U.S. Cases Hit 14-Month Low; California Mask Rule: Virus Update
People walk past Takashimaya department store advising of QR codes needed for entry on Orchard Road in Singapore. (Photographer: Wei Leng Tay/Bloomberg)

U.S. Cases Hit 14-Month Low; California Mask Rule: Virus Update

The U.S. on Sunday recorded its lowest number of new coronavirus infections since the early days of the pandemic. President Joe Biden plans to send an additional 20 million doses of vaccines abroad by the end of June as supply is beginning to outstrip demand.

California will keep its mask mandate in place for another month. The New York City Marathon, a major tourism draw, will return in November with at least 33,000 runners.

Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline Plc reported positive results from a mid-stage study, offering optimism their delayed vaccine could be cleared by year-end. U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the next step out of lockdown must be taken “with a heavy dose of caution” as more coronavirus restrictions were lifted on Monday.

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U.S. Cases Hit 14-Month Low; California Mask Rule: Virus Update

CDC Deputy Director to Retire (4:25 p.m. NY)

Anne Schuchat, the principal deputy director at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, will retire this summer. It’s a high-profile exit following the departure of another top official, Nancy Messonier, on Friday.

The moves come amid criticism of the agency’s communications and policy changes in response to emerging science on how the virus spreads through aerosols and when wearing masks is needed.

California to Keep Mask Rule for Another Month (3:10 p.m. NY)

California will keep its mask mandate in place until it fully reopens its economy on June 15 in an effort to persuade more residents to get vaccinated, breaking from other states that are dropping their requirements on the federal government’s advice.

It’s Back to the Classroom in N.J. (1:45 p.m. NY)

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy said all school districts must return to in-person learning by September.

The governor on Monday said his executive order allowing districts to provide remote instruction will expire at the end of the current school year. Full-time remote learning will no longer be an option, he said.

Murphy also lifted the state’s travel advisory that required visitors to quarantine, and he ended the outdoor mask mandate in public places. The requirement for masks in indoor public places remains in place, Murphy said.

N.Y. to Ease Mask Mandate (1:15 p.m. NY)

New York will lift its mask mandate on Wednesday in accordance with national guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as Covid vaccinations approach 50% of the state’s residents and cases and hospitalizations ebb.

“All the arrows are pointed in the right direction, so let’s get back to life,” said Governor Andrew Cuomo in a briefing on Monday. “We need to get the exuberance back, the excitement back.”

U.S. Cases Hit 14-Month Low; California Mask Rule: Virus Update

Cuomo called the easing of the mask mandate a “radical adjustment of rules and guidelines” and said the state took a couple of days to analyze the guidance and align it with its own.

Italy to Phase Out Curfew (12:15 p.m. NY)

Italy is set to to phase out a national curfew, currently set at 10 p.m., seeking to remove it on June 21, bowing to calls to reopen the country following a steady decrease in the number of cases.

At a Monday meeting, the government of Mario Draghi agreed to delay the curfew for low-risk areas to 11 p.m., and to allow indoor dining from June 1, according to an official who asked not to be named.

Biden to Send Vaccines Abroad (12:10 p.m. NY)

President Joe Biden plans to send an additional 20 million doses of U.S. coronavirus vaccines abroad by the end of June -- including, for the first time, shots authorized for domestic use, where supply is beginning to outstrip demand.

Biden will announce Monday that he’ll export 20 million doses of vaccines from Pfizer Inc., Moderna Inc. or Johnson & Johnson, on top of 60 million AstraZeneca Plc doses he had already planned to give to other countries, according to a senior administration official familiar with the plan.

BioNTech Gets Refrigeration Extension (12:10 p.m. NY)

BioNTech on Monday said the European Medicines Agency agreed to extend the time it would allow medical agencies to store the Covid-19 vaccine it makes with Pfizer at refrigeratior temperature to 31 days, longer than the five days it previously gave permission for. The change to the rules will allow for more vaccinations within Europe. The company said U.S. regulators are considering a similar request.

