U.S. Surpasses 100 Million Initial Vaccine Doses: Virus Update
The U.S. surpassed 100 million people with at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, less than four months into its vaccination drive. Fully vaccinated people can resume recreational travel in the U.S. at “low risk,” though they should wear masks and avoid crowds, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention update.
New York’s arts and entertainment venues were allowed to reopen on Friday with limited attendance. Governor Andrew Cuomo urged residents to maintain safe behavior.
Germany and the Netherlands suspended AstraZeneca Plc’s shot for people younger than 60. A U.K. regulator said the vaccine’s benefits still outweigh the risks.
- Global Tracker: Almost 130 million cases; deaths exceed 2.8 million
- Vaccine Tracker: More than 611 million shots given worldwide
- CDC says vaccinated people can travel, should wear masks
- Grueling lockdown has Toronto at breaking point
- Britain’s tentative return to travel at risk as Covid surges
- How vaccine nationalism risks prolonging the pandemic
- Facebook is letting anti-vaxxers scare women from Covid shots
U.S. Tops 100 Million First Doses (2 p.m. NY)
More than 101 million people in the U.S. have received a first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, or about 31% of the population.
Less than four months into the U.S. vaccination effort, coverage is best in people 65 years or older, with 74% of the group getting at least one dose and 54% completing vaccination, according to CDC data compiled by the Bloomberg Vaccine Tracker.
On Friday, the U.S. set a one-day record for vaccine doses reported administered, adding almost 4 million. On average, the U.S. is administering close to 3 million shots a day as of Friday’s update, also a record.
De Santis Bans Vaccine Passes (1:07 p.m. NY)
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis made good on a pledge to ban so-called vaccine passports in the state. They would “reduce individual freedom and will harm patient privacy,” he said in an executive order.
FDA Increases Moderna Doses Per Vial (12:48 p.m. NY)
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration revised Moderna Inc.’s vaccine authorization to allow the company to ship vials filled with as many as 15 doses, compared with the existing 10-dose vials.
Along with a labeling change, the adjustment should help Moderna alleviate a bottleneck in vial-filling plants and accelerate the pace at which it can roll out vaccine doses in the U.S.
France Favors Tracing App (12:28 p.m. NY)
France favors a Covid-19 tracing app rather than health passes for entry into restaurants, museums or other public places once lockdown restrictions are eased, Junior Tourism Minister Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne said Friday on France Info radio.
“The government isn’t particularly in favor of this type of system because it wouldn’t be fair,” he said of health passes showing inoculation records. France is working on an improved version of a Covid-19 tracing app, he said.
About 30 million residents will be vaccinated by mid-June, Lemoyne said.
Russia Revises Death Toll Upward (12:04 p.m. NY)
Russia’s death toll linked to Covid-19 grew to 24,369 in February, nearly double initial reports, illustrating the price the country is paying for opting against locking down during the pandemic’s second wave.
Data released by the Federal Statistics Service on Friday includes people who were infected with the virus though it was not regarded as the cause of death. The revision increases Russia’s death toll 225,572 since the pandemic began.
Mumbai Surge Prompts Lockdown Warning (11:34 a.m. NY)
Maharashtra state, home to India’s financial hub of Mumbai, may be headed for another lockdown, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said Friday. With more than 50% of the state’s hospital beds occupied due to a Covid-19 resurgence, systems could be overwhelmed in 15 to 20 days, he said.
Some curbs will be announced in the coming days, Thackeray said. Mumbai city reported a record 8,832 new cases on Friday.
Kenya Warns of Fake Vaccines (11:28 a.m. NY)
Kenya’s government banned private entities from importing, distributing and administering Covid-19 vaccines, the Health Ministry said in a statement.
“Participation of the private sector in the vaccination exercise threatens the gains made in the fight against Covid-19 and puts the country at international risk should counterfeit commodities find their way into the Kenyan market,” it said.
CDC Says Vaccinated People Can Travel in U.S. (11:21 a.m. NY)
Fully vaccinated people can resume recreational travel in the U.S. yet should still wear a mask and avoid crowds, according to long-awaited travel guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The guidance says fully vaccinated people don’t need a test, and don’t need to quarantine, when traveling domestically. When traveling internationally, they don’t need a test unless it’s required by their destination country.
“We state that fully vaccinated people can resume travel at low risk to themselves,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky told reporters. But she warned of rising cases and hospitalizations and begged Americans to wear masks and avoid crowds. “This is a pivotal moment for our country.”
German, Dutch Leaders Urge Stay Home (11:20 a.m. NY)
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and the premier of the neighboring German state of North Rhine-Westphalia appealed to citizens to avoid non-essential travel and stay home over the Easter vacation.
“We are in the third wave and must therefore exercise great caution,” Rutte and NRW Premier Armin Laschet said in a statement. Staying at home will help avoid restrictions on border traffic, they said.
Netherlands Pauses Astra Vaccine for Under-60s (11:13 a.m. NY)
The Netherlands temporarily halted vaccinations of people younger than 60 with AstraZeneca’s vaccine after reports of a handful of severe blood-clotting events associated with a low platelet count.
The Dutch Health Ministry reported five cases in Dutch women between the ages of 25 to 65.
N.Y. Cases Ease, Cuomo Asks Vigilance (10:45 a.m. NY)
New York State recorded 7,787 new cases on Thursday after two days with more than 8,000, Governor Andrew Cuomo said in a statement. The number of people hospitalized for Covid-19 declined by about 1% to 4,540.
Cuomo said “the pandemic isn’t over and New Yorkers have to stay vigilant.” Another 63 people statewide died of illness caused by the virus, including 19 in Brooklyn and 10 in Manhattan, he said.
N.Y. Reopens Arts and Entertainment Venues (10:03 a.m. NY)
New York’s performing-arts and entertainment venues have a bit of a lockdown respite as of Friday with a policy shift allowing them to reopen at one-third capacity.
Venues can host as many as 150 people indoors and 500 people outdoors if all attendees present proof of full vaccination or a recent negative test, Governor Andrew Cuomo said in a statement. Otherwise, the limit is 100 people indoors and 200 outdoors.
Health protocols, including social distancing and face coverings, will be required in all cases, he said.
Hong Kong Bans Some Singapore Air Flights (9:30 a.m. NY)
Hong Kong will prohibit incoming flights from Singapore operated by the city-state’s flag carrier after some passengers failed to follow local disease prevention rules, according to a government statement. The ban will be effective from Saturday until April 16.
One passenger on a Wednesday flight from Singapore to Hong Kong was confirmed to have Covid-19. Three others failed to comply with disease prevention and control requirements.
U.K. Says AstraZeneca Safe Amid Clot Reports (7:56 a.m. NY)
The U.K. reported 25 new cases of rare blood clots possibly linked to AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine, raising the total to 30, but the country’s drugs regulator said the benefits of the shot continue to outweigh the risks.
People “should continue to get your vaccine when invited to do so” and “all vaccines and medicines have some side effects,” the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency said in a statement Thursday.
Beijing Seeks to Vaccinate All Adults by May (5:25 p.m. HK)
The Chinese capital plans to vaccinate all adults in two core districts and two districts where airports are located by the end of April, the Beijing Daily reported, citing a government meeting. Vaccination of adults in other districts in Beijing will be completed by the end of May.
German Panel Cautions on AstraZeneca Shot (2:40 p.m. HK)
Germany’s vaccine commission recommended that people younger than 60 who received a first dose of AstraZeneca’s shot should get an alternative product for their second dose.
The commission said that an mRNA-vaccine, such as the one produced jointly by Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE, should be given 12 weeks after the first shot. Germany decided this week to halt use of the Astra vaccine for people younger than 60 after a handful of new cases of severe blood clots emerged.
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