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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9:24 a.m. ET, April 6, 2021

Undelivered AstraZeneca vaccines slow Australia's rollout

From CNN's Angus Watson in Sydney

A nurse holds an AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine vial in Sydney on March 23.
A nurse holds an AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine vial in Sydney on March 23. Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images

Australia has fallen dramatically short of its initial vaccine targets due to difficulties in importing stock, including a 3.1 million dose shortfall in imports of the AstraZeneca vaccine, Prime Minister Scott Morrison acknowledged Tuesday.

In January, the Morrison government set a target to administer 4 million first doses of Covid-19 vaccines to vulnerable Australians and frontline workers by the beginning of April. On Tuesday Morrison acknowledged that just 854,983 doses have been administered as of April 5.

The Morrison government has since revised its vaccine target, now hoping to give a first dose to every Australian that wants one by the end of October.

 “The challenges Australia has had has been a supply problem. It is pure and simple,” Morrison said at a news conference in Canberra.

 “There was over 3 million doses from overseas that were contracted that never came. And that's obviously resulted in an inability to get 3 million other doses out and distributed through the network,” Morrison said.

The 3.1 million doses are all of the AstraZeneca vaccine, according to Chief Medical Officer Michael Kidd in a Tuesday interview with CNN affiliate Sky News Australia.

The Australian government has not said where the 3.1 million AstraZeneca doses were to be imported from, or why they were not delivered. However, Morrison told reporters Tuesday “we all are aware of the situation in Europe and other places that has frustrated that supply.”

Some more background: In March Italy acknowledged that it had invoked EU powers to prevent AstraZeneca from exporting 250,000 doses to Australia.

As of February, the Australian government had negotiated deals with Pfizer for 10 million doses, AstraZeneca for 53.8 million doses and Novavax for 51 million doses, all to be delivered by the end of 2021.

Australia hopes to make up any shortfall in imported doses with locally produced doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, of which it says it has 2.5 million waiting for batch approval by drug regulator the Therapeutic Goods Administration.

8:31 a.m. ET, April 6, 2021

Team sports bigger driver of Covid-19 spread in the US than classrooms, Fauci says

From CNN's Naomi Thomas

Plexiglass dividers surround desks at St. Anthony High School in Long Beach, California, on March 24.
Plexiglass dividers surround desks at St. Anthony High School in Long Beach, California, on March 24. Patrick T. Fallon/AFP/Getty Images

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, was asked on "Good Morning America" Tuesday about the fact that coronavirus variants are now infecting younger people – as well as what that means for parents and what they should do about school, sports and extracurricular activities.

 “We’re finding out that it’s the team sports where kids are getting together, you know, obviously many without masks, that are driving it, rather than in the classroom spread,” Fauci told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos.

“When you go back and take a look and try and track where these clusters of cases are coming from in the school, it’s just that," he continued.

Some more background: The highly contagious Covid-19 variant first identified in the UK has now been reported in every state in the US, and experts are concerned spreading variants could send cases surging.

More than 15,000 cases of the B.1.1.7 coronavirus variant, which also appears to be more deadly, have been reported in the US. While the US races to get Americans vaccinated in time, many experts are asking the public to hold onto precautions for just a little while longer.

CNN's Madeline Holcombe contributed reporting to this post.

8:22 a.m. ET, April 6, 2021

Fauci hopes people who go on cruises get vaccinated against Covid-19

From CNN's Naomi Thomas

Royal Caribbean’s Explorer of the Seas cruise ship is docked at PortMiami in Florida on March 2.
Royal Caribbean’s Explorer of the Seas cruise ship is docked at PortMiami in Florida on March 2. Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on "Good Morning America” Tuesday that he hopes people who go on cruises take the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendations and get vaccinated against Covid-19. 

“The CDC a couple of days ago, or yesterday, I think, came out with a recommendation saying they strongly recommend it, but they don’t require it,” Fauci said of vaccinations for cruise ship passengers.

“That’s sort of interesting, they really feel it’s important to get people vaccinated, particularly when you put them on a relatively closed environment, such as a cruise ship. So let’s hope that the people who go on the cruise take that recommendation from the CDC and do get vaccinated," he continued.

The CDC released further technical guidance for cruise ship operators Friday, a news release on the updated guidance included a recommendation that all eligible passengers and crew get a Covid-19 vaccine when one is available to them. 

8:16 a.m. ET, April 6, 2021

"I hope we don’t see any deleterious consequences" of Texas Rangers’ 100% capacity home opener, Fauci says

From CNN's Naomi Thomas

People fill the stands at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas, during a baseball game between the Texas Rangers and the Toronto Blue Jays on April 5.
People fill the stands at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas, during a baseball game between the Texas Rangers and the Toronto Blue Jays on April 5. Jeffrey McWhorter/AP

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on “Good Morning America” Tuesday that the packed Texas Rangers baseball stadium is "concerning" and "risky."

On Monday, the Texas Rangers played their home opener with 100% capacity at the ballpark. No other MLB teams are allowing more than 50% capacity attendance.

“That’s concerning,” Fauci told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos when shown images of the game. “We certainly want to see baseball start getting back into the style that we’re used to it, but you want to do that gradually, you know, a few thousand at a time. But to just start right off, just essentially pulling that plug, I’m a bit concerned about that. I mean they’re taking a chance. It’s risky. I hope we don’t see any deleterious consequences of that.”
8:05 a.m. ET, April 6, 2021

US faces a tsunami of chronic disease deaths when the pandemic is over, former FDA commissioner says

From CNN's Maggie Fox

The US is set up for a tsunami of deaths caused by chronic diseases – especially heart disease – once the coronavirus pandemic is over, a former US Food and Drug Administration commissioner said Tuesday.

“Once the acute phase of this crisis is past, we will face an enormous wave of death and disability due to common chronic diseases (CCDs), with cardiometabolic diseases at the crest,” Dr. Robert Califf, who was FDA commissioner in the Obama administration and who now works at Verily Life Sciences and Google Health, wrote in the American Heart Association journal Circulation.

It’s an ongoing problem that the pandemic has worsened, Califf argued. “Unlike its peers, the United States has seen declining life expectancy over the last few years after decades of steady progress. This reversal is chiefly due to increases in drug overdose and suicide, but deaths from CVD (cardiovascular disease), particularly stroke, have also increased.

"These challenges are coupled with adverse patterns of risk among younger people, including increases in obesity, hypertension, and glucose intolerance driven by poor diet and lack of exercise—patterns that portend increases in cardiometabolic disease for decades to come,” he wrote.

“This concerning pattern is compounded by an alarming increase in deaths directly from COVID-19 together with rising CCD- and drug-related deaths. The net effect is a substantial increase in excess death and a correspondingly steep drop in average U.S. life expectancy, perhaps by as much as three years,” Califf predicted.

The US has an opportunity to make big changes to fix some of the underlying problems, he said. These could include universal health care and better use of so-called big data, as well as better sharing of data and real-time tracking of chronic disease incidence to improve prevention strategies.

“The fight against COVID-19 has given us a glimpse of what is possible,” he wrote.

“If we act now, we can significantly reduce the damage from the impending tsunami.”

7:55 a.m. ET, April 6, 2021

Vaccine certificates would not be discriminatory, UK vaccines minister insists

From CNN's Amy Cassidy

UK vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi walks in London in December 2020.
UK vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi walks in London in December 2020. Justin Tallis/AFP/Getty Images

Vaccine certification as means of unlocking British society would not be discriminatory, the UK vaccines minister insisted on Tuesday, as the proposal continues to attract controversy in the UK.

The minister, Nadhim Zahawi, said such a requirement does raise “a number of ethical issues” but “it would be remiss of us as a government” not to look at all the options to reopen the economy and “take our lives back.”

No decision has been made yet, he said on BBC Breakfast, but “ultimately whatever we decide has to be workable, has to be non-discriminatory. You can't have a sort of two tier or multi-tiered system.”

The comments from Zahawi – echoing Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s words a day earlier – are the latest indication that a government which once ruled out the possibility of “vaccine passports” is sliding towards introducing them.

Zahawi himself previously rejected the idea of introducing a vaccine passport: “One, we don't know the impact of the vaccines on transmission. Two, it would be discriminatory,” he said on Sky News in February.

But the scheme will now be piloted in the coming weeks for large-scale events, cinemas and theatres. 

Asked on BBC Breakfast how this will be possible without being discriminatory, Zahawi said: “There is not going to be a situation where a government is going to allow that to happen, but it's only right that we look at all technologies. 

He continued: “Everyone can get a test, there is no discrimination, anyone can get a test, not everybody can get a vaccine [...] which is why we've got to look at all the technologies, make sure they work together to get us to the place where we need to be.”

The subject has been met with both support and backlash from across the political spectrum, with several figures in Johnson’s own Conservative party against the idea of vaccine passports. 

The government published an update to its review on easing lockdown restrictions on Monday, which said: “Even without Government intervention, Covid-status certification is likely to become a feature of our lives until the threat from the pandemic recedes.”

Separately, Zahawi affirmed the Moderna vaccine is on track to be rolled out in the UK “around the third week of April.”

