April 27 coronavirus news

By Ben Westcott, Kara Fox and Niamh Kennedy, CNN

Updated 1:44 AM ET, Wed April 28, 2021
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12:54 p.m. ET, April 27, 2021

CDC issues new outdoor mask guidance for fully vaccinated Americans 

From CNN's John Bonifield and Elizabeth Cohen

Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images
Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is issuing new guidance on outdoor mask use for fully vaccinated Americans.

Fully vaccinated people can unmask outdoors if they are walking, running, hiking or biking alone or with members of their household. 

The fully vaccinated can also go mask free while dining at an outdoor restaurant with friends from multiple households. 

The new outdoor mask recommendations were announced Tuesday by CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky during a White House Covid-19 briefing.

They can also take off their masks at small outdoor gatherings with fully vaccinated family and friends, or where there is a mixture of fully vaccinated and unvaccinated people. 

In addition to continuing to avoid large-sized gatherings, the CDC said fully vaccinated people should also avoid medium-sized gatherings. For the fully vaccinated who do chose to attend a crowded outdoor event, such as a live performance, parade, or sporting event, wearing a mask is recommended. 

Masks should also still be worn in outdoor public settings and venues where they are required

In indoor public spaces, such as a mall, movie theatre or museum, the CDC continues to recommend wearing a mask.

In addition, the CDC said fully vaccinated Americans who live or work in a group setting, such as a group home or dormitory, no longer need to stay away from others for 14 days if they are around someone who has Covid-19. They should still get tested, even if they don't have symptoms.


12:08 p.m. ET, April 27, 2021

Go There: India's hospitals are desperate for oxygen as cases surge. CNN has the latest from New Delhi.

India's second wave, which began in March, has escalated rapidly, with more than a million new cases in just three days.

For the past two weeks, medical facilities have been running out of oxygen and intensive care unit beds, with patients left outside hospitals waiting for care.

International efforts to help tackle the crisis are hastening, with both Britain and the United States pledging aid and much-needed medical supplies.

CNN reporter Vedika Sud reports from New Delhi. Watch:

12:08 p.m. ET, April 27, 2021

US will offer exceptions to certain groups from countries under Covid-19 travel restrictions

From CNN's Jennifer Hansler

The State Department announced students, journalists, certain academics and those “who provide critical infrastructure support” from countries affected by Covid-19 travel restrictions may now come to the United States under a National Interest Exception.

“This includes qualified applicants who have been present in Brazil, China, Iran, or South Africa,” the Department said in a statement Tuesday, but noted on its website that students and academics from those countries may only qualify for an exception if their programs start Aug. 1 or later.

The exceptions also cover those from the Schengen area, the United Kingdom and Ireland.

“In keeping with the Department of State’s commitment to facilitate legitimate travel to the United States, Secretary Blinken decided yesterday to apply several National Interest Exceptions to all regional travel restrictions currently in effect as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the statement said.

“As the global situation evolves, the Department continues to seek ways to process more visa applications, in line with science-based guidance from health authorities, and with the health and safety of staff and applicants as our priority," it continued.

12:06 p.m. ET, April 27, 2021

New York City has administered more than 6 million vaccine doses to date, mayor says

From CNN's Kristina Sgueglia

People rest in the observation area after receiving Covid-19 vaccinations at the American Museum of Natural History in New York on Friday.
People rest in the observation area after receiving Covid-19 vaccinations at the American Museum of Natural History in New York on Friday. Richard Drew/AP

New York City has administered 6,249,262 Covid-19 vaccine doses to date – more than the number of people in the entire state of Maryland, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Tuesday.

To date, about 2.3 million New York City residents have been fully vaccinated and 3.2 million residents, which is about 52% of adult New York City residents, have received one dose, de Blasio said.

New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi said Tuesday that the city is faring better than the national average of about 8% of people missing their second Covid-19 vaccine dose. In New York City, less than 5% of people who have received a first dose have missed their second dose, Chokshi said. 

Covid-19 indicators continue to trend downward in New York City, with new cases and hospitalizations showing a “steady downward trend,” de Blasio said.

On Tuesday, Covid-19 hospitalizations totaled 140 – comprising about 2.24 people per 100K hospitalized. De Blasio has said previously that their goal has been to get to under two people per 100,000 hospitalized due to Covid-19.

