Live Updates

April 12 coronavirus news

Half of US adults expected to have at least 1 vaccine dose by next week
02:43

What you need to know

  • US Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations are increasing – particularly for younger people – while deaths are going down, the CDC director said.
  • The UK is lifting some restrictions as it emerges from a strict lockdown, with outdoor pubs and restaurants allowed to reopen.
  • Cases in India are surging as millions gather for a religious festival.

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

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Contact tracing is still needed to monitor Covid-19 cases and spread of variants, CDC says

Prompt investigation and contact tracing of Covid-19 cases is still one of the best tools to prevent further transmission and to track variants, according to a US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Source investigation is important to identify origins and transmissions of viral variants or variants of concern,” said Dr. Melanie Taylor, a senior adviser for the contact tracing innovation section of CDC’s Covid-19 emergency response, during the CDC’s Weekly Partner Call.

Source investigation is a method that is used for communicable diseases that investigates the potential source of infection and identify people who may have been exposed or infected within the given pathogen. The CDC encourages that all positive Covid-19 cases are contact traced within a timely six-day window.

“We also know that as vaccine coverage increases source investigation, case investigation and contact tracing can identify remaining pockets of transmission,” Taylor said.

The CDC is encouraging employers and school administrators to collaborate with contact tracers for the most effective community public health strategy and contact tracing data. 

The CDC’s traditional contact tracing efforts have focused on prompt investigation of people diagnosed with Covid-19 and early identification, notification and quarantine of people who may have been recently exposed. 

The CDC estimates there are approximately 60,000 contact tracers in the US, 29% speak a language other than English and 43% are under 30 years old.

UK coronavirus variant more transmissible, but does not increase disease severity, new studies suggest 

Two new studies suggest that the B.1.1.7 coronavirus variant, which was first identified in the United Kingdom, is more transmissible, but the variant does not appear to affect disease severity in someone who gets Covid-19. The new findings clash with separate research that previously suggested the variant may be tied to a higher risk of dying from Covid-19.

One of the new studies, published on Monday in The Lancet Infectious Diseases, found no evidence in a sample of hospitalized patients that the B.1.1.7 variant is associated with severe Covid-19. However, the variant was associated with increased viral load, which supports the growing evidence that it is more easily transmissible.

The other study, also published on Monday in The Lancet Public Health, found no statistically significant association between the B.1.1.7 variant and the types or duration of Covid-19 symptoms people said that they experienced. 

The Lancet Infectious Diseases study included data on 496 people who were admitted to hospitals in London and tested positive for coronavirus infection. Nose and throat swab samples were collected from the patients between Nov. 9 and Dec. 20. 

Among those samples, 341 underwent genome sequencing. The sequence data showed that 198 of the patients, or 58%, had infections caused by the B.1.1.7 variant while the others were cased by other strains of the coronavirus. The researchers found no difference in severe disease or death between the variant and other strains.  

The data showed that 36% of patients in the study with the B.1.1.7 variant infection experienced severe illness or death compared with 38% of those with non-B.1.1.7 infections. For death specifically, 16% of with the B.1.1.7 variant infection died within 28 days compared with 17% of those with non-B.1.1.7 infections, the researchers found. 

But the researchers identified increased viral load among the B.1.1.7 patients. 

Overall, “patients with B.1.1.7 were younger and had fewer comorbidities than those with non-B.1.1.7 infection, possibly representing the widespread and potential increased transmission of this variant in the community or differences in probability of hospital admission, which we were not able to explore in this hospital-based cohort,” the researchers wrote in their study. 

“Finding B.1.1.7 more commonly in younger versus older individuals gives a subtle hint of more severe disease if patients with B.1.1.7 are hospitalised more often compared with patients with other lineages, although difference in disease severity by B.1.1.7 was not found in this hospitalised cohort in the main analysis,” the researchers wrote.

The Lancet Public Health study included data on 36,920 people who reported testing positive for Covid-19 and logged their symptoms into the COVID Symptom Study app between September 28 and December 27. The app — designed by designed by researchers at King’s College London, Guys and St Thomas’ Hospitals and the tech company Zoe Global Limited — helps track the spread of Covid-19 and the range of symptoms experienced.

The study’s authors, based in the UK and the United States, analyzed the data reported in the app along with Covid-19 surveillance data for the UK. The analysis showed that the prevalence of the B.1.1.7 variant in certain regions and over time was not associated with changes in the Covid-19 symptoms reported in the app nor the duration of symptoms.

The researchers found that the rate of coronavirus reinfections was low — with 0.7% of app users who reported a positive Covid-19 test, testing positive again after 90 days — and there was no evidence of increased reinfection rates associated with the B.1.1.7 variant.

The researchers did not have data on risk of dying from Covid-19 and most of the app users get tested only when they have symptoms, so there were relatively few asymptomatic infections in the data. Yet the researchers found a “multiplicative increase” in the reproduction number of the B.1.1.7 variant, suggesting it can spread more easily. 

CDC director says shutdowns, not additional vaccine doses, may help Michigan reduce Covid-19 cases

Dr. Rochelle Walensky

As the state of Michigan continues to see a rise in Covid-19 cases, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said on Monday that it will take more than just vaccinations to get the spread of coronavirus under control. 

Rather, Walensky said, the answer may be to shut down the state. 

“When you have an acute situation — extraordinary number of cases like we have in Michigan — the answer is not necessarily to give vaccine. In fact, we know that the vaccine will have a delayed response. The answer to that is to really close things down,” Walensky said during a virtual White House briefing on Monday.

“I think if we tried to vaccinate our way out of what is happening in Michigan, we would be disappointed that it took so long for the vaccine to work, to actually have the impact,” Walensky said. “Similarly, we need that vaccine in other places. If we vaccinate today, we will have, you know, impact in six weeks and we don’t know where the next place is going to be that is going to surge.”

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has urged people to limit indoor dining and last week called on schools to suspend in-person instruction and youth sports to halt practices and games for two weeks, but said “these are not orders, mandates, or requirements,” calling it instead “a team effort.”

Whitmer has urged people to get vaccinated, and appealed for more vaccine doses to be sent to the state. President Biden spoke and Whitmer spoke last week about surging federal resources to the state, but those resources would not include a surge in vaccine doses, a White House official told CNN.

The White House said on Monday that it will be sending aid to Michigan to help with administering vaccine, Covid-19 testing and therapeutics.

“In states like Michigan, where we are seeing troubling metrics, we are taking action by deploying resources for critical areas — shots in arms, personnel, testing, therapeutics,” Andy Slavitt, the White House’s senior adviser for Covid-19 response, said during Monday’s virtual briefing.

“We have to remember the fact that in the next two to six weeks, the variants that we have seen in Michigan, those variants are also present in other states. So, our ability to vaccinate people quickly in all of or each of those states rather than taking vaccines and shifting it to playing ‘Whack a Mole’ isn’t the strategy that public health leaders and scientists have laid out,” Slavitt said.  

“There are other things that we can do. We have offered to surge the amount of monoclonal antibodies, testing, there’s a CDC team on the ground, we just sent 140 FEMA vaccinators,” Slavitt said. “We know there are appointments available in various parts of the state, and so that means that we have excess vaccine in some parts of the state — so we’re going to help work with the state, and any state quite frankly, to help the rebalancing, which occurs in a situation like this.”

Fauci says he would not hesitate to eat outdoors or go to a baseball game 

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci speaks during an interview on April 12.

Though risk assessment will vary person-to-person, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Monday he “would not hesitate” to eat outdoors or go to a baseball game in current Covid-19 conditions.  

“At an outdoor restaurant right now, where we are, I would not hesitate to do that, but the fact is I just haven’t done it,” Fauci told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, adding that his “crazy obligations and jobs” make it hard to sit down at a restaurant. 

Fauci added that attending baseball games is also something he’s personally comfortable with now. 

“I would not hesitate to go to an outdoor baseball game. I will wear a mask because I’m out there in the community, my risk would be extremely low,” Fauci said. “I’m someone that is a bit risk averse, but I would not hesitate to sit in an open stand and watch the Nats play.”

UK government hits Covid-19 vaccination target

Sonia Akbar prepares to administers the AstraZeneca/Oxford Covid-19 vaccine to a patient at a pop up vaccination centre at the Pakistani Community Centre on April 9 in Derby, England.

The United Kingdom has reached its Covid-19 vaccination target of offering a dose to all adults over 50, the clinically vulnerable and social care workers, the British government said in a statement on Monday.

“We have now passed another hugely significant milestone in our vaccine programme by offering jabs to everyone in the nine highest risk groups. That means more than 32 million people have been given the precious protection vaccines provide against Covid-19,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson said.

“We will now move forward with completing essential second doses and making progress towards our target of offering all adults a vaccine by the end of July,” he added.

The statement said the target had been reached ahead of schedule, with the government having pledged to offer a first dose to priority cohorts 1 to 9 by April 15.

Nearly 40 million vaccines have now been given in total, with adults under 50 expected to begin to be invited in the coming days, the statement added.

Ireland will limit AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine for people 60 and older

A health care worker fills a syringe with a dose of AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine at the Pentland Medical Practice on January 7 in Currie, Scotland.

The Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine is to be recommended only for people aged 60 years and older in Ireland, according to a revised advice from Ireland’s National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC) on Monday.

The new advice reads: “Vaxzevria COVID-19 vaccine AstraZeneca is not recommended for those aged under 60 years including those with medical conditions with very high or high risk of severe COVID-19 disease.”

It also recommends not giving a second dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine “to anyone who developed unusual blood clots with low platelets after the first dose.”

However, it says people aged under 60 years with a very high risk or high-risk medical condition should receive their second dose 12 weeks later as scheduled, while those aged under 60 years without a very high risk or high-risk medical condition should have the scheduled interval between doses extended to 16 weeks to “allow further assessment of the benefits and risks as more evidence becomes available.”

Commenting on the new advice, NIAC Chair Karina Butler said:

“NIAC realises the need to balance the significant benefits of a national vaccination programme with the very rare risk of these reported events. While this is an extremely rare condition, consideration must be given to the fact that it has a very high risk of death or severe outcome. As the risk/benefits of Vaxzevria COVID-19 AstraZeneca vaccine may vary by age and as alternative COVID-19 vaccines are available NIAC has revised the recommendations for use of this vaccine.”

“All the authorised COVID-19 vaccines – Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca and the newly approved Janssen, are highly effective in preventing hospitalisation and severe COVID-19 disease. Vaccination with Vaxzevria COVID-19 AstraZeneca vaccine is highly effective and substantially reduces the risk of severe COVID-19 disease across all age groups,” she added.

The decision by NIAC follows the announcement by the European Medicines Agency that it had found a possible link between the vaccine and the occurrence of rare blood clots.

New York governor issues guidance for graduation ceremonies starting May 1

Governor Andrew Cuomo speaks during a press conference at Suffolk County Community College on April 12 in Brentwood, New York.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced new updated guidance for graduation and commencement ceremonies organized by schools, colleges and universities.

Effective May 1, indoor and outdoor graduation and commencement ceremonies will be allowed with limited attendee capacity, depending on the event size and the location.

Outdoor Events:

  • Large-scale ceremonies of more than 500 people at outdoor venues will be limited to 20% of capacity, applicable to venues with a total capacity of 2,500 or more. 
  • Medium-scale ceremonies of 201 to 500 people at outdoor venues will be limited to 33% of capacity. 
  • Small-scale ceremonies of up to 200 people or 2 attendees per student at outdoor venues will be limited to 50% of capacity. Proof of recent negative test result or proof of completed immunization is optional.

Indoor Events:

  • Large-scale ceremonies of more than 150 people at indoor venues will be limited to 10% of capacity, applicable to venues with a total capacity of 1,500 or more. 
  • Medium-scale ceremonies of 101 to 150 people at indoor venues will be limited to 33% of capacity.
  • Small-scale ceremonies of up to 100 people or 2 attendees per student at indoor venues will be limited to 50% of capacity. Proof of recent negative test result or proof of completed immunization is optional.

“We’re once again approaching the end of the academic year which means we need strict rules in place to ensure commencement ceremonies are done safely in the context of the ongoing pandemic,” Cuomo said. 

“With more people getting vaccinated every day, we are so close to the light at the end of the tunnel, but we all need to continue being vigilant and I am urging everyone to celebrate smart,” he added.

Puerto Rico stops all in-person learning for two weeks due to rise in Covid-19 cases

All public and private schools in Puerto Rico must stop all in-person learning for two weeks due to a rise in Covid-19 cases, according to a statement tweeted by Puerto Rico’s Secretary of Health Carlos Mellado López.

The decision comes just a little more than a month after some schools on the island reopened for in-person learning for the first time since the pandemic hit, for K-3 students and high school seniors.

“Although we do not have outbreaks in schools, we must have precautionary measures before the incidence and positivity of the past seven days, which raised the level of risk to a critical one for three consecutive days under the protocol of the Department of Health,” Mellado López said.

There will be no face-to-face instruction starting Monday until at least April 26. The decision was made by Gov. Pedro Pierluisi and Puerto Rico’s Education Secretary Elba Aponte.

“We urge the public and call for prudence and to continue with the protection protocols,” the statement said.

There are more than 800 schools and nearly 300,000 students in Puerto Rico’s public school system, according to the National Center of Education Statistics’ data from the 2019-2020 school year.

Brazilian lawmakers ask UN to help speed up Covid-19 vaccine delivery

Senator Rodrigo Pacheco is seen after being elected president of the Senate, in Brasilia, on February 1.

Presidents of the Brazilian Congress and Senate announced Monday that they asked United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to help accelerate the delivery of vaccines to the country.

“I spoke today, on the phone, with the Secretary-General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres to explain the serious health situation in the country. I spoke of the need to increase the flow of vaccine delivery to the country, ” wrote Arthur Lira, president of the Congress.

Rodrigo Pacheco, head of the Senate, also said he spoke to Guterres and reinforced the need for doses from COVAX to arrival in Brazil.

“I reinforced the request for help from the UN so that the country becomes a priority for the international consortium Covax Facility to anticipate vaccine deliveries,” wrote Pacheco.

Guterres tweeted on Saturday saying, “More countries are beginning to receive vaccine supplies, but most people in low- and middle-income nations are still waiting. Vaccine equity is a moral test of global solidarity. COVAX – the @UN-led initiative to ensure equitable access, must be funded and supported.”

The Brazilian health ministry registered at least 1,803 new deaths and 37,017 cases of the novel coronavirus on Monday. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the country registered 353,137 deaths and 13,482,023 cases of Covid-19.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro meanwhile has shrugged off criticisms that he is “genocidal” in his opposition to Covid-19 restrictions as the country reached new records in cases. The President has repeatedly opposed lockdowns and restrictive measures, and criticized governors and mayors with insulting language for implementing them.

11 US states have already vaccinated 50% of adults with at least one dose of vaccine, CDC data shows

A soldier prepares to vaccinate a man at an East Boston Neighborhood Health Center Vaccination Clinic in Boston on February 16.

Almost 190 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine have been administered in the United States, according to data published Monday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC reported that 189,692,045 total doses have been administered – about 80% of the 237,796,305 doses delivered.

That’s about 2.6 million more doses reported administered since yesterday, for a seven-day average of about 3.2 million doses per day.

More than 36% of the population – nearly 121 million people – have received at least one dose of Covid-19 vaccine, and more than 22% of the population – about 74 million people – are fully vaccinated, according to CDC data.

Among adults, 46.5% have received at least one dose of Covid-19 vaccine, and 28.6% are fully vaccinated.

The US is on track to reach half of the adult population with at least one dose by the end of the week, according to a CNN analysis of CDC data.

Eleven states have already reached this threshold:

New Hampshire: 64% New Mexico: 57.6% Connecticut: 55.3% South Dakota: 54.2% Massachusetts: 54.1% New Jersey: 53.5% Maine: 52.6% Vermont: 51.7% Minnesota: 50.8% Wisconsin: 50.3% Rhode Island: 50%

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

Sweden's Covid-19 ICU occupancy reaches highest point since first wave of pandemic

The number of people with Covid-19 in intensive care units in Sweden has hit its highest point since the first wave, according to data from the Swedish Intensive Care Registry on Monday.

There are currently at least 393 people in intensive care with Covid-19 across the country.

That topped the 389 who were treated in ICUs in early January, but was below the number in intensive care during the first wave of the pandemic in spring 2020, when the total reached as high as 558.

White House says pediatricians' offices will likely administer Covid-19 vaccines for children

Covid-19 vaccinations for children aged 12 to 15 may be available as soon as early fall and will likely be administered through pediatricians’ offices, according to the White House.

“As it relates to kids, there is a well-established route of vaccinations through the pediatrician’s office,” Andy Slavitt, the White House’s senior adviser for Covid-19 response, said during a virtual White House briefing on Monday. “That’s important both for teens and younger kids, because it’s an important point of trust for parents and teens.”

Clinical trial results of Pfizer/BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine have shown it is well tolerated and its efficacy is 100% among children ages 12 to 15, the companies announced in late March. 

On Friday, Pfizer requested an emergency use authorization amendment to expand use of its coronavirus vaccine in the US to people ages 12 to 15. Currently, the vaccine is authorized for emergency use by the US Food and Drug Administration in people ages 16 and up. 

“We would hope that children in high school will be able to be vaccinated by the time we get to the early fall season,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said during Monday’s briefing.

Global Covid-19 cases increase for the 7th consecutive week, WHO chief says 

Director-General of the World Health Organization Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus attends a daily press briefing on COVID-19 virus at the WHO headquaters on March 11, 2020, in Geneva.

There have now been seven consecutive weeks of increasing Covid-19 cases and four weeks of increasing deaths globally, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization, said during a news briefing in Geneva Monday. 

“In January and February the world saw six consecutive weeks of declining cases,” Tedros said. “We have now seen seven consecutive weeks of increasing cases and four weeks of increasing deaths. Last week was the fourth highest number of cases in a single week so far.”

Several countries in Asia and the Middle East have seen large case increases, he said. 

Increases are occurring despite more than 780 million vaccine doses being administered globally, he said, adding that vaccines are a vital and powerful tool, but not the only one. 

He emphasized that public health measures – mask wearing, physical distancing, ventilation, hand hygiene, surveillance, testing, tracing and isolation – work to stop infections and save lives. 

“Confusion, complacency and inconsistency in public health measures and their application are driving transmission and costing lives,” Tedros said. “It takes a consistent, coordinated and comprehensive approach.” 

"There has never been a better time than now" to get vaccinated, White House tells seniors

In the days before all 50 states are set to expand vaccine eligibility to all American adults on April 19, the White House made a plea for seniors and others currently eligible to get vaccinated. 

There has been “significant progress” vaccinating seniors, White House senior Covid-19 adviser Andy Slavitt said at Monday’s briefing, pointing to the fact that 78% of Americans over 65 have had their first shot. 

But, Slavitt said, “By this time next week, all adults across the country will be eligible for their vaccines. This mean that there has never been a better time than now for seniors and those eligible to get their shots,” calling on seniors to get an appointment “today.”

 “If you have someone in your life, particularly a senior, who has not gotten a shot yet, reach out and see what help they need,” he added.

Slavitt said that 120 million Americans have now been vaccinated, including over 72 million fully vaccinated.

At least 46% of adults have had at least their first shot, with 28% of adults fully vaccinated, he said. 

New York governor announces colleges and universities will get Covid-19 vaccine allocations

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during an event in Brentwood, New York, on April 12.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Monday that the state’s colleges and universities will get direct allocations of Covid-19 vaccines to administer vaccinations directly to their student populations. 

“Let’s use the schools as the base for the vaccine — makes all the sense in the world. We have the staff at the school, we have the students at the school. Let’s vaccinate them at the schools. State University of New York, the SUNY system, will take the lead in being a model for vaccinating students on colleges on campuses,” Cuomo said at an event at Suffolk County Community College. 

State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said the goal is to vaccinate students by the end of the spring semester before they return to their families.  

“Vaccinating college students statewide before they return to their hometown communities at the end of the semester is the next step in this thought process it is the best way for students to protect themselves, their families and their communities,” Zucker said. 

White House touts "record pace" of US vaccinations and outlines news steps to boost vaccinators

A health care worker administers a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic targeting Central American Indigenous residents at CIELO, an Indigenous rights organization, on April 10 in Los Angeles.

The Biden administration outlined new steps to continue to increase vaccinations and vaccinators, including a new mass vaccination site as one of the steps toward getting more shots in arms.

“We’re excited to announce today a new federally-run mass vaccination site in Central Point, Oregon,” White House senior Covid-19 adviser Andy Slavitt said at Monday’s Covid briefing.

He noted that President Biden had set a goal on March 29 of adding a dozen such new sites by April 19.

“We are on track to meet the President’s goal this week, ahead of schedule. And by next week, we will have opened a total of 36 mass vaccination sites with a combined capability of administering 124,000 shots per day,” Slavitt said.

The administration is also on track to reach its goal of expanding the number of pharmacies in the federal pharmacy program, Slavitt said, with nearly 40,000 up and running by next Monday.

Additionally, there are 8,500 federal personnel acting as vaccinators or supporting vaccinations, including 4,400 active duty troops. That will increase to 6,000 active duty troops in the coming week, Slavitt said. 

Slavitt touted “record pace” of vaccinations, despite “uneven supply from Johnson & Johnson,” pointing to a Saturday record of 4.6 million shots administered.

Fauci says breakthrough Covid-19 infections happen because no vaccine is 100%

Breakthrough coronavirus infections – which occur even though someone has been vaccinated – are inevitable because no vaccine is 100% effective, said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

“We see this with all vaccines, in clinical trials and in the real world. No vaccine is 100% efficacious or effective, which means that we will always see breakthrough infections, regardless of the efficacy of the vaccine,” Fauci said during a virtual White House briefing on Monday.

