April 5 coronavirus news

By Ivana Kottasová, Ben Westcott, Brett McKeehan, Melissa Macaya, Melissa Mahtani and Mike Hayes, CNN

Updated 3:52 p.m. ET, April 6, 2021
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12:27 p.m. ET, April 5, 2021

UK to ease coronavirus restrictions starting April 12, prime minister says

From CNN’s Vasco Cotovio

Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during a media briefing in Downing Street, London, on Monday, April 5.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during a media briefing in Downing Street, London, on Monday, April 5. Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire/AP

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced he’d be going to the pub himself next Monday as he confirmed that the UK would be easing anti-coronavirus restrictions from April 12, as previously announced by his government. 

“I can today confirm that from Monday the 12th of April we will move to step two of our roadmap, reopening shops, gyms, zoos, holiday campsites, personal care services like hairdressers and, of course, beer gardens and outdoor hospitality of all kinds,” Johnson said. 

“On Monday, the 12th I will be going to the pub myself and cautiously but irreversibly raising a pint of beer to my lips,” he added.

Johnson said the easing of restrictions was fully justified by the data, namely a reduction in the number of cases and the rising number of people which have received at least one dose of the vaccine.

“We set out our roadmap and we’re sticking with it and I want to stress that we see nothing in the present data that makes us think that we will have to deviate,” he said, while still asking people to remain vigilant in light of the epidemiological situation elsewhere in Europe and uncertainty over how effective the “vaccine shield” will be when cases start to rise once again. 

12:38 p.m. ET, April 5, 2021

Fauci: With Covid-19 variants, delayed second dose strategy would put people in "tenuous zone"

From CNN's Jen Christensen

Dr. Anthony Fauci testifies during a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing in Washington, DC, on March 18.
Dr. Anthony Fauci testifies during a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing in Washington, DC, on March 18. Susan Walsh/Pool/AFP/Getty Images

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said there is no “right or wrong” in advocating a vaccination strategy to delay a second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.

“There really are different approaches and different opinions,” Fauci said in an answer to a question from CNN Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen during Monday’s White House Covid-19 Response Team briefing.

“We have been concerned, and still are, that when you look at the level of protection after one dose, you can say is 80%, but it is somewhat of a tenuous 80%, because the level of, for example, neutralizing antibodies against the coronavirus, when you just leave it at one dose, the question is, how long does it last," he continued.

Factoring in variants that may diminish the effectiveness of the vaccine – “you’re in a tenuous zone if you don’t have the full impact,” Fauci said.

“So there is some merit to the arguments that are made, and we certainly respect that, but right now, given the number of vaccines we’re able to give every day, literally every day that goes by, we get closer and closer to where we want to be,” Fauci said. “For that reason, although we always continue to keep an open mind, we consider the route that we’re on now is the best route.”

12:43 p.m. ET, April 5, 2021

Variants partly to blame for 4 straight weeks of increasing Covid-19 cases, CDC director says

From CNN’s Jen Christensen

A medical assistant administers a Covid-19 test at Memorial Stadium in Port Huron, Michigan, on April 4.
A medical assistant administers a Covid-19 test at Memorial Stadium in Port Huron, Michigan, on April 4. Brian Wells/Times Herald/USA Today Network

This is the fourth straight week of increasing Covid-19 cases, according to Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

She said the CDC is watching the case counts with “concern."

“We know that these increases are due, in part, to more highly transmissible variants, which we are very closely monitoring,” Walensky said Monday at the White House Covid-19 Response Team briefing.

As more schools are reopening, the CDC director said it is even more important that people do whatever they can to reduce the spread of the virus. She added that people should get vaccinated as soon as they can, wear a mask that fits, and keep good physical distance from others.

Walensky said that a number of the clusters identified among young people are connected to participation in youth sports and extracurriculars. The CDC guidelines suggest those activities should be limited.

“I understand that people are tired and that they are ready for this pandemic to be over, as am I,” she said. “Please, continue to hang in there, and to continue to do things that we know prevent the spread of the virus.”

12:31 p.m. ET, April 5, 2021

CDC updates guidance for cleaning surfaces to protect against Covid-19

From CNN's Jen Christensen

Employees disinfect seats ahead of a Purdue Boilermakers and Ohio State Buckeyes basketball game at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana, on March 12.
Employees disinfect seats ahead of a Purdue Boilermakers and Ohio State Buckeyes basketball game at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana, on March 12. Justin Casterline/Getty Images

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has updated its guidance for cleaning and disinfecting facilities and homes to prevent the spread of Covid-19, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said Monday during the White House Covid-19 Response Team briefing.

The science has shown that people can get infected via contaminated surfaces, but the risk is low. Regular cleaning of these surfaces with soap or detergent works. Disinfection is not necessary, Walensky said.

“Disinfection is only recommended in indoor settings, schools and homes where there has been a suspected or confirmed case of Covid-19, within the last 24 hours,” Walensky said.

In most cases, fogging, fumigation and electrostatic spraying is not recommended as a primary method of disinfection, and actually carries several safety risks.

Surface transmission can also be reduced by wearing masks consistently and correctly, Walensky said, in addition to proper handwashing.

 

12:50 p.m. ET, April 5, 2021

White House announces 3 additional mass vaccination sites

From CNN's Jason Hoffman

Andy Slavitt speaks during a Covid-19 response team press briefing on Monday, April 5.
Andy Slavitt speaks during a Covid-19 response team press briefing on Monday, April 5. White House

White House senior adviser for Covid-19 response Andy Slavitt announced three new mass vaccination sites on Monday, bringing the total number of federal US mass vaccination sites to 28.

Slavitt announced the new sites would be at the Columbia Place Mall in Columbia, South Carolina, the Colorado State Fairgrounds in Pueblo, Colorado, and the Minnesota State Fairgrounds in St. Paul, Minnesota.

“Across the country there’s already 25 existing mass vaccination sites that have a combined capability to administer over 95,000 shots per day. And that number’s gonna continue to grow as we bring additional sites online,” Slavitt said. 

He added that the three new sites are all in areas defined by the CDC as a “high risk community,” continuing to put a focus on equitably administering vaccines. 

“Of the more than 2.1 million shots administered at these sites to date, more than 60% have been administered to racial and ethnic minorities,” Slavitt said. 

11:20 a.m. ET, April 5, 2021

Bar opening event in rural Illinois linked to 46 Covid-19 cases and a school closure, CDC report finds

From CNN’s Ashley Ahn

A bar opening event in rural Illinois in February was linked to 46 Covid-19 cases, a school closure affecting 650 children, and the hospitalization of one long-term care facility resident, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report on Monday.

The Illinois Department of Public Health identified 29 individuals who tested positive for Covid-19 or had Covid-19-like symptoms within 14 days after the event. All 29 cases were confirmed by Covid-19 antigen or nucleic acid amplification tests except for one probable symptomatic case who did not receive testing.

These bar attendees had close contact with at least 71 others. Of the 37 close contacts tested for Covid-19, 17 tested positive within 14 days of contact.

Two of the secondary Covid-19 cases were student athletes in close contact of a bar attendee with Covid-19 who attended indoor sports practice and in-person classes. The school district closed for two weeks beginning Feb. 18 after 13 staff members could not work due to isolation, quarantine, or their child in quarantine. 

Three of the secondary Covid-19 cases were long-term care facility residents in close contact of a bar attendee who worked as a certified nursing assistant. The nurse tested positive for Covid-19 four days after the bar opening event. One of these secondary Covid-19 cases was hospitalized within 14 days of the positive test result and discharged the same day.

Two weeks after the event, the seven-day average daily Covid-19 incidence in the county more than doubled to at least 86 cases per 100,000 people, according to the report.

“Bars can play a role in community spread of COVID-19 because of limited mask use while eating or drinking and lack of consistent physical distancing," the authors wrote in the report. "These findings show that SARS-CoV-transmission originating in a business such as a bar not only affects the patrons and employees of the bar but can also affect an entire community."

The event was held indoors with no outside air flow. Attendees cited inconsistent mask use and disregard of the six-feet physical distancing guidelines. Although the total number of people who attended the event is unknown, the bar can accommodate about 100 people.

The high percentage of symptomatic people linked to the event, 82.6%, as well as the reluctance of many people to disclose contacts suggest that the actual case count was higher than what was found, according to the CDC report.

“As community businesses begin to reopen, these findings underscore the importance of businesses and individuals adhering to public health prevention and mitigation guidelines to reduce additional community transmission, including isolation after receipt of a COVID-19 diagnosis and while experiencing COVID-19–like symptoms, even as vaccination efforts expand,” the authors wrote. 

11:07 a.m. ET, April 5, 2021

Nearly 40,000 children in the US have lost a parent to Covid-19, new model estimates

From CNN’s Naomi Thomas

A new model estimates that nearly 40,000 children have lost a parent to Covid-19, and Black children have been disproportionately affected, according to a new research letter published Monday in the journal JAMA Pediatrics. 

“The number of children experiencing a parent dying of Covid-19 is staggering, with an estimated 37,300 to 43,000 already affected,” said the research letter, led by Rachel Kidman of the Program in Public Health at Stony Brook University. “Black children are disproportionately affected, comprising only 14% of children in the US but 20% of those losing a parent to Covid-19.”

Kidman and coauthors estimated the expected number of affected children for each death from Covid-19, also known as the parental bereavement multiplier. 

The model suggests that each Covid-19 death leaves 0.078 children aged between 0 and 17 parentally bereaved, representing a 17.5% to 20.2% increase in parental bereavement absent Covid-19. 

They point out that although the bereavement multiplier is small, it translates to large numbers of children who have lost parents. 

“As of February 2021, 37,300 children aged 0 to 17 years had lost at least 1 parent due to Covid-19, three-quarters of whom were adolescents,” says the research letter. 

When the authors factored in excess deaths, they estimated that 43,000 children have lost a parent and looking at a natural herd immunity strategy which resulted in 1.5 million deaths “demonstrates the potential effect of inaction: 116,900 parentally bereaved children.” 

The authors note that the estimates rely on modeling, not survey or administrative data and do not include bereavement of nonparental primary caregivers. 

 

11:08 a.m. ET, April 5, 2021

Go There: CNN answers your questions from Michigan about the state's surge in Covid-19 cases

More vaccines are being sent to Michigan as the state sees a worrying surge in Covid-19 cases and the spread of variants sparks concerns.

Michigan reported 8,413 new Covid-19 cases on Saturday, bringing the state's total pandemic case count to 692,206, according to the state's health department. Saturday's daily case count is the highest the state has reported since Dec. 7, when the reported case count was 9,350, state statistics show.

More than 12,500 cases of the B.1.1.7 variant, meanwhile, have been reported across the United States, according to CDC data, including more than 1,200 in Michigan. Michigan had the second-highest number of cases of the variant, after Florida.

CNN correspondent Polo Sandoval reported from a vaccination site in Detroit, Michigan, and answered viewers' questions.

Watch:

CNN's Laura Ly and Alanne Orjou contributed reporting to this post. 

9:41 a.m. ET, April 5, 2021

Iran enters fourth wave of Covid-19 pandemic, health ministry says

From CNN’s Ramin Mostaghim 

A health assistant disinfects a bed in Firoozabadi hospital's Covid-19 ward in Tehran, Iran, on March 20. 
A health assistant disinfects a bed in Firoozabadi hospital's Covid-19 ward in Tehran, Iran, on March 20.  Morteza Nikoubazl/NurPhoto/Getty Images

Iran has entered its fourth wave of the Covid-19 pandemic and has reached a four-month high in terms of number of daily cases, health ministry spokesperson Sima Sadat Lari said in a news conference on Monday.

“The Covid-19 pandemic in the country is very widespread and is a matter of deep concern, and the fourth wave is rapidly progressing from mid-western parts of the country to mid-eastern cities," Lari said.

The ministry reported at least 13,890 new Covid-19 cases on Monday, increasing the country's total cases since the start of the pandemic to 1,945,964. The country also reported 172 new Covid-19 related deaths, bringing the country's death toll to 63,332 on Monday, as at least 4,095 patients remain hospitalized in intensive care units, Lari said.

The health ministry also announced 88 cities have been categorized as "Red Zones" in Iran, where for two weeks on average more than three people per one hundred thousand are hospitalized.

Iran’s health ministry has been anticipating a spike in cases and death toll, as people begin to return from holiday travel and celebratory gatherings on the occasion of the two-week long Persian New Year holiday, or Nowruz, which began on March 21.

Iran has the most severe Covid-19 outbreak in the Middle East, with the highest number of cases and deaths in the region.

The country continues to keep restrictions in place to avoid a larger outbreak of cases.