March 29 coronavirus news

By James Griffiths, Joshua Berlinger, Lauren Said-Moorhouse and Christopher Johnson, CNN

Updated 7:50 p.m. ET, March 30, 2021
44 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
7:42 p.m. ET, March 29, 2021

Alabama governor will end state's mask mandate next week

From CNN's Jamiel Lynch and Dave Alsup

Alabama’s Gov. Kay Ivey will move ahead with her plan to end the state’s mask mandate next week despite President Biden’s plea Monday for the nation’s governors to keep the mandates in place or to reinstitute them.

“As Governor Ivey has previously stated, Alabama’s mask mandate ends April 9. We have made progress, and we are moving towards personal responsibility and common sense, not endless government mandates," Ivey’s spokesperson Gina Maiola told CNN.

During a news conference earlier this month, Ivey said masks have been the greatest tool in combating the virus. However, she said it was time to make this a personal responsibility rather than a government mandate.

Since the start of the pandemic, Alabama has reported at least 514,619 cases and at least 10,526 deaths, according to the state website. More than 1.6 million Covid-19 vaccine doses have been administered in the state, the dashboard shows.

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 US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Health and Human Services.

6:34 p.m. ET, March 29, 2021

US surgeon general won't say one dose of Moderna or Pfizer is enough

From CNN's Virginia Langmaid

In response to data released Monday showing Moderna and Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccines may have 80% efficacy with just one dose, US Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy told CNN he is not yet comfortable recommending just a single dose for either vaccine. 

“One caveat about that 80%, we don’t know how long that lasts,” he said. “We don’t know the durability of that response, so I would hesitate to say that one dose is enough and that you don’t have to worry about the second dose.”

Murthy said the research shows that both vaccines are effective in preventing both symptomatic and asymptomatic infection.

5:25 p.m. ET, March 29, 2021

MLB is strongly encouraging players to get vaccinated

From CNN's David Close

Just days ahead of Opening Day, Major League Baseball is strongly encouraging its players to get vaccinated.

On Monday, the league and the player’s union informed clubs that MLB will relax certain health and safety protocols if vaccination goals are met, according to a source with knowledge of the agreement. If club's have 85% of their Tier 1 individuals fully vaccinated, which includes players, coaches, and trainers, they should expect less restrictive Covid-19 protocols.

According to ESPN and USA Today, who source a league-wide memo sent to teams Monday, vaccinated players would not have to wear masks while in the dugout and bullpen and wouldn't have to wear tracking devices. Those teams who reach the 85% vaccination goal could also reintroduce traditional locker room amenities like saunas, whirlpools and pool tables.

MLB's regular season begins Thursday with 15 games on the schedule.

5:44 p.m. ET, March 29, 2021

Florida governor signs Covid-19 liability protection bill into law

From CNN's Kelsie Smith

Florida Governor's office
Florida Governor's office

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill on Monday that protects certain businesses, government, health care providers, educational and religious institutions from Covid-19 lawsuits.  

DeSantis signed SB 72 into law during a news conference in Tallahassee. The bill states that if an organization made a "good faith effort" to comply with guidelines to stop the spread of Covid-19, the entity will be immune from civil liability.  

"We don't want to be in a situation where people are scared of being sued just for doing normal things," he said. "So, we worked very early on to look into see ways that we could provide some certainty for both businesses and health care providers."

"What this bill does, it says if you're doing the right things, you're protected," said Florida House Speaker Chris Sprowls. "You're protected, and you have the most aggressive protection in America."

DeSantis said the bill will go into effect immediately. 

4:49 p.m. ET, March 29, 2021

Only 1 US state hasn't shared when it plans to start vaccinating everyone 16 and older

From CNN’s Ashley Ahn, Jacqueline Howard and Virginia Langmaid

Arkansas is the only state left in the US to announce when it plans to open up coronavirus vaccinations to everyone eligible under US Food and Drug Administration emergency use authorization.

In Arkansas, no announcement of plans has been made yet, but Meg Mirivel, a spokesperson for the Arkansas Department of Health, told CNN in an email on Friday: "We do anticipate meeting the May 1 benchmark."

Meanwhile, New York is the most recent state to announce its plans for vaccinating everyone 16 and older. Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on Monday that the expansion would begin on April 6 — with eligibility opening up to residents 30 years of age and older beginning Tuesday morning.

A dozen states already have expanded coronavirus vaccine eligibility to anyone 16 and older. Alaska opened up vaccinations to anyone 16 and older on March 9, Mississippi on March 16, West Virginia expanded on March 22, Utah on March 24, Georgia on March 25, and Arizona opened vaccination to anyone over 16 who can get to state-run sites in three counties as of March 24. 

Oklahoma, Texas, Ohio, North Dakota, Louisiana and Kansas expanded to anyone 16 and older on March 29. Several states that already announced plans to open up vaccine eligibility by early May have changed their timelines to open up in late March or early April. 

Below is the timeline for when states have said they will open vaccination eligibility to the general public:

  • March 30: Minnesota
  • March 31: Indiana, South Carolina
  • April 1: Montana, Connecticut
  • April 2: New Hampshire
  • April 5: Michigan, Tennessee, Idaho, Iowa, Florida, Nevada
  • April 7: North Carolina
  • April 9: Missouri
  • April 12: Illinois, Kentucky
  • April 15: California
  • April 19: Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island
  • April 27: Maryland
  • April, no set date: New Mexico, Virginia, Colorado, Wyoming
  • May 1: Wisconsin, Oregon, South Dakota, Washington, Nebraska, Hawaii, Delaware, Alabama, Pennsylvania, New Jersey

For all states currently vaccinating anyone 16 and older, people ages 16 or 17 can only receive a Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, as it is the only option authorized for use in that population so far. The vaccines made by Moderna and Johnson & Johnson are authorized for use in adults 18 and older.

4:13 p.m. ET, March 29, 2021

Covid-19 cases on the rise among Brazil's younger age groups, report says

From CNN's Rodrigo Pedroso

Covid-19 cases are on the rise among Brazil’s younger age groups, the Brazilian research institute Fiocruz found in its latest coronavirus report. 

"The country is in a situation of collapse of the health system. At the same time, the pandemic has been gaining new characteristics affecting younger age groups: 30 to 39 years, 40 to 49 years and 50 to 59 years," according to the Fiocruz findings published Friday.

The report analyzed weekly data from the country’s health ministry from Jan. 1 to March 13, 2021.

The analysis showed an increase of more than 500% in infections among people 30 to 39; a more than 600% increase among people 40 to 49 and more than 500% among people 50 to 59.

The total number of coronavirus cases nationwide, among all age groups, grew by 319% during that same period of time, the report states.

Since the beginning of the second Covid-19 wave on November 2020, there has been an increased demand for health services by symptomatic young patients in Brazil, Fiocruz researchers said.

While more younger people are becoming infected with the virus, Covid-19 deaths are still more common among older people, the report said.

As of Sunday, Brazil reported more than 12.5 million cases of Covid-19 and at least 312,206 coronavirus-related deaths.

7:50 p.m. ET, March 30, 2021

Johnson & Johnson says it will supply 200 million Covid-19 vaccines to Europe this year

From CNN's Zahid Mahmood

Ted S. Warren/AP/FILE
Ted S. Warren/AP/FILE

Pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson announced Monday that it will supply Europe, including Norway and Iceland, with 200 million coronavirus vaccines this year.

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine was approved by the European Medicine’s Agency – the EU’s medical regulator – on March 11, following approval of vaccines made by Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca.

In a statement from Johnson & Johnson, the company said the tentative delivery schedule will begin in April to June, in line with their agreement with the European Commission.

“[Johnson & Johnson] will continue to work closely with our partners, regulatory authorities and governments to expedite all steps of the vaccine production process and to activate our manufacturing sites as quickly as health authority approvals allow, in order to ensure the safe and high-quality production of our vaccine,” the statement said.

J&J’s announcement comes amid growing frustration in Brussels over a shortfall in vaccine supply to the bloc, particularly over AstraZeneca’s failure to meet its contractual obligations – whilst continuing to meet the UK’s targets. 

Correction: An earlier version of this post and headline incorrectly stated that Johnson & Johnson will supply 200 million Covid-19 vaccines to Europe in April. They will supply 200 million vaccines to Europe this year.

3:32 p.m. ET, March 29, 2021

Italian prime minister hopeful EU will achieve herd immunity by end of July  

From CNN's Livia Borghese

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi has said Europe should be able to achieve herd immunity for the end of July, based on current vaccine supply.  

“The vaccine supplies assured by the EU Commission for the next few months should be more than sufficient to achieve the (herd) immunity for the month of July throughout Europe”, Draghi said in a statement from his office. 

Draghi said the vaccination rollout is “quickly improving” and urged the EU to be optimistic. “The goals set for April and May, in reference to vaccine supplies and the number of vaccinations, equal to half a million vaccinated per day, no longer seem so far away,” the statement said.

Italy is currently in the middle of a lockdown, as the government attempts to contain a surge of coronavirus cases mainly due to the presence of new variants. 

Measures introduced to reduce the virus spread have been effective across the country, he said. According to a decree passed by the Italian government, measures started on March 15 and will be effective through April 6

According to the government website, Italy has vaccinated 9.5 million people, but under 3 million have received a second dose. And due to delays only 53% of people over the age of 80 are still waiting for the first shot.  

3:26 p.m. ET, March 29, 2021

Thousands more vaccination sites coming within 3 weeks, Biden says

From CNN's Nikki Carvajal

Evan Vucci/AP
Evan Vucci/AP

The US will add tens of thousands of vaccination sites, including 12 federally-run mass vaccination sites, in an effort to get a vaccine site within five miles of 90% of all Americans in the coming weeks, President Biden announced on Monday.

“In this race against the rapidly spreading virus as fast as we are going, we need to go faster,” the President said during an event at the White House. “So to make it easier for Americans to get vaccinated as the supply grows and vaccination eligibility expands, I'm directing my Covid team to ensure there is a vaccine site within five miles of 90% of all Americans by April the 19th, three weeks from today.”

There are currently around 17,000 pharmacies giving vaccine shots, Biden said, but that number will grow to nearly 40,000 within the next three weeks.

“That will more than double the number of pharmacies where you can go get vaccinated,” he added.

Biden said the new mass vaccination sites would allow “tens of thousands of people … to drive up, get a vaccine shot while on the car and leave and less than an hour.”

“Over 60% of the shots given at these sites goes to minority communities, because they're in minority communities. We have to reach out. They're the ones most affected by the vaccine – by both the vaccine but also by the pandemic,” the President said.

He also announced that “more aid” will be sent to states “to expand the opening more community vaccination sites. More vaccines, more sites, more vaccinators, all designed to speed our critical work.”

Watch here: