March 10 coronavirus news

By Ben Westcott and Kara Fox, CNN

Updated 2:18 AM ET, Thu March 11, 2021
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6:55 p.m. ET, March 10, 2021

Here's the latest Covid-19 update from Texas

From CNN's Chris Boyette

Drivers line up to receive the first and second dose of the Pfizer's Covid-19 vaccine on Wednesday, March 3, in Dallas.
Drivers line up to receive the first and second dose of the Pfizer's Covid-19 vaccine on Wednesday, March 3, in Dallas. LM Otero/AP

On the day the mask mandate in Texas was suspended, only 8.85% of the state population has been fully vaccinated against Covid-19, according to Johns Hopkins University’s Coronavirus Resource Center. 

The state has administered 7,196,586 doses of Covid-19 vaccine as of 11:59 p.m. Tuesday, according to data released by Texas Department of State Health Services on Wednesday.

At least 4,695,684 people have received at least one dose and 2,541,063 people have been fully vaccinated, according to the latest numbers available from the state.

The state reported 3,104 new Covid-19 cases and 225 new fatalities as of Wednesday.

Texas has recorded at least 2,330,216 Covid-19 cases since the start of the pandemic with at least 44,875 deaths, the DSHS dashboard shows.

Note: Numbers released by the state’s public health agency may not line up exactly in real time with CNN’s database drawn from Johns Hopkins University, The Covid Tracking Project and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

6:29 p.m. ET, March 10, 2021

First participants have received Covid-19 vaccine boosters that may provide protection from emerging variants

From CNN’s Lauren Mascarenhas

The Moderna building in Cambridge, Massachusetts on October 22, 2020.
The Moderna building in Cambridge, Massachusetts on October 22, 2020. Lane Turner/The Boston Globe/Getty Images

Vaccine maker Moderna announced Wednesday that the first participants have received its modified Covid-19 vaccines, designed as potential boosters to address emerging virus variants. 

As part of its Phase 2 study, 60 participants who were already vaccinated with Moderna’s original Covid-19 vaccine will be given a booster dose of the modified vaccines the company is testing. 

Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine is currently authorized for emergency use in the US. Though the vaccine was shown to provide protection against virus variants, it did show a six-fold decrease in the antibody response created against the B.1.351 variant, first identified in South Africa. 

Moderna says it’s developing a strategy to address these emerging variants out of an abundance of caution.

In the trial, 20 people will receive a booster designed to address the B.1.351 variant and increase the response to emerging variants with similar mutations. Another 20 people will receive a larger dose of that same booster. The remaining 20 will receive a booster that combines the original vaccine with the B.1.351 booster to provide a broad immune response.

In parallel, Moderna says the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAD) will conduct another trial to assess the modified vaccines, both as boosters for those who received Moderna’s original Covid-19 vaccine and as a primary series for those who did not.  

NIAD is expected to provide more information once it is given the all-clear from the US Food and Drug Administration to begin that trial.

6:23 p.m. ET, March 10, 2021

Houstonians who refuse to comply with private mask rules can be arrested, police chief warns

From CNN's Josiah Ryan

In this June 9, 2020 file image, Houston Police Houston Police Department Chief Art Acevedo arrives for the funeral of George Floyd at the Fountain of Praise church in Houston.
In this June 9, 2020 file image, Houston Police Houston Police Department Chief Art Acevedo arrives for the funeral of George Floyd at the Fountain of Praise church in Houston. Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo warned today that Texans who do not comply with mask rules mandated by individual business could face criminal charges, despite the fact that Texans are no longer under a statewide mask mandate.

"In Texas, private property rights matter," Acevedo told CNN today. "If an individual isn't following the rules of the restaurant or super market, whatever it may be and they're asked to leave, the police will be called and they can be arrested for criminal trespass."

Acevedo, who leads the police force in the nation's fourth most populous city, added that his officer's my also issue " a criminal trespass warning" which would spare the ban non-complying individual from arrest, but ban them from visiting the place of business where the violation takes place for at least a year. 

"I am convinced that our fellow Texans are going to do the right thing, they are going to wear masks... it's about the people that live around us, workaround ... about our loved ones and saving the lives of others and most people are decent," he said. "I'm hopeful most people will do the right thing and just wear the mask."

"If you don't want to wear it, go somewhere else," Acevedo added.

Watch Acevedo's interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer:

5:58 p.m. ET, March 10, 2021

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services offers revised visitation recommendations for nursing homes

From CNN's Lauren Mascarenhas

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services offered recommendations for nursing homes to safely expand visitation during the coronavirus pandemic Wednesday.

The new guidance, created in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, allows for indoor visitation, regardless of the vaccination status of the resident or visitor. 

There are some exceptions: CMS says visitation may need to be limited for residents with a confirmed case of Covid-19, residents in quarantine, and unvaccinated residents living in facilities where less than 70% of residents are vaccinated and counties with a positivity rate greater than 10%.

The guidance allows for “compassionate care” visits for all residents who are experiencing a significant decline in health or change in circumstances, regardless of vaccination status or virus transmission levels.

If there is a coronavirus outbreak in a nursing home, CMS says visitation can continue as long as the outbreak is contained to a single unit or separate area of the facility. 

“CMS recognizes the psychological, emotional and physical toll that prolonged isolation and separation from family have taken on nursing home residents, and their families,” CMS Chief Medical Officer Dr. Lee Fleisher said in a statement. 

