Covid-19 Pandemic: Live Updates and News for Apr. 8, 2021
New York City said four or more Covid-19 cases in a school in a week will result in a 10-day closing, up from a two-case rule. The pandemic is erupting anew in youth sports across the U.S., prompting fresh warnings from President Joe Biden’s health advisers and adding a headwind to his push to reopen classrooms.
Florida said it is suing the federal government to allow cruising to return in the U.S., more than a year after the industry went on hiatus. The world’s biggest online travel agency is in favor of vaccine passports that would make it safer and easier for people to travel.
India is attempting to boost its capacity to make vaccines, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Thursday, as new cases in the world’s second-most populous nation surged to a record. The EU has exported more than 80 million vaccine doses since the beginning of February, with Japan overtaking the U.K. as the main destination.
Florida Cases Jump (4:10 p.m. NY)
Florida posted 7,939 new cases Thursday, the most since Feb. 11, according to state health department data. The seven-day average climbed to the highest this month. Still, Florida’s cases per capita are running just slightly above the national average and significantly below hot spot states such as New Jersey, New York and Michigan.
Ohio Moving in ‘Wrong Direction’ (4 p.m. NY)
Governor Mike DeWine said that new infections in Ohio are “moving in the wrong direction” but “we can still turn this around” if more people get vaccinated. “We’re in a race. It’s a life and death race,” the Republican governor said at press briefing on Thursday.
He said Ohio crossed the threshold of one-third of those eligible having received the vaccine, and he said he was sending extra doses to areas with higher rates of virus variants. At the same time, the state reported 2,742 cases on Thursday compared with a 21-day average of 1,801, as hospitalizations and intensive-care admissions also increase. It was most new infections for three weeks.
Cleveland, Ohio, is on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s list of 10 U.S. metro areas with an increased Covid-19 burden.
Outbreak Hits U. of Chicago (3:16 p.m. NY)
The University of Chicago is telling students living in its dorms to stay in their rooms beginning immediately through April 15 because of a large cluster of Covid-19 cases involving undergraduates. Classes for undergrads are moving to fully remote for seven days.
Many of these cases may have been connected to parties held by off-campus fraternities over the last week, Michele Rasmussen, dean of students and Eric Heath, associate vice president for safety and security, said in an email to students Wednesday. Tests in recent days have detected more than 50 cases involving students, including many living in residence halls.
“We are particularly concerned because of the high likelihood that these cases involve the B.1.1.7 coronavirus variant, which is currently widespread in the Chicago area, appears to spread more easily than other variants, and is able to cause more severe disease in people of all ages,” they said.
Nations Seek to Limit Astra Use (2:15 p.m. NY)
The Netherlands won’t administer the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine to people under the age of 60 for the time being, Health Minister Hugo de Jonge said, according to a report on Dutch news agency ANP.
The Australian government said earlier it would guide against giving Astra’s vaccine to people under the age of 50, amid warnings of a link to a rare type of blood clots. Meanwhile, Portugal’s Directorate-General for Health said it recommends the Astra vaccine be used only by people over 60 years old.
Colorado Vaccination Site Reopens (2 p.m. NY)
A community vaccination site in a Denver suburb that closed Wednesday after 11 people who received Johnson & Johnson jabs fell ill has reopened. Colorado Governor Jared Polis said there “weren’t any issues” with the vaccines.
“Maybe they were dehydrated or scared of needles,” Polis said at a Thursday news conference. Two people were taken to a hospital for observation. The others received first aid at the site, including swigs of orange juice and water.
Powell Cites Uneven Vaccine Rollout (12:59 p.m. NY)
Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said disparate efforts to vaccinate people globally is a risk to progress for the economic rebound.
“The recovery here remains uneven and incomplete,” Powell told a virtual panel Thursday during the Spring meetings of the International Monetary Fund. The world won’t be able to fully resume economic activity until the virus is controlled everywhere, he said.
Florida Sues to Restart Cruises (12:49 p.m. NY)
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said the state is suing the federal government to allow cruising to return in the U.S., more than a year after the industry went on hiatus over the Covid-19 pandemic.
The step is the latest escalation in a squabble between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the major cruise lines, many of which have their corporate headquarters in South Florida.
Russia, Slovakia Clash Over Vaccine (12:46 p.m. NY)
Slovakia and Russia clashed over the Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine after the European Union member accused Moscow of delivering shots that were different from those used in a peer-reviewed study.
Russia rejected the allegations and demanded Bratislava return the 200,000 doses it sent. The dispute may set back efforts to use Sputnik widely in Europe. Slovakia was one of a few members of the bloc pushing to use the Russia-developed vaccine to help speed the roll-out of inoculations.
EU Has Exported 80 Million Doses (12:28 p.m. NY)
The EU has exported more than 80 million vaccine doses since the beginning of February, a document with updated data circulated among the bloc’s governments and seen by Bloomberg shows. A total of 112 million doses had been delivered to EU member states as of April 5, according to the memo circulated to diplomats in Brussels.
Japan has overtaken the U.K as the main export destination, getting 17.7 million shots produced in the EU, versus 13.3 million for shipment to Britain. European governments have been under pressure to curb exports as their rollout lags behind vaccination rates in the U.S and the U.K. However, out of the 534 export requests submitted by drugmakers so far, only one has been refused and two are pending, according to the memo dated April 8.
India Seeks to Make More Vaccines (12:24 p.m. NY)
India is attempting to boost its capacity to make vaccines, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Thursday, as new coronavirus cases in the world’s second-most populous nation surged to a record.
Modi made the comments during a meeting with chief ministers to discuss ways to check the rapid rise of infections in the South Asian nation. Some states have said that they are facing a shortage of vaccines.
France Meets Vaccine Goal (12:13 p.m. NY)
France met its target of inoculating 10 million people with a first dose of vaccine on Thursday, a week ahead of schedule, as the country endures its third lockdown.
France opened mass vaccination centers across the country this week in a bid to further accelerate the roll-out of the shots, in a campaign that started sluggishly after the first vaccine was administered on Dec. 27.
Booking CEO Favors Vaccine Passes (11:53 a.m. NY)
The world’s biggest online travel agency is in favor of vaccine passports that would make it safer and easier for people to travel.
“We need a way that tourists can go to a country but prove that they are safe to travel so that governments are willing to let people come,” said Booking Holdings Inc. Chief Executive Officer Glenn Fogel in an interview on Bloomberg Television Thursday. Fogel added that taking a test three days prior to traveling is “not the greatest system” and a “technological solution” is needed.
Outbreak Hits U.S. Youth Sports (11:03 a.m. NY)
The pandemic is erupting anew in youth sports across the U.S., prompting fresh warnings from President Joe Biden’s health advisers and adding a headwind to his push to reopen classrooms.
Several states have faced recent outbreaks linked to sporting events and to a variant of the virus first found in the U.K. and now dominant in the U.S. Michigan is an epicenter both of the latest surge and the U.K. variant, which is regarded as more transmissible than the original strain of the virus and may be deadlier.
Elementary, middle and high schools have driven the outbreak in Michigan more than any other setting, largely through sports such as basketball and wrestling, according to data compiled by the state.
NYC Changes School Closing Rules (10:26 a.m. NY)
New York City said four or more Covid-19 cases in a school in a week will result in a 10-day closing, up from a two-case rule that had drawn criticism from parents.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said Thursday that the new rule will help provide a “more stable and consistent schedule” as the city tries to get more kids back into classrooms. A majority of New York City’s 1.1 million students continue to choose remote instruction. A final opportunity for them to switch to in-person class ends Friday.
New Wave Feared as U.K. Reopens (8:14 a.m. NY)
The U.K.’s current road map out of lockdown for England could lead to an extra 15,700 deaths by next summer due to another wave of infections, according to modeling estimates from Imperial College London. “The magnitude of this wave is uncertain but should be lower than the previous ones, as long as the vaccine roll-out continues at high pace, with high uptake, and without immune-escape variants,” Neil Ferguson, an epidemiologist with the university’s school of public health, said.
Poland Records Deadliest Day (6:17 a.m. NY)
Poland suffered its deadliest day of the coronavirus pandemic after fatalities from the Easter holiday were added to the tally. The number of reported deaths rose to 954.
French Open Postponed (5:47 p.m. HK)
The Roland-Garros Paris tennis tournament has been postponed by a week due to the epidemic, the organizers announced on Thursday following a decision from the French Tennis Federation. The tournament will now take place from May 24 to June 13.
Germany Weighs Second Shot Delay (4:06 p.m. HK)
Germany may recommend extending the time between administering first and second doses of mRNA Covid-19 shots, but needs more information before making a decision, the head of the country’s vaccine commission, Thomas Mertens, said in an interview with ZDF television.
Some health experts in Germany have called for the period between the first and second mRNA vaccine doses to be extended to 12 weeks from six weeks to help speed up the country’s sluggish inoculation drive.
Germany, which is due to hold bilateral discussions with Russia on potentially buying the Sputnik V vaccine, said more data is needed for the shot to gain approval in the European Union. “There is partial data, they are already there, but we need all the data,” German Health Minister Jens Spahn said.
Italy Wants ‘Covid-Free’ Islands (2:08 p.m. HK)
Italy’s government is working on a plan to make ‘Covid-free’ islands including Capri, Ischia, Ponza and Elba by the summer in order to save the tourist season, Il Messaggero reported. Vaccinations of local residents will be prioritized, following in the footsteps of Greece, according to the paper.
— With assistance by Ian Fisher, Iain Rogers, Geraldine Amiel, Ed Johnson, Yasna Haghdoost, Andreo Calonzo, Jose Orozco, Thomas Mulier, Frank Connelly, Bhuma Shrivastava, David Herbling, Marthe Fourcade, Andra Timu, Elena Popina, Zoe Schneeweiss, Nikos Chrysoloras, Vincent Del Giudice, Janet Lorin, and Jonathan Levin