U.K. Finds More Cases of India Strain (12:01 p.m. NY)

Authorities have identified 2,323 cases of the Indian strain of coronavirus in the U.K., Health Secretary Matt Hancock said, as the highly transmissible new variant spreads.

Speaking in Parliament on Monday, Hancock said 86 different local authority areas had now identified at least five people with the new strain.

Cases have doubled in the past week in Bolton, Blackburn and Darwen in northwestern England and the Indian variant is now the dominant strain of the virus, Hancock said.

He urged the public to get vaccinated, saying most people with the India strain in Bolton hospital hadn’t received a shot. Early evidence shows vaccines still work against this new variant, he added.

NYC Marathon to Return Nov. 7 (11:50 a.m. NY)

The 50th running of the New York City Marathon, the biggest in the world and a major tourism draw for the city, will be held on Nov. 7, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Monday.

The 26.2-mile (42-kilometer) race, which was canceled last year, will be held at 60% capacity, meaning about 33,000 runners will be able to participate. That capacity may be subject to change, the governor said. Registration will open June 8.

“The marathon is back,” Cuomo said.

Seychelles Using Russia’s Sputnik Shots (11:30 a.m. NY)

Seychelles, which has vaccinated a greater proportion of its population than any other nation against Covid-19, said it has started offering Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine in addition to the AstraZeneca Plc and Sinopharm shots.

So far 99% of the “target population” has been vaccinated with at least a single dose of vaccine and 88% have received two doses, the health ministry said in a statement on Monday. Still, Seychelles has seen a surge in cases in recent weeks.

China Donates Vaccines to Zimbabwe Army (11:10 a.m. NY)

The People’s Liberation Army of China donated 100,000 Sinopharm vaccines to the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, the southern African nation’s Health Ministry said on its Twitter account.

The consignment was received by Defense Minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri at the main airport in the capital, Harare, on Monday. The inoculations will benefit 50,000 military personnel, including war veterans and their dependents, it said.

Zimbabwe recorded 38,560 coronavirus infections and 1,582 deaths by May 16, according to government data.

U.S. Daily Cases Fall to 14-Month Low (10:05 a.m. NY)

The U.S. recorded 16,857 new coronavirus infections on Sunday, the lowest daily total since the early days of pandemic in March 2020, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg. In January after a holiday-fueled surge, the U.S. was averaging about 250,000 new cases a day.

Sundays typically have the fewest reported cases of the week. Even so, yesterday’s total was the lowest for any day of the week since Wednesday, March 25, 2020.

For the week ended Sunday, new cases rose by 0.7%, the slowest increase of the pandemic. The weekly total of 232,839 new infections was the lowest since the seven days ended June 21.

Andy Slavitt, senior adviser for the Biden administration’s Covid response, said in a tweet Monday that cases are falling in all 50 states.

World Economic Forum Cancels Singapore Meeting (10 a.m. NY)

The World Economic Forum is canceling the annual meeting it was planning to hold this August in Singapore, a spokesman said.

The city-state has seen a jump in coronavirus cases in recent weeks, prompting its government to introduce restrictions on activity and tighten border controls.

U.S. Cases Hit 14-Month Low; California Mask Rule: Virus Update

Pakistan Cases Drop After Week-Long Lockdown (9:15 a.m. NY)

New infections in Pakistan dropped to the lowest level in nine weeks after it imposed a week-long shutdown, according to data compiled by Bloomberg and Johns Hopkins University.

The nation, which is in the midst of a new wave of the virus, relaxed restrictions by resuming public transport and extending market opening hours.

Philippines Signs Deal for Pfizer Shots (9:12 a.m. NY)

The Philippines signed an initial deal with Pfizer Inc. for 40 million vaccine doses, paving the way for the Southeast Asian nation’s biggest supply agreement. The country hopes to reach herd immunity this year to help it fight one of the region’s worst outbreaks.

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