7:16 a.m. ET, April 6, 2021

IOC and South Korea look for clarity after North Korea reportedly pulls out of Olympics over Covid-19 fears

From CNN’s Aleks Klosok

People at a railway station in Seoul, South Korea, watch a news report about North Korea's decision not to participate in the Tokyo Olympic Games due to Covid-19 concerns on April 6.
People at a railway station in Seoul, South Korea, watch a news report about North Korea's decision not to participate in the Tokyo Olympic Games due to Covid-19 concerns on April 6. Jung Yeon-je/AFP/Getty Images

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) said it has “not received any official application" from North Korea regarding its reported decision to pull out of this summer’s Tokyo Olympic Games due to Covid-19 concerns. 

In a statement to CNN on Tuesday, the IOC said: “This news has to be put in context. 

“Unfortunately, (North Korea’s Olympic Committee) was, despite several requests of the IOC, not in a position to hold a telephone conference during which also the COVID-19 situation in North Korea should have been discussed.

“The IOC has not received any official application from the NOC of DPRK to be released from their obligation to take part in the Olympic Games according to the Olympic Charter.”

DPRK sports, a website on sports affairs in North Korea, reported Tuesday that the country would skip the delayed event to “protect players from the world public health crisis caused by Covid-19."

Following those reports, the South Korean government said it hoped its neighbors would still take part. The South Korean Foreign Ministry's spokesperson Choi Young-sam said in a briefing on Tuesday that the country suppoers Japan’s hosting of the Olympics with Covid-19 control measures in place.

7:07 a.m. ET, April 6, 2021

Undercover video sparks outrage over secret dinner parties for Paris elite

From CNN's Saskya Vandoorne and Rob Picheta

An undercover report showing members of the Paris elite enjoying secret dinner parties in luxury restaurants and flouting Covid-19 restrictions has sparked fury in France, and prompted the city's prosecutor to launch an investigation.

The probe comes after a TV report by channel M6 that aired Friday, showing hidden camera footage of two upmarket restaurants filled with mask-free guests.

In the video, an undercover journalist enters a private dining club with closed shutters and is greeted by a waiter wearing white gloves. She is asked on whose behalf she has been invited and is told: "Once you're through the door, there's no more Covid."

The maitre d' is heard explaining that the menu starts at 160 euros ($190) per person. For 490 euros ($580) diners can sip champagne while feasting on foie gras with truffle and langoustine in a ginger sauce.

"We are looking into possible charges of endangerment and undeclared labor," a spokesman for the Paris prosecutor told CNN Monday. "We will verify whether the gatherings were organized in violation of sanitary rules and determine who were the potential organizers and participants."

Restaurants in France have been closed since late last year, as the country battles a third wave of coronavirus infections.

An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated that restaurants have been closed in France since last month. They’ve been closed since last year. This has been corrected.

5:04 a.m. ET, April 6, 2021

India’s capital imposes night curfew amid rise in coronavirus cases

From CNN's Esha Mitra in New Delhi

A health worker places a swab sample vial into a box after a roadside Covid-19 RT-PCR test in New Delhi, India on April 5.
A health worker places a swab sample vial into a box after a roadside Covid-19 RT-PCR test in New Delhi, India on April 5. Naveen Sharma/SOPA Images/Shutterstock

India’s union territory of Delhi, which contains the nation’s capital New Delhi, has imposed a night curfew with immediate effect as coronavirus cases mount, the region's government has announced.

The curfew will last between 10 p.m and 5 a.m. local time every day until April 30, during which all public movement will be prohibited. 

Only those engaged in essential services, including medical staff, media personnel, and essential delivery couriers, will be allowed to travel overnight.

The union territory of Delhi reported 3,548 new cases of the virus on Monday, bringing the total cases in the city to 679,962. Cases have been above 3,500 for each of the last four days. 

India has suffered a new wave of coronavirus infections, reporting more than 90,000 cases daily over the last three days -- similar to the case load the country experience in the peak of its first wave in September last year. 

Delhi has taken a number of measures to ramp up testing and vaccinations to combat the spread. On Monday hospitals began running a third of their vaccination centers 24 hours a day.

"Those who want to get the vaccine during the curfew can do so, they would just have to take an e-pass before commuting during the curfew hours," Rajat Tiwari, secretary to the Delhi health minister told CNN Monday.

The chief minister of Delhi on Monday also wrote to the Prime Minister to remove the age restriction for distributing the vaccines, which currently stands at 45 and above.

Since the pandemic began, India has reported more than 12.6 million Covid-19 cases and more than 165,000 deaths. It has distributed more than 83 million vaccine doses, according to the Indian Ministry of Health.