The latest on the Covid-19 pandemic

By Fernando Alfonso III, CNN

Updated 3:32 p.m. ET, July 17, 2021
10 Posts
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3:29 p.m. ET, July 17, 2021

Fauci "would be astounded" if Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine doesn’t receive full FDA approval by the end of August

From CNN's Ben Tinker and Jamie Gumbrecht

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said he “would be astounded” if Pfizer/BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine does not receive full approval from the US Food and Drug Administration by the end of August.

“I don’t want to get ahead of the FDA, but likely, from what we’re hearing, it’s going to be in a matter of a month or so,” Fauci told CNN on Saturday. “I would hope, by the time we get to the end of August, that we have full approval. “But even between now and then, people should realize that the data of the efficacy and real-world effectiveness of these vaccines is really extraordinary – not only in the United States, but in multiple countries throughout the world. So I would be astounded if we did not get full approval within that timeframe."

On Friday: Pfizer and BioNTech announced that the FDA had granted priority review designation to the companies’ application for approval of their Covid-19 vaccine. The goal date for a decision from the FDA is January 2022, the companies said.

Pfizer and BioNTech began submitting their Biologics License Application for their Covid-19 vaccine for people ages 16 and older in May.

3:26 p.m. ET, July 17, 2021

Fauci: "We probably would still have polio in this country if we had the kind of false information that’s being spread now"

From CNN's Ben Tinker

CNN
CNN

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, spoke with CNN today about the Covid-19 vaccine misinformation being spread and how it compares to other diseases like smallpox.

“We probably would still have polio in this country if we had the kind of false information that’s being spread now," Fauci told CNN. “If you look at the extraordinary success in eradicating smallpox and eliminating polio for most of the world – and we’re on the brink of eradicating polio – if we had had the pushback for vaccines the way we’re seeing on certain media, I don’t think it would’ve been possible at all to not only eradicate smallpox, we probably would still have smallpox."

 

12:59 p.m. ET, July 17, 2021

Hospitalizations rise in Alabama community due to Delta variant and vaccine hesitancy, officials say

From CNN’s Camille Furst

The community of Mobile, Alabama, is seeing impacts from vaccination hesitancy as the Delta variant spreads.

There has been a 400% increase in hospitalizations in the past month, said Dr. Laura Cepeda, the chief medical officer of the Mobile County Health Department (MCHD), at a press conference Friday.

Commissioner Merceria Ludgood said that only a fourth of Mobile County residents are fully vaccinated.

"Months ago when we were having these meetings, we were anxiously awaiting the vaccine," Ludgood said.

Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson encouraged those who have received their shots to speak to their neighbors, family members and friends about getting vaccinated.

"Today we have sports heroes, we have rock stars, we have movie stars, coaches encouraging people all across this country to get vaccinated," Stimpson said. "But if you've been vaccinated, don't underestimate your ability to reach out to someone and encourage them to do it. … You may be that person to convince them that this is the right thing to do."

12:02 p.m. ET, July 17, 2021

France will request 24-hour Covid-19 tests from some European arrivals

From Barbara Wojazer

Starting Sunday, unvaccinated travelers from the United Kingdom, Spain, Portugal, Cyprus, the Netherlands and Greece will need to show a negative PCR or antigen test taken within the past 24 hours to be allowed on the French territory, the French prime minister’s office said in a press release on Saturday.

“As the epidemic dynamic is on the rise again at the global level and on national territory because of the rapid spread of the Delta variant, the government has decided to adapt its measures for controlling arrivals,” according to the press release.

At the same time, “because vaccines are efficient against the virus, including the Delta variant,” the government announced it would lift all restrictions for vaccinated travelers, whether coming from countries classified as red, orange or green. 

2:39 p.m. ET, July 17, 2021

Canada surpasses US in percentage of fully vaccinated against Covid-19

From CNN's Chuck Johnston

People receive their Covid-19 vaccinations at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto on June 27, 2021.
People receive their Covid-19 vaccinations at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto on June 27, 2021. Steve Russell/Toronto Star/Getty Images

Canada and the US were neck and neck early Saturday afternoon in the percentage of fully vaccinated people, according to data from the countries’ governments.

So far, 18,286,671 Canadians, or 48.65%, have been fully vaccinated, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, compared with 160,686,378 or 48.4% of Americans, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

On Thursday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that Canada could start allowing fully vaccinated US citizens and permanent residents on non-essential travel into the country by mid-August.

In a call Thursday with Canada's provincial and territorial premiers, Trudeau also said Canada could potentially open to fully vaccinated travelers in all countries by early September if the current vaccination trend continues.

Some context: The US and Canada mutually agreed to shut down the border in March 2020 as the coronavirus pandemic was just beginning.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this post included incorrect information about the number and percentage of Canadians fully vaccinated for Covid-19.

11:03 a.m. ET, July 17, 2021

UK health minister tests positive for Covid-19, self-isolates

From CNN’s Martin Goillandeau

Britain’s Health Secretary Sajid Javid leaves 10 Downing Street in London on June 30, 2021.
Britain’s Health Secretary Sajid Javid leaves 10 Downing Street in London on June 30, 2021. David Cliff/NurPhoto/Shutterstock

Britain’s Health Secretary Sajid Javid, 51, said in a video posted on Twitter Saturday that he has tested positive for Covid-19.

“I was feeling a bit groggy last night, so I took a lateral flow test this morning, which turned out positive,” Javid said, adding he was now self-isolating at home with his family until he got the result of a PCR test.

Javid was reappointed to Boris Johnson’s Cabinet as health secretary last month, following the resignation of Matt Hancock.

 

8:45 a.m. ET, July 17, 2021

TSA screened nearly 2.2 million people on Friday

From CNN’s Pete Muntean

The number of people traveling by air hit a new pandemic-era record on Friday, as summer travel continues to pick up. 

The Transportation Security Administration said it screened 2,199,815 people at airports across the country, the highest throughput since the start of the pandemic. 

More from the TSA:

12:47 p.m. ET, July 17, 2021

First case of Covid-19 detected in Tokyo's Olympic Village

From CNN’s Junko Ogura

The Tokyo Olympics athletes' village in Japan is pictured from a helicopter on June 26, 2021.
The Tokyo Olympics athletes' village in Japan is pictured from a helicopter on June 26, 2021. Carl Court/Getty Images

An unidentified overseas visitor has tested positive for Covid-19 at the Tokyo Olympics athletes' village, organizers said on Saturday, the first such case amid concerns the games could become a super-spreader event.

Speaking at a news conference, Tokyo 2020 CEO Toshiro Muto confirmed a non-resident of Japan who is involved in organizing the games had tested positive, adding that the individual has been taken into quarantine outside of the village. He would not reveal the person's nationality, citing privacy concerns.

There have now been a total of 45 Covid-19 cases linked to the games, with athletes, officials and contractors testing positive for the virus. Athletes are just starting to arrive for the games, which run July 23 through Aug. 8.

 

12:58 p.m. ET, July 17, 2021

Covid-19 cases and deaths in Thailand hit record highs

From CNN’s Kocha Olarn

Siam Nonthaburi Foundation volunteers carry a coffin with a Covid-19 victim in Nonthaburi Province, Thailand, on July 12, 2021.
Siam Nonthaburi Foundation volunteers carry a coffin with a Covid-19 victim in Nonthaburi Province, Thailand, on July 12, 2021. Sakchai Lalit/AP

Thailand has recorded its highest number of new Covid-19 cases and deaths on Saturday since the pandemic began, according to Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health.

The country had 10,082 new Covid-19 cases and 141 Covid-19 related deaths on Saturday.

The country’s total death toll stands 3,240 and a total of 391,989 people have tested positive for the disease.

The Bangkok metropolitan area reported the highest number of infections with 4,841 new cases, as well as 108 deaths.

Thailand declared semi-lockdowns in the Bangkok metropolitan and 6 other province on July 12. But the number of new cases and death has continued to rise.

Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha posted a statement on his official Facebook page on Friday, hinting that more restrictions are being considered for the 10 provinces currently under semi-lockdowns since the number of infections has not improved.

“I have instructed governors nationwide, especially 10 provinces where categorized as the darkest red zone and provinces where number of infections have increased, to prepare for the elevation of more travelling restrictions and disease control measures in each provinces,” he said in his post.