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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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.

2:01 p.m. ET, May 4, 2021

Go There: CNN was live in New Jersey as the state continues to reopen

America's daily Covid-19 cases and deaths are now about one-fifth of what they were during their winter peaks. 

New Jersey is opening up its economy by lifting most curfews and capacity restrictions at restaurants and other businesses. Gov. Phil Murphy even announced the state also plans to offer a free beer to anyone over the age of 21 who shows their completed vaccination card at thirteen participating breweries throughout the state.

CNN's Miguel Marquez was live from Asbury Park with the latest. Watch:

1:59 p.m. ET, May 4, 2021

About 1 in 3 eligible Canadians has had at least one Covid-19 dose, public minister says

People line up to enter a COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Toronto, Canada, on April 28.
People line up to enter a COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Toronto, Canada, on April 28. Zou Zheng/Xinhua/Getty Images)

About 1 in 3 eligible Canadians has had at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, the country's Minister of Public Services and Procurement Anita Anand said during a news conference Tuesday.

Anand added that more than 16.8 million vaccine doses have arrived in Canada and more than 14 million of those doses have been administered to date. She also noted that the country is on track to receive at least two million vaccine doses per week for each week in May and said that number is expected to increase in June.

Canada has recorded more than 1.2 million cases of Covid-19 and about 24,300 deaths since the pandemic began, Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, said Tuesday. The country is still reporting an average of 7,900 new Covid-19 cases and approximately 47 new deaths daily, she said.

“We are making progress nationally, but there are still a few tricky spots,” Tam said.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau applauded Covid-19 case counts falling within First Nations communities, with current active cases at one-sixth of the level of what they were back in January.

Trudeau also announced that the country plans to invest $6 billion in indigenous infrastructure projects to “close gaps that far too many people still face.”

“Together we can and we will continue to move forward,” Trudeau said.

When asked about whether Canada would be requiring any sort of "vaccine passport" in the future and whether he was aware of any requirements the United States might institute, Trudeau cautioned that “this is not the time to travel. We haven’t reached that point yet.”

Trudeau acknowledged that as countries begin to open their borders and people start traveling again, “it would make sense for [Canada] to align with partners around the world on some sort of proof of vaccination or vaccine certification.”

“We are now working with allies, particularly in Europe, on that, but ultimately it is up to every country to determine what requirements they expect from incoming travelers,” Trudeau said, adding that he “can’t speak for the United States and the choices they might make around who to welcome into their country.”

CNN’s Tanika Gray contributed reporting to this post.

1:55 p.m. ET, May 4, 2021

Biden will set 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

President Biden will set an ambitious new goal for the nation’s vaccination efforts, announcing on Tuesday a new target to have 70% of the US adult population at least partially vaccinated by July 4, White House officials said.

Biden will be making this announcement at 2:30 p.m. ET in the White House's State Dining Room.

“The President will set a goal of having 70% of adult Americans with at least one shot by July 4, and 160 million Americans fully vaccinated by July 4,” a senior administration official briefing reporters said Tuesday.

That deadline, the official later clarified, will be for 160 million to receive one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine or two doses of the mRNA vaccines, but not necessarily two weeks after their final vaccination.

As of Tuesday, the official said, more than 105 million Americans are fully vaccinated, with 147 million Americans having at least one dose of vaccine. Biden’s new goal will require nearly 100 million additional shots in arms over the next 60 days, the official added.

Biden, the official said, will “make it very clear” that achieving this goal will require all Americans to do their part. 

To reach this milestone, the administration will be increasingly focusing “on groups of people that take time to reach,” by improving access via the administration’s federal pharmacy program partners through walk-in appointments. The administration will also encourage states to offer no-appointment options. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the official said, will increase its mobile units and ramp up smaller and pop-up sites. 

There will also be efforts to strengthen vaccine confidence via education and outreach. There will be $250 million in funding for community organization outreach, plus $130 million in funding for local and national organizations working on outreach to underserved communities. 

The administration will also be “bolstering” its response in rural communities, the official said, including sending vaccines directly to rural health clinics. 

Biden will also address the expected emergency use authorization (EUA) from the US Food and Drug Administration for the Pfizer vaccine for adolescents 12 to 15 years of age. Extending the EUA to people in this age group would open Covid-19 vaccine eligibility to an additional 5% of the US population. 

Read more about the announcement here.

1:41 p.m. ET, May 4, 2021

India will be past peak "possibly even within days," top scientist says

From CNN’s Sarah Dean, Swati Gupta and Hira Humayun

M Vidyasagar, chair of the Covid-19 Modeling Committee
M Vidyasagar, chair of the Covid-19 Modeling Committee CNN

India should see a downturn in the number of cases “within a matter of a week or two, possibly within days" according to their latest model, M Vidyasagar, chair of the Covid-19 Modeling Committee, told CNN on Tuesday.

The committee, commissioned by the Indian government, consists of scientists across different universities working on data modeling techniques. 

Vidyasagar said during the first wave, they perfected one model and that when they observed cases rising in February, they re-computed the model using the latest data. 

“We found that the cases were going to peak somewhere around the early part of May, and we felt that the peak number would be of the order of 120,000. Now as it turned out we got the timing right, but we did not get the peak number of cases right,” he told CNN’s Becky Anderson. 

“We underestimated the number of cases at the start of April but subsequent revisions that we have made to the model are right on target,” he said, adding that their latest projections “are to the effect that the pandemic is at a peak right now and we should expect to see a downturn in the number of cases within a matter of a week or two, possibly even within days.”

