March 10 coronavirus news

By Ben Westcott and Kara Fox, CNN

Updated 0718 GMT (1518 HKT) March 11, 2021
26 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
12:57 p.m. ET, March 10, 2021

CDC is monitoring vaccinated pregnant women, Fauci says

From CNN's Jacqueline Howard

Dr. Anthony Fauci listens to US President Joe Biden, out of frame, during a visit to the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, on February 11.
Dr. Anthony Fauci listens to US President Joe Biden, out of frame, during a visit to the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, on February 11. Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is continuing to collect data on the safety of Covid-19 vaccines in pregnant women through its registry called V-safe, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said during a White House briefing on Wednesday.

"Several thousands of pregnant individuals have actually gotten vaccinated, and the CDC has established a V-safe pregnancy registry to follow the outcomes among vaccinated pregnant individuals," Fauci said.

Additionally, Fauci said that Pfizer and BioNTech have launched their randomized, placebo-controlled study to evaluate safety and immunogenicity in pregnant people.

During the briefing, Fauci was speaking in reference to "special populations" for which there is still limited data around Covid-19 vaccine safety. Such populations also include children and immunocompromised individuals, such as HIV-positive patients. Fauci said that people with HIV should get vaccinated.

For pregnant women, "the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, ACOG, recommends that vaccines of SARS-CoV-2 should not be withheld from pregnant individuals, and that pregnant individuals may choose to receive a Covid-19 vaccine and they should have a conversation with their clinicians," Fauci said. SARS-CoV-2 is the name of the virus that causes Covid-19.

A webpage for the CDC's V-safe registry for pregnant women notes: "There is currently no evidence that antibodies formed from COVID-19 vaccination cause any problem with pregnancy, including the development of the placenta. However, data are limited about the safety of COVID-19 vaccines for people who are pregnant."

12:03 p.m. ET, March 10, 2021

Poland's third wave of Covid-19 is "accelerating," health minister says

From CNN's Antonia Mortensen

An RN draws a dose of the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine in Thornton, Colorado, on March 6.
An RN draws a dose of the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine in Thornton, Colorado, on March 6. Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images

The European Medicines Agency is on track to approve the Johnson & Johnson vaccine this month, Poland’s Health Minister Adam Niedzielski said Wednesday. This comes as Poland warns its third wave of coronavirus is "accelerating."

“The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is not yet approved, but we have confirmed information from the European Medicines Agency that an approval decision will be issued by March. Therefore, the manufacturer is already estimating the deliveries,” Niedzielski said.

The country has recorded 17,260 new Covid-19 cases in the past 24 hours, the health ministry reported Wednesday.

That's the highest since the beginning of the third wave of the epidemic, Health Ministry spokesperson Wojciech Andrusiewicz told private Polish TV channel TVN24. He added that over 67% of hospital beds for coronavirus patients are full.

11:58 a.m. ET, March 10, 2021

Ukraine approves China’s Sinovac vaccine

From CNN’s Zahra Ullah and Denis Lapin

Sinovac Covid-19 vaccines are displayed at a press conference in Beijing in September 2020.
Sinovac Covid-19 vaccines are displayed at a press conference in Beijing in September 2020. Wang Zhao/AFP/Getty Images

Ukraine has approved use of China’s Sinovac Covid-19 vaccine, Ukraine’s Deputy Health Minister Igor Ivashchenko said in a statement on Wednesday.

"This decision was made by the Ministry of Health on the basis of a study of registration certificates, materials on clinical trials on safety and efficacy and benefit / risk analysis," Ivashchenko said.

Sinovac is now the third vaccine to be approved in Ukraine for emergency use after AstraZeneca’s and Pfizer/BioNTech’s vaccines were previously registered. Ukraine started its vaccination campaign in February. 

One vaccine that Ukraine has refused to consider is that of their neighboring country –Russia’s coronavirus vaccine Sputnik V – despite an increasingly urgent situation in the country. 

Ukrainian officials have recently said the country has entered a third wave of coronavirus, seeing increasing numbers of infections and hospitalizations. 

Ukraine has registered over 1.4 million Covid-19 cases and 28,925 deaths from the disease, according to Johns Hopkins University data. 

11:50 a.m. ET, March 10, 2021

North America sees drop in Covid-19 cases, while Brazil faces its deadliest day of the pandemic, PAHO says

From CNN's Jennifer Hauser

A morgue employee works with the body of a Covid-19 victim at a hospital in Porto Alegre, Brazil, on March 4.
A morgue employee works with the body of a Covid-19 victim at a hospital in Porto Alegre, Brazil, on March 4. Silvio Avila/AFP/Getty Images

The US, Canada and Mexico are seeing a drop in coronavirus cases while nearly every state in Brazil is seeing an increase in cases over the last week, according to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).

As of this week, the Americas overall have reported "nearly 52 million cases of coronavirus and 1.2 million deaths from Covid-19, with more than a million of these cases reported in the last week," PAHO Director Carissa Etienne said in a briefing Wednesday.

Brazil reported its deadliest day since the pandemic began, with 1,910 Covid-related deaths reported in 24 hours. It also had the second-highest rate of infections.

In the Caribbean, most larger islands are seeing a drop in cases, but in Cuba cases are rising.

In Central America cases are generally down but parts of Guatemala and Panama's indigenous province of Guna Yala are reporting an increase.

In South America, Paraguay, Uruguay and Chile are reporting increases but Peru and Bolivia, which have been hit especially hard by the pandemic, are finally seeing lower cases.

11:14 a.m. ET, March 10, 2021

Variants first found in New York and UK account for more than half of NYC Covid-19, health officials say

From CNN's Kristina Sgueglia

Preliminary data shows that the coronavirus variant first identified in New York, B1526, “is a more infectious variant" and coupled with the variant first identified in the UK, accounts for 51% of all cases in New York City at present, city health officials said Wednesday.

“Unfortunately, we have found that the new variants of Covid-19 are continuing to spread, and when you combine the variant of concern B117, the one first reported in the UK and the new variant of interest, B1526 that was first reported here in New York, together these new variants account for 51% of all cases that we have in the city right now,” the city’s top health advisor Jay Varma said Wednesday.

Preliminary analysis indicates that the B1526 variant first identified in New York, “is probably more infectious than older strains of the virus,” Varma said. “It may be similar in infectiousness to the B117, the UK strain, but we're not certain about this yet.”

The variant identified in New York in particular “is increasing in prevalence across New York city, representing about 39% of all samples sequenced by the pandemic response lab” compared to 31% the week prior, according to New York City Health Commissioner Dave Chokshi. “The increasing prevalence suggests the B1526 variant is a more infectious variant.”

Varma notes preliminary analysis does not show that the variant first identified in New York causes more severe illness or reduces the effectiveness of vaccines.

“It’s important to emphasize of course this is preliminary” he said as the city works with the state and health officials across the country.

A couple weeks ago, two separate teams of researchers said they found a worrying new coronavirus variant in New York City and elsewhere in the Northeast that carries mutations that help it evade the body's natural immune response — as well as the effects of monoclonal antibody treatments.

11:41 a.m. ET, March 10, 2021

New recommendations mark first step toward a return to pre-pandemic life, CDC director and colleagues say

From CNN's Lauren Mascarenhas

A person receives a Covid-19 vaccine on March 9 in North Miami, Florida.
A person receives a Covid-19 vaccine on March 9 in North Miami, Florida.  Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The new recommendations for fully vaccinated people mark the first step toward a return to pre-pandemic life, but some precautions are still essential, the director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and colleagues wrote in a JAMA Viewpoint article published Wednesday.

The CDC released long-awaited guidelines Monday, offering limited freedoms for people who have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19.

“Day by day, arm by arm, millions of vaccines are being administered across the US in the largest vaccination effort in this country’s history. As vaccine supply increases, and distribution and administration systems expand and improve, more and more people will become fully vaccinated and eager to resume their prepandemic lives,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky and CDC officials Drs. Sarah Mbaeyi and Athalia Christie write. “Giving vaccinated people the ability to safely visit their family and friends is an important step toward improved well-being and a significant benefit of vaccination.” 

The team notes that more than 31 million people – 9.4% of the total population – have completed a vaccination series. These people now have a reduced risk of severe illness or death from Covid-19.

“In addition, preliminary but rapidly increasing evidence suggests that fully vaccinated people likely pose little risk of transmission to unvaccinated people,” Walensky and colleagues write.

In creating the guidelines, the CDC considered the risks to both vaccinated and unvaccinated people. As many people remain unvaccinated, public health precautions are still important, they note.

“CDC guidance will evolve as vaccination coverage increases, disease dynamics in the country change, and new data emerge,” the team writes. “With high levels of community transmission and the threat of SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern, CDC still recommends a number of prevention measures for all people, regardless of vaccination status.”

The agency still recommends all people wear masks, avoid large gatherings and postpone travel. It also stresses the importance of community-level prevention strategies, such as universal mask mandates and occupancy restrictions.

“Once vaccinated people make up a greater proportion of the general US population, these community-level restrictions will be readdressed, but not yet,” the team wrote.

While Covid-19 vaccines offer a path toward ending the pandemic, increasing vaccine access and confidence is essential, Walensky and colleagues note.

10:20 a.m. ET, March 10, 2021

A mask mandate could help this Texas restaurant owner keep his restaurant and his life

From CNN's Aditi Sangal

Texas restaurant owner Mike Nguyen wants his business open but he is also battling cancer. He says that by lifting the statewide mask mandate, Gov. Greg Abbott has put him, and many others like him, in danger.

“I think his decision to drop the mask mandate is selfish, cowardly. There's no reason to do it. Dropping the mask mandate will not help the economy, it will not help us open. And a lot of us feel he's putting a lot of us in danger,” he told CNN.

Nguyen say he will only allow customers who wear masks to dine at his establishment. Since masks are a really divisive topic, he doesn’t expect everyone to adhere to it and that means his business will not bounce back 100%.

“This year has been tough on me. [I’m] not only dealing with the stress of my sickness, it's also dealing with the stress that comes with Covid, you know, the anxiety of that. And just trying to have to adapt to trying to keep my business alive. My business and health kind of go side by side because that's going to provide me my medical expenses and all of that,” he said Wednesday.

“And my biggest thing is if we have another surge and we get a setback, my business may not survive this,” he added.

10:17 a.m. ET, March 10, 2021

CDC director explains when they could amend travel guidance for fully vaccinated people

From CNN's Naomi Thomas

Before the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will “liberalize” its guidance for fully vaccinated people, it’s watching for coronavirus case increases and waiting for evidence about whether protection is fading among people who were vaccinated early on, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky told ABC's Good Morning America.

When asked why vaccinated people shouldn’t travel, as CDC guidelines currently suggest, Walensky said there has been a surge in virus cases every time there’s a surge in travel.

Walensky said that the CDC was waiting for data and evidence about whether people who were vaccinated early on, in December and January, should be concerned about their protection fading.

“This is some of the data and evidence we are watching really carefully,” she said. “We are watching for breakthrough infections, we’re monitoring this really carefully. And that’s some of the science that we’re waiting to emerge before we liberalize our guidance, it’s the reason we’re taking these baby steps.” 

“We are not suggesting that people who are vaccinated can go out and take off their masks and do things in public settings, gather in big gatherings,” Walensky added. “Really, we’re taking baby steps to make sure that we can still protect the 90% of people who aren’t yet vaccinated.”

10:13 a.m. ET, March 10, 2021

Get up to speed: Here's what you need to know about the pandemic in the US today

It's just after 10 a.m. ET in the US where vaccination efforts continue across the country and the House is expected to vote on a Covid-19 relief plan that includes direct payments to Americans.

Here's what you need to know about the pandemic to get up to speed this morning:

  • Right now: The House is slated to hold a final vote today on President Biden's $1.9 trillion Covid-19 relief plan. If it passes, it will be sent to the White House to be signed into law. You can follow live updates here.
  • Schools: The Los Angeles Unified School District has reached a tentative agreement with United Teachers Los Angeles to reopen schools for in-person learning by April. LAUSD is the second largest school district in the nation with more than 600,000 students in more than 1,000 schools.  
  • Restrictions: Starting today, Texans will no longer be under a statewide mandate to wear masks in public. But, some cities and businesses say they will still require masks – including Dallas, Houston, San Antonio and El Paso. Federal health leaders have also pushed back against lifting restrictions.
  • CDC guidance: New guidelines from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said fully vaccinated people can safely visit with other vaccinated people and small groups of unvaccinated people. The CDC said it will issue travel and going out guidance for vaccinated individuals when science is more clear.
  • Variants: The coronavirus variant B.1.1.7, which was first identified in the United Kingdom, could be more deadly. New research published in a peer-reviewed journal said it is associated with an estimated 64% higher risk of dying from the virus. Researchers have detected it in at least 46 states and Washington, DC.
  • Looking ahead: The CDC now projects there will be 547,000 to 571,000 coronavirus deaths in the United States by April 3, according to an ensemble forecast.