April 12 coronavirus news

By Jessie Yeung, Zamira Rahim and Samantha Tapfumaneyi, CNN

Updated 0650 GMT (1450 HKT) April 13, 2021
14 Posts
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9:51 a.m. ET, April 12, 2021

50% of US adults expected to have at least one dose of Covid-19 vaccine by end of this week

From CNN's Deidre McPhillips

People wait in line at a pop-up Coviid-19 vaccination site in Orlando, Florida, on April 9.
People wait in line at a pop-up Coviid-19 vaccination site in Orlando, Florida, on April 9. Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images

If Covid-19 vaccinations continue at the current pace, the United States will likely hit a milestone this week: vaccinating half of adults with at least one dose of vaccine.

Over the past week, more than 3.1 million doses of vaccine have been administered each day on average, according to data reported by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Those doses could be first doses, second doses or single doses.

The latest data from the CDC shows that nearly 46% of adults in the US have received at least one dose of Covid-19 vaccine and about 28% are fully vaccinated. 

But an average of more than 1.8 million people have been added to the total number of people with at least one dose of vaccine each day.

That adds about 1% to the share of the US adult population with at least one shot each day, putting the US on track to reach 50% within days.

Also, about 1.6 million people have been added to the total number of people fully vaccinated each week. At that pace, more than 30% of adults in the US will be fully vaccinated by the end of this week.

8:57 a.m. ET, April 12, 2021

California is struggling with vaccine equity as it prepares to expand eligibility to all adults

From CNN's Nicquel Terry Ellis and Priya Krishnakumar

Dr. Jerry P. Abraham, director of vaccine programs at Kedren Health, oversees another day where hundreds of people line up for their turn at receiving the Covid-19 vaccine at Kedren Health.
Dr. Jerry P. Abraham, director of vaccine programs at Kedren Health, oversees another day where hundreds of people line up for their turn at receiving the Covid-19 vaccine at Kedren Health. Jason Armond/Los Angeles Times/Shutterstock

Dr. Jerry Abraham is determined to ensure California's most vulnerable communities have access to the Covid-19 vaccine.

Abraham has spent the last several months calling state officials to demand vaccine doses for Black and brown people in hard hit South Los Angeles, developing vaccine sites that welcomed walk-in patients, hosting mass vaccination events featuring entertainers and deploying mobile vaccination fleets to neighborhoods where residents don't have transportation.

Abraham, director of vaccines at Kedren Community Health Center, said he is now vaccinating 5,000 people a day and filling a void in a community that might otherwise be neglected.

"We broke down every barrier that stood between people and their vaccines," Abraham told CNN. "No appointment, that's OK. No internet or email, phone or transportation, can't walk, talk or see, can't speak English, undocumented, homeless -- none of those things were barriers."

California remains one of the states with the worst disparities in vaccinating its Latino population despite efforts like Abraham's and a statewide mandate that allocates 40% of vaccine doses to underserved communities.

According to state data, 20% of vaccine doses have been administered to Latinos, who make up 39% of the population and 56% of cases.

And 3% of vaccines have been administered to Black people in California, who make up 6% of the population and 4% of the cases. White people, meanwhile, have received 29% of vaccines and make up 20% of cases and 37% of the population.

Health advocates say misinformation about the vaccine and lack of access have been key reasons for the racial inequities in California.

Now they are urging the state and its partners to boost vaccination efforts in communities of color to prevent the disparity from growing when all California adults become eligible for the shot on April 15. Some fear that residents with reliable internet, transportation and the ability to take off work will continue to outpace poor Black and Latino communities that have been among the hardest hit by Covid-19.

California officials were blasted earlier this year when when a vaccine program meant for seniors living in Black and Latino communities was misused by outsiders who obtained the special group codes needed to schedule appointments.

Gov. Gavin Newsom responded saying the group codes were being abused and that the program would switch to individual codes. About a week later, Newsom's administration announced it was setting aside 40% of vaccine doses for hard-hit communities.

Read the full story here.

