March 10 coronavirus news

By Ben Westcott and Kara Fox, CNN

Updated 0718 GMT (1518 HKT) March 11, 2021
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6:23 a.m. ET, March 10, 2021

Vaccine production of Sputnik V will begin this summer in Europe

From CNN’s Matthew Chance, Zahra Ullah, Sharon Braithwaite and Stephanie Halasz

A medical worker fills a syringe with the Sputnik V vaccine at a vaccination site in Moscow on March 3.
A medical worker fills a syringe with the Sputnik V vaccine at a vaccination site in Moscow on March 3. Alexander Shcherbak/TASS/Getty Images

Vaccine production of Russia's Sputnik V vaccine will begin this summer in Europe, the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) told CNN on Tuesday.

A spokesperson from the RDIF said they had brokered deals with production facilities in Italy, Spain, France and Germany to manufacture Sputnik V.

The Russian sovereign wealth fund had struck a deal with Swiss-Italian company Adienne to produce Sputnik V in Italy, the spokesperson said.

The Italian-Russian Chamber of Commerce released a statement on Monday welcoming the deal, which would see Italy becoming the first EU country to produce the Russian vaccine.

They statement added that production could start as early as July 2021, and will create new jobs and allow Italy to control the entire production process. The partnership could see production of 10 million doses by the end of the year, the Italian-Russian Chamber of Commerce said.

The news follows an announcement last week that the European Union’s vaccine regulator, the European Medicines Agency (EMA), has begun a rolling review of Russia’s Covid-19 vaccine.

The rolling review came after complaints about the European Commission’s slow vaccine deployment led member states to unilaterally approve the Russian vaccine.

Earlier on Tuesday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov criticized remarks by EMA Chairwoman Christa Wirthumer-Hoche, who compared the idea of emergency authorization of Sputnik V to "playing Russian roulette.”

Sputnik V developers also posted on Twitter, demanding an apology from Wirthumer-Hoche, saying that "her comments raise serious questions about possible political interference in the ongoing EMA review."

"Sputnik V is approved by 46 nations,” the developers added.

7:40 a.m. ET, March 10, 2021

EU backs off claims of UK vaccine nationalism in ongoing spat

From CNN's Lindsay Isaac

The European Union has backed down from accusing the UK of vaccine nationalism in an ongoing dispute over supply of Covid-19 shots. 

On Tuesday, President of the European Council Charles Michel wrote in a newsletter that the UK had “imposed an outright ban on the export of vaccines or vaccine components” produced in the country.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson pushed back on those claims, saying that the UK has not blocked export of any vaccines to the European Union. 

Speaking in British parliament on Wednesday, Johnson said:

"I therefore wish to correct the suggestion from the European Council President, that the UK has blocked vaccine exports. And let me be clear we have not blocked the export of a single COVID-19 vaccine, or vaccine components. This pandemic has put us all on the same side in the battle for global health. We oppose vaccine nationalism in all its forms. “

The accusations had first prompted British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab to reject the “false claims” in a letter of response to Michel on Tuesday, a source told CNN.

"I wanted to set the record straight. The UK government has not blocked the export of a single COVID-19 vaccine or vaccine components,” Raab wrote, according to the source, who has seen the letter.  

In a conciliatory tweet on Tuesday evening, Michel said that he is “glad if the UK reaction leads to more transparency and increased exports to EU and third countries.” 

However, he added that there are “different ways of imposing bans or restrictions on vaccines/medicines.”

A representative of the EU’s delegation to the UK has been summoned to the British Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office to discuss the issue further because the “false claim has been repeated at various levels within the EU and the Commission,” the source also said.  

Read more on the UK's vaccine strategy here:

7:47 a.m. ET, March 10, 2021

Nashville, TN plans on vaccinating 10,000 to move city closer to herd immunity

From CNN’s Artemis Moshtaghian

Nashville Mayor John Cooper is planning on vaccinating 10,000 Nashville residents in a drive-thru mass vaccination event scheduled for March 20 at Nissan Stadium, according to tweet by the Mayor and the Metro Public Health Department in Nashville.

“Nashville Health plans on vaccinating 10,000 of our residents to move our city closer to herd immunity and a return to normal life,” Cooper said in the tweet

On Tuesday Nashville Health reported 90,984 confirmed and probable cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Nashville/Davidson County, noting an increase of 53 in the past 24 hours. The health agency reports that to-date, 652 deaths have been attributed to Covid-19.

Tennessee is currently in Phase 1C of its Vaccine Distribution Plan, which means that Tennesseans 16 years old or older with high-risk health conditions have been eligible to be vaccinated as of Monday.

As of March 4, 14% of Nashville residents (97,416) had received a first dose of Covid-19 vaccine and 7.9% of residents (55,157) were fully vaccinated, according to Nashville Health. 

Note: These numbers were released by the state’s public health agency and may not line up exactly in real time with CNN’s database drawn from Johns Hopkins University, The Covid Tracking Project and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

4:59 a.m. ET, March 10, 2021

Novavax expects to see results from its Phase 3 vaccine trial in the US and Mexico in April

From CNN Health's Jacqueline Howard

Medical laboratory scientist Anielia Sobel tests samples from the Novavax Phase 3 Covid-19 clinical vaccine trial at the UW Medicine Retrovirology Lab in Seattle, Washington, on February 12.
Medical laboratory scientist Anielia Sobel tests samples from the Novavax Phase 3 Covid-19 clinical vaccine trial at the UW Medicine Retrovirology Lab in Seattle, Washington, on February 12. Karen Ducey/Getty Images

Biotechnology company Novavax still expects to see results from its PREVENT-19 trial, a Phase 3 study of its Covid-19 vaccine in the United States and Mexico, sometime in April. The trial has enrolled 30,000 volunteers across more than 100 locations.

“Everybody's enrolled and now we're watching for cases,” Dr. Gregory Glenn, president of research and development for Novavax, told CNN on Tuesday.

“I think sometime in the April timeframe we'll have finished that trial. So, we'll have three pivotal trials testing our vaccine -- that's extremely important for evidence that your vaccine is safe and can work,” Glenn said.

In January, the American biotech firm announced that its Covid-19 vaccine was found to have an overall efficacy of 89.3% in a Phase 3 clinical trial conducted in the United Kingdom, where it was found to have 95.6% efficacy against the original coronavirus strain and 85.6% against the variant strain first identified in the UK.

Novavax is also developing a booster shot to its coronavirus vaccine, and company officials anticipate that vaccinated people might need boosters every six months or annually to stay protected against Covid-19. Similar to others, Novavax's Covid-19 vaccine is administered as two doses given three weeks apart.

After the second dose, “we’re seeing that at six months, there's a pretty big decline in antibodies and I think all the vaccine makers are going to see that," Glenn said.

“But it's our view that somewhere between six months and one year, we’re going to need to boost everybody to protect them,” Glenn said. “I think governments are gearing up for that kind of thinking -- but we're still collecting the information that will guide that. This is a new virus, these are new vaccines, and we just don't have enough information.”

Novavax has initiated a booster shot study to gather that information. 

"We have actually started a trial where some of the people who got our vaccine last summer, at six months later we're giving them a boost," Glenn said. "We're going to see how good that looks in terms of immune responses -- and it can either be one dose, given once, or maybe we kind of repeat the same thing we did before where we give them a three-week interval."

The company is currently manufacturing its vaccine at 10 sites in eight countries -- with two sites in the United States, in North Carolina and Texas, Glenn said.

5:29 a.m. ET, March 10, 2021

Brazil reports nearly 2,000 Covid-19 deaths in highest daily toll of the pandemic

From Marcia Reverdosa in Sao Paulo and CNN's Tatiana Arias in Atlanta

Brazil reported its highest daily death toll since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic on Tuesday, according to data from the country's Health Ministry, with 1,972 new fatalities.

The country’s total coronavirus death toll now stands at 268,370.

Workers wearing protective suits walk past the graves of COVID-19 victims at the Nossa Senhora Aparecida cemetery, in Manaus, Brazil, on February 25.
Workers wearing protective suits walk past the graves of COVID-19 victims at the Nossa Senhora Aparecida cemetery, in Manaus, Brazil, on February 25. Michael Dantas/AFP/Getty Images

On Tuesday, the ministry reported 70,764 new confirmed Covid-19 cases, raising the country’s total number of infections to 11,122,429 -- the third highest in the world after the United States and India.

In the southeastern state of Sao Paulo on Tuesday, a record number of 517 Covid-19 related deaths were reported by health authorities in the past 24 hours.

Sao Paulo’s death toll now stands at 62,101, with 2,134,020 confirmed Covid-19 cases, according to official data.

Watch more:

4:55 a.m. ET, March 10, 2021

Rich nations vaccinating 1 person per second, but most poorer ones haven't given a single shot, watchdog says 

From CNN’s Christopher Rios

People queue in vehicles as they arrive for vaccinations at California State University of Los Angeles on March 4.
People queue in vehicles as they arrive for vaccinations at California State University of Los Angeles on March 4. Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images

Rich countries are vaccinating one person every second against Covid-19 while the majority of their poorest counterparts have yet to administer a single dose, the People’s Vaccine Alliance said Tuesday. 

These same rich nations are blocking efforts by developing countries to waive intellectual property rights on Covid-19 vaccines, the alliance said. The World Trade Organization’s Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property (TRIPS) committee meets Wednesday to discuss the TRIPS waiver.

“We should act now. There is no going back. It is totally unfair that rich countries, who have enough vaccines to protect their citizens, are blocking the TRIPS waiver, which could help poorer countries get the vaccines they need,” said Muhammad Yunus, Nobel laureate professor, and one of the leaders of the People’s Vaccine Alliance.
“For the rich world, this proposed act of human solidarity to ensure that medicines and vaccines get to the whole human family simultaneously is in their own self-interest, not just an act of charity,”

The People’s Vaccine Alliance, a group of organizations including Oxfam International, Frontline AIDS, UNAIDS, and others, says this is yet another example of rich countries prioritizing the interests of big pharmaceutical monopolies over people’s lives. 

“By allowing a small group of pharmaceutical companies to decide who lives and who dies, rich nations are prolonging this unprecedented global health emergency and putting countless more lives on the line,” said Oxfam's executive director Gabriela Bucher.

“At this crucial time, developing countries need support – not opposition.” 

The proposed TRIPS wavier would remove legal barriers and allow manufacturers across the world to start producing vaccines at scale within months, the alliance said. 

2:54 a.m. ET, March 10, 2021

Analysis: Biden's Covid relief bill is huge, ambitious and about to pass

Analysis from CNN's Stephen Collinson

President Joe Biden plans to use the $1.9 trillion Covid-19 relief bill expected to pass Congress on Wednesday as a platform for a generational transformation of the economy to benefit the least well-off Americans and alleviate poverty.

The passage of a bill of this scale and ambition two months into any new president's term would represent a power-affirming win. The political payoff for Biden of his first legacy achievement may be even greater. He had to navigate the measure through thin congressional majorities and a Democratic caucus riven by ideological divides -- and amid the worst domestic crisis since World War II.

Biden ran for election pledging to send stimulus payments to millions of Americans and to secure money to fund the return of kids to school, while speeding up the pace of vaccinations. When he gives his first prime-time address to Americans on Thursday, he can make a case that he kept his word as he battles to end a pandemic that has killed more than 527,000 Americans.

"Leadership matters. Vaccinations are up, infections are down, $1,400 survival checks are on the way, and that is only the beginning," Rep. Hakeem Jeffries of New York, the chairman of the House Democratic caucus, said on Tuesday.

Read the full analysis: