April 13 coronavirus news

By Jessie Yeung, Lauren Said-Moorhouse, Samantha Tapfumaneyi, Melissa Mahtani, Melissa Macaya and Meg Wagner, CNN

Updated 2:19 AM ET, Wed April 14, 2021
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5:57 p.m. ET, April 13, 2021

Protection from mRNA Covid-19 vaccines likely lasts at least nine months, FDA official says

From CNN’s Lauren Mascarenhas

Protection from mRNA Covid-19 vaccines likely lasts at least nine months, Dr. Peter Marks, director of the US Food and Drug Administration's Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, said Tuesday.

Current research on mRNA Covid-19 vaccines has shown that the vaccines likely provide protection for at least six months.

“We're believing that it's probably going to last at least nine months, but we're going to be checking this,” Marks said in a webinar hosted by the American Medical Association.

Marks said that researchers will need to watch for whether immunity is dropping off more quickly for older and immunocompromised individuals. He added that it is possible the vaccines will require boosters. 

“With each month, we'll get more certainty about when that might be necessary,” said Marks.

5:34 p.m. ET, April 13, 2021

Variants account for about 78% of recent Covid-19 cases in New York City, data shows

From CNN’s Deidre McPhillips

Covid-19 variants account for about 78% of recent Covid-19 cases in New York City, according to data published by the city’s health department on Monday. 

Nearly 1,500 virus specimens were collected between March 22 and March 28 and genetically sequenced by the New York City Pandemic Response Laboratory. Of those specimens, about 30% were identified to be B.1.1.7, the variant first identified in the U.K. Another 45% of the genetically sequenced samples were identified to be B.1.526, the variant first discovered in New York City. 

B.1.1.7 is classified as a variant of concern by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as it has been found to be more transmissible and cause more severe infections. B.1.526 is a variant of interest, with ongoing studies regarding its effects on disease severity and vaccine effectiveness. 

The prevalence of both of these variants has increased quickly in New York City. In the second half of February, B.1.1.7 accounted for about 10% of genetically sequenced specimens and B.1.526 accounted for about 35% of those sampled. 

About 5% of confirmed cases have been genetically sequenced, and both B.1.1.7 and B.1.526 have been identified in all five of the city’s boroughs, according to the city’s health department. 

“The proportion of variants of concern and variants of interest is increasing,” according to the report, suggesting that the “spread of specific variants, potentially due to their greater infectiousness, which is one reason why COVID-19 cases in NYC remain at a high plateau of between 3,000 to 4,000 new cases each day.”

Over the past seven days, New York City has reported more than 15,000 new cases of Covid-19, an improvement from the average of nearly 19,000 cases per week in recent weeks, according to data published by the city’s health department. However, New York City ranks 20th for the most new Covid-19 cases per capita among US metropolitan areas in the past week, according to data the data from the White House Covid-19 Team 

Nationally, B.1.1.7 accounted for about 44% of samples collected between March 14 and March 27 and B.1.526 accounted for about 6% of samples, according to data published by the CDC. 

5:19 p.m. ET, April 13, 2021

Covid-19 cases among US children increased slightly last week

From CNN's Jamie Gumbrecht

At least 73,192 new child Covid-19 cases were identified through testing last week, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, a slight increase in new reported cases from the week before

Children represented 13.5% of all cases in the United States. More than 3.54 million children in the United States have tested positive for Covid-19 as of April 8.

Children made up between 6% and 18.9% of those who were tested for Covid-19, and 5.3% to 32.3% of children tested were positive for the coronavirus, depending on the state.

Children are still considered much less likely than adults to develop severe symptoms of Covid-19 or to die from the disease. Children represented 1.3% to 3.1% of total reported hospitalizations for Covid-19, based on the information provided by 24 states and New York City. Only 0.1% to 1.9% of all cases of Covid-19 in children required hospitalization. 

Ten states reported zero child deaths among the 43 states that provided data on Covid-19 mortality. 

