May 4 coronavirus news

By Joshua Berlinger, Adam Renton, Aditi Sangal and Kara Fox, CNN

Updated 12:03 AM ET, Wed May 5, 2021
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5:41 p.m. ET, May 4, 2021

US could face another winter surge of Covid-19 if it doesn't meet 80% herd immunity, expert says

From CNN's Lauren Mascarenhas

Dr. Paul Offi
Dr. Paul Offi CNN

The US needs to reach 80% herd or community immunity or the nation could be in store for another surge in the coronavirus pandemic this winter, vaccine expert Dr. Paul Offit said Tuesday. 

“The proof will be in the pudding next winter,” Offit told CNN’s Jake Tapper. “If we don't get there to 80%, then I think you'll see another surge of this virus next winter.”

Offit is director of the Vaccine Education Center at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and a member of the US Food and Drug Administration's vaccine advisory committee.

He went on to say that the 80% population immunity could be achieved through a combination of both vaccination and immunity from natural infection. 

President Biden announced Tuesday a goal to administer at least one dose of Covid-19 vaccine to 70% of the nation’s adult population by July 4.

5:25 p.m. ET, May 4, 2021

India's neighbor Maldives sees record high daily coronavirus cases

From CNN’s Sugam Pokharel

The Maldives on Tuesday reported its record high of at least 601 new Covid-19 cases in the last 24 hours, according to the country's Health Protection Agency. 

The Indian Ocean island nation has so far reported 31,931 cases and 74 deaths related to the virus, the agency's data showed. Coronavirus cases have been rising since mid-April when a second Covid-19 wave started sweeping through its northern neighbor India. 

The surge comes as Maldivian officials last month announced plans to offer vaccinations to tourists on arrival in a bid to lure more visitors. 

Abdulla Mausoom, the country's minister for tourism, confirmed that the Maldives is developing a "3V tourism" scheme, which would allow tourists to "Visit, Vaccinate and Vacation.” The scheme aims to help boost tourism on the Indian Ocean island archipelago, which had an average of 1.7 million visitors a year before the pandemic. 

Data from the Michigan State University indicates that tourism contributes 28% of the Maldives's GDP, one of the highest totals in the world. 

The Maldives was one of the first countries to fully reopen to travelers last year.  

4:17 p.m. ET, May 4, 2021

Death of Covid-19 patients due to oxygen shortage is “not less than a genocide,” Indian court says  

From CNN's Sugam Pokharel

People wait to refill their medical oxygen cylinders for the Covid-19 coronavirus patients under home quarantine at a private refill centre in New Delhi on May 4.
People wait to refill their medical oxygen cylinders for the Covid-19 coronavirus patients under home quarantine at a private refill centre in New Delhi on May 4. Prakash Singh/AFP/Getty Images

A court in India on Tuesday said that deaths of Covid-19 patients due to lack of oxygen is a “criminal act and not less than a genocide," according to a judgement posted on the court's website.  

The Allahabad High Court, which has jurisdiction over India’s most populous Uttar Pradesh state, said, “Death of Covid patients just for non supplying of oxygen to the hospitals is a criminal act and not less than a genocide by those who have been entrusted the task to ensure continuous procurement and supply chain of the liquid medical oxygen.”   

A two-justice bench of the court made the remark during a hearing related to the Covid-19 crisis in Uttar Pradesh, which is among the worst-hit states in India's deadly second wave of the pandemic.      

In a strong criticism of the Uttar Pradesh government’s handling of the crisis, the state’s top court cited videos showing hoarding of oxygen cylinders and harassment of poor people begging for an oxygen cylinder.  

“We find these news items showing a quite contrary picture to one claimed by the (state) government that there was sufficient supply of oxygen,” the court stated.  

It pointed out two specific stories of Covid-19 patients allegedly dying due to the lack of oxygen in the cities of Meerut and Lucknow, and directed the state government to take “immediate remedial measures" and ordered an inquiry into the two cases.  

The state's government is yet to formally respond to the judgement.

The court also noted that the Covid-19 protocol and guidelines could have been flouted during the counting of votes in a local election held recently – and ordered the state’s election authorities to provide CCTV of the counting.   

4:05 p.m. ET, May 4, 2021

US will send 60 million AstraZeneca stockpile doses to other nations by July 4, Biden says

From CNN's Jasmine Wright and Kaitlan Collins

President Biden said Tuesday that the United States will send 60 million doses from its AstraZeneca vaccine stockpile to other nations by July 4.

“We are going to be, by the Fourth of July, have sent about 10% of what we have to other nations including some of the ones you mentioned,” Biden said during remarks at the White House on Tuesday. 

An administration official confirms that the 10% number is the 60 million doses the administration already committed to sharing with other countries should the US Food and Drug Administration issue an emergency use authorization for that vaccine. 

“We expect that there are approximately 10 million doses that could be released, if and when FDA gets gives its concurrence, which could happen in the coming weeks. Further there's an estimated additional 50 million doses that are in various stages of production and these could be completed in stages across May and June,” a senior administration official said in late April.

Biden added that he spoke with another head of state just today on the issue, but he wasn’t prepared to announce who.

“With regard to the AstraZeneca vaccine which we had, we have sent that vaccine to Canada and to Mexico. And there are other countries that we're talking to now, as a matter of fact, I talked to a head of state today,” he said

Tuesday, President Biden also said he is sending India’s Prime Minister Modi “what he needs most,” which is the material and the parts to make vaccines work on their own.

3:54 p.m. ET, May 4, 2021

Biden's new vaccination goal assumes pace of US vaccinations will continue to slow, CNN analysis finds 

From CNN’s Deidre McPhillips and Michael Nedelman

A Covid-19 vaccine site worker sits alone waiting for people at the Lincoln Park Covid-19 vaccine facility in Los Angeles, California on Monday, May 3.  A citywide emergency alert was due to be sent to cell phone in Los Angeles on Monday reminding people to get their Covid-19 vaccine as numbers of people getting vaccinated have fallen over the past week.
A Covid-19 vaccine site worker sits alone waiting for people at the Lincoln Park Covid-19 vaccine facility in Los Angeles, California on Monday, May 3. A citywide emergency alert was due to be sent to cell phone in Los Angeles on Monday reminding people to get their Covid-19 vaccine as numbers of people getting vaccinated have fallen over the past week. Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images

On Tuesday, President Biden announced a plan to administer at least one dose of Covid-19 vaccine to 70% of the US adult population by July 4 — a goal that allows for a continued slowing in the pace of vaccinations.

So far, about 145 million adults — about 56% of the adult population in the US — have received at least one dose of Covid-19 vaccine, according to the latest data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. An average of about 882,000 adults has been added to that total each day over the past week. 

An additional 35 million adults will need to receive at least one dose of vaccine to reach Biden’s goal of 70%. If vaccinations continue at the current pace, 70% of adults will have received at least one dose of Covid-19 vaccine by the second week of June. 

But with July 4 as the goal, the current pace of newly vaccinated adults can slow to an average of about 570,000 added to the total each day over the next two months — about 65% of the current pace. 

A steady decline of about 9% each week for the next nine weeks will keep vaccinations on track to reach the Biden administration’s goal to reach 70% of adults with at least one dose of Covid-19 vaccine by July 4. 

The pace of vaccinations has already been on the decline since reaching a peak about three weeks ago, and about 24% fewer adults received their first dose in the past seven days than in the week prior, CDC data shows.

3:42 p.m. ET, May 4, 2021

Biden recognizes it will be hard to convince everyone to get vaccinated

From CNN's Jason Hoffman

President Biden recognized it will be hard to convince all Americans to get vaccinated, however he said he hopes those individuals will be convinced to do so by recognizing the risk they pose to others if they don’t get the vaccine. 

“We know we're going to get to a place where the doubters exist or the people who just are, I don't want to say lazy, just not sure how to get to where they want to go. It's going to be hard,” Biden said responding to a question on how difficult the next phase of the country’s vaccination efforts will be. 

“We're going to keep at it. And I think the end of the day, most people will be convinced by the fact that their failure to get the vaccine may cause other people to get sick and maybe die,” he added.

Biden said it’s beyond his personal control to convince all Americans to get the vaccine, whereas the logistical effort in creating vaccine supply was something he controlled, which is why this new phase will be harder.  

Asked if the administration was looking into requiring vaccines in order for Americans to do certain things if people remain resistant to getting vaccinated, Biden said his focus is on getting effective spokespeople to reach out to those communities that are hesitant. 

Earlier on Tuesday, the White House announced that nearly $250 million will be awarded to state, territorial, and select large city governments to power their next phase of outreach efforts.

3:20 p.m. ET, May 4, 2021

Biden addresses Covid-19 vaccine hesitancy by underscoring that it's not "a Democrat or Republican issue"

From CNN's Maegan Vazquez

Evan Vucci/AP
Evan Vucci/AP

President Biden underscored on Tuesday that the coronavirus vaccine has been an apolitical endeavor led by science, crediting the Trump administration for approval of two Covid-19 vaccines in use in the US and thanking Republicans in Congress for their efforts.  

As the nation embarks on a new phase of its vaccination program, the administration has said it anticipates having to address more reluctant populations who have yet to get vaccinated.

