April 13 coronavirus news

By Jessie Yeung, Lauren Said-Moorhouse, Samantha Tapfumaneyi, Melissa Mahtani, Melissa Macaya and Meg Wagner, CNN

Updated 0619 GMT (1419 HKT) April 14, 2021
11 Posts
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7:44 a.m. ET, April 13, 2021

India will fast-track emergency use authorization for Covid-19 vaccines approved in other countries

From CNN's Aditi Sangal

India will fast-track emergency use authorization for Covid-19 vaccines that have been granted approval in the US, Europe, UK and Japan or have have been listed for emergency use by the World Health Organization, the Indian Minister for Health and Family Welfare Dr. Harsh Vardhan announced Tuesday.

The goal of this move is to "augment our basket of Covid-19 vaccines," he said in a tweet, adding that the decision was made based on the recommendations of India's expert group on vaccine administration NEGVAC.

This comes as India, a country of nearly 1.4 billion people, is witnessing a record surge in Covid-19 cases despite rolling out one of the fastest vaccination drives in the world.

India's total caseload stands at more than 13.6 million — second only to the US — including more than 171,000 fatalities. Vaccinations topped 100 million, with India being the fastest country globally to reach that milestone, reaching the figure in just 85 days, the health ministry said.

India's drug regulator has also approved the Russian-made coronavirus vaccine Sputnik V.

In announcing the latest vaccine plans, Dr. Harsh Vardhan also said that government plans to assess the first 100 beneficiaries of such foreign vaccines for seven days for safety outcomes before it is further rolled out within the country. However, it'll be mandatory to conduct post-approval parallel bridging clinical trial as per prescribed provisions.

7:43 a.m. ET, April 13, 2021

Federal health channels will stop using J&J vaccine immediately, White House says

From CNN's Kaitlan Collins

A Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine is prepared at a vaccination clinic in Lakewood, CA, on March 31.
A Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine is prepared at a vaccination clinic in Lakewood, CA, on March 31. Irfan Khan/Los Angeles Times/Getty Images

The new announcement from the FDA and CDC means all federal health channels -- mass vaccination sites, community health centers and the like -- that were previously administering the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will immediately stop for the time being, according to a federal health official. 

The agencies are recommending that states do the same, but it will be up to the individual states to make that decision because they are given a separate allocation of doses. 

The pause happened because this type of blood clot is not listed on the list of potential adverse side effects that were part of the emergency use authorization for J&J. While officials are stressing it is rare, they want health care providers to have time to understand what potential side effects are and how to best treat them. 

The CDC and FDA came to a decision late last night, a federal health official said. The two agencies will do a press call at 10 a.m. this morning to answer more questions about the development. 

7:16 a.m. ET, April 13, 2021

CDC and FDA recommend US pause Johnson & Johnson vaccine use over blood clot concerns

From CNN’s Elizabeth Cohen

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the US Food and Drug Administration are recommending that the United States pause the use of Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccine over “six reported US cases of a rare and severe type of blood clot.”

A federal official previously told CNN that US health agencies were taking concerns about blood clots and the Johnson & Johnson vaccine "seriously."

An expert outside the government who is familiar with the situation agreed that health officials are taking the matter seriously.

There have been "four serious cases of unusual blood clots" reported after people received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, according to European health authorities. Like their US counterparts, the European authorities are investigating these cases and that "it is currently not clear" whether there's a causal association between the vaccine and the clots.

The concern in the United States isn't just about the Johnson & Johnson shot per se.

At a time when US health officials are encouraging Americans to get vaccinated as soon as they can, there's a worry that news coverage about clots being studied in relation to Johnson & Johnson's vaccine might make some Americans more hesitant to get any Covid-19 vaccine.

7:47 a.m. ET, April 13, 2021

"Don't declare victory prematurely," Fauci warns

From CNN's Christina Maxouris

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

US officials are racing to vaccinate as many Americans as possible to beat another Covid-19 surge -- and doses are being administered at a record pace.

But that's not all the US needs to be doing right now. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the US’ top infectious disease expert, told CNN Monday night that the country shouldn’t “declare victory prematurely.”

"We see so many pulling back on some of the public health measures, the mask mandates, the restaurant opening, the bars, we can't be doing that. We've got to wait a bit longer until we get enough vaccine into people that we will clearly blunt any surge," Fauci said.