5:18 p.m. ET, April 13, 2021

Arkansas governor will pause use of J&J vaccine to better understand reactions

From CNN’s Chris Boyette 

AK Governor's Office/Youtube
AK Governor's Office/Youtube

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson told reporters he has “confidence” in the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, but the state will pause its use of the vaccine to allow the medical community to better prepare for the rare reactions that have been documented.

“We have confidence in the ‘J&J’ vaccine, but it is on pause to be sure on the treatment of any adverse reaction,” Hutchinson said at a news conference Tuesday. “Obviously, it's an effective vaccine, but because of that reaction we want to make sure that the physician community and health care, have the right information on the treatment of any adverse reaction so that is the reason for the pause, and we'll continue to monitor that."

The governor added that Arkansas has enough supply of the vaccine to meet the demands of the state.

“We will continue our vaccination program, uninterrupted. It continues at a rapid pace and no one should delay getting a vaccination, because of the pause on one part of the vaccination. We have the supply currently on hand in Arkansas, to meet the demand needs of our state," he said.

"No one should slow down and say, ‘Well because of this, I'm going to wait.’ Don't wait, get the vaccine now, it is critically important,” the governor added.

The state's health secretary, Dr. José R. Romero, said he supports Arkansas' pause of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

“We believe it is prudent, at this time to pause in our administration of the Janssen [Johnson & Johnson] vaccine, until we have more information and in particular, because this is an unusual manifestation of thrombosis, we want physicians to understand that this treatment for this particular disease is not your standard treatment," Romero said.

Previously scheduled state clinics that were planning to use the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will now use the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, according to Colonel Robert Ator, program manager for Arkansas Vaccine Distribution.

4:02 p.m. ET, April 13, 2021

Canada reports first case of rare blood clot with AstraZeneca's Covid-19 vaccine

From CNN’s Paula Newton in Ottawa

Canada confirmed Tuesday its first case of a rare blood clot complication after a woman received the AstraZeneca vaccine.

The statement released from Health Canada says that the person "experienced a very rare adverse event involving blood clots with low platelets following immunization," adding that the person is now recovering at home.

Quebec later confirmed that it was a woman who had been administered the vaccine in that province.

“I think that the good news is that the lady in question has been cared for and she is doing well and what we are doing now involves hyper-vigilance,” said Christian Dube, Quebec’s health minister in French during a news conference Tuesday.

Health Canada says it continues to investigate and is also monitoring reports of similar adverse events in Europe. 

Canada first approved the AstraZeneca vaccine in February but recently updated its recommendation on using the vaccine to exclude younger Canadians under the age of 55.

Canada has received more than 2 millions doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine including 1.5 million sent by the Biden administration in recent days. The US has not yet authorized the AstraZeneca vaccine.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA), meanwhile, said earlier this month 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," it added.

UK regulators took a more cautious approach, saying healthy adults under 30 should be offered other vaccines. Officials described the move as a "course correction" that would not derail the country's rapid inoculation program.

CNN's Angela Dewan and Sharon Braithwaite contributed reporting to this post.

3:48 p.m. ET, April 13, 2021

CDC vaccine advisers will meet about Johnson & Johnson's vaccine tomorrow

From CNN's Ashley Ahn

A dose is drawn from a vial of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine at an event put on by the Thornton Fire Department on March 6 in Thornton, Colorado.
A dose is drawn from a vial of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine at an event put on by the Thornton Fire Department on March 6 in Thornton, Colorado. Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will hold an emergency meeting of its Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, or ACIP, from 1:30 to 4 p.m. ET Wednesday to review “rare and severe” blood clot cases among people who received the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine. 

The meeting will be virtual with no in-person attendance.

The CDC and the US Food and Drug Administration have recommended that the United States pause the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine until the review is complete. 

The FDA will also review the ACIP’s analysis as it investigates the cases, according to a joint statement on Tuesday from Dr. Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director of the CDC, and Dr. Peter Marks, director of the FDA's Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research.

"Until that process is complete, we are recommending a pause in the use of this vaccine out of an abundance of caution,” the statement said. “This is important, in part, to ensure that the health care provider community is aware of the potential for these adverse events and can plan for proper recognition and management due to the unique treatment required with this type of blood clot."
3:15 p.m. ET, April 13, 2021

Turkey announces partial lockdown as daily Covid-19 cases hit record high

From CNN's Gul Tuysuz

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced a partial lockdown for the first two weeks of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan as Turkey continues to post record numbers of coronavirus cases and increasing daily deaths.

Turkey reported 273 deaths and 59,187 new coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours— hitting a record high in daily cases, according to Turkish health ministry. 

Under the partial lockdown, pre-school and students in grades 8 to 12 will continue in-person education but all other grades will be required to do distance learning, according to the Turkish president. 

Cafes, tea houses, and gyms will be closed with restaurants only offering delivery services. Wedding, engagement parties and all other indoor activities are prohibited until the end of Ramadan. 

The weekday curfew has been extended by two hours and will be from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. local time, but the weekend curfew, will continue as is. 

Government workers will be put on limited work hours. Those who are pregnant, have pre-existing health conditions and women who have kids under the age of 10, are exempt from work, Erdogan said. The private sector will be encouraged to adopt more "work from home."

If these tightened measures do not bring down the spread of the virus, stricter measures will be implemented, he added. 

Erdogan also said intercity travel will be restricted but did not provide specifics. A detailed list of new measures which will go into effect on Wednesday will be provided by the interior ministry, Erdogan said. 

3:27 p.m. ET, April 13, 2021

Biden reacts to J&J vaccine pause and says there is enough vaccine for every American

From CNN's Allie Malloy

President Joe Biden speaks before a meeting in the Oval Office of the White House on April 13 in Washington, DC.
President Joe Biden speaks before a meeting in the Oval Office of the White House on April 13 in Washington, DC. Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

President Biden said Tuesday that there is enough vaccine that is "basically 100% unquestionable for every single solitary American” when asked about the recommended pause in the use of the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine.

When asked what his message is to the American people, Biden said, “I told y’all I made sure we have 600 million doses of the mRNA — not of either Johnson & Johnson and or AstraZeneca. So, there is enough vaccine that is basically 100% unquestionable for every single solitary American.”

Biden did not further comment or answer questions on the recommendation or on Americans who have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the US Food and Drug Administration are recommending that the United States pause the use of Johnson & Johnson's Covid-19 vaccine over six reported US cases of a "rare and severe" type of blood clot.

The six reported cases were among more than 6.8 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine administered in the United States.

3:18 p.m. ET, April 13, 2021

South Africa suspends rollout of Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine

From CNN’s David McKenzie in Johannesburg

A healthcare worker takes out the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 coronavirus vaccine from a temperature controlled fridge at the Klerksdorp Hospital in South Africa on February 18.
A healthcare worker takes out the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 coronavirus vaccine from a temperature controlled fridge at the Klerksdorp Hospital in South Africa on February 18. Phil Magakoe/AFP/Getty Images

South Africa’s Health Minister Zweli Mkhize on Tuesday evening announced the suspension of South Africa’s rollout of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, stressing that South African scientists believe it will only be a temporary suspension.

Mkhize said the decision was made after the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommended the United States pause its rollout of the single dose vaccine because of six reported cases of a rare and severe form of blood clot among more than 6.8 million doses of the vaccine administered in the US.

The minister said that they had not received any reports of blood clots in the more than 250,000 health care workers already vaccinated with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, as part of a large-scale trial in South Africa. Full rollout of the vaccine is yet to commence.

“We hope that the deliberations will only take a few days. Given the preliminary research on hand, our scientists are confident that the FDA decision is only on a precautionary basis and we expect that this will not result in a complete withdrawal of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine,” said Mkhize. 

South Africa has banked heavily on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine after the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine was shown to be less effective against mild and moderate cases of a strain of the virus discovered in South Africa.

At least 30 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine have been secured, the minister said, adding that the country has also secured 30 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine this fiscal year.