March 2 coronavirus news

By Jessie Yeung, Brett McKeehan, Rob Picheta, Kareem Khadder and Ed Upright, CNN

Updated 0711 GMT (1511 HKT) March 3, 2021
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5:20 p.m. ET, March 2, 2021

CVS will begin administering Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccines this week

From CNN’s Samira Said

This Dec. 2, 2020 photo provided by Johnson & Johnson shows vials of the COVID-19 vaccine in the United States. 
This Dec. 2, 2020 photo provided by Johnson & Johnson shows vials of the COVID-19 vaccine in the United States.  Johnson & Johnson/AP

CVS will begin administering Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccines this week, CVS Health spokesperson Ethan Slavin tells CNN. 

“We’ll receive more than 200,000 Johnson & Johnson doses this week, and increase active stores accordingly in the 17 states where we currently offer Covid-19 vaccines,” Slavin said. 

CVS is offering vaccinations as part of the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program in: California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Louisiana, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. 

5:18 p.m. ET, March 2, 2021

Biden cautions "this fight is far from over" as states roll back Covid-19 restrictions

From CNN's Jason Hoffman

President Biden cautioned Americans that the fight against Covid-19 “is far from over” during remarks at the White House on Tuesday, as some states around the country begin to roll back restrictions aimed at combatting the spread of the virus. 

“We're making progress from the mess we inherited. We're moving in the right direction. And today's announcements are a huge step in our effort to beat this pandemic. But I have to be honest with you, this fight is far from over,” Biden said.

He cautioned that things could continue to get worse as new variants spread and unforeseen setbacks like winter weather hamper vaccine distribution. 

“Though we celebrate the news of a third vaccine, I urge all Americans, please keep washing your hands. Stay socially distanced. Wear masks, keep wearing them. Get vaccinated when it's your turn. Now is not the time to let up,” Biden added.  

The President also reiterated his call for all American’s to wear masks for his first 100 days in office hours after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves announced that their states would be lifting mask mandates. 

“There is light at the end of the tunnel, but we cannot let our guard down now to ensure victory is inevitable, we can’t assume that. We must remain vigilant, act fast and aggressively and look out for one another. That's how we're going to get ahead of this virus, get our economy going again and get back to our loved ones,” Biden concluded. 

When asked when he thought the country would get back to normal, Biden said he’s been cautioned not to give an answer to that because things could change, but said he hopes that it will be before this time next year.


5:15 p.m. ET, March 2, 2021

Biden announces goal to get all educators at least one dose of Covid vaccine by end of March

From CNN's DJ Judd

President Joe Biden delivers remarks at the White House in Washington, DC on March 2.
President Joe Biden delivers remarks at the White House in Washington, DC on March 2. Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

President Biden said his administration would order states to prioritize educators in vaccination efforts in remarks from the State Dining Room Tuesday, announcing he was “using the full authority of the federal government” to direct states to move teachers and school staff to the front of the line.

“My challenge to all states, territories and the District of Columbia is this,” Biden said Tuesday. “We want every educator, school staff member and childcare worker to receive at least one shot by the end of the month of March.”

Through the administration’s federal pharmacy program, which allows Americans to get vaccinated at their local pharmacy, Biden said his administration would prioritize educators starting next week for vaccine appointments in an effort to accelerate the reopening of schools.

“We can reopen schools, if the right steps are taken, even before employees are vaccinated,” Biden said, “But time and again, we've heard from educators and parents that have anxieties about that.”

Biden also acknowledged that not every educator would be able to get an appointment in the first week, “but our goal is to do everything we can to help every educator receive a shot this month, the month of March.”

Watch the moment:


4:45 p.m. ET, March 2, 2021

Dolly Parton receives Covid-19 vaccine

From CNN's Konstantin Toropin

Country music start Dolly Parton announced she's received a Covid-19 dose in a tweet from her official account today.

Parton received the shot at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville.

The tweet, which featured a photo of the masked performer getting the vaccine, simply read, "Dolly gets a dose of her own medicine."

Last year, Parton gave a $1 million donation to Covid-19 research which was partly used to fund Moderna's then-promising Covid-19 vaccine.

4:39 p.m. ET, March 2, 2021

There will be enough vaccine doses for every adult in America by May, Biden says

Evan Vucci/AP
Evan Vucci/AP

President Joe Biden said that there will be enough vaccine supply for every adult in America by the end of May, thanks to ramped up production and the authorization of a third vaccine by Johnson & Johnson.

"About three weeks ago, we were able to say we will have enough vaccine supply for adults by the end of July. I'm pleased to announce today as a consequence of this stepped-up process that I've ordered and just outlined, this country will have enough vaccine supply – I'll say it again – for every adult in America by the end of May," he said on Tuesday.