Vidyasagar sent CNN an image of a model last updated on April 29 that shows the projected peak could happen as soon as in the coming days. The model suggests daily cases will drop below 200,000 per day by the end of the month. 

His colleague, Manindra Agrawal, a professor at the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at the prestigious university IIT Kanpur who is also on the committee, tweeted an updated graph on May 1, in line with these projections.

Vidyasagar went on to explain, “The good news, if you want to call it that, is if you look at other countries that have had second waves like the United States like the UK, while the second wave has risen very sharply it has also declined very sharply. So we are hoping that a similar thing would happen in India and that is indeed what our model also shows.”

“The first wave of the pandemic was very gentle. So some people in the government were anticipating that the second wave would also be very gently rising. And our task was to say that actually the rise will be very steep, therefore the government has to take step very, very fast," he said.

“Unfortunately as we know, it was not enough because the ferocity of the second wave caught everybody by surprise, including us, the modelers,” Vidyasagar said.

The government did what the committee suggested, according to Vidyasagar. They shelved “very grandiose plans that would have come on stream three months later and refocused their attempts on short term solutions like setting up military hospitals, trying to set up on-site oxygen plants,” he said.

When asked about the reasons for the surge, he cited people becoming complacent, not following guidelines, and public events with large crowds.

Vidyasagar said the messaging from the government was “not adequate at all.”

He said in his opinion, one messaging shortfall “was to not encourage people to get vaccinated whenever their eligibility became due. If we had actually vaccinated all the people who were eligible to vaccinated, the second wave would not have been quite so ferocious as it has turned out to be. So yes in that sense the government could definitely have done more.”

1:09 p.m. ET, May 4, 2021

29 million doses of vaccine will be allocated this week, White House says

From CNN's Betsy Klein

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki speaks during a press briefing at the White House on Tuesday, May 4.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki speaks during a press briefing at the White House on Tuesday, May 4. Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images

The White House informed governors Tuesday during their weekly call that more than 29 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines will be allocated this week.

“This week, over 29 million doses will go out across all channels, with two-thirds of those doses going to jurisdictions and one-third to federal channels,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said at the press briefing.

Last week, nearly 30 million doses were allocated. For both weeks the two weeks before that, about 28 million doses were allocated. There were 33 million doses both the week of April 5 and March 29, and 27 million doses the week of March 22. When President Biden took office in January, there were 8.6 million vaccine doses allocated that week.

12:46 p.m. ET, May 4, 2021

White House tells governors they will redistribute unordered vaccine doses 

From CNN's Kaitlan Collins

President Biden's coronavirus advisers told governors during a call Tuesday that they plan to redistribute vaccine doses if their state does not order all the ones allocated to them each week, a senior administration official tells CNN. 

States will still get allocations based on their population, but the change means if a certain state does not order all of the doses available to them, the White House will redistribute them and likely give them to a state that has higher demand than their allocation.  

In recent weeks, several states have not ordered their full allocation of vaccines due to dropping demand across the country. After ramping up supply, vaccine hesitancy is the next big obstacle for the administration, officials say. 

If a state does not order its full allocation one week, it does not mean its allocation will change the next week. 

This change comes as the White House has had private discussions about how to proceed with allocations. Officials, including Biden, recently rejected appeals from Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer when she asked for more doses given the surge in her state. 

 

12:51 p.m. ET, May 4, 2021

Biden administration remains undecided on "health passport" plan, DHS secretary says

From CNN’s Geneva Sands

 Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas Washington Conference on the Americas

The Biden administration is still undecided on how to support or deploy a coronavirus “health passport," citing concerns about accessibility and equity, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said Tuesday.

“We have concerns with respect to accessibility to such a passport. And our concerns about equity are very relevant to that. But that conversation continues,” he said.

He said the administration is still “considering all options.”

The administration has previously said it was working with companies including technology firms to develop an optional set of standards to prove a person has been vaccinated against Covid-19. An official said in late March such a plan was weeks away from finalization.

Speaking at the 51st Annual Washington Conference on the Americas, Mayorkas said travel decisions are being made alongside the private sector and with international partners.

12:38 p.m. ET, May 4, 2021

NYC Public Schools will have remote learning instead of snow days next school year

From CNN's Elizabeth Stuart

School buses are covered in snow during a snowstorm on February 1 in Brooklyn, New York.
School buses are covered in snow during a snowstorm on February 1 in Brooklyn, New York. Wong Maye-E/AP

So long, snow days! New York City Public Schools released its calendar for the 2021-22 school year on Tuesday, and with it came an announcement that instead of school being canceled for snow days, they will shift students to remote learning on those days.

"The DOE will shift all students to remote instruction in lieu of cancelling schools due to severe weather conditions," a statement from the NYC Department of Education said.

The school year will begin for the nation's largest school district on Sept. 13, and will include 180 days of classes. The new policy of not closing for severe weather or snowstorms will allow the district to meet the required number of days, according to the city's Department of Education.

"The pandemic has also created the ability to switch seamlessly to remote learning, and DOE central and schools have distributed hundreds of thousands of devices to ensure that learning can continue remotely during school closures," the statement said.

There are several other changes to the school calendar. Election Day on Nov. 2 will also be a remote learning day for NYC public schools. And two observed holidays have been added: Indigenous Peoples' Day and observance of Juneteenth.

The Department of Education said its goal is to have all of its more than 1 million students return for in-person learning when the school year starts in the fall.