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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2:42 p.m. ET, March 9, 2021

Louisiana expands vaccine eligibility to people 16 and older with certain health conditions

From CNN's Gisela Crespo

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards on Tuesday announced that effective immediately, people 16 and older with certain health conditions will be eligible to receive the Covid-19 vaccine.

Speaking during a briefing, Edwards said the conditions are those listed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that place an individual at a higher risk of suffering serious complications from contracting the virus.

"We came to this decision after hearing from our providers over the weekend that there's a little slack in the appointments, and that they were able to accommodate and ready to accommodate more people," Edwards said. "We also have had a very stable supply [of vaccine], especially of the Moderna and the Pfizer, so we feel comfortable about what's coming ahead."

The governor noted that at the moment, only the Pfizer vaccine is authorized for 16 and 17-year-olds. Individuals would need to complete a form for vaccine providers that certifies they have one or more health conditions that make them eligible to get vaccinated. 

Edwards said the state is also expanding eligibility for any staff working in congregate facilities such as prisons "because of the especially high-level exposure they have."

2:27 p.m. ET, March 9, 2021

White House isn't focused on vaccine passports, press secretary says

From CNN's Betsy Klein

Patrick Semansky/AP
Patrick Semansky/AP

White House press secretary Jen Psaki was asked about a concept being floated by the private sector, a “vaccine passport” that would allow Americans to demonstrate that they have been vaccinated ahead of traveling.

She suggested the effort will be driven outside of government as the administration’s focus is currently on vaccinating.

“We recognize that as many Americans get vaccinated questions will come up and they're already starting to come up as to how people will be able to demonstrate they are vaccinated... And right now, our focus as the US government is on getting more people vaccinated, and we'll think about how people can demonstrate they are vaccinated as we get more people vaccinated, but that's where we're putting our energy and resources toward,” Psaki said Tuesday, adding that the private sector and non-profits “will be driving this initiative in all likelihood moving forward.”

Pressed on whether the administration would want to be involved in setting standards, she said, “There are lots of ideas that will come from the private sector, nonprofits. We welcome those, but our focus from the federal government is on getting more people vaccinated, and that's where we feel we can use our resources best.”

2:20 p.m. ET, March 9, 2021

White House announces supply increase of 600,000 additional doses of Pfizer and Moderna vaccine

From CNN's Jason Hoffman

White House press secretary Jen Psaki outlined another increase in vaccine doses being shipped to states, tribes, and territories.

She said today that the Pfizer and Moderna Covid-19 vaccine supply will be 15.8 million doses this week, up from 15.2 million doses announced last week. Psaki also said 2.7 million first doses are being shipped directly to pharmacies.

She did not mention how many doses of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccines would be shipped this week.

Psaki said the increase was first announced on a call White House Covid-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients had with governors earlier on Tuesday.

The White House also said that the seven-day average for shots administered is now 2.17 million shots per day, up from 890,000 shots per day on January 20th when Biden took office. 

2:10 p.m. ET, March 9, 2021

Here's when Americans can expect to receive new stimulus checks, according to the White House

From CNN's Maegan Vazquez

White House press secretary Jen Psaki
White House press secretary Jen Psaki  Alex Wong/Getty Images

White House press secretary Jen Psaki gave an update on when Americans should expect another stimulus payment, telling reporters on Tuesday that the payments are expected to go out starting this month.

“As the President said last week, once the rescue plan is signed, we’ll be able to start getting payments out this month. Treasury and IRS are working tirelessly to make that happen,” Psaki said, adding that agencies are “building on lessons learned from previous rounds to increase the households that will get electronic payments, which are substantially faster than checks.”

Here are specifics from the White House on how Americans will be able to access their upcoming stimulus payment following its expected passage in the House and then President Biden’s anticipated signing of the American Rescue Plan into law:

  • “For households who have already filed their income tax for 2020, the IRS will use that information to determine eligibility and size of payments. For households that haven’t filed for 2020, the IRS will review records from 2019 to determine eligibility and the size of payment. That includes the use of the non-filer portal for previous rounds of payment,” Psaki said.
  • “For tax returns with direct deposit or bank account information, the IRS will be able to send money electronically, and for those households for which Treasury cannot determine a bank account, paper checks or debit cards will be sent,” she added. 

Psaki said the White House is “not taking anything for granted” as the legislative process plays out but said they’re “pushing through the finish line.”

In the example of a typical family of four with parents making under $150,000 annually, she said that because of the rescue plan, the family should expect $5,600 in direct payments and $2,600 as part of the expanded childcare tax credit.

Read more about the stimulus checks here

2:41 p.m. ET, March 9, 2021

Nearly 1 in 10 people in US are fully vaccinated against Covid-19

From CNN's Deidre McPhillips

A nurse administers a dose of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine at a clinic for Catholic school education workers including elementary school teachers and staff at a vaccination site at Loyola Marymount University on March 8,  in Los Angeles, California.
A nurse administers a dose of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine at a clinic for Catholic school education workers including elementary school teachers and staff at a vaccination site at Loyola Marymount University on March 8, in Los Angeles, California. Patrick T. Fallon/AFP/Getty Images

About 93.7 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine have been administered in the United States, according to data published Tuesday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC reported that 93,692,598 total doses have been administered – about 76% of the 123,232,775 doses delivered.

That’s about 1.6 million more administered doses reported since yesterday, for a seven-day average of nearly 2.2 million doses per day.

About 18% of US residents – more than 61 million people – have now received at least one dose of vaccine, and about 10% of US residents – about 32 million people – have been fully vaccinated, CDC data shows.

Note on the data: Data published by the CDC may be delayed, and doses may not have been given on the day reported.

Correction: An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated the percentage of US residents that have received at least one dose of the vaccine and those who have been fully vaccinated.

2:00 p.m. ET, March 9, 2021

Go There: CNN's Jessica Dean brings you the latest updates on the Covid-19 stimulus bill

The US House is expected to vote tomorrow on a massive coronavirus relief package. While the bill includes up to $1,400 stimulus checks for some Americans, the Senate nixed plans to raise the federal minimum wage to $15. Still, that is not expected to jeopardize the bill.

CNN's Jessica Dean has the latest updates from Capitol Hill. Watch more:

1:49 p.m. ET, March 9, 2021

These Americans will be eligible for a third stimulus check if Congress passes Biden's relief bill 

From CNN's Katie Lobosco

A third round of stimulus payments is expected to be on the way later this month.

The payments are included in a sweeping $1.9 trillion Covid relief package that was approved by the Senate on Saturday and could be signed by President Biden soon after the House takes a final vote, now expected to be on Wednesday.

Roughly 90% of American households will be eligible, according to an estimate from the Penn Wharton Budget Model.

The payments are worth up to $1,400 per person, including dependents. So a couple with two children could receive up to $5,600. Unlike prior rounds, families will now receive the additional money for adult dependents over the age of 17. 

The full amount goes to individuals earning less than $75,000 of adjusted gross income, heads of households (like single parents) earning less than $112,500 and married couples earning less than $150,000. But then the payments gradually phase out as income goes up.

Individuals who earn at least $80,000 a year of adjusted gross income, heads of households who earn at least $120,000 and married couples who earn at least $160,000 will be completely cut off from the third round of stimulus payments — regardless of how many children they have.

Read more about the stimulus checks here

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."