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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7:14 a.m. ET, April 5, 2021

EU official blames slow vaccine rollout on AstraZeneca supply issues

From CNN’s Martin Goillandeau in London

European Commissioner Thierry Breton speaks with journalists on March 18, in Riga, Latvia.
European Commissioner Thierry Breton speaks with journalists on March 18, in Riga, Latvia. Emil Helms/Ritzau Scanpix/AFP/Getty Images

The European Union would have vaccinated as much of its population as the United Kingdom has if AstraZeneca had fulfilled its contract to the EU, the head of the EU executive’s vaccine task force said Sunday.

European Commissioner Thierry Breton’s comments threaten to raise the temperature in a months-long dispute between the bloc and the drug maker.

Speaking to Le Parisien newspaper, Breton said:

If we had received the 100% of AstraZeneca's vaccines that were contracted to us, the European Union would be at the same level today as Great Britain in terms of vaccines. So I can say that the pocket of turbulence we have experienced is solely due to AstraZeneca's failure to deliver.

The World Health Organization called the rollout of vaccines in Europe “unacceptably slow” on Wednesday. The WHO European Region (a group of 53 countries including the UK) has vaccinated only 10% of its population with one shot in a two-dose regimen, WHO said in a statement.

The UK has administered about 54 doses of vaccine per 100 people according to data tracked by CNN. No country in the European Union has come anywhere close to that level.

“In the first quarter, (AstraZeneca) delivered only a quarter of the doses we ordered, while the British received all of them, even though our contract was signed before them, in August 2020,” Breton told the French newspaper.

6:54 a.m. ET, April 5, 2021

How long will coronavirus vaccines protect people?

From CNN's Maggie Fox

A pharmacy technician prepares a Covid-19 vaccine dose on April 2, in Louisville, Kentucky.
A pharmacy technician prepares a Covid-19 vaccine dose on April 2, in Louisville, Kentucky. Jon Cherry/Getty Images

Doctors are worried that coronavirus may end up being like influenza, which requires a new vaccine every year both because the circulating strains mutate fast and because immunity from the vaccine wears off quickly.

Although initial evidence suggests immunity from vaccination against coronavirus provides long-lasting protection, vaccine makers have begun making and testing versions of their vaccines that protect against worrying variants of the virus.

That includes the B.1.351 version first seen in South Africa, which carries a mutation that, in lab experiments, appears to allow it to evade the human immune response a little.

Read the full story here.

6:25 a.m. ET, April 5, 2021

What is a Covid-19 passport and how would it work?

From CNN's Eoin McSweeney

The UK government says it plans to trial Covid-19 passports at snooker tournaments, comedy clubs and soccer matches over the coming weeks.

As the country reopens, ministers hope the "covid-status certification" system will allow those who are vaccinated, have had a recent negative test or a positive test within six months to return to theaters, football matches, cinemas and other events.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to announce more details about the scheme on Monday, but critics are already worried the passports will harm fundamental freedoms and risk discrimination.

Similar debates have been going on across the world as countries try to figure out how to reopen safely.

Several countries are considering some form of Covid-19 status verification as a viable way to make it quick and easy for individuals to attend events or board flights. Others have voiced their disagreement: Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed an executive order Friday banning the use of Covid-19 passports in the state.

5:47 a.m. ET, April 5, 2021

Experts warn of 'a few more rough weeks ahead'

From CNN's Christina Maxouris

Experts say Covid-19 vaccinations in the US are going extremely well -- but not enough people are yet protected and the country may be at the start of another surge.

Only about 18.5% of Americans are fully vaccinated, CDC data shows, and Covid-19 cases in the country have recently seen concerning increases.

"I do think we still have a few more rough weeks ahead," Dr. Celine Gounder, an infectious diseases specialist and epidemiologist, told CNN on Sunday. "What we know from the past year of the pandemic is that we tend to trend about three to four weeks behind Europe in terms of our pandemic patterns."

The highly contagious B.1.1.7 variant has fueled an alarming surge in hospitalizations in parts of Europe. And experts worry the US could be next if Americans don't double down on safety measures until more people are vaccinated.

What's worse, experts say, is that the variant is changing the pandemic's playbook and could spell trouble for younger groups that haven't yet been vaccinated.

"We have to think about the B.1.1.7 variant as almost a brand new virus," said Dr. Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine. "It's acting differently from anything we've seen before, in terms of transmissibility, in terms of affecting young people, so we have to take this very seriously."

Read the full story here.

5:21 a.m. ET, April 5, 2021

Meet the Detroit pastor urging his congregation to get vaccinated

From CNN's Sarah Jorgensen in Detroit

When Pastor Kenneth J. Flowers took to the pulpit on Easter Sunday, tapping a tambourine along with a choir singing "he got up," the morning represented resurrection in more ways than one. 

"This time last year, we couldn't come to the sanctuary," he preached to his congregation at Detroit's Greater New Mount Moriah Missionary Baptist Church. "This time last year, we were dealing with coronavirus in the early stages. This time last year, I had to have Easter all by myself in my basement."

Flowers himself had Covid-19. His wife, Terri Flowers, was in the hospital with the virus at the time, as well. But this Resurrection Sunday, about a year later, was different -- in part due to Flowers telling his congregants to get vaccinated against the virus. 

"If God can use doctors for cardiology, if God can use doctors for oncology and cancer, then surely God can use doctors for Covid-19," Flowers told CNN. "It doesn't mean you don't have faith. You must have your faith but you must also use the doctors so get the vaccination."

Some political leaders -- including President Joe Biden, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan -- have called on faith leaders, especially in communities of color like Flowers', to urge their congregations to get vaccinated.

4:45 a.m. ET, April 5, 2021

England bets on testing as a way out of lockdowns

From CNN’s Sarah Dean in London

Volunteers deliver Covid-19 test kits to the doors of residents near Muswell Hill on March 22 in London, England.
Volunteers deliver Covid-19 test kits to the doors of residents near Muswell Hill on March 22 in London, England. Leon Neal/Getty Images

Everyone in England will be offered free coronavirus tests twice a week starting Friday, the UK government announced in a statement on Monday.

The new testing regime is part of the government's plan to reopen the economy in a way that would not lead to a spike in cases.

Rapid testing is currently only available to those most at risk and for people who need to leave home for work -- including frontline health care workers, care home staff and residents, schoolchildren and their families.

Starting Friday, everyone, including people not showing any symptoms, will be able to access a free test.

The tests will be available through a home delivery service, at test centers, workplaces and schools, the statement added.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:

As we continue to make good progress on our vaccine program and with our roadmap to cautiously easing restrictions underway, regular rapid testing is even more important to make sure those efforts are not wasted.

The UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock said in the statement that testing is crucial because "around one-in-three people who have Covid-19 show no symptoms."

"As we reopen society and resume parts of life we have all dearly missed, regular rapid testing is going to be fundamental in helping us quickly spot positive cases and squash any outbreaks,” he added. 

Johnson is set to outline plans for further lockdown easing later today. These are expected to include some form of "Covid-certification" for mass events and a new "traffic-light" system for international travel which is currently scheduled to resume from May 17. 

As part of that plan, those arriving from "green" countries will not have to isolate, while those from "red" or "amber" nations will be required to follow mandatory quarantine measures. 

3:51 a.m. ET, April 5, 2021

US continues to administer more than 3 million Covid-19 vaccine doses a day, according to CDC data

From CNN Health’s Naomi Thomas

Pharmacy technicians fill syringes of Covid-19 vaccine at the James Graham Brown Cancer Center on April 2, in Louisville, Kentucky.
Pharmacy technicians fill syringes of Covid-19 vaccine at the James Graham Brown Cancer Center on April 2, in Louisville, Kentucky. Jon Cherry/Getty Images

About 165 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine have been administered in the United States, according to data published Sunday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

The CDC reported 165,053,746 total doses have been used so far -- about 79% of the 207,891,295 doses delivered.

That’s about 3.4 million more doses than in the previous 24 hours, for a seven-day average of about 3.1 million doses per day. 

About 32% of the population – 106 million people – have received at least one dose of the vaccine, and 18.5% of the population – about 61 million people – have been fully vaccinated. 

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

3:34 a.m. ET, April 5, 2021

South Korea reports 473 new coronavirus cases as health minister warns of fourth wave

From Gawon Bae and Yoonjung Seo in Seoul

People wearing face masks pass by a banner displaying precautions against the coronavirus on a street in Seoul, South Korea, on Monday, April 5.
People wearing face masks pass by a banner displaying precautions against the coronavirus on a street in Seoul, South Korea, on Monday, April 5. Ahn Young-joon/AP

South Korea on Monday reported 473 new Covid-19 cases in the previous 24 hours, bringing the national total to 105,752, according to a statement from the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA).

Seoul's metropolitan area accounted for 276 of the total cases. Among the daily figure, 449 were locally transmitted. 

The death toll rose by four to 1,748 overall, KDCA said.

On Saturday, South Korea recorded 543 new daily cases -- its fifth day in a row of more than 500. 

The rise prompted a warning from South Korea’s Health Minister Kwon Deok-cheol, who said the country could be at the crossroads of a fourth coronavirus wave.

“For the past week, the number of daily new cases has been around 500, clearly showing an increasing trend of infection,” Kwon said in a briefing Sunday. 
3:47 a.m. ET, April 5, 2021

India records more than 100,000 new Covid-19 cases – its most in a single day since the pandemic began

From CNN's Esha Mitra in New Delhi

A health worker collects a swab sample for Covid-19 testing at Anand Vihar Bus Terminal on April 3 in New Delhi, India.
A health worker collects a swab sample for Covid-19 testing at Anand Vihar Bus Terminal on April 3 in New Delhi, India. Sanchit Khanna/Hindustan Times/Getty Images

India recorded 103,558 new Covid-19 cases on Monday, its highest single-day rise in infections so far in the pandemic.

The number of new daily cases in India has risen steadily since March 10, with the country also reporting 741,830 active cases on Monday – its most since October 20.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired a high-level meeting Sunday to review the Covid-19 situation. 

"(He) called attention to avoid mortality under all circumstances by ramping up healthcare infrastructure, availability of oxygen, ventilators besides required logistics, and ensuring that clinical management protocols are followed across all hospitals as well as for those in-home care," a statement from the Prime Minister's office said. 

Modi also directed a team of public health specialists to be sent to the state of Maharashtra, which has contributed 57% of the country's coronavirus caseload over the last two weeks. 

As of Monday, India has recorded 12,589,067 cases of coronavirus, the third-highest in the world, including 165,101 related deaths and 11,682,136 recoveries. It has also distributed 79,105,163 vaccine doses, according to the Indian Ministry of Health.