By Sophie Jeong, Zamira Rahim, Aditi Sangal and Nicholas Pearce, CNN
Updated 0714 GMT (1514 HKT) April 20, 2021
6:30 p.m. ET, April 19, 2021
CDC recommends seeking immediate care for symptoms following Johnson & Johnson vaccine
From CNN's Ryan Prior
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is recommending that people who experience certain new symptoms after receiving Johnson & Johnson's Covid-19 vaccine seek immediate medical treatment.
These include sudden, severe headache, backache, new neurological symptoms, severe abdominal pain, shortness of breath, leg swelling, tiny red spots on the skin, and new or easy bruising.
The CDC, along with the US Food and Drug Administration, recommended a pause last week in the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine due to a small number of reports of a rare severe type of blood clot occurring in those who had received the vaccine. Similar issues have not been reported following the administration of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.
While Johnson & Johnson's vaccine is still authorized, the pause gives scientists time to review data and determine whether the vaccine is actually linked to the blood clots and, if so, whether recommendations on who should receive it should change.
For those who have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine within the last three weeks, the risk of developing the rare blood clot would be very low to start with and would decrease over time, the CDC said.
The agency also recommends that any adverse reactions be reported through the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System.
6:28 p.m. ET, April 19, 2021
Nearly 212 million Covid-19 vaccine doses have been administered in the US
From CNN’s Deidre McPhillips
Nearly 212 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine have been administered in the United States for an average of 3 million shots a day, despite a pause in delivering Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine, according to data published Monday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The CDC reported that 211,581,309 total doses have been administered, about 80% of the 264,505,725 doses delivered.
That’s about 2.2 million more doses reported administered since Sunday, for a seven-day average of about 3.1 million doses per day. The average daily pace has slowed, but remained above 3 million shots per day since rollout of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was paused about a week ago.
About 40% of the US population — more than 132 million people — have received at least one dose of vaccine, and about 26% of the population — more than 85 million people — is fully vaccinated.
Among adults, 50.7% have received at least one shot and 33% are fully vaccinated, and among seniors, 80.1% have received at least one shot and about 65% are fully vaccinated, according to CDC data.
Note: Data published by the CDC may be delayed, and doses may not have been given on the day reported.
6:26 p.m. ET, April 19, 2021
Connecticut governor recommends masks even after restrictions ease next month
From CNN’s Sahar Akbarzai
Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont advised people to still be cautious and wear masks indoors, despite all Covid-19 restrictions ending in the state on May 19.
A mandate or guidance on masks worn indoors will be determined closer to May 19 with the state legislature, he said.
“There won’t be any requirements regarding masks outside, we still strongly recommend wearing the mask inside, unless you’ve been vaccinated, we’ll find some balance there,” the governor said.
However, Lamont noted that the state will most likely still mandate individuals to wear masks in school until the end of the year. “It gives students, parents, and teachers confidence there,” Lamont explained.
Additionally, the state will most likely still mandate individuals to wear masks in indoor, crowded places unless the individual is fully vaccinated.
4:32 p.m. ET, April 19, 2021
Risk of coronavirus spreading on surfaces is low, CDC says
From CNN’s Virginia Langmaid
The risk of surface transmission of Covid-19 is low, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday. Far more important is airborne transmission.
“CDC determined that the risk of surface transmission is low, and secondary to the primary routes of virus transmission through direct contact droplets and aerosols,” Vincent Hill, Chief of the Waterborne Disease Prevention Branch, said.
Hill said the risk of transmission from touching a surface, while small, is elevated indoors. Outdoors, the sun and other factors can destroy viruses,” Hill said on a CDC-sponsored telephone briefing.
The virus dies “rapidly” on porous surfaces but can persist longer on hard, indoor surfaces.
Research also suggested that surface transmission was more likely in the first 24 hours after a person is infected, and that households where one person had Covid-19 did have a lower transmission rate when the household cleaned and disinfected surfaces.
The CDC has updated its guidance for cleaning and disinfecting surfaces in community settings in light of this transmission risk.
“In most situations, cleaning surfaces using soap or detergent, and not disinfecting, is enough to reduce the already low risk of virus transmission through surfaces,” Hill said. “Disinfecting surfaces is typically not necessary, unless a sick person or someone positive for Covid-19 has been in the home within the last 24 hours.”
Hill said cleaning should be focused on high-contact areas, such as doorknobs and light switches.
4:25 p.m. ET, April 19, 2021
State Department will increase "Do Not Travel" advisories for about 80% of countries worldwide
From CNN's Jennifer Hansler
The State Department said Monday that it continues to urge Americans against traveling abroad due to the coronavirus pandemic and that it would begin to update its travel advisories to be more aligned with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advisories – an update that “will result in a significant increase in the number of countries at Level 4: Do Not Travel, to approximately 80% of countries worldwide.”
“This does not imply a reassessment of the current health situation in a given country, but rather reflects an adjustment in the State Department's Travel Advisory system to rely more on CDC's existing epidemiological assessments,” the agency’s statement said.
Level 4: Do Not Travel is the highest State Department travel advisory level.
