By Eoin McSweeney, Hannah Strange and Jessie Yeung, CNN
Updated 0642 GMT (1442 HKT) February 26, 2021
3:01 p.m. ET, February 25, 2021
About 68 million Covid-19 vaccine doses have been administered in the US
From CNN's Naomi Thomas
About 68 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine have been administered in the United States, according to data published Thursday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The CDC reported that 68,274,117 total doses have been administered, about 74% of the 91,673,010 doses delivered.
That’s about two million more administered doses reported since Wednesday, for a seven-day average of about 1.5 million doses per day.
Just over 46 million people have no received at least one dose of vaccine and about 21.5 million have been fully vaccinated with both shots, CDC data shows.
Note: Data published by the CDC may be delayed, and doses may not have been given on the day reported.
2:38 p.m. ET, February 25, 2021
Hungary facing "most difficult two weeks" of the pandemic so far, prime minister says
From CNN's Sharon Braithwaite
Hungary is facing its "most difficult two weeks" of the coronavirus pandemic so far, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said in a video message Thursday, according to Hungary's International Communications Office.
Orbán added that Hungarian hospitals are facing unprecedented pressure due to the spread of Covid-19 variants.
“I have nothing but bad news. The situation is that we are facing the most difficult two weeks of the entire epidemic," Orbán said in the video posted to Facebook. "Due to the appearance of new mutations, the number of infections is increasing intensively, and will continue to increase."
Orbán also said the country "will need every physician, every nurse, every ventilator," Hungary's International Communications Office told CNN.
“We are racing against time,” Orbán added. "I’m asking everyone to register and to have themselves vaccinated.”
Hungary has recorded at least 414,514 coronavirus cases and at least 14,672 deaths since the pandemic began, according to the latest data from Johns Hopkins University.
2:42 p.m. ET, February 25, 2021
California business owner speaks out against anti-Asian attacks after suspected hate crime
From CNN's Maureen Chowdhury
Kelly Shum, owner of Mad Butcher Meat Company —a family-run Chinese butcher shop in Sacramento, California, spoke out against anti-Asian sentiments and attacks her family has faced for the past year — since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Recently, a customer found a mutilated cat in the parking lot of Shum’s business, which Sacramento Police is investigating as a hate crime, according to reports. Shum said the suspected man had come into the store beforehand.
“I would be lying to you if I told you I was surprised. I wasn't surprised that it had gotten to this level of violence. We've been dealing with this for the last year. We actually have a security guard out front, which is very not typical of a butcher shop, but we actually have him out front for our safety and protection and this is the exact reason why,” Shum told CNN’s Brianna Keilar.
Shum became emotional as she told Keilar of other instances of when her family faced racist attacks and verbal slurs.
“It's very difficult for me to talk about. The reason why we have a security guard in the first place is because most of our workers are Chinese here. And, my sister was at the door with a mask, since we knew what the perception was, my sister was actually at the door, enforcing that people wear a masks because we knew how people felt about it, and someone tried to attack her and when they did they called her the China virus and the coronavirus, and — like I said. I'm just not surprised at the level of violence and anti-Asian rhetoric, especially anti-Chinese rhetoric, that's kind of going around right now,” Shum said.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom recently signed measures specifically targeting bias and hate crimes against Asian people, but Shum said that she doesn’t think it will make a difference.
Shum noted how she was interrogated about the cat incident as if she did it as a publicity stunt and was told that “maybe this wasn’t going to be taking seriously as a hate crime and maybe it’s going to be categorized under vandalism.”
“I don't think that anything's going to come of this. I don't think there is actually going to be change just because a bill has been passed passed. I just saw with my own experience this week how devastating and traumatizing that this can be,” Shum explained.
2:53 p.m. ET, February 25, 2021
Oregon governor extends Covid-19 state of emergency for 60 days
From CNN’s Artemis Moshtaghian
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown extended the state of emergency due to Covid-19 for an additional 60 days on Thursday, according to a statement released by her office.
The state of emergency will last through May 2 and means that Oregon can fully utilize federal Covid-19 relief and assistance, including help with vaccine distribution, the statement said.
“When I issued my first state of emergency declaration last March, there were 14 known cases of Covid-19 in Oregon,” Brown in the statement. “Today, we have now seen more than 150,000 cases across the state, and, sadly, 2,194 deaths.”
2:13 p.m. ET, February 25, 2021
CDC report suggests 5 patients at Kentucky nursing facility were reinfected with Covid-19
From CNN’s Christopher Rios
Five residents of a skilled nursing facility in Kentucky may have been reinfected with coronavirus in the fall after testing positive for the virus in the summer, a new report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests.
The five residents tested positive for Covid-19 in two separate outbreaks three months apart; the first was in July and the second in October. Each of the five residents, aged 67 to 99, received multiple negative tests between the first and second outbreak, the report said.
The five patients were asymptotic or only mildly symptomatic during the first outbreak but experienced more severe symptoms during their second infection. During the second outbreak, one of the five patients required hospitalization and eventually died, the report says.
“The finding that all five patients with recurrent COVID-19 had either asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic courses during the first infection is noteworthy, suggesting the possibility that asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic initial infections do not produce sufficiently robust immune response to prevent reinfection,” the report said.
After the first outbreak, weekly testing of all noninfected health care personnel and residents occurred for more than 14 days after the last positive case was identified. And the Kentucky Department of Public Health encouraged the facility to monitor hand hygiene, emphasize environmental cleaning and disinfection, practice universal masking, use standard precautions for general resident content, restrict visitation based on county-level incidence rates, among other precautions.
“Reinfection risk to the general population is suspected to be low,” the report said. “But SNF residents might have higher risk for new exposures. Based on the observations of this report, testing and cohorting practices in SNFs should not assume that residents infected greater than 90 days earlier are immune to COVID-19.”
The CDC-led team says the findings support the possibility of reinfection, although there is a possibility some of the earlier tests were false positives. Patients’ samples were not stored, so genomic sequencing could not be performed.
“The findings also suggest the possibility that disease can be more severe during a second infection,” the report said.
The report said such facilities should use strategies to reduce coronavirus transmission among residents, including those who have previously had a positive test, and vaccination is key.
A study published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine this week found that people who tested positive for Covid-19 antibodies were at a decreased risk of coronavirus infection compared with those who tested negative for antibodies, but it noted that more research is needed to determine a causal relationship and for how long protection from antibodies may last.
2:13 p.m. ET, February 25, 2021
Go There: CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta answers your questions about Johnson & Johnson's single-dose Covid-19 vaccine
The US Food and Drug Administration says the single-dose Covid-19 vaccine developed by Johnson & Johnson meets requirements for emergency use, and data confirms it is safe and effective.
The FDA's Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee will meet tomorrow and after will make its authorization recommendation to the FDA.
CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta was live in New York, where he took viewers' questions on this vaccine.
1:10 p.m. ET, February 25, 2021
Global coronavirus death toll surpasses 2.5 million
From CNN's Hamdi Alkhshali
More than 2.5 million people across the world have died due to coronavirus.
At least 2,500,770 people have died since the beginning of the pandemic, according to Johns Hopkins University data.
The milestone of 2 million global Covid-19 deaths was recorded on Jan. 15.
The US leads with the most deaths followed by Brazil, Mexico, India and the UK.
On Feb. 22, the US surpassed the 500,00 total Covid-19 deaths mark, according to Johns Hopkins University.
At least 112,716,833 Covid-19 cases have been reported globally since the beginning of the pandemic, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
11:47 a.m. ET, February 25, 2021
How Dubai plans to work with Emirates airlines to verify passengers' Covid-19 tests
From CNN's John Defterios
Dubai plans to link the IT systems of its health authority with Emirates’ reservation and check-in systems, in order to facilitate the digital verification of air passengers' Covid-19 testing and vaccination data.
In a news release, Emirates said the project will allow for “the efficient sharing, storing and verification of passenger health information related to COVID-19 infection, testing and vaccination, all in a secure and legally compliant manner. The project will commence immediately, with the aim of bringing it to "live" implementation to benefit travellers in the coming months.”
11:30 a.m. ET, February 25, 2021
AstraZeneca CEO "very confident" vaccine yield will improve in second quarter
From CNN's Chloe Adams
AstraZeneca is "very confident" its Covid-19 vaccine yield will improve in the second quarter, noting that the company could even "catch up" to the supply volumes originally projected, company CEO Pascal Soriot said during an European Union virtual summit Thursday.
"As our teams learn from each other and improve their knowledge, the yield is increasing," Soriot said. "We are very confident that the year to increase across the network so that's one thing we are working very hard on is improving the yield."
"By Q2, we actually catch up to the volume that we had projected originally to produce. And those sites will be a variety of locations around the world, including the United States and some others," Soriot added.
The AstraZeneca CEO said yields have been lower than expected because some of the company's sites have been slow to ramp up production and because "manufacturing of a vaccine is a very complex biological process."
"I can tell you though that the overwhelming majority of what is manufactured in the EU, including the Netherlands facility, is actually going to be used in the EU supply," Soriot told EU officials during the summit.