Biden delivers national address about Covid-19

By Ben Westcott, Meg Wagner, Melissa Macaya, Melissa Mahtani, Veronica Rocha and Fernando Alfonso III, CNN

Updated 9:52 p.m. ET, March 11, 2021
6 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
8:27 a.m. ET, March 11, 2021

Denmark suspends use of AstraZeneca vaccine as a 'precautionary measure'

From Antonia Mortensen

Denmark is suspending the use of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine for 14 days as it investigates reports of some patients developing blood clots after being inoculated, days after several other EU countries suspended use of a specific batch of the vaccine.

Danish Health Minister Magnus Heunicke said Thursday authorities were looking into "signs of a possible serious side effect in the form of fatal blood clots," though he made clear it was a "precautionary measure," saying it was not possible yet to conclude whether the clots were linked to the vaccine. 

"We act early, it needs to be thoroughly investigated," he said in a tweet.

The Danish Medicines Agency also confirmed the investigation on Thursday in a statement, saying it would work with the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the other EU pharmaceutical authorities following the reports. 

"One report relates to a death in Denmark," the statement added.

"We do not yet know whether the blood clots and the Danish death are due to the vaccine, but it must now be thoroughly examined for safety," said Tanja Erichsen from the Danish agency.

Earlier this week, Austria suspended the use of one specific batch of the AstraZeneca vaccine -- batch ABV5300 -- after "a person was diagnosed with multiple thrombosis," according to the EU's medicines regulator, the EMA.

As of Tuesday, Estonia, Lithuania, Luxembourg and Latvia had also suspended use of batch ABV5300.

It has not been specified if the Danish death was connected to this batch.

On Wednesday, the EMA said there was "currently no indication that vaccination has caused these conditions, which are not listed as side effects with this vaccine."

The EMA statement added: "Batch ABV5300 was delivered to 17 EU countries and comprises 1 million doses of the vaccine. Some EU countries have also subsequently suspended this batch as a precautionary measure, while a full investigation is ongoing. Although a quality defect is considered unlikely at this stage, the batch quality is being investigated."

8:21 a.m. ET, March 11, 2021

Brazil reports record high Covid-19 deaths for second consecutive day

From CNN’s Marcia Reverdosa and Tatiana Arias

A morgue employee works with the body of a Covid-19 victim at a hospital in Porto Alegre, Brazil, on March 4.
A morgue employee works with the body of a Covid-19 victim at a hospital in Porto Alegre, Brazil, on March 4. Silvio Avila/AFP/Getty Images

Brazil has reported another day of record-high daily Covid-19 deaths, according to official data, the second in a row for the South American country.

On Wednesday, Brazil reported 2,286 new Covid-19 related deaths, according to the Health Ministry, topping Tuesday’s previous record of 1,972 fatalities.

The country also recorded 79,876 new cases of Covid-19, bringing the country’s total to 11,202,305 and the death toll to 270,656, the ministry reported.

Brazil has the the third-highest number of Covid-19 infections worldwide after the United States and India, and the second-highest death toll, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Earlier Wednesday, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) reported that while the US, Canada and Mexico are seeing a drop in cases, nearly every Brazilian state saw an increase over the last week.

8:27 a.m. ET, March 11, 2021

Covid relief funding to be used for federal cybersecurity efforts

From CNN's Geneva Sands

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi raps her gavel after the House voted on the Covid-19 relief bill at the Capitol on March 10.
US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi raps her gavel after the House voted on the Covid-19 relief bill at the Capitol on March 10.

Millions of dollars in funding from the Covid-19 relief bill passed Wednesday will be used to help the federal government improve its cybersecurity efforts in the wake of high-profile breaches that have caused alarm for officials and lawmakers.

"[I]t reflects a recognition by this administration of the urgency of improving cybersecurity," said Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency cyber chief Eric Goldstein, adding that it will provide funding ahead of the next budget cycle, given the current threats facing federal networks. 

Goldstein, a top political appointee, said the funding stems from the fact that federal agencies are providing services either "directly or indirectly related to our country's ability to recover from the pandemic."

In an interview with CNN, he also pointed to increased remote work during the pandemic, which has created a reliance on cloud computing, which therefore increases the need for security tools. 

Congress included $650 million in the Covid relief bill for CISA's cybersecurity risk management programs.

Some background: CISA, a Department of Homeland Security agency that was founded during the Trump administration, is dealing with the fallout from two recent cyber breaches. Last week, Microsoft reported that a sophisticated group of hackers linked to China exploited its popular email service that allowed them to gain access to computers.