8:27 a.m. ET, April 12, 2021

England re-opens as Germany struggles to contain cases

From CNN's Anna Stewart and Fred Pleitgen

People queue outside Nike Town on Oxford Street in London, as shops reopen following coronavirus restrictions easing on April 12.
People queue outside Nike Town on Oxford Street in London, as shops reopen following coronavirus restrictions easing on April 12. Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Non-essential shops opened their doors in England Monday, as the government continued to ease the country out of lockdown.

England's gyms, zoos and hairdressers also reopened, while restaurants and pubs will welcome customers outdoors. 

Lengthy lines formed outside shops on London’s Oxford Street ahead of the reopening on Monday morning, which forms part of the second step of the UK's plan to exit lockdown by the summer.

But not everyone will be back to enjoy the easing. Some businesses are permanently shut and only 40% of venues have outdoor space.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson hailed the easing as “major step forward” for England’s “roadmap to freedom."

Across the continent in Germany, the situation is dramatically different.

Germany's ICUs are at near peak capacity, according to Christian Karagiannidis, the director of the German intensive care association.

Karagiannidis warned over the weekend that even with a hard lockdown, case numbers in the country will rise for the next 10-14 days, adding that healthcare workers are “breaking down.”

He called for immediate action to deal with the rise in infection.

Germany has recorded more than three million total cases of Covid-19 during the pandemic and 78,500 deaths.

Chancellor Angela Merkel earlier said that the newer UK variant is making it more difficult for the country to control the virus' spread.

Last week the country's health minister Jens Spahn said Germany plans to open talks with Russia about acquiring doses of its coronavirus vaccine, Sputnik V, if the shot is approved by EU regulators.

8:01 a.m. ET, April 12, 2021

Diabetes drug did not help hospitalized Covid-19 patients, AstraZeneca says

From CNN's Naomi Thomas

A Phase 3 trial of the diabetes drug Farxiga, also known as dapagliflozin, showed it did not help hospitalized Covid-19 patients, AstraZeneca said in a news release Monday.

The trial did not show statistical significance in preventing organ dysfunction and death in hospitalized coronavirus patients who had other risk factors for severe Covid-19.

These risk factors included hypertension, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and heart failure or chronic kidney disease.

The trial was the first to look at a sodium-glucose co-transporter-2 inhibitor, or SGLT2, in hospitalized Covid-19 patients who have risk factors for developing serious complications.

The US Food and Drink Administration (FDA) describes SGLT2 inhibitors as “a class of prescription medicines that are FDA-approved for use with diet and exercise to lower blood sugar in adults with type 2 diabetes.”

“DARE-19 provided important data on the potential benefits and risks of using SGLT2 inhibitors to treat hospitalized patients with Covid-19," said Dr. Mikhail Kosiborod, a cardiologist at Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute and principal investigator of DARE-19, in the release. 
"While the trial did not achieve statistical significance, the findings are very interesting and valuable, and will inform future clinical science."

The full DARE-19 trial results will be presented at the American College of Cardiology Scientific Sessions in May, AstraZeneca said.

7:15 a.m. ET, April 12, 2021

India's daily cases surge as millions gather for religious pilgrimage

From CNN's Jessie Yeung and Esha Mitra

Hindu devotees packed the streets of Haridwar, in northern India, on Monday for the largest religious pilgrimage on Earth, in scenes that defied social distancing rules just as Covid-19 infections soared in the country.

As many as five million visitors were expected to descend on the city Monday -- an auspicious day in the ongoing Kumbh Mela religious festival, which was delayed this year due to the pandemic.

At the festival, devotees wash away their sins in the river's sacred waters, which are believed to turn into "amrita" -- the nectar of immortality -- on auspicious days like Monday.

At least 650,000 people had already taken a dip in the river by early Monday, according to police Insp. Gen. Sanjay Gunjyal.

Throughout the day, there will be an estimated 11,000 to 18,000 people in the water at any time, spread across the 15 main riverbanks, said Mukesh Thakur, a senior police official.

