April 6 coronavirus news

By Ben Westcott, Rob Picheta, Melissa Macaya, Melissa Mahtani, Mike Hayes and Veronica Rocha, CNN

Updated 1:31 AM ET, Wed April 7, 2021
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2:14 p.m. ET, April 6, 2021

California will fully reopen June amid falling Covid-19 case rates

From CNN's Cheri Mossburg

California, the first state to implement a lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, plans to fully reopen the state’s activities and businesses beginning June 15, based on falling infection rates and low hospitalizations in the state, Health and Human Services Mark Ghaly announced Tuesday.

Given the large number Covid-19 vaccinations administered so far – which surpasses 20 million doses today – the state will stop using the four-tiered system, dubbed the “Blueprint for a Safer Economy,” which has been in place since last August. Ghaly cited a “stable and low burden of the disease,” along with “continued improvements and low level of hospitalizations” in the state as reasoning for the plan to reopen.

California reported the lowest positivity rate in the country at 1.7%, far from its peak of 17.1% in early January when the state was reeling from a post-holiday surge.

The entire state will reopen as a whole on June 15, rather than taking the county-by-county approach that has been used for the better part of a year to tighten and relax restrictions.

State health officials will continue to use science and data to guide the reopening and variants will be closely monitored, Ghaly promised, adding that “necessary precautions” will be taken if there are any concerning rise in Covid-19 hospitalizations. 

California’s mask mandate will remain in place, focused specifically on what Ghaly calls “high risk” indoor settings. “Masking is a key protective feature, protecting those that are not yet eligible for a vaccine,” Ghaly said.

California's vaccination numbers: To date, California has administered over 7 million more vaccine doses than any other state, surpassing many other countries including France and Germany, according to Ghaly. About 70% of older Californians have received at least one dose of the vaccine and over 4 million doses have been administered in the state’s hardest hit communities.

“We're looking at the supply and availability of vaccines. If the supply isn’t there, we may make some tweaks to that June 15 date. We need to make sure that all Californians interested in getting vaccinated, who are eligible, have a reasonable period of time to get that,” Ghaly said.

There is currently no plan to impose or have a vaccine passport plan system in California, but certain businesses are already exploring the option of verifying that their customers are vaccinated. 

“Part of the idea is that we can ramp up safely and it will also provide an incentive as people are allowed to do more activities because they’re vaccinated,” said the state's economic adviser, Dee Dee Myers. 

Some sectors, like large conventions with more than 5,000 people will be required to demonstrate that all attendees are either vaccinated or tested. That restriction will remain in place until Oct. 1. Ghaly also addressed the multi-day Coachella music festival that draws thousands to the Southern California desert annually, noting that it may not be able to reopen at the same size and scope, but state officials are working with organizers and event planners to ensure the safety of all participants.

Since Covid-19 first began menacing the world, nearly 3.6 millions Californians have been infected and more than 58,000 died as a result.

2:07 p.m. ET, April 6, 2021

Oxford-AstraZeneca pauses pediatric trial pending review by UK regulator

From CNN's Jo Shelley

A pediatric trial of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine has been paused pending a review by the UK’s medicines regulator over rare blood clot cases in adults, a University of Oxford spokesperson told CNN Tuesday. 

“Whilst there are no safety concerns in the pediatric clinical trial, we await additional information from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) on its review of rare cases of thrombosis/thrombocytopaenia that have been reported in adults, before giving any further vaccinations in the trial,” the spokesperson said. 

“Parents and children should continue to attend all scheduled visits and can contact the trial sites if they have any questions,” they added.

When contacted by CNN, AstraZeneca referred us to Oxford University.

1:42 p.m. ET, April 6, 2021

Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine continues to show robust antibody levels at 6 months

From CNN's Jen Christensen and Michael Nedelman

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

Moderna’s mRNA Covid-19 vaccine shows robust antibody levels at six months, according to a research letter published Tuesday in The New England Journal of Medicine.

Protection from the vaccine is expected to last longer than six months, but we’ll only know how long it works when there is more data from late-stage clinical trials. The company is continuing to study this. 

With this research, using three distinct tests that look for antibodies, the scientists found that protective antibody activity remained high in all age groups of the 33 adults involved in this early-stage study. 

Younger adults seemed to have higher antibody levels compared to the older groups. Antibody levels are expected to decline over time, but it’s unclear what level of protection this will provide in the real-world. To understand that, there will need to be further studies.

Scientists will continue to monitor these adults to see how long the protection lasts. They will also determine if a booster dose will extend the duration against emerging viral variants.

“Our data show antibody persistence and thus support the use of this vaccine in addressing the Covid-19 pandemic,” the research letter said.

Last week, a separate study showed that the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine is 91.3% effective six months after the second dose, and 100% effective against severe disease. Moderna’s previous interim results showed it was 94.1% effective, though with less follow-up time.

1:26 p.m. ET, April 6, 2021

Biden administration to provide guidance on vaccine credentials soon, White House says

From CNN's Kate Sullivan

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki speaks during the daily press briefing on April 6 in the Brady Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, DC.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki speaks during the daily press briefing on April 6 in the Brady Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, DC. Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

The Biden administration will provide guidance in the form of answers to frequently asked questions on vaccine credentials that are focused on concerns about privacy, security and discrimination soon, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Tuesday. 

“We will be providing some guidance, which will look like an FAQ — Frequently Asked Question, I hate acronyms — but that provides important answers to questions that Americans have, in particular around concerns about privacy, security or discrimination soon,” Psaki said at a White House briefing. 

Psaki said she did not have an exact date on when the guidance would come out. 

“As these tools are being considered by the private and nonprofit sectors, our interest is very simple from the federal government, which is Americans’ privacy and rights should be protected and so the, so that these systems are not used against people unfairly,” Psaki said.

She continued: “There is a movement, as you know, in the private sector to identify ways that they can return to events where there are large swaths of people safely in soccer stadiums or theaters, and that's something that, that's where the idea originated and we expect that's where it will be concluded.”

The White House has said there will be no federal database on which Americans have been vaccinated and Americans will not be mandated to carry a single vaccination credential. 

12:49 p.m. ET, April 6, 2021

Go There: CNN answers your questions from London on the UK's plans to ease Covid-19 restrictions next week

The UK plans to reopen its economy next week and the CEO of Heathrow Airport said there was “no reason to delay” the return of international air travel for millions of Britons beyond May 17.

CNN's Salma Abdelaziz reported live from London and answered viewers' questions about the easing of Covid-19 restrictions.

Watch:

12:28 p.m. ET, April 6, 2021

Covid-19 variant that originated in South Africa shows resistance to vaccines, study says

From CNN’s Virginia Langmaid

The Covid-19 variant B.1.351, which originated in South Africa, shows increased resistance to both post-infection antibodies and two available vaccines, according to research published in a correspondence letter in the New England Journal of Medicine on Tuesday. 

Variant B.1.351 showed resistance to “convalescent serum,” generated with samples taken from people previously infected with Covid-19, and to “vaccine serum,” testing both the Sinopharm and Sinovac vaccines, which use inactivated forms of the virus.  

B.1.351 showed increased resistance to the convalescent serum by a factor of two, and resistance to the vaccine serum by a factor of 2.5 to 3.3 when compared to an engineered version of the “wild type” of the virus, or the Wuhan-1 reference strain.

Nearly a third of the convalescent serum samples showed a total loss of neutralization against B.1.351. Two-thirds of the samples of the Sinopharm vaccines had either a partial or complete loss of neutralization against the variant. Most of the CoronaVac samples showed some amount of lost neutralization against B.1.351.

The variant B.1.1.7, which originated in the United Kingdom, showed little resistance to either the vaccine serum or convalescent serum. Both the Sinopharm and CoronaVac vaccines showed a lowered antibody response when compared to convalescent serum. 

 

12:34 p.m. ET, April 6, 2021

More than 4.6 million vaccine doses have been administered in New York City

From CNN's Laura Ly

Doses of the Pfizer vaccine are prepared at a pop-up vaccination clinic on March 26 in New York City.
Doses of the Pfizer vaccine are prepared at a pop-up vaccination clinic on March 26 in New York City. Spencer Platt/Getty Images

New York City has administered more vaccinations than there are people in the entire state of Kentucky, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Tuesday, announcing a total of 4,601,756 Covid-19 vaccine doses given to date.

The mayor also announced the city is now offering walk-up vaccination opportunities at 25 vaccine sites throughout New York City to anyone over the age of 75, no prior appointments needed.

CNN has previously reported that New York City opened up its vaccine eligibility to anyone over the age of 16 on Tuesday. De Blasio reiterated his goal to have at least five million New York City residents fully-vaccinated by June.

New York City’s vaccination efforts will also now include the use of a mobile vaccination bus that will have the capacity to give up to 200 vaccines per day. It will launch on Wednesday in Sunset Park, Brooklyn and will focus on vaccinating restaurant and delivery workers. Staff on the bus will be able to speak English, Spanish, Mandarin, and Cantonese, de Blasio said.

The city’s current Covid-19 positivity rate is 6.63% with 3,193 new cases – only a slight rise from Monday’s positivity rate of 6.55%, according to city statistics. 

Note: These numbers were released by the city’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.

12:06 p.m. ET, April 6, 2021

Oregon residents age 16 and above will be eligible for Covid-19 on April 19, governor announces 

From CNN’s Jennifer Henderson

A health care worker in Portland, Oregon, prepares a Covid-19 vaccine dose in December 2020.
A health care worker in Portland, Oregon, prepares a Covid-19 vaccine dose in December 2020. Nathan Howard/Getty Images

Oregon residents over the age of 16 will be eligible to sign up for a Covid-19 vaccine starting on April 19, Gov. Kate Brown announced in a news release on Tuesday.

 “However, whether before April 19 or after, it’s critical that we continue to focus on equity in our vaccine distribution efforts,” Brown said in the release. “Oregon’s Black, Indigenous, Latino, Latina, Latinx, Asian, Pacific Islander, Tribal, and communities of color have been disproportionately hard-hit by this disease.”

“Over the next two weeks, we will dedicate all available resources to ensure Oregon’s frontline workers and people with underlying conditions have access to vaccines––two groups in which Oregonians from communities of color are predominantly represented,” Brown added.

Oregon will administer the two-millionth dose of Covid-19 today, Brown added.

11:28 a.m. ET, April 6, 2021

55% of Americans reported seeing family or friends in the last week, poll finds

From CNN’s Naomi Thomas

55% of Americans – a pandemic-era high – reported seeing family or friends in the last week, according to a new poll by Axios-Ipsos, released Tuesday.

45% of respondents reported going out to eat in the last week and 37% visited a park, beach or outdoor space, according to the poll, which was conducted April 2 through April 5, and made up of a nationally representative sample of 979 Americans age 18 and older.

64% of respondents reported social distancing in the last week.

The perceived risk of regular activities continued to decline, with 55% of respondents saying that returning to pre-coronavirus life is a moderate or large risk – the lowest level since April. The percentage of respondents who consider attending a sporting event as risky has gone down to 69% from 79% in September.

More than two-thirds – 71% – view traveling by plane or mass transit as risky, down from 80% in February. Thirty-seven percent thought that this was a large risk, which is down from 73% in April.

When it comes to work, 28% of respondents reported working remotely rather than at their workplace, with 37% of respondents saying that they felt returning to their workplace would be a large or moderate risk, which is the lowest level since May.

For the first time, more Americans are reporting that their ability to do their job improved than got worse: 11% vs. 8%.

The ability to afford household goods and pay their rent or mortgage were reported to be net even or positive.

Stimulus money from the government was received by 63% of respondents, who said it primarily went to savings, paying off debts, or basic needs – 40%, 30% and 27% respectively.