April 5 coronavirus news

By Ivana Kottasová, Ben Westcott, Brett McKeehan, Melissa Macaya, Melissa Mahtani and Mike Hayes, CNN

Updated 3:52 p.m. ET, April 6, 2021
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3:44 p.m. ET, April 5, 2021

White House says US will have enough vaccine for all Americans by end of next month

From CNN's Nikki Carvajal

Win McNamee/Getty Images
Win McNamee/Getty Images

The White House says the US will still have enough vaccines for all Americans by the end of next month, despite problems with a single batch of “drug product” resulting in the loss of 15 million doses of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine.

“We are still on track to have the number of doses we need to vaccinate all adult Americans by the end of May,” Psaki said Monday. “This was not even a facility that was approved by the FDA.” 

She continued, saying the US was “not betting on these doses,” and that Johnson & Johnson “has assured us that we will be getting the 24 million doses that they have promised in April.”  

Pressed by CNN's Kaitlan Collins on if the issues could add to vaccine hesitancy across the United States, Psaki responded, “we haven't seen that.” 

“This is why the FDA approval process is in place,” she said. “In many ways it was the process working, because the FDA had not approved the site. There were steps taken to address what some of the issues were, and we also have a range of contingency plans.” 

“When we all talk in here about, ‘why did we order so many doses, why are we at the point where we are sharing doses with every country around the world?’ Part of it is because we need to plan for things coming up. Things like this come up,” she said. 

“We have to plan for a range of contingencies,” Psaki added. “That's one of the many reasons that we're going to still be in a place where we have enough vaccines for adult Americans by the end of May.”  

Some background: As CNN previously reported, a source familiar with Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine manufacturing process told CNN Saturday the loss was not a major setback. 

Johnson & Johnson has said a single batch of “drug product” failed quality control inspection and had been discarded. The company’s vaccine currently being distributed in the US is made at a plant in the Netherlands, but Emergent BioSolutions, a contract manufacturer, was producing doses at a facility in Baltimore. The factory was awaiting authorization from the US Food and Drug Administration when the contamination problem was reported.

“Once the plant is back up and running, the way this particular vaccine is made in these large batches, making up for this batch should not be a major setback. It should be a setback of just a few weeks,” the source told CNN. 

Emergent was also making vaccine for AstraZeneca, whose vaccine is yet to be authorized in the US. Like Johnson & Johnson’s, AstraZeneca’s vaccine uses a virus to carry genetic material – a so-called viral vector.

Emergent and Johnson & Johnson have said quality control measures caught the problem. None of the vaccine being made at the plant had been shipped out to be put into vials or distributed and officials have stressed that no one had been put at risk because of the contamination.

CNN reported the company has been assisting in the production of Covid-19 vaccines for Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca for months, according to a source familiar with the situation.

In addition to the batch of 15 million doses that had to be discarded, Emergent has successfully produced 115 million doses of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine, which are in various stages of the supply chain, the source said.

The source added that it’s “not that unusual” for the pharmaceutical industry to have to discard batches of vaccine, and the fact that Emergent and J&J detected the contamination before any of the impacted doses shipped “showed the system worked.”

1:17 p.m. ET, April 5, 2021

Washington, DC, will loosen Covid-19 restrictions beginning May 1. Here's a look at some of the changes. 

From CNN’s Nicky Robertson

Washington, DC, Mayor Muriel Bowser announced the District will loosen many coronavirus restrictions beginning May 1, given the number of cases continues to decline later in the spring.  

At a news conference Monday, Bowser told reporters that although cases may rise soon in coming weeks because of the spring break and Easter gatherings, she expects cases will decrease by May.

“We know that we can expect to see some increases in cases this month, but with vaccinations and continued safeguards we expect that later in the spring that those cases will come down,” the Mayor said, before reminding residents to “get vaccinated as soon as you have the opportunity.”

Restrictions are expected to loosen in a number of areas, including:

  • Allowing seated live entertainment indoors at 25% capacity
  • Regional business meetings and seated conventions will be allowed indoors or outdoors at 25% capacity
  • Recreation centers, libraries, museums and galleries and non-essential retail will be able to operate with 50% capacity indoors or outdoors
  • DC public pools, which did not open at all last year due to the pandemic, will be allowed to open at 50% capacity 

According to the DC Department of Health, 9.7% of DC residents are fully vaccinated.

12:46 p.m. ET, April 5, 2021

US vaccinating nearly 5 times faster than global average, according to CNN analysis

From CNN’s Deidre McPhillips

A health care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine inside the Viejas Arena in San Diego, California, on Thursday, April 1.
A health care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine inside the Viejas Arena in San Diego, California, on Thursday, April 1. Bing Guan/Bloomberg/Getty Images

The United States is currently administering Covid-19 vaccine doses at a pace that’s nearly five times faster than the global average, and has fully vaccinated a larger share of its population than most countries that have been vaccinating for a similar amount of time, a CNN analysis suggests.

Over the past week, the US administered an average of more than three million doses per day, according to data published by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s more than 900 shots per 100,000 people each day.

Globally, an average of 16 million shots have been administered daily over the past week, according to data published by Our World in Data. That’s about 200 shots per 100,000 people each day.

About 20 countries have been vaccinating their populations against Covid-19 for 100 days or more, including the US.

Since the first shot was administered in the US in mid-December, more than 18% of the population has been fully vaccinated. Vaccinations started about a week earlier in the UK, but only about 8% of the country’s population is fully vaccinated, data from Our World in Data shows. In Canada, which started vaccinations on the same date as the US, only about 2% of the population is fully inoculated.

Despite its successful vaccination campaign, other nations are outpacing the US in terms of vaccination coverage. Israel has fully vaccinated more than half of its population, and Chile has fully vaccinated about 20% of its population. Both countries started vaccinating about a week after the US.

You can find more specific country data at CNN’s global vaccine tracker here.

12:27 p.m. ET, April 5, 2021

UK to ease coronavirus restrictions starting April 12, prime minister says

From CNN’s Vasco Cotovio

Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during a media briefing in Downing Street, London, on Monday, April 5.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during a media briefing in Downing Street, London, on Monday, April 5. Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire/AP

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced he’d be going to the pub himself next Monday as he confirmed that the UK would be easing anti-coronavirus restrictions from April 12, as previously announced by his government. 

“I can today confirm that from Monday the 12th of April we will move to step two of our roadmap, reopening shops, gyms, zoos, holiday campsites, personal care services like hairdressers and, of course, beer gardens and outdoor hospitality of all kinds,” Johnson said. 

“On Monday, the 12th I will be going to the pub myself and cautiously but irreversibly raising a pint of beer to my lips,” he added.

Johnson said the easing of restrictions was fully justified by the data, namely a reduction in the number of cases and the rising number of people which have received at least one dose of the vaccine.

“We set out our roadmap and we’re sticking with it and I want to stress that we see nothing in the present data that makes us think that we will have to deviate,” he said, while still asking people to remain vigilant in light of the epidemiological situation elsewhere in Europe and uncertainty over how effective the “vaccine shield” will be when cases start to rise once again. 

12:38 p.m. ET, April 5, 2021

Fauci: With Covid-19 variants, delayed second dose strategy would put people in "tenuous zone"

From CNN's Jen Christensen

Dr. Anthony Fauci testifies during a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing in Washington, DC, on March 18.
Dr. Anthony Fauci testifies during a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing in Washington, DC, on March 18. Susan Walsh/Pool/AFP/Getty Images

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said there is no “right or wrong” in advocating a vaccination strategy to delay a second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.

“There really are different approaches and different opinions,” Fauci said in an answer to a question from CNN Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen during Monday’s White House Covid-19 Response Team briefing.

“We have been concerned, and still are, that when you look at the level of protection after one dose, you can say is 80%, but it is somewhat of a tenuous 80%, because the level of, for example, neutralizing antibodies against the coronavirus, when you just leave it at one dose, the question is, how long does it last," he continued.

Factoring in variants that may diminish the effectiveness of the vaccine – “you’re in a tenuous zone if you don’t have the full impact,” Fauci said.

“So there is some merit to the arguments that are made, and we certainly respect that, but right now, given the number of vaccines we’re able to give every day, literally every day that goes by, we get closer and closer to where we want to be,” Fauci said. “For that reason, although we always continue to keep an open mind, we consider the route that we’re on now is the best route.”

12:43 p.m. ET, April 5, 2021

Variants partly to blame for 4 straight weeks of increasing Covid-19 cases, CDC director says

From CNN’s Jen Christensen

A medical assistant administers a Covid-19 test at Memorial Stadium in Port Huron, Michigan, on April 4.
A medical assistant administers a Covid-19 test at Memorial Stadium in Port Huron, Michigan, on April 4. Brian Wells/Times Herald/USA Today Network

This is the fourth straight week of increasing Covid-19 cases, according to Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

She said the CDC is watching the case counts with “concern."

“We know that these increases are due, in part, to more highly transmissible variants, which we are very closely monitoring,” Walensky said Monday at the White House Covid-19 Response Team briefing.

As more schools are reopening, the CDC director said it is even more important that people do whatever they can to reduce the spread of the virus. She added that people should get vaccinated as soon as they can, wear a mask that fits, and keep good physical distance from others.

Walensky said that a number of the clusters identified among young people are connected to participation in youth sports and extracurriculars. The CDC guidelines suggest those activities should be limited.

“I understand that people are tired and that they are ready for this pandemic to be over, as am I,” she said. “Please, continue to hang in there, and to continue to do things that we know prevent the spread of the virus.”

12:31 p.m. ET, April 5, 2021

CDC updates guidance for cleaning surfaces to protect against Covid-19

From CNN's Jen Christensen

Employees disinfect seats ahead of a Purdue Boilermakers and Ohio State Buckeyes basketball game at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana, on March 12.
Employees disinfect seats ahead of a Purdue Boilermakers and Ohio State Buckeyes basketball game at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana, on March 12. Justin Casterline/Getty Images

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has updated its guidance for cleaning and disinfecting facilities and homes to prevent the spread of Covid-19, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said Monday during the White House Covid-19 Response Team briefing.

The science has shown that people can get infected via contaminated surfaces, but the risk is low. Regular cleaning of these surfaces with soap or detergent works. Disinfection is not necessary, Walensky said.

“Disinfection is only recommended in indoor settings, schools and homes where there has been a suspected or confirmed case of Covid-19, within the last 24 hours,” Walensky said.

In most cases, fogging, fumigation and electrostatic spraying is not recommended as a primary method of disinfection, and actually carries several safety risks.

Surface transmission can also be reduced by wearing masks consistently and correctly, Walensky said, in addition to proper handwashing.

 

12:50 p.m. ET, April 5, 2021

White House announces 3 additional mass vaccination sites

From CNN's Jason Hoffman

Andy Slavitt speaks during a Covid-19 response team press briefing on Monday, April 5.
Andy Slavitt speaks during a Covid-19 response team press briefing on Monday, April 5. White House

White House senior adviser for Covid-19 response Andy Slavitt announced three new mass vaccination sites on Monday, bringing the total number of federal US mass vaccination sites to 28.

Slavitt announced the new sites would be at the Columbia Place Mall in Columbia, South Carolina, the Colorado State Fairgrounds in Pueblo, Colorado, and the Minnesota State Fairgrounds in St. Paul, Minnesota.

“Across the country there’s already 25 existing mass vaccination sites that have a combined capability to administer over 95,000 shots per day. And that number’s gonna continue to grow as we bring additional sites online,” Slavitt said. 

He added that the three new sites are all in areas defined by the CDC as a “high risk community,” continuing to put a focus on equitably administering vaccines. 

“Of the more than 2.1 million shots administered at these sites to date, more than 60% have been administered to racial and ethnic minorities,” Slavitt said. 

11:20 a.m. ET, April 5, 2021

Bar opening event in rural Illinois linked to 46 Covid-19 cases and a school closure, CDC report finds

From CNN’s Ashley Ahn

A bar opening event in rural Illinois in February was linked to 46 Covid-19 cases, a school closure affecting 650 children, and the hospitalization of one long-term care facility resident, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report on Monday.

The Illinois Department of Public Health identified 29 individuals who tested positive for Covid-19 or had Covid-19-like symptoms within 14 days after the event. All 29 cases were confirmed by Covid-19 antigen or nucleic acid amplification tests except for one probable symptomatic case who did not receive testing.

These bar attendees had close contact with at least 71 others. Of the 37 close contacts tested for Covid-19, 17 tested positive within 14 days of contact.

Two of the secondary Covid-19 cases were student athletes in close contact of a bar attendee with Covid-19 who attended indoor sports practice and in-person classes. The school district closed for two weeks beginning Feb. 18 after 13 staff members could not work due to isolation, quarantine, or their child in quarantine. 

Three of the secondary Covid-19 cases were long-term care facility residents in close contact of a bar attendee who worked as a certified nursing assistant. The nurse tested positive for Covid-19 four days after the bar opening event. One of these secondary Covid-19 cases was hospitalized within 14 days of the positive test result and discharged the same day.

Two weeks after the event, the seven-day average daily Covid-19 incidence in the county more than doubled to at least 86 cases per 100,000 people, according to the report.

“Bars can play a role in community spread of COVID-19 because of limited mask use while eating or drinking and lack of consistent physical distancing," the authors wrote in the report. "These findings show that SARS-CoV-transmission originating in a business such as a bar not only affects the patrons and employees of the bar but can also affect an entire community."

The event was held indoors with no outside air flow. Attendees cited inconsistent mask use and disregard of the six-feet physical distancing guidelines. Although the total number of people who attended the event is unknown, the bar can accommodate about 100 people.

The high percentage of symptomatic people linked to the event, 82.6%, as well as the reluctance of many people to disclose contacts suggest that the actual case count was higher than what was found, according to the CDC report.

“As community businesses begin to reopen, these findings underscore the importance of businesses and individuals adhering to public health prevention and mitigation guidelines to reduce additional community transmission, including isolation after receipt of a COVID-19 diagnosis and while experiencing COVID-19–like symptoms, even as vaccination efforts expand,” the authors wrote.