March 9 coronavirus news

By Ben Westcott, Meg Wagner, Melissa Macaya, Mike Hayes, Kara Fox, and Veronica Rocha, CNN

Updated 0803 GMT (1603 HKT) March 10, 2021
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1:30 p.m. ET, March 9, 2021

Rhode Island plans to vaccinate all teachers by end of March

From CNN's Elizabeth Stuart

Rhode Island Gov. Dan McKee announced on Tuesday the state's plan to get all teachers, school staff and child care providers at least the first dose of their Covid-19 vaccine by the end of the month.

McKee said the plan supports the roadmap laid out by President Biden to prioritize teachers and to strive for a higher teacher vaccination rate.

“Getting our teachers, school staff, and child care workers vaccinated is one of the best things we can do right now to support students, families, schools, and our economy,” the governor said.

The plan comes a week after CVS and Walgreens pharmacies in Rhode Island made teachers eligible for the vaccine. McKee said the effort will continue into April to ensure all teachers also get their second dose of the vaccine. 

"We're going to do everything that we possibly can to make sure that we salvage some of the school year in a real, strong way. We really need that time," he said.

State health officials said they estimate the plan will include 18,500 teachers and school staff, adding that a third of teachers have already been eligible for vaccinations under other cohorts such as age.

Education officials support the plan as a way to prioritize in-person learning to return in a more robust way.

"Our teachers have shown up, have been doing the work," said Rhode Island's Education Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green. "Our teachers deserve to have this added layer of mitigation, so we're excited about being part of this new plan for vaccination."

1:24 p.m. ET, March 9, 2021

Women tend to report worse Covid-19 vaccine side effects than men. Here's why.

From CNN's Jacqueline Howard

Signs first emerged early in the Covid-19 vaccine rollout in the United States that more women than men were reporting adverse side effects. 

Researchers at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the US Food and Drug Administration found that from mid-December through mid-January, among the more than 13 million vaccine doses that were administered, almost 6,994 adverse events were reported.

About 79% of those events were reported in women, even though only about 61% of Covid-19 vaccine doses at the time were given to women, according to the data published by the CDC in late February. Most of the symptoms reported were headache, fatigue and dizziness.

In general, these sex differences seen in adverse events among men and women are at least partly because women comprise a greater proportion of the total number of people vaccinated compared to men, and women comprise a greater proportion of people included in safety monitoring of the vaccine, Julianne Gee, a researcher in the CDC's Immunization Safety Office, told CNN in an email on Tuesday. But there might be some biological differences too.

"Regarding biological plausibility, studies conducted before COVID-19 vaccines were in use suggest that females have higher antibody responses than males to certain vaccines, including influenza vaccines. Conversely, males have higher antibody responses to other vaccines including tetanus vaccine," Gee said in her email.

"Women generally develop stronger immune responses, including high antibody levels and greater T-cell activation, which can lead to more rapid control of infection but may also lead to increased reactogenicity after vaccines," Gee said. "Females also have more reactions to a variety of vaccines including influenza."

1:23 p.m. ET, March 9, 2021

Canada will honor lives lost from Covid-19 in a national day of observance Thursday

From CNN’s Paula Newton

Canada will honor people who died of Covid-19 on Thursday in what is being billed as a national day of observance.

“There are no words for the pain of losing someone you love. As a country we remember all those we lost and we mourn with families and friends,” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said at a news conference Tuesday.

Canada has recorded nearly 900,000 cases of Covid-19 and more than 22,000 deaths.

After a sluggish rollout, Trudeau promised that vaccine shipments would continue to pick up across the country.

Public health officials say more than 5% of Canadians have received at least one dose of a vaccine but new variants will continue to pose a significant risk to public health in the weeks to come.

12:55 p.m. ET, March 9, 2021

Covid-19 disability will need to be managed even after pandemic is over, public health expert says

From CNN's Virginia Langmaid

Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of the Brown University School of Public Health, speaks during a Senate committee hearing on Covid-19 response on March 9.
Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of the Brown University School of Public Health, speaks during a Senate committee hearing on Covid-19 response on March 9. Pool

Once the Covid-19 pandemic is over in the United States, the country will have a large number of people disabled from the virus who need help, Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of the Brown University School of Public Health, said Tuesday. 

Speaking to a Senate committee hearing on Covid-19 response, Jha said he found it frustrating that the focus on mortality rates and push for herd immunity did not take into account the chronic effects of Covid-19 in some who were infected. 

“We did not appreciate the effects for people, the large number of people who got infected and recovered, didn’t die thankfully, but had substantial, chronic, debilitating symptoms,” Jha said when asked about people who experience symptoms beyond the initial illness.

“When our President declares the public health emergency over, we are going to find a large number of Americans with substantial disability from this virus, from this infection,” Jha said. “The cost of that, human and financial, is going to be long-term. And we’re going to have to manage that as a country.”

12:28 p.m. ET, March 9, 2021

Scotland will ease Covid restrictions on Friday

From CNN’s Chloe Adams in Glasgow

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon speaks during a session at the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh, Scotland, on March 9.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon speaks during a session at the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh, Scotland, on March 9. Andy Buchanan/Pool/Getty Images

Scotland will ease some lockdown restrictions and limits on outdoor meetings and activities on Friday, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced on Tuesday.

Up to four adults from two households will be able to meet in any outdoor space, including private gardens, under the updated rules. 

Changes to outdoor meetings for 12- to 17-year-olds will mean four friends from four different families can meet outdoors, she said.

Outdoor non-contact sports and organized group exercise will be permitted for all adults in groups of up to 15 people as of Friday, Sturgeon said.