5:50 p.m. ET, March 10, 2021

Brazil sets another new record for daily coronavirus deaths since pandemic began

From Marica Reverdosa

A healthcare worker arrives in an ambulance bringing a patient suspected of having Covid-19 to the public HRAN Hospital in Brasilia, Brazil, on Monday, March 8.
A healthcare worker arrives in an ambulance bringing a patient suspected of having Covid-19 to the public HRAN Hospital in Brasilia, Brazil, on Monday, March 8. Eraldo Peres/AP

Brazil reported 2,286 new coronavirus deaths Wednesday, which is the largest amount since the pandemic began, according to data from the country's health ministry.

The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) reported a previous record of 1,910 Covid-related deaths in the last 24 hours.

There were also 79,876 new coronavirus cases reported Wednesday, for a total of 11,202,305 cases and 270,656 deaths.

Some context: Brazil has the second-highest amount of deaths in the world after the US and the third-highest number of cases after the US and India, according to Johns Hopkins University.

4:36 p.m. ET, March 10, 2021

Go There: CNN heads to the New York state neighborhood that was first put under lockdown

Today marks one year since the Covid-19 containment area was ordered in New Rochelle, New York, and tomorrow is the one-year anniversary of the day the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic.

Life as we know it changed across the country in the past year.

CNN's Erica Hill was live in New Rochelle with the latest coronavirus headlines.

Watch more:

5:34 p.m. ET, March 10, 2021

Biden says US is on track to have enough Covid-19 vaccines for every adult by end of May

From CNN's Jacqueline Howard

Andrew Harnik/AP
Andrew Harnik/AP

The United States is now on track to have enough Covid-19 vaccine for every adult by the end of May, President Biden said during an event on Wednesday while applauding a vaccine manufacturing collaboration between pharmaceutical companies Johnson & Johnson and Merck.

"It's not just Johnson & Johnson and Merck — Pfizer, Moderna also worked closely with us to help speed up the delivery of millions more doses," Biden said. "The result is that we're now on track to have enough vaccine supply for every American adult by the end of May, months earlier than anyone expected."

Biden announced today that he is directing the US Department of Health and Human Services to purchase an additional 100 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine.

Watch the moment:

5:29 p.m. ET, March 10, 2021

Biden thanks Johnson & Johnson and Merck for "putting patriotism and public health first"

From CNN's Jacqueline Howard

President Biden on Wednesday applauded the collaboration between pharmaceutical companies Johnson & Johnson and Merck in their effort to manufacture Covid-19 vaccines.

"Today we're seeing two health companies, competitors, each with over 130 years of experience come together to help write a more hopeful chapter in our battle against Covid-19," Biden said during a White House briefing.

"This is a historic, nearly unprecedented collaboration," Biden added. "I want to thank the two companies for showing how we can come together and defeat this virus by putting patriotism and public health first."

Some context: The Biden administration announced last week that it helped forge the manufacturing collaboration between Merck and Johnson & Johnson to expand production of the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine.

At the time, the US Department of Health and Human Services announced that it plans to collaborate with Merck to repurpose some of its existing Merck facilities for the large-scale manufacturing of vaccines and therapeutics. 

"We're proud to contribute to the global response to the pandemic through this collaboration with our colleagues at Johnson & Johnson and the Biden administration," Merck CEO Kevin Frazier said during Wednesday's briefing. "We will work together to enable the more timely delivery of much-needed medicines and vaccines."

Johnson & Johnson CEO Alex Gorsky said in the briefing that the world is "at war" against Covid-19.

"The vaccine development, it wasn't a race against each other as competitors," Gorsky said. "It's really a race against time to defeat a common enemy."


4:05 p.m. ET, March 10, 2021

Covid-19 death rates were higher in Republican-led states in second half of 2020, study finds

From CNN’s Deidre McPhillips

In the second half of 2020, Republican-led states had higher Covid-19 case rates and death rates than Democrat-led states, according to a study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine on Tuesday. 

States with Democratic governors had higher case and death rates in the early months of the pandemic, but trends reversed in the summer. States with Republican governors had higher case rates after June 3, and death rates tipped on July 4. 

At their peak differences, case rates and deaths rates in Republican-led states were about 1.8 times higher than those in Democrat-led states. Those peaks occurred on June 28 for case rates and August 5 for death rates, but these trends stayed consistent through mid-December. The study analyzed cases and deaths reported by The COVID Tracking Project from March 15 through Dec. 15, 2020.

Democrat-led states — such as New York and California — were early entry points for Covid-19, perhaps contributing to higher incidence rates early on, according to the study authors. But the reversal in trends “may reflect policy difference that could have facilitated the spread of the virus,” they say. 

“Governors’ party affiliation may have contributed to a range of policy decisions that, together, influenced the spread of the virus,” said Sara Benjamin-Neelon, senior study author and professor at Johns Hopkins University. “These findings underscore the need for state policy actions that are guided by public health considerations rather than by partisan politics.”

Other studies have found that Republican governors were slower to adopt both mask mandates and stay-at home orders, and stay-at-home orders typically lasted longer under Democratic governors. 

While the analysis was adjusted for rurality, the study notes that “the findings could reflect the virus’s spread from urban to rural areas.” 

Also, the findings do not imply that political affiliation of a state leader was a cause of Covid-19 case or death incidence.