The latest on the coronavirus pandemic and vaccines

By Joshua Berlinger, Kara Fox and Christopher Johnson, CNN

Updated 9:39 PM ET, Fri April 2, 2021
38 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
5:19 p.m. ET, April 2, 2021

California will allow indoor gatherings and events starting April 15 as Covid-19 cases fall

From CNN's Sarah Moon

Indoor gatherings and private events will be allowed to resume with limitations in California starting April 15, state health officials announced in a teleconference Friday amid a falling number of new Covid-19 cases and mounting vaccination effort.

This includes private events like weddings and conferences as well as sports events and live concerts.

Venues can have fully vaccinated sections without social distancing but still will require the use of masks, the state's public health officer, Dr. Tomás J. Aragón, said. Other sections must continue to maintain the six-feet social distancing requirement.

Anyone planning to attend events will have to go through a self-verification process, Aragón said. This may include bringing their Covid-19 vaccination card or showing negative test results within 72 hours of the event.

For counties in the red tier, or the second lowest tier of the state’s four-tiered reopening system, indoor gatherings will be allowed up to 100 people as long as all guests are vaccinated or have tested negative. The capacity is increased to 150 people for counties in the next tier, the orange tier, and to 200 people for counties in the yellow tier, the highest tier.

Los Angeles and San Francisco are currently in the state’s orange tier, indicating a “moderate risk” of Covid-19.

California's Covid-19 cases: The announcement comes as the state continues to see a decline in coronavirus cases and deaths. The state has also expanded its vaccine eligibility to allow people 16 years and older to get the vaccine starting April 15. 

“In terms of numbers in California right now, our numbers are looking very good,” Aragón said. Over 18 million California residents have been vaccinated so far.

“Today’s update to the Blueprint for a Safer Economy is a result of the progress we are making both in vaccinations and in controlling the spread of Covid-19,” the state's Health and Human Services secretary, Dr. Mark Ghaly, said in a statement. “By following public health guidelines such as wearing masks and getting vaccinated when eligible, we can resume additional activities as we take steps to reduce risk.”

3:06 p.m. ET, April 2, 2021

Oregon governor: "The fourth surge of this virus is at our doorstep"

From CNN's Chris Boyette

At a press conference Friday, Oregon governor Kate Brown warned Oregonians not to let their guard down in preventing the spread of Covid-19.

“It's clear that in Oregon, and across the country, the fourth surge of this virus is at our doorstep,” Brown said. “While Oregon's case numbers, fortunately, haven't matched those of other states seeing large spikes, our numbers are rising.”

As of Friday, Oregon Health Authority reported 156,013 cases of Covid-19 in Oregon.

“We continue to see a general trend of increasing daily cases, along with virus related hospitalizations,” said Dr. Dean Sidelinger, Oregon's state health officer.

Brown said the state faces a race between the vaccines and the variants. She said Oregon plans to open eligibility to everyone age 16 and older no later than May 1.

“I know we’re all fed up with a pandemic, physical distancing and mask wearing, but we are in the last few miles of the marathon,” Brown said. “We have come so far, run so hard and we are close to the finish line. Don't let the vaccines and the sunny spring weather give us a false sense that we're in the clear, because we're not.”

All frontline workers as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will be eligible for the Covid-19 vaccine Monday, and Brown announced at the press conference that their adult family members would be eligible to get vaccinated at well.

4:10 p.m. ET, April 2, 2021

Vermont officials "very concerned" over uptick in Covid-19 cases

From CNN's Anjali Huynh

Vermont officials addressed the rise in Covid-19 cases in the state, saying they are concerned these increases will lead to more Covid-19-related hospitalizations and deaths.

"My optimism is for the future, and the future is very near. But when it comes to the present, frankly, I am very concerned," Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine said.

Levine credited the rise in cases in part to Covid-19 variants being present in five counties in the state, saying that Vermonters should assume that variants are present in even more.

Michael Pieciak, commissioner for the Department of Financial Regulation, said there has been a constant increase in cases in Vermont over the past several days. The state's latest seven-day-case rate average reached an all-time high for the pandemic.

This follows a trend of northeast states seeing increases in cases over the past few weeks, with Massachusetts and Connecticut also seeing a rise in hospitalizations, Pieciak said.

Gov. Phil Scott said that nearly 40% of the population has received their first vaccine dose as of today. Over 85% of people 65 and older are vaccinated, he added.

"We can still stop this rise in cases if we act now," Health Commissioner Levine urged. "We really only have about three more weeks before that future I'm so optimistic for becomes the present. ... No one wants to go backwards."

3:08 p.m. ET, April 2, 2021

West Virginia expands Covid-19 vaccine eligibility to residents 16 and older

From CNN's Heather Law

A healthcare worker prepares a syringe with the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine on March 26, in Buffalo, West Virginia.
A healthcare worker prepares a syringe with the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine on March 26, in Buffalo, West Virginia. Stephen Zenner/Getty Images

West Virginia residents aged 16 and older are now eligible to receive the Covid-19 vaccine, Gov. Jim Justice said during a news briefing Friday.

The move comes due to rising numbers of the virus in the state. There have been 6,642 active cases detected throughout West Virginia, with 420 new positive cases reported within the last 24 hours, Justice said. 

The daily Covid-19 positivity rate is now 3.48%, and the cumulative positivity continues at 5.25%, the governor explained. 

Seven people have died from the coronavirus since Wednesday, bringing the total death toll to approximately 2,700, Justice stated. 

The governor reemphasized the importance of getting tested after noting three counties – Jefferson County, Berkeley County, and Raleigh County – are now in the red zone due to increasing Covid-19 cases.

West Virginia Coronavirus Czar Dr. Clay Marsh said health officials have seen a rise in the variant first identified in the United Kingdom within the positive cases, describing the variant as “about 50%” more lethal and infectious. Specific numbers for the variant first identified in the UK will be announced next week, Marsh stated.

500,000 West Virginians have received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, marking a new milestone for the state, the governor stated.

He said 518,543 first doses and 342,851 second doses have been administered, bringing the total number of people who have been vaccinated to 861,394.

“We’re at 92.6% administration rate right now for our first and second doses. We want to absolutely be at 100%,” Justice said.

Note: These numbers were released by the state's public health agency, and may not line up exactly in real time with CNN’s database drawn from Johns Hopkins University, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Health and Human Services.

3:50 p.m. ET, April 2, 2021

Florida governor signs executive order that bans mandated use of Covid-19 vaccine passports

From CNN's Gregory Leoms

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at a press conference on March 22, in Melbourne, Florida.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at a press conference on March 22, in Melbourne, Florida.  Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed an Executive Order Friday banning the mandated use of Covid-19 passports in the state.

The Order, effective immediately, says vaccines are available but not mandated in the state and cites freedom and privacy concerns as the primary basis for the action. 

“Individual Covid-19 vaccination records are private health information and should not be shared by a mandate,” the Order says. “So-called Covid-19 vaccine passports reduce individual freedom and will harm patient privacy.”

The Order says the implementation and enforcement of vaccine passports would “create two classes of citizens based on vaccinations.”

The order prohibits any government entity or business from requiring a vaccine passport.

DeSantis signaled earlier this week that he would not support vaccine passports.

"It's completely unacceptable for either the government or the private sector to impose upon you the requirement that you show proof of vaccine to just simply be able to participate in normal society," said DeSantis Monday during a news conference.

1:46 p.m. ET, April 2, 2021

The Netherlands pauses use of AstraZeneca vaccine for those under 60

From CNN's Amy Cassidy and James Frater

Vials of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine are seen on March 20, in Ede, Netherlands.
Vials of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine are seen on March 20, in Ede, Netherlands. Piroschka van de Wouw/ANP/AFP/Getty Images

The Netherlands will pause administering the Oxford AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine in people under 60 years old as a “precautionary measure,” according to a government news release Friday.

