Live Updates

May 17 coronavirus news

Biden announces US will share more vaccines globally

What you need to know

  • President Biden announced the US will share 80 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines globally over the next six weeks. 
  • US states and businesses are grappling with the CDC’s updated mask guidance that says fully vaccinated Americans don’t need to wear masks indoors or outdoors, with some exceptions.
  • Two Indian states and the union territory of Delhi have suspended Covid-19 vaccinations for people ages 18 to 44 due to shortages.

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More than 1.6 million people in Connecticut have been fully vaccinated

People receive their second dose of the Moderna covid-19 vaccine at a mobile Covid-19 vaccination clinic in Bridgeport, Connecticut on April 20.

More than 1.6 million people in Connecticut have been fully vaccinated and over 3.5 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine have been administered so far, according to the state’s Covid-19 dashboard. 

The state will loosen its mask restrictions for fully vaccinated people starting May 19, but will still require face coverings in settings such as health care facilities, public and private transit, schools, and correctional facilities, Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont said. 

“We’re gonna keep the masks on in schools a little bit longer, those young kids haven’t been vaccinated in child care,” Lamont said about masks in schools. 

Some businesses as well as state and local governments may to choose to require masks even after May 19, Lamont said.  

Biden praises creation of Covid-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force

President Joe Biden speaks about distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, in the East Room of the White House, Monday, May 17.

President Biden has applauded the creation of an interagency Covid-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force from the Department of Justice on Monday.

“Through this task force, the Justice Department will work with other agencies to investigate and prosecute domestic and international criminals intent on exploiting relief programs for personal and financial gain — and recover stolen funds,” Biden wrote.

The President also announced that he directed the implementation coordinator of the American Rescue Plan “to build on his team’s ongoing efforts by launching a new Initiative on Identity Theft Prevention and Public Benefits.” 

“Together with the Office of Management and Budget, this team will bring a whole-of-government approach to develop recommendations to help stop these criminal syndicates before they can prey on relief funds that belong to the American people,” he wrote.

Indiana will end participation in federal pandemic unemployment programs next month

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb announced today that Indiana will end its participation in all federally funded pandemic unemployment insurance programs on June 19.

“There are help wanted signs posted all over Indiana, and while our economy took a hit last year, it is roaring like an Indy 500 race car engine now. I am hearing from multiple sector employers that they want and need to hire more Hoosiers to grow,” Holcomb said in a release from his office, noting that Indiana’s unemployment rate, which jumped to more than 17% at the height of the pandemic, has recovered to 3.9%.

“Eliminating these pandemic programs will not be a silver bullet for employers to find employees, but we currently have about 116,000 available jobs in the state that need filled now,” the governor added. 

In addition to notifying those affected about the reinstatement of work search requirements, the Indiana Department of Workforce Development will now notify impacted unemployment insurance claimants about the discontinuation of the federal pandemic benefits, the release said.

DC mayor lifts mask mandate, says most Covid restrictions will be rolled back Friday

DC Mayor Muriel Bowser announced today fully vaccinated people are no longer required to wear masks outside or inside many locations effective immediately, echoing guidance from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued last week.

“Previously before we had a vaccine, the best way to protect yourself was to wear masks social distance and wash your hands frequently. Now of course your best protection is to be fully vaccinated,” Bowser said at a news conference. “So what it means for us beginning today as that fully vaccinated people only need to wear their mask or social distance in places where it is required.”

DC will still require residents to wear masks in schools, health care facilities, transportation hubs, homeless shelters and correctional facilities. Bowser also said passengers on public transportation must continue to wear masks. Bowser also stressed local businesses may require residents to wear masks and that DC residents should respect the rules put in place by those businesses.

Bowser also reiterated guidance initially announced last week on the relaxing of public gathering restrictions. DC will lift capacity limits and other restrictions for most businesses and public spaces effective at 5 a.m. Friday. Restrictions on nightclubs, sports stadiums and entertainment venues with greater than 2,500 capacity will be lifted June 11.  

The mayor released new data from DC Health showing total Covid cases, positivity rate and hospital capacity all decreasing in the city.

CVS and Target will no longer require fully vaccinated customers to wear face masks

CVS pharmacy and Target both announced Monday they will no longer require fully vaccinated guests to wear face masks inside their stores following new guidance from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC announced last Thursday that fully vaccinated people do not need to wear masks or practice social distancing indoors or outdoors, except under certain circumstances. 

