May 3 coronavirus news

By Joshua Berlinger, Adam Renton and Aditi Sangal, CNN

Updated 11:36 PM ET, Mon May 3, 2021
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11:55 a.m. ET, May 3, 2021

More global Covid-19 cases reported in last 2 weeks than first 6 months of the pandemic, WHO says

From CNN’s Naomi Thomas

A health worker wearing personal protective equipment holds the hand of a patient at the Doctor Ernesto Che Guevara Public Hospital where patients infected with the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, are being treated on April 30, 2021 in Maricá, Brazil. 
A health worker wearing personal protective equipment holds the hand of a patient at the Doctor Ernesto Che Guevara Public Hospital where patients infected with the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, are being treated on April 30, 2021 in Maricá, Brazil.  Buda Mendes/Getty Images

Globally, there have been more cases of Covid-19 reported in the last two weeks than during the first six months of the pandemic, the director-general of the World Health Organization said during a news briefing in Geneva on Monday. 

“More cases of Covid-19 have been reported globally in the past two weeks than during the first six months of the pandemic,” WHO’s Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said. “India and Brazil account for more than half of last week’s cases. But there are many other countries all over the world that face a very fragile situation.” 

WHO is providing equipment and supplies, such as oxygen concentrators, to India as well as providing advice on how to provide care at home for people who are unable to find hospital beds for patients. 

The WHO Foundation is also raising funds to support the need for oxygen and related supplies globally, he said.  

Tedros called upon everyone to continue following WHO and national advice around public health safety measures. 

“What’s happening in India and Brazil could happen elsewhere unless we all take these public health precautions that WHO has been calling for since the beginning of the pandemic,” Tedros said. “Vaccines are part of the answer, but they are not the only answer.” 

11:51 a.m. ET, May 3, 2021

Pfizer is discussing expedited approval for Covid-19 vaccine with Indian government, CEO says

From CNN's Naomi Thomas

People line up to get the Covid-19 coronavirus vaccine in a school-turned-vaccination centre in New Delhi on May 3, 2021.
People line up to get the Covid-19 coronavirus vaccine in a school-turned-vaccination centre in New Delhi on May 3, 2021. Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said in a letter Monday the company is discussing with the Indian government how to expedite approval of its Covid-19 vaccine.

“Pfizer is aware that access to vaccines is critical to ending this pandemic. Unfortunately, our vaccine is not registered in India although our application was submitted months ago,” Bourla wrote in a letter to Pfizer colleagues in India. “We are currently discussing with the Indian government an expedited approval pathway to make our Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine available for use in the country.” 

Bourla said that the company is “deeply concerned” by the critical Covid-19 situation in India and is committed to being a partner in India’s fight against the coronavirus, “quickly working to mobilize the largest humanitarian relief effort in our company’s history.”

Bourla said Pfizer is rushing shipments of medicines from the company that the government of India has identified as part of their treatment protocol. These medicines, valued at over $70 million, are being donated to India and include steroid medications and anticoagulants.  

Pfizer Foundation funding is also supporting humanitarian organizations that provide equipment such as ventilators and oxygen concentrators to India. 

3:22 p.m. ET, May 3, 2021

Nepal will ban all international flights starting May 6

From CNN's Asha Thapa in Kathmandu

Nepal will ban all international flights starting at midnight on May 6 to May 14, Nepal’s Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Sharma Oli said in a televised address to the nation on Monday.

Domestic flights are also suspended starting at midnight Monday until May 14.

Oli said that 13 land border checkpoints between Nepal and India will operate to allow Nepali citizens to return home but they must obtain a negative Covid-19 test at the checkpoints. All arrivals of foreigners by land have been banned.

Every person coming via land or rescue flight will be tested for Covid, Oli added.

11:12 a.m. ET, May 3, 2021

Go There: CNN answers your questions from New Delhi about India's worsening Covid-19 crisis 

India's devastating Covid-19 outbreak broke new records last weekend, with authorities reporting more than 400,000 cases for the first time on Saturday and a record-high number of deaths on Sunday.

CNN's Sam Kiley was live in New Delhi reporting on the latest and answering viewers' questions:

11:04 a.m. ET, May 3, 2021

New York City has administered over 6.6 million Covid-19 vaccine doses, mayor says

From CNN's Kristina Sgueglia

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio talks with people who received the coronavirus vaccine as he tours a vaccination site at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, on April 23.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio talks with people who received the coronavirus vaccine as he tours a vaccination site at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, on April 23. Richard Drew/Pool/Getty Images

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio celebrated a “turning point moment” Monday for the city as 80,000 city workers returned to the office.

“City hall is abuzz today – it’s a great feeling,” he said.

Approximately 80% of the city’s workforce has been working in the field throughout the pandemic, he said, and he thanked them.

