Live Updates

April 7 coronavirus news

Updated 2:22 AM EDT, Thu April 8, 2021
UK variant now most dominant strain in US

What you need to know

  • The coronavirus variant first identified in the United Kingdom is now the most common strain of Covid-19 in the US, CDC director says.
  • Both the UK and EU regulators found a “possible link” between AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine and “very rare” blood clot cases, but said the vaccine’s benefits continue to outweigh the risks.
  • Brazil’s president shrugged off criticism he is “genocidal” as the nation reports a record 4,000 daily deaths — its deadliest 24 hours of the pandemic so far.

Our live coverage has ended for the day. Follow the latest on the pandemic here.

45 Posts

All 50 states commit to Biden's April 19 deadline to make Covid-19 vaccines available to all US adults

Hawaii on Wednesday became the last state to commit to meeting President Biden’s expedited deadline to make Covid-19 vaccines available to all US adults by April 19 – nearly two weeks earlier than the President’s original target of May 1.

Janice Okubo, communications director for the Hawaii State Department of Health, confirmed to CNN that her state will open vaccine eligibility to all residents age 16 and older by April 19.

Of the three vaccines currently authorized for emergency use in the United States by the US Food and Drug Administration, only the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is authorized for use in people age 16 and older. The other two Covid-19 vaccines – manufactured by Moderna and Johnson & Johnson – are authorized for use in people age 18 and older.

Vaccines likely protect well against so-called California variant of coronavirus, study finds

Tests suggest that current coronavirus vaccines should protect people against one of the so-called California variants of the virus, researchers reported Wednesday. 

They tested blood taken from people vaccinated with the Moderna vaccine and also one being developed by Maryland biotech Novavax and found reassuring results. While the variant does evade the immune response a little, it’s not by much, the team at Novavax, Moderna, and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said.

The ability of Moderna’s and Novavax’s vaccines to generate antibodies against the B.1.429 variant is about the same as the efficacy against B.1.1.7 – the so-called UK variant, they wrote in a letter to the New England Journal of Medicine.

“These results, and the high efficacy shown by these vaccines, suggest that vaccine-elicited neutralizing antibodies are likely to remain effective against the B.1.429 variant,” they wrote.

“The magnitude of resistance seen with the B.1.351 variant is of greater concern with respect to current vaccines.” The B.1.351 variant, first seen in South Africa, carries some different mutations that allow it to better evade the immune response elicited by vaccines.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has designated B.1.351, B.1.429 and B.1.1.7 as variants of concern, as well as P.1, which is the dominant variant in Brazil and a different variant seen in California called B.1.427.

CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said Wednesday that B.1.1.7 was now the dominant type of virus circulating in the US.

More than 171 million Covid-19 vaccine doses have been administered in the US

Hundreds of people without appointments stand in line outside the mass coronavirus vaccination site at Hagerstown Premium Outlets on April 07, in Hagerstown, Maryland.
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Hundreds of people without appointments stand in line outside the mass coronavirus vaccination site at Hagerstown Premium Outlets on April 07, in Hagerstown, Maryland.

More than 171 million doses of Covid-19 have been administered in the United States, according to data published Wednesday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

The CDC reported that 171,476,655 total doses have been administered, about 76% of the 225,294,435 doses delivered.  

That’s about 2.9 million more doses reported administered since yesterday, for a seven-day average of about 3 million doses per day. 

Just over 33% of the US population – more than 109 million people – have received at least one dose of Covid-19 vaccine, and 19.4% of the population – more than 64 million people – are fully vaccinated, according to the CDC.

Note: Data published by the CDC may be delayed, and doses may not have been given on the day reported.

NHL team says Covid-19 variant was the source behind 21 players testing positive for virus

An arena worker removes the net from the ice after the Vancouver Canucks and Calgary Flames NHL hockey game was postponed due to a positive COVID-19 test result, in Vancouver, British Columbia, Wednesday, March 31.
Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press/AP/FILE
An arena worker removes the net from the ice after the Vancouver Canucks and Calgary Flames NHL hockey game was postponed due to a positive COVID-19 test result, in Vancouver, British Columbia, Wednesday, March 31.

The National Hockey League’s Vancouver Canucks have revealed 21 of its players have tested positive for Covid-19.

There are 25 people in total on the team who have tested positive for the virus including four staff members. The team says one additional player is considered a close contact.

A Wednesday update from Canucks physician Jim Bovard and infectious disease physician Josh Douglas states the “source infection is confirmed a variant — full genome sequencing by BCCDC will be required to determine which specific type.” 

The BCCDC is the BC Centre for Disease Control based in Vancouver, British Columbia.

The team release continued, “An ongoing investigation by Vancouver Coastal Health and club contact tracing staff attributes the source infection to a single individual obtained in a community setting, which has since been identified by public health as a public exposure location. Rapid spread of infection throughout the team indicates a link between contacts and the primary case.”

The NHL announced last week that all Canucks games through April 6 have been postponed, but it is uncertain when the team will return to the ice. CNN has reached out to the NHL for comment.

“This is a stark reminder of how quickly the virus can spread and its serious impact, even among healthy, young athletes,” Bovard and Douglas added.

The Canucks next scheduled game is on April 12 on the road against the Edmonton Oilers, according to the team’s website.

Belgium pauses AstraZeneca vaccine for people 55 and under

People rest after being vaccinated with the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine at the Brabanthal event center in Heverlee, Belgium, on Wednesday, March 17.
Francisco Seco/AP/FILE
People rest after being vaccinated with the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine at the Brabanthal event center in Heverlee, Belgium, on Wednesday, March 17.

Belgium has paused use of the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine for people aged 18 to 55 years old, national and regional health ministers announced in a statement.

They said their decision follows a review by the European Medicine Agency (EMA) earlier today, saying there was a “possible link” between the vaccine and rare blood clots.

In their statement, Belgium’s Ministers said that based on recent scientific advice, they “have decided to temporarily replace AstraZeneca with another vaccine for people aged 18 to 55 years.”

“All vaccines continue to be used for people aged 56 and over,” the statement reads, emphasizing that the EMA has said the benefits of AstraZeneca still outweigh any risks. 

“From the age of 56, the demonstrable benefits of vaccination in preventing hospitalization and mortality are undoubtedly much higher than the consequences of the rare side effects,” it adds. 

The Belgian Interministerial Conference on Health will re-evaluate the decision “within 4 weeks.

The statement also adds that Belgium, through the EU conference of health ministers, is requesting that EMA make a more detailed analysis of the benefit-risk analysis per age category and “urgently consider the question regarding the 2nd dose.”

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) said Wednesday that a particular combination of unusual blood clots with low blood platelet counts should be listed as a side effect of the vaccine, but stopped short of recommending its use be limited.

The benefits of the shot outweigh the risks and Covid-19 is a “very serious disease,” the EMA added.

Italy to give people over 60 "preferential route" for AstraZeneca vaccine

Italy will give people over 60 a “preferential route” to getting the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine since most of the rare adverse events took place in younger people, the president of the Higher Healthcare Council, Franco Locatelli, said on Wednesday.

Speaking during a news conference, Locatelli reiterated that the vaccine is safe and can be given to anyone over the age of 18. He said there was no reason why people under the age of 60 who received a first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine should not also take the second dose. 

Earlier on Wednesday, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) said that a particular combination of unusual blood clots with low blood platelet counts should be listed as a side effect of the vaccine, but stopped short of recommending its use be limited. 

Canada's Ontario province issues stay-at-home order as hospitalizations spike 

The province of Ontario, which includes Canada’s largest city Toronto, will be under a stay-at-home order for at least four weeks beginning Thursday as a third wave of the pandemic threatens to overwhelm hospitals. 

“To boil it down as simple as possible, folks please, unless it’s for an essential reason, please stay home because the situation is extremely serious right now,“ Doug Ford, Ontario’s Premier, said during a news conference today. “What we do before we start achieving mass immunization will be the difference between life and death for thousands of people,” he added. 

Hospital admissions in Ontario increased by 20% in the last day alone and intensive care occupancy has already set a pandemic record this week, as the healthcare system relies on surge capacity and patient transfers to keep up with Covid-19 patients. 

“The hospitalizations happening as a result of these variants are taking over our hospitals,” Christine Elliott, Ontario’s health minister, said. 

Non-essential retail stores including malls will close to in-person shopping with only grocery stores, pharmacies and garden centers open to the public. Restaurant dining rooms, personal care services, and gyms were already closed across the province. 

Toronto and the adjacent region of Peel moved student to virtual learning earlier this week just ahead of a previously scheduled spring break. The Ford government says its priority is to keep schools open throughout the province.

Ford also imposed the province’s third state of emergency since the pandemic began, although healthcare experts, including the province’s hospital and medical associations have been calling for more restrictions for at least two weeks saying current measures were “not enough.”  

While vaccine doses have been scarce in Canada, the rollout is ramping up now with Ontario saying it had set a record for vaccinations Tuesday, administering more than 100,000 doses.

Ford said the province will begin deploying mobile vaccination teams throughout communities in hotspots like Toronto, including providing vaccines to teachers and other education workers beginning next week. 

Outside of Canada’s Atlantic provinces: the third wave of the pandemic is straining hospitals throughout most of the country. 

“While COVID-19 continues to impact people of all ages in Canada, infection rates are highest among those aged 20 to 39 years of age. As well, we are seeing an increased number of adults, under the age of 60 years being treated for COVID-19 in hospital, including in intensive care units,” Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, said in a statement released Wednesday. 

Dr. Tam also underscored the threat of new variants spreading and leading to more infections and severe illness.

“Although B.1.1.7 continues to account for the majority of variants of concern in Canada and has likely replaced the original virus in some areas, there has been a concerning rise in P.1 cases in recent weeks. Early evidence suggests that the P.1 variant may reduce the effectiveness of vaccines, making it even more important to control its spread,” her statement said.