March 3 coronavirus news

By Zamira Rahim, Kareem Khadder, Hannah Strange and Jessie Yeung, CNN

Updated 0717 GMT (1517 HKT) March 4, 2021
54 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
7:55 p.m. ET, March 3, 2021

Fauci praises Dolly Parton's Covid-19 rendition of "Jolene"

From CNN's Josiah Ryan


Dr. Anthony Fauci today watched with amusement as country music legend Dolly Parton shared a new version of her song "Jolene" to inspire those who are eligible to get a Covid-19 vaccine.

"You gotta love Dolly Parton," said the nation's top infectious disease expert, chuckling as he watched the country western star perform the song before receiving her first dose of the Moderna vaccine.

"She's giving a good message about people getting vaccinated," said Fauci. "That's just terrific, that's what we need."

"We need people who are respected and admired, entertainers, celebrities, people who get out there, that the community relates to them to get the message to get vaccinated," he continued. "It's really very important."

Parton noted before receiving the vaccine she had waited her turn in line.

"I am old enough to get it and I am smart enough to get it and I even changed one of my songs to fit the occasion," she said, before breaking into song:

"Vaccine, vaccine, vaccine I'm begging you please don't hesitate. 

Vaccine, vaccine, vaccine, vaccine because once you're dead that's a bit too late."

7:48 p.m. ET, March 3, 2021

Fauci says Trump's Covid-19 vaccination was "a lost opportunity"

From CNN’s Lauren Mascarenhas

Former President Trump missed an opportunity to help convince tens of millions of supporters to get vaccinated when he quietly received the Covid-19 vaccine himself, Dr. Anthony Fauci said Wednesday.

Trump received the Covid-19 vaccine at the White House in January, a Trump adviser told CNN on Monday. Fauci told CNN’s Erin Burnett Wednesday that he was not aware that Trump got vaccinated at the time.

“That would have been an extraordinarily good opportunity to get a signal to the people who would clearly have listened to him the way they listened to him in many other ways,” Fauci said.

Fauci noted that Trump is extremely popular among his supporters, who number in the tens of millions.

“He has a great deal of influence,” Fauci said. “It was just unfortunately, a lost opportunity because he could have gotten a lot of people who are hesitant about getting vaccinated, vaccinated. I'm sorry he didn't do that.”


7:34 p.m. ET, March 3, 2021

California may soon allow fans to attend MLB games

From CNN's Cheri Mossburg


As Covid-19 cases continue a downward slide in California, officials are preparing to reopen sectors, including potentially allowing fans attend Major League Baseball games in person.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom said Wednesday he has held “advanced conversations” with MLB and county health officials, that may soon allow fans to return to cheering for their baseball teams in person, adding that he expects details to be released “very, very shortly.”

"If we don't let down our guard,” the governor said at a vaccination event at California State University, Long Beach, “I have all the confidence in the world fans will be back safely in a lot of those outdoor venues." 

Citing a case rate “among the lowest in America,” hospitalization rates, and intensive care admissions dropping by more than 40% in the past two weeks, Newsom warned it’s “not mission accomplished yet.” Nearly 9.5 million vaccine doses have been administered to date, he said, boasting that only six other countries in the world have vaccinated more people than California.

About a dozen counties, possibly including Los Angeles and Orange counties, are expected to move out of the state’s most restrictive tier by next week. Currently, 40 of the state’s 58 counties remain under the most stringent restrictions, forcing the closure of indoor dining and other nonessential activities.

Virus mutations remain a concern as the variant first seen in New York has now been detected in California. For the first time, the Brazil variant has been detected in Los Angeles County, according to Health Director Barbara Ferrer.

6:59 p.m. ET, March 3, 2021

Covid-19 vaccines likely available for high school students this fall, and early 2022 for children, Fauci says

From CNN's Ryan Prior

While vaccines will be available for all US adults by the end of May, teenagers will still have to wait until the fall. And vaccines for children younger than age 13 most likely won’t be available until early next year.

"Right now, we project that the clinical trials will give us information that by the time we get to the fall, high school students will be able to be vaccinated," Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on Wednesday. "I'm not sure if it's going to be by the first day of school, but sometime in the fall." 

Their younger siblings will have to hold out a little bit longer, he explained, during a livestreamed town hall event with members of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union.

"The way the program is now scheduled, children who are elementary school, 6 to 12, that group of individuals ... those individuals will not be able to be vaccinated until their trials are finished, which will likely be at the earliest, the end of this year," Fauci said. "More likely the first quarter of 2022."

Answering union members' questions about possible vaccine side effects, Fauci emphasized that adverse events after vaccination are "extraordinarily rare." He also gave his personal experience of the flu-like symptoms many people report after a second vaccine dose.

"I felt the same kind of transient ache in the arm, but then maybe eight or nine or 10 hours into the day, I started to feel fatigued, just sort of washed out," he said. "I felt a little chilly. I remember because my wife had a shirt on, and I was in the kitchen with a sweater and a jacket and I still felt a little bit chilly. I felt a little bit achy. I went to bed that night, woke up the next morning, still felt a little bit fatigued. By the time I got into that afternoon and that evening, I was back to normal."

6:48 p.m. ET, March 3, 2021

CDC guidance for people who have been fully vaccinated not expected Thursday

From CNN's Elizabeth Cohen and John Bonifield

A pharmacist administers the second dosage of the Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine during a clinic at The Watermark at Bellingham in East Goshen Wednesday, February 24.
A pharmacist administers the second dosage of the Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine during a clinic at The Watermark at Bellingham in East Goshen Wednesday, February 24. Pete Bannan/MediaNews Group/Daily Local News/Getty Images/FILE

A federal official tells CNN the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will not release guidance Thursday for people who have been fully vaccinated. 

The agency will release the guidelines when they are finalized later this week, according to a CDC official. 

The CDC won't advise vaccinated Americans that they can go back to life as it was in 2019, according to a Biden administration official. 

“It’s not that simple because not everybody has been vaccinated, and we haven’t reached the point where there is population-level immunity where we can give broad advice like that. It’s not possible yet to say, 'Yeah, you’re vaccinated, so everything is hunky dory,'" the Biden official said. 

The CDC official confirmed that a Politico article accurately characterized the guidelines as recommending that fully vaccinated people limit their social interactions to small home gatherings with other fully vaccinated people, that fully vaccinated people continue to wear masks in public and practice social distancing, and that the agency will also give guidance for travel. 

The guidelines won't be prescriptive about what vaccinated people can and cannot do in all circumstances, according to the administration official. For example, it won't say vaccinated people can or cannot go to specific places or business establishments. 

“It’s impossible to get to that level of detail – we can’t predict every situation that human beings will be in,” the Biden official explained. “What we can do is give principles for people to think through. It will give people the means to think through it and then they can choose what level of risk they wish to take.” 

Some of the guidance will be specifically for residents of long-term care facilities such as nursing homes, including guidelines for having visitors and socializing among residents. 

The Biden official said it hoped that people who are not sure if they want to be vaccinated will see the benefits and choose to get vaccinated.  

“We’re not going to hold it over their heads – ‘if you don’t get vaccinated you can’t play with the other kids’ — but rather ‘here are reasons to get vaccinated and it’s safe to get vaccinated,'" the Biden official said. 

6:11 p.m. ET, March 3, 2021

More research suggests coronavirus variant first seen in UK can drive a new surge of infections

From CNN's Maggie Fox

Researchers published more evidence Wednesday that the B.1.1.7 coronavirus variant first seen in the UK is more contagious than older circulating versions of the virus and said it’s likely to drive a large new surge of infections without much faster vaccination and more shutdowns, as well.

This particular variant has been seen in at least 82 countries, including 44 US states, plus Washington, DC and Puerto Rico. It is also designated VOC 202012/01 – meaning the first variant of concern to have been identified in December of 2020.

Nicholas Davies of the Centre for Mathematical Modelling of Infectious Diseases at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and colleagues took a broad and deep look at the spread of the variant across England. One important measure they looked at is reproductive number – how many other people each infected person infects, on average.

