May 10 coronavirus news

By Joshua Berlinger, Brad Lendon, Tara John, Gul Tuysuz, Aditi Sangal and Ed Upright, CNN

Updated 8:02 p.m. ET, May 10, 2021
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1:41 p.m. ET, May 10, 2021

WHO classifies Covid-19 variant first identified in India as a variant of concern

From CNN’s Virginia Langmaid

The World Health Organization has classified the B.1.617 Covid-19 variant, which was first identified in India, as a variant of concern, the WHO’s technical lead for Covid-19 said during a news briefing on Monday.

A “variant of concern” label indicates that the identified variant may show, among other indicators, evidence of increased transmissibility or evidence of increased severity.

“There is some available information to suggest increased transmissibility of B.1.617,” said Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO Covid-19 technical lead.

Quantifying the risk posed by the variant will require real-world data in addition to greater genomic surveillance, WHO officials said.

“Even though there is increased transmissibility demonstrated by some preliminary studies, we need much more information about this virus variant in this lineage and all of the sublineages,” Van Kerkhove said Monday. “We need more targeted sequencing to be done, and to be shared in India and elsewhere so that we know how much of this virus is circulating.”

WHO said it will be releasing more information on the variant in its Situation Report on Tuesday.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on its website currently classifies the B.1.617 variant as a “variant of interest.” CNN has reached out to the CDC to see if it has any immediate plans to reclassify B.1.617 as a “variant of concern” in the United States.

 

11:33 a.m. ET, May 10, 2021

Parents urged to catch kids up on other shots ahead of Covid-19 vaccine rollout

From CNN's Jacqueline Howard

With Covid-19 vaccinations possibly on the horizon for children ages 12 to 15 in the United States, pediatricians are concerned about the challenge of getting children up-to-date on their childhood vaccines and balancing that with scheduling potential Covid-19 shots.

"We have seen throughout the pandemic that there has been a decline in routine immunizations, and that does concern me greatly as a pediatrician because I know that many children have missed other important vaccines for diseases like measles or whooping cough – which, like Covid-19, can be deadly," Dr. Lisa Costello, a pediatrician at WVU Medicine Children's Hospital and a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Committee on State Government Affairs, told CNN on Friday.

Parents are urged to get their children caught up on immunizations since, Costello said, eventually younger children could soon also be eligible to get vaccinated against Covid-19.

Signs first emerged around the spring of last year that childhood vaccinations have plunged since the pandemic began. One study published in May 2020 by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that the number of childhood vaccines administered in Michigan dropped by as much as 22%.

"It's been documented over the past year that routine childhood immunizations have declined because people weren't going for well child exams. People were avoiding health settings when not absolutely necessary, and so those rates dipped," Jill Rosenthal, senior program director at the National Academy for State Health Policy, told CNN on Friday.

Now, "they're getting back to normal for some populations of kids, and some populations of kids are still a bit behind. So, there's a real concerted effort right now to catch kids up on those routine immunizations, but there's also a blackout period that no one can have other vaccines at the same time that they're getting the Covid-19 vaccine," Rosenthal said.

"So, it's an interesting dilemma of how states and providers are going to think about trying to catch kids up at the same time that the Covid-19 vaccine is becoming available (for children ages 12 to 15) – and particularly right now because a lot of the catch up routine immunizations happen as a result of school requirements," Rosenthal said. "Summer, maybe early fall, is a time where you see concerted efforts to make sure kids are fully immunized."

It's recommended to wait two weeks after getting the Covid-19 vaccine before getting other immunizations, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians.

"We do not yet know whether we will be able to co-administer vaccines – meaning you may have to get the Covid-19 vaccine solo, not with other vaccines," Costello said.

The Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine, which is being considered for authorization in children and teens ages 12 to 15, is administered as two doses, three weeks apart. 

"Then you have to wait two weeks after that," Costello said. "So, it's really important that parents now are choosing to get their children caught up on other vaccines that they may have had to miss, even if they're under age 12."

Costello added that she has treated children of various ages for Covid-19 in the hospital – from a two-month-old baby having trouble breathing, the infant's small chest slowly expanding up and down – to a 17-year-old teen needing oxygen support. She hopes that the potential roll out of Covid-19 vaccines for children can help curb the risk of young people getting sick.

Costello said, "It's going to be important that they are vaccinated – to help protect themselves, but also to protect their families and their loved ones and their communities."

11:31 a.m. ET, May 10, 2021

Go There: CNN is in Africa, where some countries are facing dwindling vaccine supplies

Some countries in Africa have been relying on a vaccine-sharing initiative to help vaccinate the population.

However, supplies are beginning to run out and the World Health Organization says it could open a door to a new wave of Covid-19 infections. 

CNN’s David McKenzie was live from Johannesburg with the latest.

Watch:

10:59 a.m. ET, May 10, 2021

Malaysia imposes nationwide lockdown during 3rd wave of coronavirus

From CNN's Akanksha Sharma and Pauline Lockwood

A road near Chinatown in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, is near-empty on May 7.
A road near Chinatown in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, is near-empty on May 7. Wong Fok Loy/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images

Malaysia’s prime minister has declared a nationwide lockdown from Wednesday until June 7 in an effort to contain the rise in coronavirus cases, state media Bernama News Agency reported.

Malaysia’s Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin announced the lockdown, known as the Movement Control Order or MCO, saying "Malaysia is facing the third wave of the pandemic which can trigger a national crisis."

The prime minister added that Malaysia’s daily Covid-19 cases have exceeded 4,000 as of Monday. There are 37,390 active coronavirus cases and the death toll stands at 1,700 as of May 10, he said.

Yassin also warned of “the emergence of new variants with higher infection rates” that could pressure the country’s healthcare infrastructure.

Under the nationwide lockdown all social gatherings will be banned along with inter-state and inter-district travel.

The Hari Raya Aidilfitri or Eid al-Fitr prayers will also be limited to 50 people for mosques that can accommodate 1,000 people and 20 for mosques that accommodate less.

The limit also applies to Friday prayers.

Restaurants will not be allowed dine-in customers, only take-aways are permitted. No weddings or social functions are permitted during the lockdown.

Educational institutes will also remain closed.

The lockdown comes while Malaysia is still under a state of emergency, which was declared by the prime minister back in January to contain the pandemic.

The first nationwide lockdown in Malaysia was imposed on March 18 to May 3, 2020.

10:46 a.m. ET, May 10, 2021

Biden will talk about the economy and "additional steps to get Americans back to work" today

From CNN's Betsy Klein 

President Joe Biden will focus on child care, funding for states and localities, and employer assistance during remarks on the economy Monday, a White House official tells CNN. 

“Today the President will announce additional steps to get Americans back to work, including removing barriers that are preventing Americans from returning safely to good-paying work, and taking steps to make it easier for employers to hire new workers,” the official said. 

The official added, “The remarks will highlight assistance to hard-hit child care providers, funding to state and local governments, and assistance to employers to rehire and retain workers. The President will also reaffirm the basic rules of unemployment insurance benefits.” 

The remarks come after a disappointing jobs report out last week and new concerns about inflation.

It also comes as Republicans and some business owners say that enhanced unemployment benefits during the pandemic have discouraged Americans from re-entering the workforce. 

Asked Friday if he thought those unemployment benefits had an impact on the bruising jobs report, Biden told reporters, “No. Nothing measurable.” 

Biden’s remarks are set for 1:15 p.m. ET in the East Room.

12:23 p.m. ET, May 10, 2021

Nepal records its highest daily rise in Covid-19 cases and deaths

From CNN's Kosh Raj Koirala & Nishant Khanal

Army personnel load into a vehicle the body of a person who died from Covid-19 in Kathmandu, Nepal, on May 5.
Army personnel load into a vehicle the body of a person who died from Covid-19 in Kathmandu, Nepal, on May 5. Prakash Mathema/AFP/Getty Images

Nepal has recorded its highest daily rise in new Covid-19 cases and deaths, according to figures from the Health Ministry released on Monday. 

The country reported 9,271 new Covid-19 cases on Monday. The previous daily record was 9,196 new cases on May 7.

A further 139 Covid-19 related deaths were also reported, surpassing the previous highest daily record of 58 reported on May 5.

It comes after then Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli told CNN on Saturday that Nepal’s Covid-19 situation is “under control” on Saturday. Oli was removed from his post on Monday after losing a vote of confidence in Parliament.

"We are taking very serious measures to control the situation to supply oxygens to supply beds, to supply ICU beds,” Oli told CNN.

Only a month ago this Himalayan nation of 31 million people was reporting about 100 cases a day. Some have linked that to India's raging second wave spilling over into neighboring Nepal.

9:43 a.m. ET, May 10, 2021

No US state is reporting an increase in coronavirus cases

In the US, not a single state is reporting an increase in Covid-19 cases in the past week compared to the previous week.

A majority of states — 33 — are reporting a decrease in cases.

A full break down of which states are seeing decreases and which are reporting steady figures is below. You'll notice that New Jersey is gray — that's because in late April, the state implemented an automated method to remove some duplicate case reports from the cumulative total. Despite this, state data shows declining daily Covid-19 numbers.

8:33 a.m. ET, May 10, 2021

The guidance on wearing face masks indoors may be relaxed soon, says Fauci

From CNN's Lauren Mascarenhas and Christina Maxouris

People visit Glendale Galleria shopping mall in California, on May 6.
People visit Glendale Galleria shopping mall in California, on May 6. Bing Guan/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Dr. Anthony Fauci says federal guidance on wearing face coverings indoors may change soon.

Sunday on ABC News, Fauci was asked whether it's time to start relaxing indoor masks requirements. Fauci replied, "I think so, and I think you're going to probably be seeing that as we go along, and as more people get vaccinated."

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will be updating its guidance almost in real time, as more Americans get vaccinated, said Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

The CDC relaxed its guidance last month on wearing masks outdoors, but still advises both vaccinated and unvaccinated people to still wear masks in indoor public spaces, such as a mall, movie theater or museum.

"We do need to start being more liberal, as we get more people vaccinated," he added.

Read more:

8:30 a.m. ET, May 10, 2021

UK lowers Covid-19 alert level

From CNN's Sarah Dean with James Briggs

The United Kingdom's Covid-19 alert level is being lowered from level four to level three, its Department of Health said Monday, ahead of Prime Minister Boris Johnson announcing the further easing of pandemic restrictions.

According to the health department website, level four warns that transmission is high or rising exponentially. Level three warns that the Covid-19 epidemic is in general circulation.

Key indicators for de-escalation from level four to level three includes, an estimated "less than 10,000 new infections per day" and "UK weekly case rate less than 25 per 100,000 population."

The UK's Chief Medical Officers and NHS England National Medical Director said they advised to lower the warning level in light of recent data, which has been impacted by "the efforts of the UK public in social distancing and the impact we are starting to see from the vaccination program, case numbers, deaths and COVID hospital pressures have fallen consistently."

They warned that the virus is still circulating in the country, with new infections being recorded each day, "so we all need to continue to be vigilant. This remains a major pandemic globally."

While it still has the worst death toll in Europe, the UK has emerged from its devastating second wave -- buoyed by the success of its vaccination campaign. The government said Sunday more than 50 million vaccine doses had been administered nationwide, and it remained on track to offer all adults a shot by the end of July.

Johnson's press conference on Monday is expected to green-light the easing of more restrictions on May 17 -- which will allow pubs and restaurants to serve indoors.

Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove told the BBC’s Andrew Marr on Sunday morning the government wanted to see “intimate contact between friends” restored in England. Asked if that meant hugs would be allowed again from around May 17, Gove answered: “Yes.”