She said the changes will mean a return to communal worship for upcoming Jewish, Christian, Muslim and Hindu and Sikh holidays starting on March 26, when the limit on attendance will be increased from 20 to 50, with six feet of physical distancing. 

“This is in time for Passover, Easter, Ramadan and Vaisakhi,” Sturgeon said. "I know that the restrictions on communal worship have been really difficult for many people, despite the exceptional — quite exceptional — efforts made by faith groups to reach out to their communities.”

Current guidance in mainland Scotland is to stay at home, except for essential purposes. Scotland, like Wales and Northern Ireland, sets its coronavirus rules independently from the UK government.

Plans to set out a firm timeline for reopening the economy, including shops, hairdressers, gyms, and parts of the tourism sector, will be announced next week. 

12:27 p.m. ET, March 9, 2021

New Yorkers age 60 and up can get a Covid-19 vaccine starting tomorrow

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo just announced that residents ages 60 and up can get vaccinated against coronavirus starting tomorrow morning.

Previously, only residents 65 and up, as well as some essential workers and some people with certain underlying conditions, were eligible for the vaccine.

Watch Gov. Cuomo:

11:22 a.m. ET, March 9, 2021

Catch up: Here's the latest on the pandemic, vaccines and US stimulus

It's just before noon on Tuesday in the US, where more than 29 million cases of coronavirus have been reported since the pandemic began.

If you're just reading in, here's what you need to know about the pandemic to start your day:

  • New CDC guidelines: The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced its highly anticipated guidelines for fully vaccinated citizens on Monday. The CDC says those people can visit other vaccinated people indoors without masks or physical distancing and unvaccinated people from a single household if they are at low risk for severe disease. Still, the CDC encourages even those fully vaccinated to wear a mask, maintain social distance while in public and avoid traveling.
  • Stimulus checks: The House of Representatives is likely to have a final vote on President Biden's $1.9 trillion Covid relief plan on Wednesday. If the bill passes, it includes up to $1,400 stimulus checks to many Americans, and billions of dollars for states and municipalities, schools, small businesses and vaccine distribution.
  • Emerging variant: Even though the rate of new coronavirus cases has been decreasing since the start of the year, the highly contagious B.1.1.7 variant has spread across the US. Researchers have detected it in at least 46 states and Washington, DC. Research shows that in the US, the B.1.1.7 variant is 59% to 74% more transmissible than the original novel coronavirus.
  • Herd immunity: At the rate that the US is vaccinating, the country could reach herd immunity by summer, a CNN analysis of federal data shows. At the current pace of about 2 million shots per day — the latest seven-day average of doses administered reported by the CDC — the US could reach herd immunity by summer through vaccinations alone.
11:31 a.m. ET, March 9, 2021

US House will have final vote on Biden's Covid-19 relief package tomorrow

From CNN's Manu Raju and Lauren Fox

The US Capitol is seen in Washington, DC, on March 8.
The US Capitol is seen in Washington, DC, on March 8. Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images

The $1.9 trillion Covid-19 relief bill has finally been sent to the House after a lengthy procedural process, according to a Democratic aide familiar with the matter. 

The House will give final passage to the bill Wednesday morning, according to a Democratic leadership aide. The House Rules Committee will take up the rule today, and the House will approve the rule governing floor debate tonight, the aide said.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said he expects the rule to be adopted “late this afternoon,” with a vote to consider the package tomorrow at 9 a.m. ET.

House Democratic Caucus Chair Hakeem Jeffries, meanwhile, called the Covid-19 relief bill “transformative.”

“It’s transformative,” he said. “It will comprehensively and compassionately meet the moment.”

When pressed whether Democrats were taking a victory lap too early, and whether he was confident that the bill would clear the House with the Senate’s changes in it, Jeffries was bullish.

“I’m 110% confident,” he said. “And we’ll pass it hopefully with some Republican votes although, you know, that remains to be seen. What’s perplexing to a lot of us is that the American Rescue Plan is bipartisan across the country.”

If the House passes the bill, it is expected to be signed by President Biden shortly after.

What is in the bill: The nearly $2 trillion package includes up to $1,400 stimulus checks to many Americans, and billions of dollars for states and municipalities, schools, small businesses and vaccine distribution.

Roughly 90% of American households will be eligible to receive stimulus checks, according to an estimate from the Penn Wharton Budget Model. Read more about the checks here.

CNN's Kristin Wilson, Ryan Nobles and Clare Foran contributed reporting to this post. 

10:57 a.m. ET, March 9, 2021

Travel recommendations were discussed, but not included, in CDC’s guidance for fully vaccinated Americans

From CNN's Kaitlan Collins and Ben Tinker

A general view of the Centers for Disease Control headquarters is seen in Atlanta on April 23, 2020.
A general view of the Centers for Disease Control headquarters is seen in Atlanta on April 23, 2020. Tami Chappell/AFP/Getty Images

As the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention worked to prepare guidance for people who are fully vaccinated against Covid-19, the possibility of changing travel recommendations was discussed but there was never a lot of momentum behind adjusting it right now, two federal health officials familiar with the discussion tell CNN.

The CDC announced on Monday that people who are fully vaccinated:

  • Can gather indoors with fully vaccinated people without wearing a mask
  • Can gather indoors with unvaccinated people from one household without masks, unless any of those people or anyone they live with has an increased risk for severe illness from Covid-19
  • Do not need to stay away from others or get tested unless you have symptoms 

Among the things CDC said hasn’t changed: “You should still delay domestic and international travel. If you do travel, you’ll still need to follow CDC requirements and recommendations.”

“Early data show that the vaccines may help keep people from spreading COVID-19, but we are learning more are more people get vaccinated,” the CDC added.