“Influenza is the most common of this, which mutates rapidly,” he added. But “even if a vaccine fails to protect against infection, it often protects against serious disease.”

Fauci added that, so far, data suggest current Covid-19 vaccines offer some protection against coronavirus variants.

US racial and ethnic minority groups hospitalized more for Covid-19, study shows

A patient is seen lying on a bed in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at the United Memorial Medical Center on January 1 in Houston, Texas.

Racial and ethnic minority groups had higher rates of hospitalization for Covid-19 and sought emergency department care more when compared to White people, according to two new studies published Monday in the US Centers for Disease Control and Preventions Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. 

 “Analysis of hospitalizations from a database including more than 3.7 million hospital discharges and approximately 300,000 hospitalized patients during March – December 2020 found that racial and ethnic minority groups experienced higher proportions of Covid-19 related hospitalization compared with White patients,” the first study said.

In every region, Hispanic patients represented the highest cumulative proportion of hospitalized patients with Covid-19.

Disparities in the proportion of hospitalized patients was largest early in the pandemic – from April to July – and became less pronounced as hospitalizations increased among White patients. Declining disparities are not necessarily reflective of reduced risk for minorities, but of increased risk for White patients, the authors said.

However, disparities remained at the end of the study period in all regions, particularly among Hispanics in the West. 

The researchers say that these disparities are driven by a higher risk factor for exposure to the coronavirus and a higher risk of severe disease.

The second study found that some racial and ethnic groups, including Hispanic, American Indian or Alaska Native and Black people, received emergency department care for Covid-19 at “disproportionately higher rates” compared to White patients. 

There were 282,220 Covid-19 emergency department visits from 13 states between October and December 2020 and racial/ethnic disparities were observed across age groups. 

Hispanic patients and American Indian or Alaska Native patients were more likely to seek emergency department care for Covid-19 than White people overall, as well as for each age group examined. Black people age 74 and older were more likely to seek emergency department care than White people, but no differences were observed for those under 75. 

The data used in the study came from 13 states, meaning that it may not be generalizable across the country. White people also represent a larger percentage of the population in the 13 states, compared with national population distribution. 

The authors say that it is important to prioritize prevention resources, management of underlying health conditions, safe school and work conditions, flexible leave policies and enhanced access to and acceptability of Covid-19 testing and vaccination to reach these disproportionately affected groups. 

Go There: CNN is in India as millions gather for Hindu festival despite surging Covid-19 cases 

As many as five million religious pilgrims are expected to flock to the Ganges river as coronavirus cases soar in India. 

The country reported at least 168,912 new cases Monday, its highest single-day figure for the sixth consecutive day, according to a CNN tally of figures from the Indian ministry of health. CNN’s Vedika Sud reported on the latest from New Delhi and answered viewers’ questions.

Watch:

09:12

New York City has administered over 5 million vaccine doses, mayor says

Northwell Health medical staff members prepare doses of the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine at the Northwell Health pop-up coronavirus vaccination site at the Albanian Islamic Cultural Center in Staten Island on April 8 in New York City.

New York City has administered five million vaccine doses, which the mayor said “keeps us well on target for our overall goal, five million fully vaccinated New Yorkers in June.” 

Mayor Bill de Blasio said over a half a million vaccinations were administered just last week, a record for the city, with a record breaking 104,000 administered on April 8 alone.

Approximately 5,106,027 doses have been administered since the beginning of the city’s effort, which is more than the entire population of the state of Alabama.

The city is kicking off a vaccination site in Times Square, the heart of Broadway, to assist the cultural community. De Blasio said the film and television community are “coming back strong,” adding, “We’re going to welcome them to join the vaccination center in Times Square.” The city is working with the unions within the industry, he said.

Several more grassroots vaccination sites at senior centers, houses of worship, public housing and elsewhere come online this week in all five boroughs.

Facebook will show vaccine eligibility notifications to US users by state

Facebook users will now receive notifications at the top of their news feeds advising them of their vaccine eligibility in states that have opened vaccination appointments to all adults, the company said in a blog post Monday. 

The move is modeled after Facebook’s approach to voting information and is live now in states such as Alaska, Mississippi, Texas and Utah. 

Other state-specific notifications targeted to local users will begin rolling out as health officials expand eligibility to include the wider public, Facebook said. 

“When a state says the general public is eligible for a Covid-19 vaccine, we’ll show a notification to people in that state that connects them with their state health department or our Vaccine Finder,” the company said. 