���The COVID-19 pandemic continues to pose unprecedented risks to travelers,” it noted. “In light of those risks, the Department of State strongly recommends U.S. citizens reconsider all travel abroad.”
1:22 p.m. ET, April 19, 2021
Global Covid-19 cases increase for eighth week in a row, WHO chief says
From CNN's Naomi Thomas
Global Covid-19 cases have increased for the eighth week in a row, World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said during a news briefing in Geneva on Monday.
“Last week new cases of Covid-19 increased for the eighth week in a row with more than 5.2 million cases reported — the most in a single week so far,” said Tedros.
Deaths also increased for the fifth straight week, he said, with more than 3 million deaths now having been reported to the organization.
“It took nine months to reach 1 million deaths, four months to reach 2 million and three months to reach 3 million deaths,” said Tedros. “Big numbers can make us numb, but each one of these deaths is a tragedy for families, communities and nations.”
Tedros added that infections and hospitalizations among people age 25 to 59 are “increasing at an alarming rate,” possibly due to highly transmissible variants and increased social mixing among younger adults.
11:58 a.m. ET, April 19, 2021
CDC working through a "handful" of reports of adverse events after J&J vaccine, agency director says
From CNN's Virginia Langmaid
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is looking at a "handful" of reported adverse events after use of Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccine, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said Monday.
“There’s been a handful of cases, not an overwhelming number of cases. We are working through and adjudicating them and verifying whether they do in fact reflect a true case,” Walensky said during a White House Covid-19 briefing.
Walenksy said that it will be the work of the CDC and US Food and Drug Administration this week, in order to present findings at the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices on Friday.
“We’re doing that work right now and we are encouraged that it hasn’t been an overwhelming number of cases, but we’re looking and seeing what’s come in,” she said.
The CDC and FDA recommended pausing the use of the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine last week after six cases of rare blood clots among women who received the vaccine.
Another case, in a 25-year-old man, was reported during the clinical trial of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine.
11:54 a.m. ET, April 19, 2021
Low number of breakthrough Covid-19 cases in US shows "these vaccines are working," CDC director says
From CNN’s Virginia Langmaid
The fact that the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has received less than 6,000 reports of breakthrough Covid-19 cases among more than 84 million people fully vaccinated shows “these vaccines are working,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said Monday.
“Last week, we released data on the number of so-called breakthrough infections of people who, despite being vaccinated, still tested positive for Covid-19 more than 14 days after they’re getting their second vaccine dose,” Walensky said during a White House Covid-19 briefing on Monday. “So far out of more than 84 million people who are fully vaccinated, we have only received reports of less than 6,000 breakthrough cases.”
The CDC’s website, which was updated last week, specifies there are at least 5,814 reports of breakthrough infections so far out of 75 million people fully vaccinated in the United States at the time.
With any vaccine, breakthrough cases are expected. The number of cases so far comes from just 43 states and is likely an underestimate, but “it still makes a really important point, these vaccines are working,” Walensky said.
Among those nearly 6,000 cases, “approximately 30% had no symptoms at all. This is really encouraging news,” she said.
“Here's the bottom line, getting a vaccine will help protect you. It will help protect others and it will help us end this pandemic. The more people get vaccinated, the fewer infections there will be, which means fewer variants will emerge, and fewer breakthrough infections will occur and the quicker we can get back to doing the things we love," the CDC director continued.
12:15 p.m. ET, April 19, 2021
All Indians 18 years and older will be eligible for Covid-19 vaccines starting May 1
"In a meeting chaired by [Prime Minister] Narendra Modi, an important decision of allowing vaccination to everyone above the age of 18 from 1st May has been taken," the statement noted. "He added that India is vaccinating people at world record pace& we will continue this with even greater momentum."
This comes as a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic has swept the country. India has recorded a total of 15,061,919 Covid-19 cases and 178,769 deaths, according to the health ministry.
India added a million new cases in less than a week, surpassing 14 million total cases on Thursday.
Currently, only people who are health care workers, front line workers or 45 years and older are eligible to get vaccinated and already, vaccine supplies have dried up on the ground, with at least five states reporting severe shortages and urging the federal government to act.
With this latest announcement, India's vaccination campaign will be split into two strands. Government centers will continue to give free vaccines only to health care workers and frontline workers and those who are 45 or older. Private vaccination providers will be able to charge and provide vaccines to everyone aged 18 or older.
India will allow foreign-manufactured vaccines to be entirely utilized by the "open market" or private vaccination providers.
Under the "Liberalised and Accelerated Phase 3 Strategy of the National Covid-19 Vaccination program," vaccine manufacturers would supply 50% of their monthly doses to the central government and would be free to supply the remaining 50% doses to state governments and in the open market.
India produces more than 60% of all vaccines sold globally, and is home to the Serum Institute of India (SII,) the world's largest vaccine maker. The country has been working with COVAX, a global vaccine-sharing initiative that provides discounted or free doses for lower-income countries.
However, in the face of this crisis, the government and SII have shifted focus to prioritizing their own citizens at home.