May 4 coronavirus news

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

Updated 12:03 AM ET, Wed May 5, 2021
3 Posts
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6:18 a.m. ET, May 4, 2021

FDA to authorize Pfizer's Covid-19 vaccine for 12-to-15-year-olds by early next week, official says

From CNN's Maggie Fox

A medical student from Dartmouth University loads a syringe with the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine on the first day of eligibility for people ages 16 and up, at Kedren Health on April 15 in Los Angeles, CA.
A medical student from Dartmouth University loads a syringe with the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine on the first day of eligibility for people ages 16 and up, at Kedren Health on April 15 in Los Angeles, CA. Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times/Getty Images

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 tells CNN.

Pfizer has applied for emergency use authorization for its coronavirus vaccine for teens and children ages 12 to 15. The FDA will have to amend the emergency use authorization for the vaccine, but the process should be straightforward, said the official, who was not authorized to speak about the process publicly and requested anonymity.

The FDA is currently reviewing data submitted by Pfizer to support the extended use. Pfizer said at the end of March that a clinical trial involving 2,260 12-to-15-year-olds showed its efficacy is 100% and it is well tolerated. The vaccine is currently authorized in the US for emergency use in people 16 and older.

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11:39 p.m. ET, May 3, 2021

Life may feel more normal even before herd immunity is reached

From CNN's Jen Christensen

Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, experts have said how crucial it is to reach some level of herd immunity. But now some say full herd immunity may not be necessary for life to look more normal.

Herd immunity, or as some experts now call it, "population" or "community" immunity, is when most of the population is immune to a particular disease, whether through natural infection or vaccination. When a population reaches this point, the virus has nowhere to go, and the disease fades away. Then even people who don't have individual immunity are protected.

As with any disease, how many people need to be immune to provide community protection depends on how infectious it is. For Covid-19, experts think the magic number could be anywhere between 70 to 90% of a population immune to the virus. The world is nowhere near that level.

"Given where we are today, as we look around the United States and when we look around the globe, it just seems like that is not going to happen in the foreseeable future," said Lauren Ancel Meyers, the director of the Covid-19 Modeling Consortium at the University of Texas at Austin.

It's a good goal, Meyers said, but she ticks off a host of factors in this particular pandemic that suggest the odds are not in its favor:

  • Vaccinating so many people would be nearly impossible.
  • This particular virus spreads too rapidly.
  • More contagious variants threaten to make vaccines less effective.
  • There are entire countries and pockets of the US that have few fully vaccinated people.
  • There are vaccine access and equity issues.
  • Children are not yet vaccinated.
  • About a quarter of the population is hesitant or unwilling to get vaccinated.

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11:20 p.m. ET, May 3, 2021

Covid-19 caused one in three deaths in Brazil so far this year

From CNN's Rodrigo Pedroso and Caitlin Hu

Since this year began, one third of all people who've died in Brazil were victims of Covid-19.

According to data from Brazil's National Civil Registry, 615,329 deaths were reported in the country between January 1 and April 30. Of those, 208,370 were related to Covid-19, according to Brazil's health ministry -- 33.9% of the nation's total.

The coronavirus has surged with a vengeance in the South American giant in recent months -- fueled in part by a disregard for social distancing precautions and the emergence of extra-contagious new variants -- and has claimed more lives in the past four months than in all of 2020. More than 78,000 people in Brazil were killed by the virus last month alone.

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