But with a combination of the fast vaccinations and a doubling down on safety measures, the US could soon see a "turnaround," Fauci continued, and cases could start to come down again.

Read more here:

8:06 a.m. ET, April 13, 2021

India approves use of Russia's Sputnik V Covid--19 vaccine

From CNN's Manveena Suri in Delhi 

India's drug regulator has approved the Russian-made coronavirus vaccine Sputnik V as the country grapples with a second wave.

Sputnik V is the third coronavirus vaccine to get emergency use approval after Covishield, developed by Oxford-AstraZeneca and manufactured by the Serum Institute of India, and the Indian firm Bharat Biotech's Covaxin.

The decision was made by the Drugs Controller General of India after a Subject Expert Committee of the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization “deliberated on various critical areas for consideration including safety, immunogenicity, efficacy data from overseas clinical studies, indication, age group, dosing schedule, precautions, storage, warnings, adverse effects of special interest, risk benefit evaluation…,” the Indian Ministry of Health said in a statement on Tuesday.

Sputnik V, which has been approved for use in 60 countries across the world, is manufactured in India by the company, Dr. Reddy's Laboratories.

In September, the pharmaceutical firm partnered with the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) to conduct clinical trials of Sputnik V and distribute the vaccine in India, according to a press release issued by Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories.

“We are very pleased to obtain the emergency use authorization for Sputnik V in India. With the rising cases in India, vaccination is the most effective tool in our battle against COVID-19. This will enable us to contribute to our nation’s effort of vaccinating a significant proportion of our population,” said GV Prasad, co-chairman and managing director of Dr Reddy’s Laboratories.

The bigger picture: India reported 161,736 new cases of coronavirus on Tuesday, a slight dip following six consecutive days of record single-day rises, according to a CNN tally of figures from the Ministry of Health.

The country has recorded a total of 13,689,453 cases, which includes 171,058 deaths and 1,264,698 active cases.

A total of 108,533,085 vaccine doses have been administered and so far, to health and frontline workers and people aged 45 and above.

Several states have announced tighter restrictions to curb the spread of coronavirus. On Monday, the northern state of Haryana announced a nightly curfew to come into immediate effect from 9:00 p.m. till 5:00 a.m. until further notice. 

The capital territory of Delhi, which reported 11,491 cases on Monday, is preparing for a surge in cases.

The state government has declared 14 private hospitals in the capital be made into "full COVID-19" hospitals and asked them not to admit patients other than those infected with coronavirus. Nineteen private hospitals have been directed to reserve at least 80% of their ICU beds for Covid patients while a further 82 private hospitals have been asked to reserve 60% of their ICU beds for coronavirus patients, according to an order tweeted by Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain.

5:53 a.m. ET, April 13, 2021

Thailand bans "water splashing" at New Year festival as Covid-19 cases rise

From CNN's Kocha Olarn in Bangkok

Thailand’s government bans "water splashing" at its Songkran New Year water festival after the country reported record numbers of new coronavirus infections for three consecutive days.

On Tuesday, Thailand reported 965 new Covid-19 cases, bringing its total number of cases to 34,575 including 97 deaths from the virus.

Often referred to as the world's biggest water fight, Songkran is a three-day festival during which revelers splash water -- a symbol of cleansing and purification -- on each other. This year's main days of celebration start Tuesday and run through to Thursday though some Thai cities have been known to stretch out the fun a few extra days.

The government will allow religious activities and "mild watering" with coronavirus measures in place.

According to Thailand's Ministry of Interior’s website, there are 41 provinces where mandatory quarantine is required but enforced at various degrees of restrictions and conditions.

Dr Opas Karnkawinpong said during Tuesday's government press briefing that the prime minister has urged companies to resume working from home after the holiday is over.

5:03 a.m. ET, April 13, 2021

Germany reports more than 10,000 single-day Covid-19 cases

From CNN's Samantha Beech

Medical staff prepares samples from students at a new built COVID-19 test center for the beginning of the new semester at the university in Dortmund, Germany, on April 12.
Medical staff prepares samples from students at a new built COVID-19 test center for the beginning of the new semester at the university in Dortmund, Germany, on April 12. Martin Meissner/AP

Germany reported an increase of 10,810 Covid-19 cases on Tuesday, according to data from the Robert Koch Institute, the country's national agency for disease control and prevention.

The reported death toll in Germany rose by 294 to 78,746.

The country has now reported 3,022,323 Covid-19 cases, with Chancellor Angela Merkel emphasizing the urgent need for people in Germany to be vaccinated to break the third wave. 

One to watch today: Merkel is expected to meet with Cabinet members on Tuesday to discuss ways to slow down the third wave.

Germany has seen a consistent rise in cases. On Saturday, the director of the German intensive care association tweeted that the country’s ICUs had reached "peak" capacity. Christian Karagiannidis warned that even with a hard lockdown, numbers will continue rising for the next 10 to 14 days and added that healthcare workers are “breaking down.”

4:22 a.m. ET, April 13, 2021

UK variant more transmissible but not as severe, new studies suggest

From CNN Health's Jacqueline Howard

Two new studies suggest that the B.1.1.7 coronavirus variant, which was first identified in the United Kingdom, is more transmissible, but the variant does not appear to affect disease severity. 

The new findings clash with separate research that previously suggested the variant may be tied to a higher risk of dying from Covid-19.

One of the new studies, published on Monday in The Lancet Infectious Diseases, found no evidence in a sample of hospitalized patients that the B.1.1.7 variant is associated with severe Covid-19. However, the variant was associated with increased viral load, which supports the growing evidence that it is more easily transmissible.

The other study, also published on Monday in The Lancet Public Health, found no statistically significant association between the B.1.1.7 variant and the types or duration of Covid-19 symptoms people said that they experienced. 

The Lancet Infectious Diseases study included data on 496 people who were admitted to hospitals in London and tested positive for coronavirus infection. 

"Our data, within the context and limitations of a real-world study, provide initial reassurance that severity in hospitalised patients with B.1.1.7 is not markedly different from severity in those without, and this study provides a model to answer the same question again as we move into an era of emerging variants," the researchers, based in the United Kingdom, wrote in the study.

Nose and throat swab samples were collected from the patients between November 9 and December 20. Among those samples, 341 underwent genome sequencing. The sequence data showed that 198 of the patients, or 58%, had infections caused by the B.1.1.7 variant while the others were cased by other strains of the coronavirus. 

The researchers found no difference in the outcome of severe disease or death between the variant and other lineages.  

But the researchers identified increased viral load among the B.1.1.7 patients. 

Overall, "patients with B.1.1.7 were younger and had fewer comorbidities than those with non-B.1.1.7 infection, possibly representing the widespread and potential increased transmission of this variant in the community or differences in probability of hospital admission, which we were not able to explore in this hospital-based cohort," the researchers wrote. 

The Lancet Public Health study included data on 36,920 people who reported testing positive for Covid-19 and logged their symptoms into the COVID Symptom Study app between September 28 and December 27. 

The app -- designed by designed by researchers at King's College London, Guys and St Thomas’ Hospitals and the tech company Zoe Global Limited -- helps track the spread of Covid-19 and the range of symptoms experienced. 

The study's authors, based in the United Kingdom and the United States, analyzed the data reported in the app along with Covid-19 surveillance data for the UK.

The analysis showed that the prevalence of the B.1.1.7 variant in certain regions and over time was not associated with changes in Covid-19 symptoms reported in the app or the duration of symptoms.

The researchers found that the rate of coronavirus reinfections was low -- with 0.7% of app users who reported a positive Covid-19 test, testing positive again after 90 days -- and there was no evidence of increased reinfection rates associated with the B.1.1.7 variant.

Read the full story here:

3:12 a.m. ET, April 13, 2021

UK hits Covid vaccination target, PM praises the "precious" protection vaccines offer

From CNN’s Arnaud Siad and Sarah Dean

Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves number 10, Downing Street in London, on April 12.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves number 10, Downing Street in London, on April 12. Leon Neal/Getty Images

The United Kingdom has reached its Covid-19 vaccination target of offering doses to all adults over 50, the clinically vulnerable, and social care workers, the British government said in a statement on Monday.

“We have now passed another hugely significant milestone in our vaccine programme by offering jabs to everyone in the nine highest risk groups," said Prime Minister Boris Johnson. "That means more than 32 million people have been given the precious protection vaccines provide against Covid-19.”
“We will now move forward with completing essential second doses and making progress towards our target of offering all adults a vaccine by the end of July,” he added.

The statement said the target had been reached ahead of schedule, with the government having pledged to offer a first dose to priority cohorts by April 15.

The UK has now administered nearly 40 million doses, and fully vaccinated 7.4 million people, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.