The massive crowds are causing concern as India struggles to contain a worrying second wave, with cases rising dramatically every day.

Read more here:

6:59 a.m. ET, April 12, 2021

Japan aims to secure 100 million vaccine doses by the end of June

From CNN's Eric Cheung in Hong Kong and Chie Kobayashi in Tokyo

An elderly woman receives a dose of the Covid-19 vaccine in Tokyo on April 12.
An elderly woman receives a dose of the Covid-19 vaccine in Tokyo on April 12. Stringer/Japan Pool/AFP/Getty Images

Japan will secure 100 million Covid-19 vaccine doses by the end of June, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said on Monday.

The doses will cover all medical workers and elderly citizens in the country, Suga said.

"It is important to inoculate elderly people, who have a high severity rate (when infected by Covid-19), as soon as possible," he added.

The announcement came as Japan began a mass inoculation program for its 36 million elderly residents aged 65 or above on Monday, according to the Kyodo News Agency.

The agency said the elderly accounted for around 29% of the country's population.

Just 1.1 million people -- less than 1% of Japan's population -- have received at least the first dose of the vaccine as of last Friday, according to official statistics provided by Japan's Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare.

The country has reported 506,237 cases of Covid-19 in total and 9,369 deaths according to Johns Hopkins University.

6:01 a.m. ET, April 12, 2021

Michigan's Covid-19 crisis could be a bad sign for the US, expert says

From CNN's Christina Maxouris

As the US races to vaccinate more Americans, Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations are rising, predominantly among younger people who haven't yet gotten a shot.

Some experts worry this might only be the start of what's to come in the next weeks. Michigan is already in the middle of a violent surge, and one epidemiologist says other states should be paying close attention.

"Michigan is really the bellwether for what it looks like when the B.1.1.7 variant... spreads in the United States," Dr. Celine Gounder told CNN on Sunday.
"It's causing a surge in cases and it's causing more severe disease, which means that even younger people, people in their 30s, 40s and 50s are getting very sick and being hospitalized from this."

The B.1.1.7 variant, first spotted in the UK, is now the dominant strain of the virus in the US. Experts say it's more contagious, may cause more severe disease and may potentially be more deadly. And it's rapidly spreading across the country.

Florida has the highest number of cases of the variant, followed by Michigan, Minnesota and Massachusetts, according to data from the CDC.

Read more here:

5:35 a.m. ET, April 12, 2021

Protests break out in Montreal after the city's latest Covid curfew

From CNN's Hollie Silverman

Protests broke out Sunday night in Montreal after the city's latest curfew went into effect due to spikes in Covid-19 cases.

The curfew began at 8 p.m. Sunday, according to the Quebec government website. The stricter curfew came after small reopenings and capacity increases made for certain industries in February and March led to an increase in cases.

A previous curfew from 9:30 p.m. until 5 a.m. had been in place prior to Sunday.

A crowd of peaceful demonstrators gathered in Montreal's Place Jacques-Cartier Sunday night, chanting slogans against the curfew requesting more freedom, according to CNN news partner CBC.

Read more here:

5:19 a.m. ET, April 12, 2021

Vaccines sell out in Pakistan as private market opens

From CNN's Jessie Yeung and Sophia Saifi

A vial of the Sputnik V vaccine is pictured at a cold storage facility in Karachi, Pakistan, on March 19.
A vial of the Sputnik V vaccine is pictured at a cold storage facility in Karachi, Pakistan, on March 19. Asim Hafeez/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Pakistan is in a tight spot: Covid-19 cases are surging during a third wave, hospital beds are filling up, and the government vaccination program is progressing slowly due to delayed deliveries and limited supplies.

So last month, it became one of the few countries to allow the private sector to import and sell vaccines.

Initial sales of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine in the first weekend of April caused a frenzy, with crowds rushing to vaccination centers and queuing for hours for their shot.

Several centers sold out in days. Others that had initially allowed walk-ins switched to online sign-ups after being inundated with people.

Many online booking systems have since been paused, as clinics slowly work through a backlog of inquiries.

Read more here.