, has recorded 38,874 confirmed cases and 716 deaths since the start of the pandemic.

Polish Cases Slow (5:30 p.m. HK)

Poland registered 3,852 new coronavirus cases in a slowdown from last Sunday. Almost 3.8 million Poles in the nation of 38 million have now received two doses of vaccine or the single-dose Johnson & Johnson shot, with all adults entitled to register for inoculation.

India Death Toll Stays Above 4,000 (4:20 p.m. HK)

India reported more than 4,000 Covid-19 deaths for a second day, as the nation battled the world’s worst outbreak of the virus. The country on Sunday recorded 4,092 fatalities and found 403,736 new cases, with the capital New Delhi and other big cities continuing to report surging infections.

The lockdown in India’s capital will be extended until May 17, New Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said in an online briefing.

The restrictions had been set to end Monday after being extended several times already.

U.S. Infections Ease; U.K. Deaths Slow to Two: Virus Update

Russian Cases Ease Again (4 p.m. HK)

The outbreak in Russia is stabilizing, with 8,419 new cases and 334 fatalities on Sunday. Before the Moscow parade held for Victory Day, the anniversary of the defeat of Nazi Germany in World War II, Health Minister Mikhail Murashko said that planned vaccination efforts should provide collective immunity in the country by September, Interfax reports.

Germany Sees Drop in Virus Cases (2:38 p.m. HK)

Germany had 2,630 new cases on Sunday, extending a decline in infections that started last month. The seven-day incidence rate fell below 120 for the first time since early April. The country is pushing ahead with first steps for a gradual easing of restrictions.

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