May 14 coronavirus news

By Julia Hollingsworth and Brad Lendon, CNN

Updated 8:02 PM ET, Fri May 14, 2021
18 Posts
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11:26 a.m. ET, May 14, 2021

Go There: CNN answers your questions about the new mask guidance from NYC's Times Square

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention yesterday announced that fully vaccinated people do not need to wear masks or socially distance inside or outside in most situations — a major step in a return to normalcy for Americans.

CNN’s Miguel Marquez was live in New York City's Times Square, answering your questions. 

Watch more:

11:03 a.m. ET, May 14, 2021

Vaccinated US federal employees no longer need to wear masks, Department of Homeland Security says

From CNN's Priscilla Alvarez 

Fully vaccinated federal employees, onsite contractors and visitors to federal buildings no longer need to wear masks, the Department of Homeland Security told CNN Friday, in response to whether personnel are required to wear masks since the latest CDC guidance.

“Consistent with CDC Director Walensky’s announcement regarding CDC’s updated Interim Public Health Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated People, fully vaccinated Federal employees, fully vaccinated onsite contractors, and fully vaccinated visitors to Federal buildings are no longer required to wear masks,” said Homeland Security spokesperson Marsha Espinosa said in a statement. 

DHS didn’t immediately respond to questions over whether guidance has been sent to the workforce.  

10:53 a.m. ET, May 14, 2021

 Italy will reopen for EU and some non-EU tourists

From CNN's Livia Borghese

Italy announced it will reopen for tourists from European Union countries as well as the UK, Israel, Japan and the Arab Emirates, Health Minister Roberto Speranza said in a statement to CNN on Thursday.

These measures are set to start May 16, under a set of specific conditions for each case. 

According to new measures announced by Speranza, quarantine will no longer be necessary and a mandatory negative test, taken two days ahead of the arrival, will be sufficient to enter Italy from other European Union countries and countries of the Schengen area, as well as from United Kingdom and Israel.

Passengers on coronavirus free flights will also be able to enter as tourists, from destinations such as the United States, Canada, Japan and the Emirates, without the need to quarantine, as long they’ve done a PCR coronavirus test 48 hours before the flight, followed by a rapid test when boarding, and another rapid test upon arrival in Italy, according to the Health Minister's press office.

Speranza also announced that coronavirus-free flights will be more frequent and extended to the airports of Venice and Naples, alongside Rome and Milan.

10:36 a.m. ET, May 14, 2021

White House defends CDC's new mask guidance, saying it is rooted in science

From CNN's Jason Hoffman

White House senior Covid-19 adviser Andy Slavitt defended the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s decision to revise its mask guidance for vaccinated individuals, saying the change was based in science and not influenced by politics.

Responding to criticism that the guidance change appeared sudden, Slavitt said the CDC is tasked with changing guidance once the science dictates that — which is what happened this week.

“The CDC guidance is gonna be what it is until it changes. There’s no in-between guidance. We didn't find out at the White House until 9pm the night before that the CDC was going to make this change yesterday. If they wanted to do this politically conveniently, wouldn't you have done this before the hearing so she (CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky) didn't have to take the tough questions rather than after,” Slavitt said in an interview on Fox News on Friday.

“But their job isn't to be popular. They try to follow the science. Our job at the White House is just to let them follow the science and take what comes and try to explain it as best we can to the American public,” Slavitt added.

He said the drop in Covid-19 cases, the evidence showing vaccines prevent the spread of coronavirus, and the fact that all Americans older than 12 are eligible for the vaccine allowed the CDC to feel comfortable making the change.

Slavitt said the CDC will continue to update guidance for businesses, travel, summer camps and more, but it wanted to put out its conclusion that fully vaccinated Americans no longer need to wear masks in most cases.

“They will update all of their guidance, but they wanted to put the conclusion out there, recognizing that they’re going to have to update the rest of the guidance, but they felt it was fair to the American public to say, hey if you've been vaccinated you don't need to wear a mask,” he said.

10:14 a.m. ET, May 14, 2021

Wealthy countries should donate doses to low-income countries before vaccinating kids, WHO chief says 

From CNN’s Virginia Langmaid

A child receives a dose of a Covid-19 vaccine in Farmington Hills, Michigan, on May 13.
A child receives a dose of a Covid-19 vaccine in Farmington Hills, Michigan, on May 13. Emily Elconin/Bloomberg/Getty Images

World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Friday that rich nations should consider donating vaccine supply instead of proceeding with vaccinations for children,  

“In a handful of rich countries, which have the majority of vaccine supply, lower-risk groups are now being vaccinated,” he said during a press briefing. “I understand why some countries want to vaccinate their children and adolescents.”

“Right now, I urge them to reconsider, and to instead, donate vaccines to COVAX,” Tedros said. “In low, and lower-middle income countries, vaccine supply has not been enough to even immunize health care workers, and hospitals are inundated with people that need life-saving care urgently.”

COVAX is the WHO’s global vaccine-sharing program, which distributes doses to low-income countries.

“At present, only 0.3% of vaccine supply is going to low-income countries,” he said. “Trickle-down vaccination is not an effective strategy for fighting a deadly respiratory virus.” 

Tedros did not mention any specific countries. The US Food and Drug Administration this week authorized Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine for people ages 12 to 15.

9:05 a.m. ET, May 14, 2021

Defense Department says fully vaccinated staffers no longer required to wear masks

From CNN's Barbara Starr

The Defense Department Friday said personnel are no longer required to wear a mask if they are fully vaccinated and two weeks beyond their final vaccine dose. 

In a brief memo signed by Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks Thursday, the department indicated it made the change to come into compliance with the latest guidelines from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

The new Defense guidance specifies that for those vaccinated, there is no longer a requirement to wear masks indoors or outdoors at Defense facilities, but it does still require them at airports. 

There is no guidance in the memo on social distancing practices. The memo also says that commanders “should not” ask about a person’s vaccination status or use vaccination status information to make decisions about employees teleworking.

9:44 a.m. ET, May 14, 2021

CDC head says US schools should be able to have full-time, in-person education this fall

From CNN Health’s Virginia Langmaid

Students at a high school in Mission Viejo, California, on April 27.
Students at a high school in Mission Viejo, California, on April 27. Irfan Khan/The Los Angeles Times/Getty Images

Children and educators should expect to return to school in-person and full-time in the fall, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky told ABC on Friday. 

“I believe that come the fall, all of our children, all of our educators, all of our teachers should plan to be back full-time, five days a week, in-person,” she said. 

“We have the capacity now, between vaccines and testing, screening, we believe schools can and should be a very safe place for people to go back to in the fall," she added.

Walensky said more data is needed to make recommendations on Covid-19 vaccination requirements for returning to school. 

“I don’t necessarily think we’re leaning into that quite yet. I think we need to have more data on the younger children for sure, and then those decisions are going to have to be made at the jurisdictional level,” she said. 

8:47 a.m. ET, May 14, 2021

People should look to local rules on masking despite new guidance, CDC director says

From CNN Health’s Virginia Langmaid

While new US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines released Thursday say people who have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 can unmask indoors and outdoors, people should defer to local rules on mask-wearing, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky told NBC on Friday. 

“We really do need to understand that this country is not uniform, there are places in this country that still have higher rates of disease there are places in this country that still have lower rates of vaccination,” she said. 

 “People need to look into their local environment because, ultimately, we know that this virus is an opportunist and where there are low rates of vaccination, it will emerge again,” Walensky said. 

“We really need to make sure that we get people vaccinated, and we still continue to take precautions if people are not vaccinated.”

9:09 a.m. ET, May 14, 2021

Elementary-age US children likely won't be vaccinated until the end of the year, Fauci says

From CNN's Virginia Langmaid

A school bus arrives at an elementary school in Arlington, Virginia, on March 4.
A school bus arrives at an elementary school in Arlington, Virginia, on March 4. Chen Mengtong/China News Service/Getty Images

Researchers are currently working on the best way to scale Covid-19 vaccination to children, but elementary-age children likely won’t be vaccinated until the end of the year, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci told MSNBC on Friday. 

“They're called age de-escalation studies, and that is you get children at different age brackets, and you do a test to make sure that it's safe,” he said. “You go from age 12 to 9. if it looks good, then you go nine to six, that looks good, six to two, that looks good, and that six months to two years.”

That timeline likely puts the youngest children at the back of the line, Fauci said. 

"I think that high school kids, adolescents certainly, will be able to be vaccinated by the time we get to the fall year, but I think it's going to take to the end of the calendar year to get elementary," he said.