“Using a variety of statistical and dynamic modeling approaches, we estimate that this variant has a 43–90% higher reproduction number than preexisting variants,” they wrote in a report published in the journal Science. “Without stringent control measures, including limited closure of educational institutions and a greatly accelerated vaccine roll-out, COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths across England in 2021 will exceed those in 2020,” they wrote.

“VOC 202012/01 appears unmatched in its ability to outcompete other SARS-CoV-2 lineages in England,” they added. “Concerningly, VOC 202012/01 has spread globally and exhibits a similar transmission increase (59–74%) in Denmark, Switzerland, and the United States.”

By mid-February, B.1.1.7 accounted for 95% of new coronavirus infections in England. Increased transmissibility is the best explanation for the spread of the variant, they said, and they also couldn’t find evidence it was any more deadly or any more likely to cause severe disease. But they said it’s too early to say for sure it’s not any more harmful, and other studies have indicated it might be.

To keep up, England would need to be fully vaccinating 2 million people a week, they said, and even then, school closures or other measures might be needed. Fewer than 1 million people in England have been fully vaccinated so far, according to the UK government. In the US, close to 27 million people have received both doses.

6:07 p.m. ET, March 3, 2021

Seven-day average of Covid-19 vaccines administered surpasses 2 million per day

From CNN’s Deidre McPhillips

A nurse administers the second dose of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine on March 3, in Los Angeles, at the Sisters of Saint Joseph of Carondelet independent living center.
A nurse administers the second dose of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine on March 3, in Los Angeles, at the Sisters of Saint Joseph of Carondelet independent living center. Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images


About 80.5 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine have been administered in the United States, according to data published Wednesday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC reported that 80,540,474 total doses have been administered, about 75% of the 107,028,890 doses delivered.

That’s about 1.9 million more administered doses reported since yesterday, for a seven-day average of more than 2 million doses per day for the first time.

About 16% of the population — nearly 53 million people — have now received at least one dose of vaccine and more than 8% of the population – about 27 million people — 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.

6:05 p.m. ET, March 3, 2021

Fauci calls states' decision to lift Covid-19 control measures "ill-advised"

From CNN's Ryan Prior

The decision by governors of states such as Texas and Mississippi to lift mask mandates and restrictions on large gatherings was “ill-advised,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Wednesday.

"It is really quite risky to do that, for the simple reason that if you look at the amount of infection that there is in the community right now, even though the slope is coming down sharply, if you look at the last seven-day average, it's (plateaued),” Fauci said during a town hall meeting broadcast on Facebook Live with the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union.

“That is a dangerous sign, because when that has happened in the past, when you pull back on measures of public health, invariably you've seen a surge back up. So we really don't want to claim premature victory,” he added.

"Right now their level of community spread is between 55 and 70,000 cases per day," Fauci said. "In order to pull back on all public health measures, you want that level to be remarkably low — very, very low. And 60 to 70,000 per day is definitely not low."

5:39 p.m. ET, March 3, 2021

Johnson and Johnson vaccine will be prioritized for educators, Georgia governor says

From CNN's Juan Alejandro Olarte-Cortes, Angela Barajas and Lindsay Benson 

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp CNN

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp said he expects the state to receive 83,000 doses of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, which will be prioritized for educators to expedite a full return to the classroom.  

The rest of the vaccines will go to adults with developmental disabilities, and parents and caregivers of children with developmental disabilities and complex medical conditions.  

"Every student belongs in the classroom, five days a week, full time, as soon as possible. That is my expectation moving forward. And we look forward to partnering with local districts to ensure that this happens very quickly," Kemp said during a news conference in Atlanta on Wednesday.   

Kemp said the expanded eligibility will include approximately a million more Georgians. Half a million of this population includes teachers, bus drivers, and other school staff.  

The state is also opening five additional mass vaccination sites. With four sites already in operation, the state expects to increase its weekly capacity to 45,000 doses at all locations. 

"We've now given at least one dose to over 860,000 Georgians over the age of 65, which is a group that accounts for 77% of Georgia's deaths due to Covid-19," Kemp said.

The governor said the sites will begin to operate on March 17.

"As of today, over the last 28 days we have administered 1.1 million vaccine doses," Kemp said.

Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that Georgia ranks below the national average in vaccine distribution per 100,000 people.