New York City has administered over 6.6 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine, he said.

He also celebrated the downturn in Covid-19 metrics, saying “we got to keep earning it.”

Hospitalization rates are particularly “well well well below the threshold” with 95 patients admitted for suspected Covid-19, with a hospitalization rate of 1.76 per 100,000.

There were at least 1,202 new and suspected Covid-19 cases reported on a seven-day rolling average marking a 2.78% positivity which the mayor called “a great number.”

Note: These numbers were released by the City health dept and may not line up with JHU’s Covid Tracking project.

10:28 a.m. ET, May 3, 2021

Around 175 Indian journalists have lost their lives to Covid-19, according to national media network

From CNN's Swati Gupta in New Delhi

About 175 journalists and media workers have died after contracting Covid-19 in the past 14 months in India, according to a tally by the Network of Women in Media, India (NWMI). 

In a memorial page, NWMI has compiled a comprehensive list of retired and working reporters, editors, anchors, photographers, and photojournalists who have died. It is unknown how many contracted the virus while working. 

"We mourn the loss of what they knew, what they loved, what each of them did, one story at a time, one photo at a time, one dataset at a time. From within our community of those of us who go everywhere unasked, we mourn the loss of our comrades, friends, bosses and colleagues and bear witness to their final journeys," read the statement issued by NWMI.

India is currently battling a second wave of Covid-19 cases and facing severe shortage of oxygen, hospital beds, medicines and vaccines. This has exacerbated the death toll across the country. 

Journalists in India were largely not included in the initial phase of the vaccination program when it was made available to frontline workers. Meanwhile, media houses have also failed to provide safe working conditions.

"Media houses need to actively ensure the safety and health of journalists who work for them and those who, as independent stringers or freelancers, supply vital information, photographs and videos to them. Media houses must stop forcing journalists to travel in dangerously unsafe conditions to work in offices instead of encouraging them to work from home," stated the NWMI.

10:19 a.m. ET, May 3, 2021

US may not get to zero cases, but "we can probably live with that," expert says 

From CNN's Naomi Thomas

Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of the Brown University School of Health, said on CNN’s New Day Monday that while it would be unfortunate for the United States to not to reach herd immunity against Covid-19, most people will still be able to get back to their pre-pandemic lives if case numbers continue to fall.

Jha said it isn’t known whether the US will reach herd immunity. 

There is a chunk of people in the United States who have not yet been vaccinated, saying that many of them need time and better access. He remains “pretty optimistic” that a lot more Americans will be vaccinated in the coming weeks and months. 

Experience from Israel has shown that when about 50 to 55% of the population is vaccinated, “you really see case numbers plummet.”  

“We may not get to zero, we probably won’t,” Jha said. “But if we can get the infections at very low levels, most of us can get back to our lives in normal ways. I think we can probably live with that.” 
10:12 a.m. ET, May 3, 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.

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. Read about the charities working in India in the article below and click here to donate.

10:12 a.m. ET, May 3, 2021

It's unclear if India's Covid-19 cases have reached the peak, but expect high mortality in May, expert says

From CNN's Aditi Sangal

Chandrika Bahadur, chair of the Lancet Covid-19 Commission India Taskforce, speaks with CNN on Monday, May 3.
Chandrika Bahadur, chair of the Lancet Covid-19 Commission India Taskforce, speaks with CNN on Monday, May 3. CNN

As India continues to record more than 300,000 daily cases of Covid-19, it’s hard to tell when the country will reach its peak, says Chandrika Bahadur, chair of the Lancet Covid-19 Commission India Taskforce.

“There are some epidemiological estimates that say we are closing in on a peak, but these are all projections. So it's hard to tell whether the peak will come in the middle of May … or whether it will take a little bit longer,” she told CNN.

However, India will continue to see high mortality due to Covid-19 in May, because deaths lag behind the rise in infections.

While Lancet has recommended lockdowns for bringing the numbers in control, Bahadur says it’s a “double-edged sword” for a country like India and needs a nuanced approach.

“There are still a large number of districts in the country that are not seeing the wave that we're seeing in Delhi … and other high-risk spots of the country. And over there you can probably have a strategy that is less about lockdowns and much more about wearing masks and distancing and banning gatherings,” she explained. “In other places, however, unfortunately, there is no way out where the numbers are what they are other than shutting down for a few weeks.”

Evidence suggests that one-week lockdowns do not work and need to continue for “six weeks at a minimum before you really start seeing a significant decline,” she added.

Bahadur acknowledges that such a step would need provisions for the poor “because this could be devastating.”

“It’s a terrible choice. I have a lot of sympathy for the government because this is a difficult choice to make under all circumstances,” she said. “These are the choices in front of us. None of them are good.”

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