It cited five cases of blood clots among women aged between 25 and 65 who had received the shot, reported by Lareb, the country's medicines watchdog.

The statement acknowledged the ongoing European Medicines Agency (EMA) investigation into whether a causal link exists between the vaccine and thrombotic events. 

“There can be no doubt whatsoever about the safety of vaccines. The crucial question is still whether this concerns complaints after vaccination, or due to vaccination,” Hugo de Jonge, Dutch Minister of Health, Welfare and Sport said.

He continued “we must err on the side of caution, which is why it is wise to press the pause button now, as a precaution. But only for people under the age of 60.”

The Netherlands has so far distributed around 400,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine, the government said. 

The move follows Germany’s decision to halt the vaccine for under 60s on Tuesday.

AstraZeneca said in a statement that investigations by both the UK's Medicines and Products regulatory agency (MRHA) and the EMA were not able to establish a causal relationship between the vaccine and clotting events, adding, "however, the EMA concluded that for very rare cases of serious cerebral thromboembolic events with thrombocytopenia a causal link with the vaccine is not proven but deserves further analysis."

1:23 p.m. ET, April 2, 2021

Major League Baseball postpones Mets vs. Nationals opening series over Covid-19 concerns

From CNN's Kevin Dotson

Gates leading into Nationals Park remain closed on Opening Day April 1, in Washington, DC.
Gates leading into Nationals Park remain closed on Opening Day April 1, in Washington, DC. Win McNamee/Getty Images

The remaining two games of the Washington Nationals’ season-opening series with the New York Mets have been postponed due to ongoing Covid-19 issues within the Nationals team, Major League Baseball announced Friday.

Games scheduled for Saturday and Sunday at Nationals Park have been postponed, a day after the postponement of the two teams’ season opening game yesterday.

At least three Nationals’ players have tested positive for Covid-19, the team said Thursday. The team says a fourth player is considered a “likely” positive. None of the players were identified. On Wednesday, it was announced that one player on the Nationals had tested positive and that four other players were placed in quarantine.

No make-up dates for the postponed games was provided. Major League Baseball says it will provide scheduling updates as they become available

1:02 p.m. ET, April 2, 2021

Alabama will allow Covid-19 vaccinations for 16 and older starting April 5

From CNN's Gregory Lemos

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey holds a press conference after touring a drive-thru Covid-19 vaccination clinic in Camden, Alabama, on Friday, April 2.
Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey holds a press conference after touring a drive-thru Covid-19 vaccination clinic in Camden, Alabama, on Friday, April 2. Jake Crandall/The Montgomery Advertiser/USA Today Network

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey said Friday that, beginning April 5, the state will allow individuals 16 and older to receive a Covid-19 vaccine.

“Truly, this vaccine is our ticket back to normal life. We are so close to getting COVID-19 in the rearview, and until then, we should all keep wearing our masks, get vaccinated and use the common sense the good Lord gave us,” the Republican governor said in a press release.

As CNN has previously reported, Alabama originally said it was aiming for May 1 as the target date for all eligible residents to have the option to receive a shot.

According to the release, this expansion means nearly 4 million residents will be eligible for vaccination. The state receives around 115,000 doses a month, the release said.

To date, Alabama has given at least 1,724,463 vaccine doses according to the release. 

1:05 p.m. ET, April 2, 2021

More than 100 million people in the US have received at least one dose of Covid-19 vaccine, official says

From CNN’s Deidre McPhillips

A nurse prepares a syringe with the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine at a senior center in San Antonio, Texas, on March 29.
A nurse prepares a syringe with the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine at a senior center in San Antonio, Texas, on March 29. Sergio Flores/Getty Images

More than 100 million people in the United States have received at least one dose of Covid-19 vaccine, White House Covid-19 Data Director Cyrus Shahpar tweeted Friday.

Nearly 4 million more doses have been reported administered since yesterday, for a record-high seven-day average of nearly 3 million doses per day, according to Shahpar's tweet. 

Full details are expected to be published on the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention's Covid-19 data dashboard this afternoon.