"That's progress, important progress," Biden added.

He also announced a new partnership between Merck and Johnson & Johnson to speed up vaccine production. The federal government will be involved in the partnership and has invoked the Defense Production Act.

Biden said two of Merck's facilities will be converted into production facilities for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, adding that they will operate 24/7.

He also said he asked the Defense Department to provide logistical support.

4:26 p.m. ET, March 2, 2021

Ohio loosens mass gathering health orders

From CNN’s Rebekah Riess

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and Ohio Department of Health Director Stephanie McCloud signed two public health orders today, revising mass gathering health orders in the state.

According to the new orders, events at banquet centers will no longer have a 300-person limitation, as long as they comply with other health orders. Wedding receptions, funeral repasts, proms, and other events will still be required to follow health orders such as masks wearing.

The second amended order, that provides mandatory requirements for youth, collegiate, amateur, club, and professional sports and for entertainment venues, includes changes such as setting the seated capacity limit for indoor sports and entertainment venues at 25%.

The maximum number of spectators that will be allowed in any outdoor sports and entertainment venue will now be 30% of fixed, seated capacity.

According to the governor’s office, both orders are effective starting at 12:01 p.m. today.

4:19 p.m. ET, March 2, 2021

Michigan governor easing Covid-19 restriction ahead of Johnson & Johnson vaccine shipment

From CNN’s Alec Snyder

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, right, speaks during a press briefing in Lansing, Michigan, on March 2.
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, right, speaks during a press briefing in Lansing, Michigan, on March 2. CNN

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced on Tuesday a series of eased Covid-19 restrictions to take effect March 5, both in light of a forthcoming shipment of Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccines and improved positivity rates and cases.

Whitmer said Michigan has administered 2,269,495 Covid-19 vaccines so far. Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun said the state expects to receive 82,700 doses of the newly approved Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

However, Whitmer cautioned that after this week, they will receive far fewer doses as the company works to manufacture the doses simultaneously with distribution.

She also said Michigan is equitably distributing at least 50,000 shots per day to underrepresented groups, a metric the state has met for 16 days. Additionally, Khaldun said the state has vaccinated over 45% of its residents age 65 and over.

Here are some of the restriction changes:

  • Michigan will reopen restaurants and bars at 50% capacity, up from 25%. Up to six people may sit at a single table, and tables must be distanced six feet apart, Whitmer said.
  • All restaurants will have a 11 p.m. curfew. 
  • Michigan will also allow visitations at nursing homes, with up to two visitors allowed per resident, provided there has not been a positive case at the nursing home in the preceding 14 days.
  • Capacity limits in retail, casinos, gyms, stadiums and other entertainment and recreational facilities will also increase, Whitmer said.

The latest numbers: Khaldun said Michigan has had a 3.7% positivity rate over the last week. Inpatient hospitalizations remain down as well, at 3.9%, and both metrics are similar to where the state was in October, she said.

However, Michigan is still bracing with the introduction of the B.1.1.7 variant of the virus. So far, it has identified 422 cases of the variant, two-thirds of which have been associated with a correctional facility outbreak, Khaldun said. Other cases in the state are not traceable, though.

Note: These numbers were released by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and may not line up exactly in real time with CNN’s database drawn from Johns Hopkins University and the Covid Tracking Project.

4:07 p.m. ET, March 2, 2021

Mississippi governor lifting county mask mandates starting tomorrow

From CNN’s Carma Hassan

Mississippi Republican Gov. Tate Reeves speaks at the Governor's Mansion in Jackson, Mississippi, on June 30, 2020.
Mississippi Republican Gov. Tate Reeves speaks at the Governor's Mansion in Jackson, Mississippi, on June 30, 2020. Rogelio V. Solis/Pool/AFP/Getty Images

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves announced the state is lifting their county mask mandates and allowing businesses to operate at full capacity starting tomorrow.

“Starting tomorrow, we are lifting all of our county mask mandates and businesses will be able to operate at full capacity without any state-imposed rules. Our hospitalizations and case numbers have plummeted, and the vaccine is being rapidly distributed. It is time!,” the governor said in a tweet.

Read the tweet:

3:58 p.m. ET, March 2, 2021

Go There: CNN is in Mexico City answering your questions about Latin America's Covid-19 vaccine supply

Latin America is increasingly relying on Russia and China for Covid-19 vaccines. Meanwhile, the White House said on Monday that President Biden is not considering sharing part of the US coronavirus vaccine supply with Mexico.

CNN's international correspondent Matt Rivers was live from Mexico City, answering your questions about the region's vaccine supply and distribution.

Watch more: