May 1 coronavirus news

By Adrienne Vogt, Julia Hollingsworth, Brett McKeehan and Ivana Kottasová, CNN

Updated 4:35 PM ET, Sat May 1, 2021
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1:12 a.m. ET, May 1, 2021

US should join bid to force waiver of Covid-19 vaccine patents, 300 public health experts say

From CNN Health’s Maggie Fox

A health worker administers a Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine in Bidderford, Maine, on April 26.
A health worker administers a Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine in Bidderford, Maine, on April 26. Joseph Prezioso/AFP/Getty Images

The US should join an effort to force vaccine makers to waive intellectual property rights to coronavirus vaccines and treatments so more countries can start making them, a group of more than 300 public health experts said Friday.

“We are public health faculty, administrators, students and practitioners moved to action by the urgent need for the United States to support the temporary waiver of some Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) rules proposed by India and South Africa at the World Trade Organization (WTO) during the COVID-19 emergency,” the group said in a letter to the Biden administration Friday.
“Despite widespread support for its adoption, the Trump Administration led opposition to the waiver and, with a handful of other WTO signatories, blocked its adoption.
"We urge you to reverse this stance by supporting the swift adoption of the temporary waiver and helping ensure all countries achieve access to sufficient vaccines to end the global pandemic and restart the global economy.”

The group, led by Columbia University professors Terry McGovern and Chelsea Clinton, said the so-called TRIPS waiver would allow local manufacture of vaccines, treatments and diagnostics. “Allowing countries to manufacture locally will speed access to vaccines and treatment, prevent unnecessary deaths, and facilitate a stronger, faster economic recovery,” they wrote.

“Until vaccines, testing, and treatments are accessible to everyone everywhere we risk recurring new variants, drug resistance, and greater loss of life and suffering at home and globally.”

It’s been an ongoing fight. Vaccine manufacturers have argued intellectual property rights are not the problem, but advocates note it’s not enough for companies to promise not to pursue their patent rights. 

“Unless countries cooperate and share medical technology to speed production, there simply will not be sufficient supply of vaccines, diagnostics, and treatments for many countries -- particularly developing countries -- to manage COVID-19. Many countries may not have access to widespread COVID-19 vaccination until as late as 2024,” they wrote.

11:51 p.m. ET, April 30, 2021

How you can help India as it experiences the world's worst Covid-19 outbreak

From CNN's Ashley Vaughan

India is experiencing the world's worst coronavirus outbreak.

The country has had more than 18.7 million cases since the pandemic began last year. But experts fear the the real number could be up to 30 times higher.

Grieving families are struggling to keep themselves and their loved ones safe amid an overwhelmed health care system, and medical workers are stretched thin as some hospitals run out of oxygen and supplies.

The global community is rallying to help India push back against the pandemic, with countries around the world offering aid.

You can help, too. Learn about charities in the article below and click here to donate.

11:50 p.m. ET, April 30, 2021

The Biden administration will restrict travel from India starting Tuesday. Here are key things to know

From CNN's Kaitlan Collins and Maegan Vazquez

The Biden administration has confirmed the US will restrict travel from India starting Tuesday in response to the surge of coronavirus cases and variants in the country.

"On the advice of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Administration will restrict travel from India starting immediately," White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement on Friday. "The policy will be implemented in light of extraordinarily high Covid-19 caseloads and multiple variants circulating in India. The policy will take effect on Tuesday, May 4."

Here are some key things to know about the policy:

  • The administration will issue a 212(f) order restricting entry into the US for foreign nationals who have been in India within the previous 14 days, a source familiar with the move said. Airlines have been told of the decision, a source said.
  • The new policy will take effect on Tuesday at 12:01 am ET.
  • The policy will not apply to American citizens, lawful permanent residents or other people with exemptions.
  • As with all international travelers, individuals who fit that criteria traveling from India must still test negative prior to leaving the country, quarantine if they have not been vaccinated and test negative again upon reentering the US from India
  • The restrictions also do not apply to humanitarian workers.

The White House informed congressional offices on Friday of the move.

Read more about the announcement here.

11:46 p.m. ET, April 30, 2021

What it's like trying to get oxygen in India

From CNN's Janelle Davis

As India’s Covid-19 crisis spreads, oxygen has become one of the country's scarcest commodities.

In New Delhi, CNN’s Clarissa Ward met with people waiting for hours to get oxygen for their family members. It is in such short supply that the line went around the block. Some people told CNN they’d been waiting for 25 hours and still had not received oxygen.

Yet even once they get to the front of the line, there's no guarantee they’ll get any oxygen because demand is so high, and supply is so low.

Volunteers were on hand to give water to those in line. "It's the first time I've seen this situation in my lifetime," said one volunteer. "This makes us very upset."

India's government says it’s trying to address the problem. It has started a program called Oxygen Express, trying to deploy liquid oxygen on India’s railways to cities that need it the most. New Delhi is not seeing the impact of those efforts yet.

On the ground, Ward said she is seeing a growing sense of anger, frustration and desperation. International aid began arriving Tuesday, with countries around the world sending oxygen cylinders, ventilators, medication and other essential supplies. But these supplies need time to be distributed and oxygen plants need to be built. For some of the hardest-hit cities, such as New Delhi, the lack of immediate help and accessible resources means the bodies will keep piling up until assistance arrives.