At least 1,603 new Covid-19 cases were reported in New York City, with a 3.5% positivity rate, de Blasio said.

Note: These numbers were released by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene 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.

11:14 a.m. ET, April 27, 2021

Hospital in Indian city of Surat has only 3 hours worth of oxygen left and 430 Covid-19 patients

From Esha Mitra in New Delhi

The lives of 430 Covid-19 patients at Ashutosh Multi-Specialty Hospital in the city of Surat in the western Indian state of Gujarat are at risk as the hospital has only three hours’ worth of oxygen left, a senior doctor at the hospital told CNN on Tuesday.

“There is a trickle of oxygen that is coming but the rush and the queues of people who take oxygen are so huge that the distribution may take maybe six or eight hours to get supply because the shortage is tremendous,” Dr. Rajivraj Chaudhary of Ashutosh Multispeciality Hospital told CNN.

The hospital’s staff have been “moving from one supplier to another supplier since last night to try to procure additional oxygen,” Chaudhary said. “It's very worrisome," he added.

Chaudhary also told families they might want to move their relatives to another hospital because of the precariously low oxygen supplies, saying “We have told relatives that we are running low on oxygen so if you get any alternative place where oxygen is available we would be happy to help you move them.”

But the situation in Surat’s private hospitals is dire across the board and many of them, including Ashutosh Multispeciality Hospital, have started turning patients away, according to Nirmal Choraria, the chairman of the Indian Medical Association’s Covid-19 Action Committee in Surat.

The entire city has been facing a critical shortage in oxygen since Sunday and its 400 private hospitals are struggling. They require about 110 metric tons of oxygen. On Tuesday, they received 20 or 30 metric tons less than what was needed, Choraria added.

“Supply is not still guaranteed or confirmed,” Choraria said, adding that critical patients throughout the city have been unable to find a hospital bed.

“They are moving from one place to another place...if we can’t improve the situation it will definitely affect the mortality,” Choraria said.

11:16 a.m. ET, April 27, 2021

Wimbledon hopes to have a "minimum" of 25% spectator capacity this year's tournament

From CNN’s Aleks Klosok 

A tennis net is rolled up at the All England Lawn Tennis Club in west London on June 27, 2020.
A tennis net is rolled up at the All England Lawn Tennis Club in west London on June 27, 2020. Bob Martin/AELTC/AFP/Getty Images

Wimbledon organizers said they hope to have a “minimum” of 25% spectator capacity for this summer’s tennis major.

The grass-court Grand Slam was not held in 2020 – the first time since World War II – due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We very much hope 25% is a minimum position from which we can build – it is our absolute desire to enable as many people as possible to safely attend The Championships this year,” Chief Executive Sally Bolton said in a statement Tuesday.

“We will remain flexible as we await the outcome of the government’s Event Research Programme and clarity on the likelihood of restrictions relaxing beyond 21 June,” Bolton added.

All legal limits on social contact in England could be lifted by June 21, providing strict conditions are met, according to UK Prime Minster Boris Johnson’s roadmap out of lockdown.

Organizers confirmed ticket prices will remain at 2020 levels and a decision on prize money won’t be made until June. 

This year’s tournament is due to be held from June 28 to July 11.

Organizers also confirmed the championships will become a 14-day tournament from 2022, with matches set to be played on middle Sunday – traditionally a day off at the Wimbledon Championships.

“Thanks to improved grass court technology and maintenance over the past five years or so and other measures, we are comfortable that we are able to look after the courts, most particularly Centre Court, without a full day of rest,” Chairman Ian Hewitt said.

10:13 a.m. ET, April 27, 2021

"We are definitely undercounting" Covid-19 cases and deaths in India, public health expert says

From CNN's Aditi Sangal

Dr. K. Srinath Reddy, president of the Public Health Foundation of India, on April 27.
Dr. K. Srinath Reddy, president of the Public Health Foundation of India, on April 27. CNN

India has reported more than 300,000 daily Covid-19 cases for six days in a row and yet, Dr. K. Srinath Reddy, president of the Public Health Foundation of India, says the country is "definitely undercounting" cases and deaths.

