May 18 coronavirus news

By Nectar Gan, Adam Renton, Melissa Mahtani, Melissa Macaya and Veronica Rocha, CNN

Updated 8:03 PM ET, Tue May 18, 2021
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4:33 p.m. ET, May 18, 2021

About 60% of people 18 and older have had at least one Covid-19 vaccine

From CNN's Jen Christensen

Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Tuesday during the White House Covid-19 Response Team briefing, that yesterday was a “landmark day”: 60% of people 18 and older in the US have received at least one coronavirus vaccine dose.

In total, more than 3.5 million children ages 12 to 17 years old got their first dose, since the US Food and Drug Administration authorized the vaccine for this age group last week.

“We need to continue to ensure vaccination coverage is uniform across the country,” Walensky said. “This will require us to meet people where they are, to listen to their concerns, and to help people make informed decision about vaccination.” 

Correction: An earlier version of this post had the wrong number of doses given to children ages 12 to 17. More than 3.5 million 12- to 17-year-olds received their first dose.

10:45 a.m. ET, May 18, 2021

Kentucky governor calls on all eligible young people to get vaccinated

From CNN’s Gregory Lemos

Speaking to students during a visit to a vaccination site at Lafayette High School Tuesday, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear called on all eligible young people, namely those in the 12-16 year-old range, to get their Covid-19 vaccine.

“We need every eligible student and the parents of every eligible student to understand these vaccines are truly safe. They are effective. They protect our young people and their relatives and they are the key to having a fully normal school year in the fall,” Beshear said.

Beshear said he plans to personally take his son, who turns 12 in June, to receive the vaccine.

Beshear highlighted the minimal side effects, high efficacy of the vaccine, and the potential long-term negative effects of becoming infected.

“We need your help. How often do we as a society, as a commonwealth, come to our young people and say we need you?” the governor said and told the audience of young people their actions in the pandemic saved lives and called them “heroes.”

Lexington, Kentucky, Mayor Linda Gorton, also present at the event, said Fayette County has fully vaccinated more than 150,000 residents. Gorton said the city has vaccinated 53% of those 12 and over.

Beshear announced last week that all capacity restrictions will be lifted on June 11 and the commonwealth would immediately follow the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendation that fully vaccinated individuals no longer need to wear a mask in most places.

12:32 p.m. ET, May 18, 2021

US chain "Best Buy" is dropping mask requirement in stores 

From CNN's Alison Kosik

Best Buy announced Tuesday that “beginning immediately” fully vaccinated customers and employees are no longer required to wear face coverings in stores unless mandated by state or local regulations. 

However, the US consumer electronics retailer did say in a statement that employees working in customers’ homes will still be required to wear a face covering, even if fully vaccinated. 

Some more context: Best Buy joins other US retailers, including CVS, Target, Trader Joe’s, Walmart, Costco, and Starbucks, in dropping mask mandates following updated guidance from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC announced last week that fully vaccinated people do not need to wear masks or practice social distancing indoors or outdoors, except under certain circumstances. 

10:01 a.m. ET, May 18, 2021

Boris Johnson says there's no "conclusive" evidence to delay final stage of England reopening 

From CNN’s Eleanor Pickston 

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he doesn’t “see anything conclusive at the moment” to suggest that England should delay the final stage of its reopening roadmap beyond June 21, due to concerns over the spread of the variant first identified in India.

“Partly because we’ve built up such a wall of defences with the vaccination programme, I don’t see anything conclusive at the moment to say that we need to deviate from the roadmap,” Johnson said on Tuesday.

He added that "we’ve got to be cautious, and we’re keeping everything under very close observation. We’ll know a lot more in a few days’ time.”

Addressing fears over the spread of the variant first identified in India, Johnson said that the UK government is studying data from badly affected areas in England such as Bolton, Blackburn and Bedford, to understand whether B.1.617.2 variant is more transmissible, and to what degree the UK’s Covid-19 vaccination programme has “already sufficiently fortified us all against it.”

Earlier on Tuesday, UK Environment Secretary George Eustice said that local lockdowns could once again be needed in England if cases of the variant continue to rise.

"If we do have a deterioration in some of these areas then of course we can’t rule out that we would put in place certain local lockdowns,” Eustice told Times Radio.

"At the moment we are doing a lot of intensive surveillance in those areas, with surge testing to identify it and deal with it," he added. 

9:34 a.m. ET, May 18, 2021

15 US states reported no Covid-19 deaths Monday, Johns Hopkins University data shows

From CNN's Deidre McPhillips

Fifteen states reported no Covid-19 deaths on Monday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Those states are:

  1. Alabama
  2. Colorado
  3. Delaware
  4. Georgia
  5. Hawaii
  6. Idaho
  7. Iowa
  8. Minnesota
  9. Montana
  10. North Dakota
  11. Ohio
  12. Oklahoma
  13. Vermont
  14. Wisconsin
  15. Wyoming

Data reported by states may be delayed. However, six of those states reported an average of less than 1 Covid-19 death per day for the past seven days: Hawaii, Montana, North Dakota, Ohio, Vermont and Wyoming.

Overall, there were 392 Covid-19 deaths reported in the United States on Monday, for a seven-day average of 587 deaths per day, JHU data shows.


10:12 a.m. ET, May 18, 2021

Nearly 60% of adults in the US have received at least one dose of Covid-19 vaccine, CDC data shows

From CNN’s Deidre McPhillips

A doctor prepares a Covid-19 vaccine dose at a clinic in Norwalk, California, on May 8. 
A doctor prepares a Covid-19 vaccine dose at a clinic in Norwalk, California, on May 8.  Irfan Khan/Los Angeles Times/Getty Images

About 158 million people in the United States have received at least one dose of Covid-19 vaccine and nearly 124 million people are fully vaccinated, according to data published Monday night by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

Nearly 60% of adults in the US have received at least one dose of Covid-19 vaccine, and more than 47% of adults are fully vaccinated. Among seniors, nearly 85% have received at least one dose and about 73% are fully vaccinated.

Overall, 274,411,901 total doses have been reported administered and about 80% of the 344,503,595 total doses have been delivered. 

That’s about 1.5 million more doses reported administered since Sunday, for a seven-day average of about 1.8 million doses per day. The average daily pace of doses administered has been falling for about a week.

Note: Data published by the CDC may be delayed, and doses may not be reported on the day they were administered. 

8:26 a.m. ET, May 18, 2021

Delhi government announces compensation for families of Covid-19 victims

From CNN's Manveena Suri

The Delhi government announced it will provide compensation to families who have lost a member to Covid-19.

At a virtual news conference, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said, “Every family that has had a death due to Covid-19 among them, will be given Rs 50,000 ($684) each as ex-gratia.”

For families that have suffered the loss of a breadwinner, an additional monthly pension of Rs 2500 ($34) will be provided.

“If husband dies, the pension will be given to the wife. If the wife dies, it will be given to the husband. If an unmarried person dies, the pension will be given to his or her parents,” Kejriwal said.

In the case of a child losing both parents to Covid-19 or where one parent has previously passed away and the other dies of Covid-19, the child will be given a monthly pension of Rs 2,500 ($34) until the age of 25.

They will also be provided with free education, added Kejriwal.

In recent weeks, the union territory of Delhi, which includes the capital of New Delhi, has faced the brunt of India’s current second wave.

However, since May 7, when it reported 19,832 new cases, Delhi has seen a decrease in daily new infections, according to figures released by the Delhi health department.

Delhi reported 4,524 new cases on Monday, bringing the total to 1,398,391.

The total death toll stands at 21,846, with 340 deaths recorded in the last 24 hours.

8:26 a.m. ET, May 18, 2021

It’s reasonable for US businesses to keep mask mandates in some cases, Fauci says 

From CNN's Naomi Thomas

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on Good Morning America Tuesday that it is “perfectly reasonable and understandable” for businesses to keep mask mandates in some circumstances, as they can’t tell who is or is not vaccinated. But the inconsistency is causing some confusion, he said.

Fauci said the science that prompted the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to change its mask guidance related to evidence of the effectiveness of the vaccines in protecting against infection and also that the chances of a breakthrough case transmitting the virus is very low. 

“The problem and the issue is that we don’t have any way of knowing who is vaccinated and is not vaccinated,” Fauci said. “And I think that’s where the confusion arises, because there are some establishments who’re saying well, ‘I’m going to have people coming into my establishment, my store, what have you, some are going to be vaccinated and some are not, I’m not going to know the difference. Some might be infected and might actually have a risk of infecting someone else.'"

“Under those circumstances, it’s perfectly reasonable and understandable for the owner of that establishment to say, you know, we’re going to keep the mask mandate up,” he continued. “And that’s what we’re seeing and I think that’s causing the confusion, because some are maintaining a mask mandate and others are not.”

8:12 a.m. ET, May 18, 2021

India's Prime Minister vows to ramp up Covid-19 vaccination supplies

From CNN's Esha Mitra and Jessie Yeung 

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is pictured during a public meeting in Sivasagar district of India's Assam state, on January 23.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is pictured during a public meeting in Sivasagar district of India's Assam state, on January 23. Biju Boro/AFP/Getty Images

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi pledged an increase in Covid-19 vaccines on Tuesday as several states flagged shortages in supplies and the country reels from its second wave of the virus.

“Efforts are being made to increase the supply of Corona vaccines on a very large scale,” Modi said, according to a statement from the Prime Minister’s office.

Individual states became more vocal about upcoming vaccine shortages after the national rollout was expanded to all over-18s on May 1. Before the second wave hit India in late April, vaccines were only available to people aged 45 and above.

However, Modi said Tuesday that attempts were being made to speed up the vaccination schedule to states in the coming days.

It was the second time Modi has spoken on the Covid-19 crisis this month, after remaining silent on the matter for three weeks. He asked for oxygen plants to be installed in hospitals in every district in the country and asked states where infections are decreasing to continue to be vigilant.

Officials “informed (Modi) about the efforts being undertaken to augment the medical infrastructure and capacity building in rural areas,” and Modi asked officials to make relief material easily accessible to rural areas, according to the Prime Minister's office.

Modi said that "“(t)he fight is to save every single life.” 

On Monday, India was hit by the strongest storm on record to reach its west coast, hampering authorities' response to Covid-19 in some of the country's hardest hit regions. Though daily cases have been declining in the last week, Covid-related deaths continue to reach record highs and the crisis is far from over.