“I want to be clear. I’ve been saying this a long time, but I really believe this is not a Democrat or Republican issue. Science behind the vaccines has been under development for decades. Two of our vaccines were authorized under prior administrations, Republican administrations,” Biden said during remarks at the White House. “My administration, a Democratic administration, is doing the work to get hundreds of millions of shots in arms. While we may not always agree on everything, this is one thing people across the political spectrum can agree on.”

Biden thanked prominent conservatives like Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and the “large group of Republican members of Congress who have medical training, who have advanced getting vaccinated.”

He also thanked the 105 million Americans “of every background who are fully protected from one of the deadliest pandemics in our history.”

“You know, there’s a lot of disinformation out there, but there’s one fact I want every American to know: people who are not fully vaccinated can still die every day from Covid-19,” Biden said.

“This is your choice: it’s life and death, and I hope everyone knows within themselves and makes the choice that’s going to help them and their loved ones be safe,” he continued.

3:28 p.m. ET, May 4, 2021

Biden outlines 3 parts of next phase of US Covid-19 vaccine distribution plan

From CNN's Maureen Chowdhury

Evan Vucci/AP
Evan Vucci/AP

President Biden announced his administration's goals for the the next phase of his Covid-19 vaccine distribution plan.

"Soon we'll have reached the adults who are most eager to get vaccinated, and at that point, this effort will shift to a new phase, which is what I want to talk about today," Biden said in White House remarks Tuesday.

Biden broke down the plan into three areas of focus: 

First, the administration wants to make vaccines available to children between the ages of 12 and 15 as soon as a vaccine is authorized. The US Food and Drug Administration is poised to authorize Pfizer/BioNTech's coronavirus vaccine in children and teens ages 12 to 15 by early next week, a federal government official told CNN. "They can still get sick and spread the virus to others, so my hope is that if the vaccine is authorized, parents will take advantage of it and get their kids vaccinated," Biden said.

Second, he would like to make it more convenient for everyone to be able to have access to a vaccine shot. "We know that many adults have not been vaccinated because they have found it too confusing or too difficult or too inconvenient to get a shot. So, for those having trouble finding a location or making an appointment, we're going to make it easier than ever," the President said.

Biden announced the launch of a website to make it easier for people to find information, Vaccines.gov. People can also text their zip code to 438829 to find out information about vaccination sites. The administration is also encouraging state and local partners across the country to create walk-in hours and opening more facilities in rural areas.

Third, the Biden administration wants to tackle vaccine hesitancy, especially among young people.

"Now, we need to make the same progress for those under 65 years of age. There are a lot of younger people, especially those in their 20s and 30s, who believe they don't need it. Well, I want to be absolutely clear, you do need to get vaccinated. Getting vaccinated not only protects you, it also reduces the risk that you give the virus to somebody else. You could save your life or the lives of people you love," Biden said.

4:41 p.m. ET, May 4, 2021

NOW: Biden announces new goal of administering at least one Covid-19 shot to 70% of US adults by July 4

From CNN's Kate Sullivan and Betsy Klein

Evan Vucci/AP
Evan Vucci/AP

President Biden just announced a new goal of administering at least one Covid-19 vaccine dose to 70% of the US adult population and having 160 million US adults fully vaccinated by July 4.

"Of course, Americans can still get shots after July 4th, but no one should wait. Let's try to hit that 70% mark, at least with one shot before that day. It's another huge goal," Biden said.

"We need you. We need you to bring it home. Get vaccinated. In two months, let's celebrate our independence as a nation and our independence from this virus," the President said in an appeal to the American people.

According to administration officials, Biden will aim to meet this goal by: 

  • Directing tens of thousands of pharmacies participating in the federal pharmacy program to offer walk-in appointments 
  • Redirecting Federal Emergency Management Agency resources to support more pop-up clinics, smaller community vaccination sites and more mobile clinics

The Biden administration will also ship new allocations of Covid-19 vaccines to rural health clinics across the nation and provide additional funding to help communities conduct outreach to help get more Americans vaccinated.

As of Tuesday, more than 105 million Americans have been fully vaccinated, according to data from the US Centers Disease Control and Prevention, and 147 million Americans have had at least one dose of vaccine. Biden's new goal will require nearly 100 million additional shots in arms over the next 60 days, an official said.

So far, about 145 million adults – about 56% of the adult population in the US – have received at least one dose of Covid-19 vaccine, according to the latest data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  About 104 million adults – more than 40% of the adult population in the US – is fully vaccinated, according to the CDC.  

"We were initially focused on getting enough vaccines for every adult. Well, we did that. We have enough vaccines. Now that we have the vaccine supply, we're focused on convincing even more Americans to show up and get the vaccine that is available to them. If we succeed in this effort, as we did in the last, Americans will have taken a serious step to return to normal. That's July 4th. But we're not there yet," Biden said in his remarks, while also urging Americans to continue to follow CDC guidelines as his administration works to get more people vaccinated.