On Wednesday, CISA and the FBI issued an alert saying there are potentially “tens of thousands" of systems in the United States vulnerable to the breach. 

The alert was intended to "further amplify" the need for organizations to implement the directions in CISA's recent emergency directive, as well as the guidance from Microsoft, said Goldstein. 

As of today, about 90% of federal government Microsoft Exchange Server instances have been mitigated, according to Goldstein, who pointed out that there is no confirmation yet that any agency has been "compromised."

8:28 a.m. ET, March 11, 2021

Biden will mark one year of Covid-19 shutdown in primetime address

From CNN's Betsy Klein

US President Joe Biden takes part in a roundtable discussion at the White House on March 5.
US President Joe Biden takes part in a roundtable discussion at the White House on March 5. Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

President Joe Biden will deliver his first primetime address this Thursday, commemorating the milestone of one year since the global pandemic coronavirus shut down much of the nation.

"The President will deliver his first primetime address to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the Covid-19 shutdown on Thursday. He will discuss the many sacrifices the American people have made over the last year and the grave loss communities and families across the country have suffered," White House press secretary Jen Psaki said at Monday's briefing.

She said Biden looks forward to "highlighting the role that Americans will play in beating the virus and moving the country toward getting back to normal."

Then-President Trump addressed the nation from the Oval Office on March 11, 2020, hours after the World Health Organization declared coronavirus a global pandemic.

Trump announced at the time that he was "marshaling the full power of the federal government" to confront the growing public health crisis, including a monthlong halt in travel from Europe to the United States. It came days after he signed an $8.3 billion emergency spending bill aimed at fighting Covid-19, which Trump described as a "foreign virus."

One year later, more than 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with Covid-19 and nearly 530,000 have died. The resulting shutdowns have rocked the US economy, with 6.2% unemployment.

8:28 a.m. ET, March 11, 2021

Canada will honor lives lost from Covid-19 in a national day of observance

From CNN’s Paula Newton

Canada will honor those who died of Covid-19 on Thursday in what is being billed as a national day of observance. 

“There are no words for the pain of losing someone you love. As a country we remember all those we lost and we mourn with families and friends,” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said this week.

Canada has recorded nearly 900,000 cases of Covid-19 and more than 22,000 deaths.

After a sluggish rollout, Trudeau promised that vaccine shipments would continue to pick up across the country.

Public health officials say more than 5% of Canadians have received at least one dose of a vaccine but new variants will continue to pose a significant risk to public health in the weeks to come.

8:28 a.m. ET, March 11, 2021

A pandemic was declared one year ago today. Here's what this week last year felt like.

From CNN's Brian Stelter

This week's news coverage of the coronavirus toggled between retrospectives about the one-year anniversary of the pandemic and forward-looking reports about vaccines and variants.

Here is a flashback to 12 months ago:

March 9, 2020 was a Monday, the start of a new workweek. It was the day when CNN began to use the term pandemic to describe the outbreak. Dr. Sanjay Gupta explained that day that the World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention hadn't taken the step yet, but it was necessary. "Now is the time to prepare for what may be ahead," he said, previewing closed schools and canceled events.

That same day, Fox's Sean Hannity accused the media of "scaring the living hell out of people" and said "I see it, again, as like, let's bludgeon Trump with this new hoax."

On March 10 the cancellations accelerated. Conferences and concerts were postponed. The US was in the midst of what one reporter called a "low-key slowdown." The New York Times' banner headline said "MARKETS SPIRAL AS GLOBE SHUDDERS OVER VIRUS."

On March 11 WHO began to call it a pandemic. The US slowdown turned into a full-blown shutdown. Bloomberg Businessweek published a prescient cover calling 2020 "the lost year" due to coronavirus. Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson tested positive for the virus. The NBA suspended its season. President Trump gave a primetime speech and made things worse.

On March 12 the New York Post's front page said the world had "TURNED UPSIDE DOWN." New York Times editor Dean Baquet told his newsroom that this was the biggest story since 9/11. News outlets shifted into public service mode. The AP said that people around the world "became increasingly closed off from one another." Almost every media company postponed almost everything.

On March 13 — appropriately, Friday the 13th — more companies implemented work from home plans. Even more events were put on hold. Stocks continued to plummet. The crisis overwhelmed the news nervous system. New York felt different. We were all in this together. Trump said "I don't take responsibility at all." A New York magazine headline warned: "This will get worse."