In a sign of Facebook’s immense potential influence over consumer behavior, the platform said West Virginia’s health department reported significant increases in vaccine registrations following Facebook’s decision to run state-based notifications there. 

The company has been showing this type of in-feed vaccine notification to users 65 and older since February.

Governor: Kentucky will lift some Covid-19 restrictions when 2.5 million Kentuckians have been vaccinated

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said he will lift Covid-19 capacity restrictions when 2.5 million Kentuckians have been vaccinated. 

Speaking at a news conference Monday morning at the opening of the state’s largest vaccination site in Lexington, Beshear announced “when we have vaccinated 2.5 million Kentuckians, we will remove capacity restrictions for nearly all venues, events, and businesses that cater to 1,000 or fewer patrons.”

Beshear explained that this would remove the physical distance and curfew restrictions that are currently in place. Mask wearing will also remain in place.

“If you’re a restaurant, a bar, a store, a public pool, a country club, a grocery, a funeral home, a wedding venue, a concert hall, a museum, if you put on festivals, if you are a distillery, this is what you’ve been waiting for - a clear number and a clear goal to hit,” the governor said.

Beshear said that 1.55 million residents in his state have already received their first shot, so the timing could be within the next month. 

“When will we hit this goal? It can be in as little as three and a half weeks. Realistically, it’s probably going to be somewhere between four and six weeks,” he said. “But it is all up to us, every single individuals choices can get us closer to that normalcy we’ve been looking for.”

50% of US adults expected to have at least one dose of Covid-19 vaccine by end of this week

People wait in line at a pop-up Coviid-19 vaccination site in Orlando, Florida, on April 9.

If Covid-19 vaccinations continue at the current pace, the United States will likely hit a milestone this week: vaccinating half of adults with at least one dose of vaccine.

Over the past week, more than 3.1 million doses of vaccine have been administered each day on average, according to data reported by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Those doses could be first doses, second doses or single doses.

The latest data from the CDC shows that nearly 46% of adults in the US have received at least one dose of Covid-19 vaccine and about 28% are fully vaccinated. 

But an average of more than 1.8 million people have been added to the total number of people with at least one dose of vaccine each day.

That adds about 1% to the share of the US adult population with at least one shot each day, putting the US on track to reach 50% within days.

Also, about 1.6 million people have been added to the total number of people fully vaccinated each week. At that pace, more than 30% of adults in the US will be fully vaccinated by the end of this week.

California is struggling with vaccine equity as it prepares to expand eligibility to all adults

Dr. Jerry P. Abraham, director of vaccine programs at Kedren Health, oversees another day where hundreds of people line up for their turn at receiving the Covid-19 vaccine at Kedren Health.

Dr. Jerry Abraham is determined to ensure California’s most vulnerable communities have access to the Covid-19 vaccine.

Abraham has spent the last several months calling state officials to demand vaccine doses for Black and brown people in hard hit South Los Angeles, developing vaccine sites that welcomed walk-in patients, hosting mass vaccination events featuring entertainers and deploying mobile vaccination fleets to neighborhoods where residents don’t have transportation.

Abraham, director of vaccines at Kedren Community Health Center, said he is now vaccinating 5,000 people a day and filling a void in a community that might otherwise be neglected.

“We broke down every barrier that stood between people and their vaccines,” Abraham told CNN. “No appointment, that’s OK. No internet or email, phone or transportation, can’t walk, talk or see, can’t speak English, undocumented, homeless – none of those things were barriers.”

California remains one of the states with the worst disparities in vaccinating its Latino population despite efforts like Abraham’s and a statewide mandate that allocates 40% of vaccine doses to underserved communities.

According to state data, 20% of vaccine doses have been administered to Latinos, who make up 39% of the population and 56% of cases.

And 3% of vaccines have been administered to Black people in California, who make up 6% of the population and 4% of the cases. White people, meanwhile, have received 29% of vaccines and make up 20% of cases and 37% of the population.

Health advocates say misinformation about the vaccine and lack of access have been key reasons for the racial inequities in California.

Now they are urging the state and its partners to boost vaccination efforts in communities of color to prevent the disparity from growing when all California adults become eligible for the shot on April 15. Some fear that residents with reliable internet, transportation and the ability to take off work will continue to outpace poor Black and Latino communities that have been among the hardest hit by Covid-19.

California officials were blasted earlier this year when when a vaccine program meant for seniors living in Black and Latino communities was misused by outsiders who obtained the special group codes needed to schedule appointments.

Gov. Gavin Newsom responded saying the group codes were being abused and that the program would switch to individual codes. About a week later, Newsom’s administration announced it was setting aside 40% of vaccine doses for hard-hit communities.

Read the full story here.

England re-opens as Germany struggles to contain cases

People queue outside Nike Town on Oxford Street in London, as shops reopen following coronavirus restrictions easing on April 12.

Non-essential shops opened their doors in England Monday, as the government continued to ease the country out of lockdown.

England’s gyms, zoos and hairdressers also reopened, while restaurants and pubs will welcome customers outdoors. 

Lengthy lines formed outside shops on London’s Oxford Street ahead of the reopening on Monday morning, which forms part of the second step of the UK’s plan to exit lockdown by the summer.

But not everyone will be back to enjoy the easing. Some businesses are permanently shut and only 40% of venues have outdoor space.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson hailed the easing as “major step forward” for England’s “roadmap to freedom.”

Across the continent in Germany, the situation is dramatically different.

Germany’s ICUs are at near peak capacity, according to Christian Karagiannidis, the director of the German intensive care association.

Karagiannidis warned over the weekend that even with a hard lockdown, case numbers in the country will rise for the next 10-14 days, adding that healthcare workers are “breaking down.”

He called for immediate action to deal with the rise in infection.

Germany has recorded more than three million total cases of Covid-19 during the pandemic and 78,500 deaths.

Chancellor Angela Merkel earlier said that the newer UK variant is making it more difficult for the country to control the virus’ spread.

Last week the country’s health minister Jens Spahn said Germany plans to open talks with Russia about acquiring doses of its coronavirus vaccine, Sputnik V, if the shot is approved by EU regulators.

Diabetes drug did not help hospitalized Covid-19 patients, AstraZeneca says

A Phase 3 trial of the diabetes drug Farxiga, also known as dapagliflozin, showed it did not help hospitalized Covid-19 patients, AstraZeneca said in a news release Monday.

The trial did not show statistical significance in preventing organ dysfunction and death in hospitalized coronavirus patients who had other risk factors for severe Covid-19.

These risk factors included hypertension, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and heart failure or chronic kidney disease.

The trial was the first to look at a sodium-glucose co-transporter-2 inhibitor, or SGLT2, in hospitalized Covid-19 patients who have risk factors for developing serious complications.

The US Food and Drink Administration (FDA) describes SGLT2 inhibitors as “a class of prescription medicines that are FDA-approved for use with diet and exercise to lower blood sugar in adults with type 2 diabetes.”

“DARE-19 provided important data on the potential benefits and risks of using SGLT2 inhibitors to treat hospitalized patients with Covid-19,” said Dr. Mikhail Kosiborod, a cardiologist at Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute and principal investigator of DARE-19, in the release. 
“While the trial did not achieve statistical significance, the findings are very interesting and valuable, and will inform future clinical science.”

The full DARE-19 trial results will be presented at the American College of Cardiology Scientific Sessions in May, AstraZeneca said.

India's daily cases surge as millions gather for religious pilgrimage

Hindu devotees packed the streets of Haridwar, in northern India, on Monday for the largest religious pilgrimage on Earth, in scenes that defied social distancing rules just as Covid-19 infections soared in the country.

As many as five million visitors were expected to descend on the city Monday – an auspicious day in the ongoing Kumbh Mela religious festival, which was delayed this year due to the pandemic.

At the festival, devotees wash away their sins in the river’s sacred waters, which are believed to turn into “amrita” – the nectar of immortality – on auspicious days like Monday.

At least 650,000 people had already taken a dip in the river by early Monday, according to police Insp. Gen. Sanjay Gunjyal.

Throughout the day, there will be an estimated 11,000 to 18,000 people in the water at any time, spread across the 15 main riverbanks, said Mukesh Thakur, a senior police official.

The massive crowds are causing concern as India struggles to contain a worrying second wave, with cases rising dramatically every day.

Read more here:

Devotees take holy dips in the river Ganges during Shahi snan or a Royal bath at Kumbh mela, in Haridwar in the Indian state of Uttarakhand, Monday, April 12, 2021. As states across India are declaring some version of a lockdown to battle rising Covid cases as part of a nationwide second-wave, thousands of pilgrims are gathering on the banks of the river Ganga for the Hindu festival Kumbh Mela. The faithful believe that a dip in the waters of the Ganga will absolve them of their sins and deliver them from the cycle of birth and death. (AP Photo/Karma Sonam)

Millions of Hindu pilgrims head to Ganges River as India's daily coronavirus cases continue to surge