"It's very likely that the cases are underestimated because even if we test everybody who is to be tested, we know that the testing actually gives only 60% to 70% positivity rates. And surely, not everybody who needs to be tested is being tested at this point despite very large testing numbers overall. Unless we test much more, we'll still not be able to find how close we are to the [actual] number," he told CNN.

There is reason to believe that the deaths are also underreported, according to Reddy.

Since the surge has resulted in a lot of deaths outside hospitals, "it's difficult to certify them and therefore, the deaths, too, are being undercounted this year substantially, and that's a great cause of concern," he added.

Some background: India is home to the world's worst ongoing coronavirus outbreak. It has reported more than 17.6 million cases since the pandemic began last year. But the real number, experts fear, could be up to 30 times higher — meaning more than half a billion cases. World Health Organization chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan also told CNN she "expects" that there has been undercounting of Covid-19-related cases and deaths.

India needs a "coordinated" lockdown strategy with every state assessing whether it needs a partial or complete lockdown, Reddy said Tuesday, adding that many local governments were "a bit late" on imposing restrictions to stem the spread of the virus.

"But nevertheless, there is urgency now in several states to try and contain the pandemic, both by way of lockdowns or near lockdowns and considerable restrictions on travel as well. It is important that we get both the policy action as well as the public precautions in terms of masking into full play across the country."


9:39 a.m. ET, April 27, 2021

Biden administration expected to announce new CDC mask guidance today 

From CNN's Kaitlan Collins and Kate Sullivan, 

President Joe Biden walks to a motorcade vehicle after golfing in Wilmington, Delaware, on April 17.
President Joe Biden walks to a motorcade vehicle after golfing in Wilmington, Delaware, on April 17. Patrick Semansky/AP

President Biden is expected to announce Tuesday that the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has updated its guidance for wearing masks outdoors, three people familiar with the expected announcement said.

The White House Covid task force will hold a news conference at 12:30 p.m. ET and Biden will deliver remarks at 1:15 p.m. ET on the state of the pandemic.

The three people familiar with the expected announcement said Biden will announce new CDC guidance on whether vaccinated people need to wear masks outdoors, though the final language of the expected announcement is still unclear.

One of Biden's top coronavirus advisers, Dr. Anthony Fauci, strongly hinted that the guidance would be updated this week, telling CNN's Jim Acosta Sunday he didn't want to get ahead of the CDC, but they "will be coming out with updating their guidelines of what people who are vaccinated can do and even some who are not vaccinated."

The Biden administration is also expected to announce, as early as Tuesday, several other new recommendations for fully vaccinated people in addition to "unmasking outdoors," a federal official told CNN.

The official said the new recommendations "will provide guidelines for activities fully vaccinated people can resume," suggesting a broader list than simply guidelines on masks. The recommendations will also provide guidelines for infection control and prevention in health care settings.

A November review in the Journal of Infectious Diseases found that the odds of viral transmission are 18.7 times greater indoors than out, and less than 10% of Covid-19 infections studied occurred outside. Despite that, several states still have outdoor mask mandates in place.

8:41 a.m. ET, April 27, 2021

Covid-19 cases are also surging in India's neighboring Nepal

From journalist Asha Thapa in Kathmandu

A health worker holds an oxygen cylinder inside a Covid-19 hospital ward in Kathmandu, Nepal, on April 26.
A health worker holds an oxygen cylinder inside a Covid-19 hospital ward in Kathmandu, Nepal, on April 26. Niranjan Shrestha/AP

Nepal is facing a surge in Covid-19 cases as its neighbor India is crumbling under a brutal second wave of the pandemic, according to Nepal’s department of health.

Nepal has recorded at least 4,364 new Covid-19 cases so far for Tuesday, up from 3,442 new cases on Monday, with the capital Kathmandu reporting the highest number of infections.

The border city of Nepalgunj in Lumbini province has become a Covid-19 hotspot, according to numbers posted by the Department of Health’s website.

In an effort to curb the spread of the disease, "prohibitory orders," or local lockdowns, have been imposed in cities such as Kathmandu, Bhaktapur and Lalitpur for 15 days, starting at 6 a.m. local time on Thursday.

There have been reports that some tourists were infected at Mount Everest’s base camp but the Nepalese government has denied such reports. 

Mira Acharya, the director of the department of mountaineering Nepal Tourism Board, told CNN that he had not received an official notice regarding potential Covid-19 infections of climbers at base camp.