In a statement on its website, however, Target says face coverings continue to be “strongly recommended for guests and team members who are not fully vaccinated.” Target also says it will continue social distancing throughout its stores.

In its statement, CVS says customers who are not fully vaccinated are asked to continue wearing face coverings, and employees are required to do so while at work.

The companies join other retailers, including Trader Joe’s, Walmart, Costco, and Starbucks, in dropping mask mandates following the CDC’s updated guidance.

Europe sees delays in delivery of Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine

Johnson & Johnson said it is working closely with the European Union and member states to supply 200 million doses of its Covid-19 vaccine.

An EU official told Reuters Monday that supply problems are leading the company to cut the number of deliveries in half this week. J&J has shipped less than 10% of the number it is supposed to deliver in the first quarter under the company’s contract with the EU, according to Reuters. The delay should only be temporary, since the company said it will be able to increase its supply when it brings in new plants to help make the vaccine. 

“We continue to work closely with the European Commission and Member States and remain committed to supplying 200 million single-shot doses of our Covid-19 vaccine to the European Union, plus Norway and Iceland, to help bring an end to this global pandemic,” the company said Monday in an emailed statement to CNN. “We expect our supply to increase over time as manufacturing sites fully activate throughout the year.”

J&J said it sent the first deliveries of its Covid-19 vaccine to the EU on April 12. The initial plan was to start shipping the vaccines April 1, but there were production issues and then the vaccine was paused over safety concerns. The company said it will be bringing more manufacturing facilities online. It did not give a timeline on when those facilities will start making the Covid-19 vaccine. 

J&J said to CNN that in addition to its manufacturing facility in the Netherlands, 10 other plants will be brought online to help with production. Vaccines for Europe have been made in the US and in Leiden, in the Netherlands, but a plant in Baltimore that the company expected to have online to help with production still does not have US Food and Drug authorization to do so.

“We are working around the clock to develop and broadly activate our manufacturing capabilities to supply our Covid-19 vaccine worldwide,” the company statement said.

The global vaccine alliance welcomes US plans to share 20 million doses with COVAX

The Global Vaccine Alliance (Gavi) welcomed US president Biden’s announcement on Monday that the US would share an additional 20 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines with COVAX – the worldwide vaccine sharing initiative – on top of the 60 million AstraZeneca vaccine doses the US has already committed to sharing by July 4.

“These doses will provide a substantial boost to global efforts to protect the most at-risk groups everywhere in the world and we look forward to working with the U.S. Government to finalize details of this announcement in the coming days,” a spokesman for Gavi said in a statement Monday.

“Every time an excess dose is put to use protecting those that need them most puts us one small step closer to bringing the pandemic under control,” the spokesman added.

Some more context: COVAX has suffered severe shortfalls caused by the disruption to Indian vaccine exports. It had hoped to deliver 170 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines by this week to low-income countries but is expected to have a shortfall of 105 million doses, according to UNICEF, a partner with COVAX. 

Gavi urged countries with surpluses to share doses to meet immediate supply needs.

Tanzania sets roadmap to combat Covid-19 after downplaying pandemic for over a year 

A Covid-19 special committee established by Tanzania’s new president Samia Suluhu Hassan has recommended restrictions to curb a looming third wave in the country, according to a statement from the committee published on Monday.

The committee has recommended the country begin procuring Covid-19 vaccines and join the worldwide vaccine sharing initiative COVAX, backed by the World Health Organization. The statement offered a priority vaccine rollout plan that would target frontline workers, adults over 50 and those who are immunocompromised.

The special committee also recommended the government resume public health information on the Covid-19 situation in Tanzania, including reporting cases. The East African nation stopped reporting Covid-19 cases in late April 2020 under the leadership of the late president John Magufuli. The former president was an ardent denier of Covid-19’s presence in the country, at one point stating that the country had defeated the virus through prayer.

Tanzania was hit by “two major waves” of Covid-19 since the outbreak in March 2020, the committee acknowledged. It warned that the country was under the threat of a possible third wave.

Some background: The extent of Tanzania’s Covid-19 crisis since the outbreak is largely unknown since the government stopped releasing data and downplayed the threat of the virus. Earlier this year, the US Embassy among other organizations in the country warned that Covid-19 cases in the country were surging. Until now, Tanzania had no plans to receive any Covid-19 vaccine, despite qualifying for the COVAX scheme. The government had previously encouraged its citizens to pursue herbal and steam treatments to combat the virus.

The committee urged the government to “provide accurate information on the Covid-19 disease to the public and the World Health Organization.”

Suluhu received the report but did not indicate if or when the restrictions would be implemented. 

New Jersey will keep indoor public mask requirement, governor says

New Jersey lifted its quarantine requirement for travelers from out of state, even as the state will continue requiring masks in indoor public spaces, Gov. Phil Murphy announced during a news conference Monday.

While masks are still required for indoor public spaces, Murphy said he will sign an executive order on Monday that will lift the state’s mask mandate for outdoor public spaces, effective immediately.

The governor held back judgment of neighboring states like New York, where Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced he would be following the recent US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance allowing vaccinated people to unmask in some indoor settings.

“I don’t know how we can expect workers to be able to tell who is vaccinated from who isn’t, and it is unfair to put the burden on business owners and frontline employees to police every patron,” Murphy said.

New Jersey schools will also reopen for full in-person instruction next school year, with the governor saying that he will allow his executive order allowing remote instruction under certain circumstances to expire at the end of this school year. This will effectively remove the option for full-time remote learning, according to the governor.

Murphy said that he hoped the 30-day extension of the public health emergency he signed on Friday would be its last, and would be replaced with an alternative by the state legislature.

The reopening moves come after 3,867,148 New Jerseyans have been fully vaccinated, the majority of those within the state. There were 490 new positive PCR tests, and 66 presumed positive antigen tests, Murphy reported.

There were at least 827 patients in hospitals and 13 deaths, according to Murphy.

Note: These numbers were released by the state’s public health agency, and may not line up exactly in real time with CNN’s database drawn from Johns Hopkins University, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Health and Human Services.

California will wait a month before dropping mask mandate for vaccinated residents

Signs instruct visitors on the proper way to wear masks at the Universal City Walk in Universal City, California, on May 14.

California plans to keep its mask mandate for indoor activities in place for another month before adhering to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s new guidelines announced last week.

The state’s rules to wear a face covering will be dropped for fully vaccinated residents effective June 15, when the state implements the recent CDC guidelines, Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly announced Monday.

June 15 is the date in which California plans to fully reopen all business sectors, and the next four weeks will give businesses time to prepare for the guidance change. In the meantime, health officials are aiming to get more residents vaccinated.

“This four week period will give Californians time to prepare for this change, while we continue the relentless focus on delivering vaccines, particularly to underserved communities and those that were hard hit throughout this pandemic,” Ghaly stated.

After reviewing the CDC’s decision and evidence around easing face coverings, Ghaly said state scientists agree with the guidance.

“We just feel that as the CDC, even said implementation of this is important, there is different ways to implement it and giving California, as we often have throughout this pandemic, some time to do it in a way that allows it to be done well, without a level of confusion,” Ghaly said. “It’s really just giving ourselves across the states some additional time to have it implemented with a high degree of integrity with continued focus on protecting the public health in mind.”

About half of California’s nearly 40 million residents are fully vaccinated against Covid-19, and another 15% are partially vaccinated, according to state health data.

US sees lowest child Covid-19 case numbers since October

With nearly 49,000 new cases, the US saw the lowest number of weekly Covid-19 cases among children since late-October, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Children were 24% of the new cases reported late last week. As of May 13, more than 3.9 million children have tested positive since the start of the pandemic.

Children made up between 6% and 19.4% of those who were tested for Covid-19, and 5.2%-34.1% of children tested were positive for coronavirus, depending on the state.

Children are still considered much less likely than adults to develop severe symptoms of Covid-19 or to die from the disease. Children represented 1.3% to 3.1% of total reported hospitalizations for Covid-19, based on the information provided by 24 states and New York City. Only 0.1%-1.9% of all cases of Covid-19 in children required hospitalization. 

Nine states reported zero child deaths among the 43 states that provided data on Covid-19 mortality. 

Pfizer and Moderna vaccines appear to protect against variants first seen in India, lab experiments suggest

A medical staff member prepares a syringe with a vial of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine at a pop up vaccine clinic at the Jewish Community Center on April 16 in New York City.

The Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna coronavirus vaccines appear to offer protection against the B.1.617 and B.1.618 variants first identified in India, researchers have reported in a new pre-print paper, which has not yet been peer-reviewed.

Based on lab experiments involving cell cultures, the B.1.617 and B.1.618 variants seem to be partially resistant to the antibodies elicited by vaccination, according to the pre-print paper posted to the online server on Sunday.

“Thus, there is a good reason to believe that vaccinated individuals will remain protected against the B.1.617 and B.1.618 variants,” the researchers from New York University wrote in their paper. But more research is needed to determine just how effective the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines are against those variants in the real world.

The new research involved serum samples collected from eight people who recovered from Covid-19, six people fully vaccinated with the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine and three people fully vaccinated with Moderna’s vaccine. The researchers analyzed in lab experiments how the serum samples neutralized lentiviruses — a type of retrovirus — equipped with the same mutations as the B.1.617 and B.1.618 coronavirus variants.

The researchers found some decreases in neutralization, but overall, antibodies from people who had been vaccinated appeared to work “well above” the serum from people who had recovered from Covid-19 caused by earlier versions of the coronavirus.

The researchers also examined how Regeneron’s monoclonal antibody cocktail therapy, called REGN-COV2, worked against the lentiviruses with B.1.617 and B.1.618 mutations — and both appeared to be “partially resistant” to the therapy.

“Our results lend confidence that current vaccines will provide protection against variants identified to date. However, the results do not preclude the possibility that variants that are more resistant to current vaccines will emerge,” the researchers wrote. “The findings highlight the importance of wide-spread adoption of vaccination which will both protect individuals from disease, decrease virus spread and slow the emergence of novel variants.”

Italy keeps nationwide curfew to curb spread of Covid-19

Italy is maintaining a nationwide curfew to try and curb the spread of Covid-19 but will push it back from 10 p.m. to 11 p.m., government officials told CNN on Monday.

The curfew lasts until 5 a.m. and it applies to all regions classified as yellow or worse in Italy’s Covid-19 alert system, which includes four levels: white, yellow, orange and red. Currently most of the country is classified as yellow, with the only exception being Valle d’Aosta where the alert level is orange.

From June 1, three regions — Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Molise and Sardinia — will move into the white alert level and will see the curfew terminated. 

Officials stressed the curfew will only remain in place for a set amount of time and it will be gradually eliminated. Starting June 7, the curfew for yellow areas moves to midnight and then it is fully eliminated on June 21.

Correction: An earlier version of this post incorrectly described the terms of Italy’s curfew. Italy maintained its curfew and shortened the hours of the curfew.

New York will adopt CDC guidelines for vaccinated people, governor says

Governor Andrew Cuomo holds a press conference at Radio City Music Hall in New York City on May 17.

New York state will adopt the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines to not require masks or social distancing for fully vaccinated people starting May 19, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Monday at a news conference. 

Unvaccinated people should still wear masks, and masks will still be required of all people on public transit, in schools and some communal settings, he said. 

Private venues may continue to implement stricter covid-19 restrictions, Cuomo said. 

The outdoor dining curfew and most capacity guidelines will end Wednesday. The indoor food and beverage curfew will be lifted May 31. 

Cuomo said 52% of adult New Yorkers are now fully vaccinated. 

“The whole point of this CDC’s change is to say to people there are benefits to being vaccinated,” Cuomo told reporters. 

James Dolan, CEO of Madison Square Garden Entertainment Corp., said Madison Square Garden will “favor the vaccinated” for events like the upcoming Knicks games. Dolan said the organization has not yet sorted out vaccination verification for venue entry. 

Cuomo told reporters he’s encouraging private venues to permit more capacity for vaccinated people over unvaccinated attendees. 

“Private venues, I encourage them to have a high percentage available for vaccinated people. Radio City is going to be 100%. I encourage that, because that’s an incentive to get vaccinated,” Cuomo said. 

The Tribeca Film Festival will host in-person events throughout New York City in June, Cuomo announced. It will be the first in-person festival to take place in North America since the pandemic, Tribeca Film Festival co-founder Jane Rosenthal said at the press conference. 

Radio City Music Hall will be at 100% capacity with no social distancing or masks, permitting only vaccinated attendees for the closing event of the Tribeca Film Festival on June 19, Cuomo said. 

The New York City Marathon is scheduled for Nov. 7 with 33,000 runners, which is 60% of full capacity, Cuomo announced. 

The marathon’s capacity and safety protocols could change before the event depending on the pandemic status, he said.

Biden announces US will share 80 million Covid-19 vaccine doses globally

President Joe Biden speaks in the East Room of the White House on May 17 in Washington, DC.

President Biden announced that the US will share 80 million vaccine doses globally over the next six weeks, five times more than any other country has shared to date. That represents 13% of vaccines produced by the US by the end of June.

“Today, we’re taking an additional step to help the world. We know America will never be fully safe until the pandemic, that’s rising globally, is under control. No ocean is wide enough, no walls high enough to keep us safe,” Biden said in his remarks from the White House.

The 80 million doses will include 20 million doses of the Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson vaccines as well as AstraZeneca. The US already announced it would share 60 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine with other countries by July 4.

Biden said that the US would distribute all of its AstraZeneca vaccine produced in the country once authorized by the US Food and Drug Administration.

“New variants could rise overseas that could put us at greater risk and we need to help fight the disease around the world to keep us safe here at home and to do the right thing of helping other people. It’s the right thing to do. It’s the smart thing to do. It’s the strong thing to do,” Biden said.

Biden also touted that this latest announcement will make the US a leader in sharing vaccine supplies, outpacing both China and Russia.

“We want to lead the world with our values, with this demonstration of our innovation and ingenuity and the fundamental decency of the American people. Just as in World War II, America was the arsenal of democracy, in the battle against Covid-19 pandemic our nation is going to be the arsenal of vaccines for the rest of the world. We’ll share these vaccines in the service of ending the pandemic everywhere. And we will not use our vaccines to secure favors from other countries,” the President said.

White House coronavirus response coordinator Jeff Zients will be leading the US’ efforts in global vaccine distribution.

“We’re going to bring the same whole of government response to the global effort that made us so successful here at home,” Biden said.

CNN’s Jason Hoffman contributed reporting to this post.

Biden: 60% of Americans have received at least one vaccine shot

Kent State University student Jarrett Woo gets his Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccination from Kent State nursing student Allie Rodriguez in Kent, Ohio, on April 8.

President Biden announced today that 60% of Americans have received at least one Covid-19 vaccine shot.

“In less than four months we’ve gone from less than 6% to 60% of adults in America with at least one shot,” he said.

Biden said that for the first time since the pandemic began Covid-19 cases are down in all 50 states. He added that deaths from Covid-19 are down by 81%. 

NOW: Biden delivers remarks on US Covid-19 vaccination efforts 

President Biden is speaking now from the White House on his administration’s Covid-19 response and the vaccination program. 

He’s expected to announce that his administration will share millions more doses of Covid-19 vaccines with other countries in addition to the 60 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine he has already committed to sharing by July 4, according to White House press secretary Jen Psaki.

Biden will say the US will share at least 20 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines by the end of next month, totaling 80 million doses that are set to be sent abroad. 

Read more about the announcement here.

Ohioans must now opt in to state's vaccine lottery

The Ohio Department of Public Health announced Monday it has changed the conditions of its Vax-A-Million program so participants must now opt into the program, a move the director called “a very notable change.” 

The state’s health director, Stephanie McCloud, told reporters Monday during a virtual briefing that while the state previously planned to rely on voter rolls for the program, the design of the new opt-in approach will allow the state to collect the information it needs to verify age, identity, and vaccination status. A privacy waiver will be required, according to McCloud. 

“Obviously we want to move this as quickly as we can,” McCloud said, noting the process allows those who do not wish to participate to remain out of the program.  

Ohioans aged 18 or older who have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine are eligible to win one of five $1 million prizes, McCloud said.

According to McCloud, beginning May 18, Ohioans wishing to participate must register at the program’s website or call the Department of Health.

Ohio Lottery Director Pat McDonald said drawings will be held Mondays from May 24 to June 21. Winners, whose names will be publicly disclosed, will be announced on Wednesdays.

In order to be eligible, individuals wishing to enter the drawing must have had at least one Covid-19 shot by 11:59 p.m. the night before the drawing, according to McCloud.

According to McDonald, drawings will be conducted by a random number generator and attended by the lottery draw security and IT staff and observed by members of the Auditors of States Office. Once the results are verified, the results will be sent to the ODH who will verify the age, identity, and vaccination status of the winners. 

Winners will then be contacted and may be asked to present a vaccination card.

According to McCloud, Ohioans ages 12-17 who have received a received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine may enter into a drawing for one of five scholarships college. The scholarship will be for an Ohio state public college or university in the amount of in-state tuition cost, books, and room and board for a four-year program, two-year program, community college program, technical or trade school. 

McCloud said the Vax-A-Million campaign has been “very successful.” According to McCloud, May 14 was the highest Covid-19 administration day in three weeks with 25,414 doses given. 

“So not only have we achieved our goal of increasing public awareness and interest, but we have slowed what was consistent decline in uptake,” McCloud said.

Early data suggests vaccines protect against India Covid-19 variant, UK health official says

Britain's health minister Matt Hancock speaks in the House of Commons in London on May 17.

Early indications suggest vaccines protect against the B.1.617 variant of Covid-19 first identified in India, Britain’s health minister Matt Hancock said on Monday. 

“While we don’t have the complete picture on the impact of the vaccine, the early laboratory data from Oxford University corroborates the provisional evidence from Bolton hospital and the initial observational data that vaccines are effective against this variant,” Hancock told British MPs in the House of Commons on Monday. “This is reassuring, but the higher transmission poses a real risk.” 

“All this supports our overriding strategy which is gradually, cautiously to replace the restrictions on freedom with the protection from the vaccine,” he added. “In Blackburn, hospitalizations are stable with 8 people currently in hospital with Covid. And in Bolton, 19 people are now in hospital with coronavirus, the majority of whom are eligible for a vaccine but haven’t yet had the vaccine.”

Hancock went on to say the evidence “shows the new variant is not tending to penetrate into older, vaccinated groups and it underlines again the importance of getting the jab, especially but not only among the vulnerable age groups.” 

However, the Health Secretary also cautioned that while the vaccination program can give the UK confidence in the fight against the pandemic, new variants “could jeopardize the advances that we’ve made” and people would need to stay vigilant. 

Hancock said there were fewer than 1,000 people in hospital with Covid-19 at the moment and on average there are nine deaths a day. 

He also said there were now 2,323 confirmed cases of the B.1.617 variant first identified in India, in the UK. He said 483 of these cases have been in Bolton and Blackburn with Darwen, where it is now the dominant strain.

Matt Hancock also told MPs the latest scientific assessment is that the B.1.617 variant is more transmissible – although it is yet not known to what extent. 

Starting Monday, people in England can meet outdoors in groups of up to 30 and meet indoors in groups of up to six or 2 households. Pubs, bars and restaurants can reopen indoors, cinemas, bowling alleys and museums can reopen as can all holiday accommodation.

Weddings, receptions and other life events can take place with up to 30 people. Some travel abroad is now possible, subject to a traffic light system, but people are advised not go on holiday to ‘amber’ or ‘red’ list countries.

Biden will announce today US will share millions more doses of Covid-19 vaccines globally 

Filled vials wait to be distributed ahead of a Covid-19 vaccine clinic on May 13 in Houston.

In his White House remarks in the next hour, President Biden is set to announce Monday that his administration will share millions more doses of Covid-19 vaccines with other countries in addition to the 60 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine he has already committed to sharing by July 4, according to an administration official.

Biden will say the US will share at least 20 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines by the end of next month, totaling 80 million doses that are set to be sent abroad.

Those additional 20 million doses will consist of Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson vaccines as well as AstraZeneca, which has to be approved by federal regulators before being shipped overseas. That effort is underway.

Biden will also say White House Covid-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients is in charge of this effort, in coordination with the National Security Council and State Department.

Bloomberg was first to report the news of the additional doses being shared.

Go There: CNN reports from Nairobi as Africa’s vaccine rollout is threatened due to COVAX shortfalls 

A nurse prepares a dose of the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine in Nairobi, Kenya, on April 21.

Public health officials in Africa are concerned there could be a similar Covid-19 crisis as in India as the COVAX vaccine-sharing program faces shortfalls. The international scheme to ensure equal access to Covid-19 vaccines is 140 million doses short because of India’s continuing crisis. 

The head of UNICEF urged rich countries to donate doses to COVAX to help bridge the gap in supplies caused by India’s decision to curb vaccine exports. 

CNN correspondent Larry Madowo reports from Nairobi, Kenya, and answers viewers’ questions. Watch:


Massachusetts will lift all Covid-19 restrictions on May 29

People wear face masks while visiting the Arnold Arboretum in Boston, Massachusetts, on May 6.

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker announced Monday that all remaining Covid-19 restrictions for the state will be lifted on May 29.

In a news release, the governor said the face-covering order “will also be rescinded on May 29th.”

Massachusetts is among other states that have announced updates to their Covid-19 measures following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s updated guidance on mask use for vaccinated Americans.

Some Americans still need to mask up even if vaccinated. Here's why. 

The news flashed across the country — mask-free at last!

People who are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 no longer have to wear masks inside or outside, nor do they have to stay six feet away from others, according to new guidance released Thursday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Does that mean those Americans vaccinated at least two weeks ago – meaning full immunity has kicked in – can throw their masks in the air and hug all in celebration?

Not quite.

You do have to mask up on public transportation, or if required by laws or regulations – that would apply to hospitals, nursing homes and other health care settings, and even some local businesses and workplaces. Kids still have to mask up to go to school.

Then there is this warning: “If you have a condition or are taking medications that weaken your immune system, you may NOT be fully protected even if you are fully vaccinated. Talk to your healthcare provider,” the CDC said in the new guidance. “Even after vaccination, you may need to continue taking all precautions.”

On CNN’s State of the Union Sunday, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said that immunocompromised people should consult with their physicians before deciding to stop wearing a mask, but others, including those at higher risk for severe Covid-19, may want to do so, as well.

For the most part, studies emerging now suggest immunocompromised people or those on medications that interrupt their immune system — for example, people who have had organ transplants or are on chemotherapy — may not have as much protection from Covid-19 vaccines. At least one study suggests dialysis patients also may not be as protected, she said.

Some more context: There are a number of conditions that can weaken immunity. Some diseases, like HIV/AIDS, can completely devastate the body’s ability to fight infection. Organ transplant patients must take daily medications that suppress the immune system to keep it from rejecting the new organ. And chemotherapy works by killing cell growth to keep cancerous cells from multiplying, thus weakening the immune system.

People who are severely immunocompromised are told they must remain fully masked and take extra precautions to be protected from all manner of pathogens, and they wish the rest of us would mask up to protect them, too.

Many common diseases and conditions that affect millions of Americans can weaken the immune system, typically to lesser degrees. The body may respond listlessly to invaders, making it more vulnerable to infection and viruses such as Covid-19.

Read the full story here.

EU regulator extends time Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine can be stored at normal fridge temperatures

A nurse removes vials of the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine from a fridge at a vaccination center in Ajaccio, France, on May 13.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has updated its recommended storage conditions for the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine, now saying the vials can remain in normal fridge temperatures before they are opened, for up a month. 

“This change extends the approved storage period of the unopened thawed vial at 2-8°C (i.e. in a normal fridge after taking out of deep-freeze conditions) from five days to one month (31 days),” the EMA said in a statement on Monday. “The change was approved following assessment of additional stability study data submitted to EMA by the marketing authorisation holder.”

“Increased flexibility in the storage and handling of the vaccine is expected to have a significant impact on planning and logistics of vaccine roll-out in EU Member States,” the statement added.

“By June, nobody is going to be wearing masks,” former US FDA commissioner predicts

Dr. Scott Gottlieb, former commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration, predicts that by June more people will be going maskless due to the spread of Covid-19 being “sufficiently low.”

“I think prevalence is really collapsing around the country and we’re going to be at a point where there’s very little infection and the individual risk to a person is low,” Gottlieb said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Monday morning.

“By June, nobody is going to be wearing masks. By June, I think the prevalence is going to be sufficiently low in this country that we’re just not going to be concerned about it,” Gottlieb said. “Things are improving quickly, so hopefully they’ll continue on that trajectory.”

What the numbers look like: The United States has seen a recent decline in new Covid-19 cases and deaths, which public health experts have credited to vaccinations. Covid-19 cases are down 22% from last week, and yesterday’s total was the lowest single day of new cases since March 25, 2020, according to Johns Hopkins University.