April 26 coronavirus news

By Ben Westcott, Kara Fox and Niamh Kennedy, CNN

Updated 0651 GMT (1451 HKT) April 27, 2021
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7:52 p.m. ET, April 26, 2021

Second doses of Covid-19 vaccines have once again eclipsed first doses in the US

From CNN's Michael Nedelman, Keri Enriquez and Nadia Kounang

Fewer new people are getting their first Covid-19 shot than those finishing up their second, according to data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

For 10 of the last 11 days, the number of “fully vaccinated” people has risen more than the number of people with “at least one dose” — suggesting that second doses are outpacing first doses when it comes to the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

This is the second time the US has seen this happen since the beginning of the US vaccine rollout. The first time was in February, when severe weather caused delays in vaccine shipments around the country.

While the shift began during a pause of the Johnson & Johnson rollout, this single-dose vaccine would be expected to raise both numbers by the same amount. Furthermore, data published by the CDC may be delayed, and doses may not have been given on the day reported.

Experts told CNN the reason for the trend is not immediately clear, but it could be a reflection of slowing demand.

“I think this is really just hitting the hesitancy wall,” said Dr. Christopher Murray, director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington. 

Murray said he expects “we will really start to run out of people willing to be vaccinated for the first time” within the next couple of weeks. 

Claire Hannan, executive director of the Association of Immunization Managers, agreed that the US may have reached a “lull in demand. Hopefully it will rebound.”

Hannan said that there are still people out there who want the vaccine but may not have scheduled an appointment yet. “We’re going to have to make it as easy as possible for them to get the vaccine,” she added.

Hannan said this may be helped by the return of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, walk-up vaccination sites with no appointment needed, and involvement by employers and private doctors’ offices. 

Last week, a report from the Kaiser Family Foundation estimated that the US was approaching a “tipping point," with supply set to outstrip demand within the next two to four weeks.

7:27 p.m. ET, April 26, 2021

Biden administration expected to announce several new guidelines for fully vaccinated people  

From CNN's Elizabeth Cohen

The Biden administration is expected to announce, as early as tomorrow, several new recommendations for fully vaccinated people, including “unmasking outdoors,” a federal official tells CNN.

The official said the new recommendations “will provide guidelines for activities fully vaccinated people can resume,” suggesting a broader list than simply guidelines on masks.

The recommendations will also provide guidelines for infection control and prevention in health care settings.

What we know: The President will also give remarks on the state of the pandemic tomorrow. The three people familiar with the expected announcement said Biden will announce new CDC guidance on whether vaccinated people need to wear masks outdoors, though the final language of the expected announcement is still unclear.

One of Biden's top coronavirus advisers, Dr. Anthony Fauci, strongly hinted that the guidance would be updated this week, telling CNN's Jim Acosta Sunday he didn't want to get ahead of the CDC, but they "will be coming out with updating their guidelines of what people who are vaccinated can do and even some who are not vaccinated."

CNN's Kaitlan Collins and Kate Sullivan contributed to this report.

6:29 p.m. ET, April 26, 2021

US surgeon general says he has "several" family members who have died from Covid-19 in India

From CNN’s Virginia Langmaid

Dr. Vivek Murthy.
Dr. Vivek Murthy. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

As Covid-19 cases spike in India, US Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy said he has been personally affected by viral spread in the country.

“I happen to also have a lot of family in India, and staying in touch with them and also understanding from their perspective how bad it is has been really concerning,” Murthy said on a Health and Human Services Department Community Corps call on Monday. “Several of my family members in India have died as a result of Covid-19 and many more have actually gotten sick, so this is serious for me personally.”

Murthy said it is in the interest of countries moving forward with vaccination programs, like the United States, to be concerned about spread in other countries.

“We know that this is a global pandemic, which means that the solution is not just to get our population vaccinated, but it's to make sure that we are reducing rates of infection globally. When cases are running unchecked, and growing at high rates in other countries that means is a greater chance of variants to develop,” he said. “No country will be ultimately safe if we have ongoing uncontrolled spread of virus in other parts of the world.”

On Monday, the White House announced it would be freeing up vaccine-production resources and releasing stockpiled doses of AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccines for use in other countries.

5:46 p.m. ET, April 26, 2021

Minnesota first-grader dies from Covid-19 complications

From CNN’s Keith Allen

A child from southwestern Minnesota has died due to complications from Covid-19, according to a statement from the Minnesota Department of Health. 

Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, three Minnesotans under age 18 have died due to Covid-19. Gov. Tim Walz said in a statement that the child had no underlying health conditions.

“It is simply heartbreaking to hear that COVID-19 has taken the life of someone so young,” Walz said in the statement Monday afternoon. “My thoughts are with the Minnesota family grieving the loss of their beloved child. There is no grief more profound than the loss of family.” 

The child was a first-grader at Park Side Elementary School, Marshall Public Schools Superintendent Jeremy Williams told CNN in an email Monday afternoon.

“I recognize this is scary and concerning for many,” Williams wrote in a letter to district parents, obtained by CNN. “We encourage you to continue to watch your students for any signs of COVID. If your student begins to show symptoms, please bring them in to be tested right away.”

District schools will continue to follow protocols from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Minnesota Department of Health, including wearing masks, maintaining social distancing and frequent handwashing, he said. Crisis team members are also on-hand to support teachers, staff and students, according to Williams.

Heather Mueller, the state's education commissioner, called on all Minnesotans to continue to take coronavirus seriously.

“As a mom and a former teacher, I am devastated to hear about the loss of one of our students to COVID-19. My heart is with the family, fellow students, and school staff who will forever be missing a child, a classmate, and an important member of their school community,” Mueller said in a statement.

“This sadly reinforces that the pandemic is not over and the precautions that we are taking are not just for our own safety, but for all Minnesotans – including our youngest students who are not yet eligible for the vaccine,” the commissioner added.
4:31 p.m. ET, April 26, 2021

CDC warns people getting J&J vaccine to watch for blood clot symptoms

From CNN's Maggie Fox

A medical worker with Northwell Health holds up doses of the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine at a pop-up vaccination site at the Albanian Islamic Cultural Center in Staten Island on April 8 in New York.
A medical worker with Northwell Health holds up doses of the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine at a pop-up vaccination site at the Albanian Islamic Cultural Center in Staten Island on April 8 in New York. Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

People who have just received the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine should keep an eye out for any symptoms of blood clots and be ready to seek immediate medical attention, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in updated guidance.

While the risk is extremely low, people who suffer persistent, severe headaches or blurred vision, shortness of breath, chest pain, leg swelling, persistent abdominal pain or unusual bruising within three weeks of getting the J&J vaccine should get medical attention quickly, the CDC said in a new posting on its website.

CDC and the US Food and Drug Administration decided on Friday to lift a pause on administering the vaccine after an extensive search turned up only 15 cases of a rare blood clotting syndrome among nearly 8 million people who had received the vaccine. 

“Reports of adverse events following the use of J&J/Janssen vaccine suggest an increased risk of a rare adverse event called thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS). Nearly all reports of this serious condition, which involves blood clots with low platelets, have been in adult women younger than 50 years old,” the CDC said in the new posting. 

“A review of all available data at this time shows that the J&J/Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine’s known and potential benefits outweigh its known and potential risks. However, women younger than 50 years old should be aware of the rare but increased risk of this adverse event and that there are other COVID-19 vaccine options available for which this risk has not been seen,” it added.

“For three weeks after receiving the vaccine, you should be on the lookout for possible symptoms of a blood clot with low platelets.”

The FDA updated the fact sheets given to providers and patients with the vaccine to warn of the possible blood clot risk, and the CDC has now added language pointing out the specific risk to women 50 and younger.

4:15 p.m. ET, April 26, 2021

France will send medical aid to India by the end of this week 

From CNN’s Pierre Bairin

France will begin sending medical aid to India by the end of this week, according to a news release from the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Monday. 

Eight medical oxygen production units, each of which will be able to make an Indian hospital autonomous in oxygen for 10 years, will be part of the shipment. Liquefied oxygen containers and “specialized medical equipment,” in particular 28 respirators and their specific supplies, will also be part of the shipments, the release said. 

“In response to the needs expressed by the country's authorities, this material is intended to respond to the emergency but also to significantly and sustainably strengthen the capacities of Indian hospitals to treat the sick and fight the pandemic,” the French foreign ministry said.

The support is also part of the European Union Civil Protection Mechanism (MPCU), the release added.

“France and India have always stood in solidarity with each other in difficult times. This solidarity is at the heart of our strategic partnership and of the friendship between the French and Indian peoples,” it concluded.

For the past two weeks in India, medical facilities have been running out of oxygen and intensive care unit beds, with patients left to die at home and outside hospitals waiting for care.

2:36 p.m. ET, April 26, 2021

WHO: Global Covid-19 cases rise for ninth consecutive week

From CNN’s Naomi Thomas

The number of global Covid-19 cases has risen for the ninth consecutive week, World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a news briefing Monday.

“Globally, the Covid-19 pandemic continues to intensify,” he said. “Cases have now increased for the ninth straight week, and deaths have increased for the sixth straight week.”

“To put it in perspective, there were almost as many cases globally last week as in the first five months of the pandemic.” 

Tedros said he was pleased to see small declines in cases and deaths in several regions, but said many countries are still experiencing intense transmission. 

India’s plight is “beyond heartbreaking,” he said, adding that WHO is providing critical equipment and supplies, including thousands of oxygen concentrators, prefabricated mobile field hospitals and laboratory supplies to the country.

WHO has also redeployed more than 2,600 staff to support the response in India and to provide support for surveillance, technical advice and vaccination efforts.

2:33 p.m. ET, April 26, 2021

In 10 states, at least 60% of adults have received at least one dose of Covid-19 vaccine

From CNN’s Deidre McPhillips

A registered nurse administers a dose of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine at a Veterans Administration Long Beach Healthcare System pop-up vaccination site at the Dae Hueng Presbyterian Church on April 17 in Gardena, California.
A registered nurse administers a dose of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine at a Veterans Administration Long Beach Healthcare System pop-up vaccination site at the Dae Hueng Presbyterian Church on April 17 in Gardena, California. Patrick T. Fallon/AFP/Getty Images

Nearly 54% of adults in the United States have received at least one dose of Covid-19 vaccine, according to data published Monday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

In 10 states, at least 60% of adults have received at least one dose of Covid-19 vaccine. These are the leading states:

  • New Hampshire (73%)
  • Massachusetts (66%)
  • Connecticut (66%)
  • Vermont (64%)
  • New Mexico (64%)
  • Maine (63%)
  • New Jersey (63%)
  • Hawaii (63%)
  • Rhode Island (62%)
  • California (60%)

The bottom 10 states have vaccinated 45% or less of their adult population: 

  • Mississippi (39%)
  • Alabama (40%)
  • Louisiana (41%)
  • Tennessee (43%)
  • Wyoming (43%)
  • West Virginia (44%)
  • Georgia (44%)
  • Idaho (45%)
  • Arkansas (45%)
  • South Carolina (45%)

Overall, 230,768,454 doses of Covid-19 vaccine have been administered, about 79% of the 290,692,005 doses delivered, according to CDC data. 

That’s about 2.1 million more doses reported administered since Sunday, for a seven-day average of about 2.7 million doses administered per day. 

Nearly 141 million people in the US have received at least one dose of Covid-19 vaccine, and nearly 96 million people are fully vaccinated. 

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


2:12 p.m. ET, April 26, 2021

White House confirms plans to share American-made AstraZeneca vaccine doses with other countries

From CNN's Maegan Vazquez

White House press secretary Jen Psaki speaks during a press briefing at the White House on April 26 in Washington, DC.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki speaks during a press briefing at the White House on April 26 in Washington, DC. Patrick Semansky/AP

White House press secretary Jen Psaki confirmed on Monday that the United States plans to share American-made AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine doses with other countries.

“Today we announced that the administration is looking at options to share American-made AstraZeneca vaccine doses during the next few months. Given the strong portfolio of vaccines that the United States has already authorized and … that is available in large quantities, including two two-dose vaccines and one one-dose vaccine, and given that AstraZeneca is not authorized for use in the United States, we do not need to use AstraZeneca in our fight against Covid over the next few months,” Psaki said during the White House press briefing.

Psaki said the US Food and Drug Administration will conduct a safety review of doses before they leave the country and that the US plan to distribute the vaccine is still being developed.

“Before any AstraZeneca doses are shipped from the United States, the FDA will confirm any such doses meet its expectations for product quality. This is being done in the context of the FDA’s ongoing review of all doses made at the plant where these AstraZeneca doses were produced. And I anticipate in the near future, our team will share more details about our planning and who will be receiving doses from here. But we’re in the planning process at this point in time,” Psaki added. 

Some more background: CNN previously reported that the US has tens of millions of AstraZeneca's vaccine stockpiled but none have been used because it has not yet been granted emergency use authorization by the FDA.

Multiple world leaders have pressed President Biden to share doses as other countries have struggled to ramp up vaccinations. One of those countries is India, which is currently going through one of the worst Covid-19 surges in the world.

Biden and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke on Monday, but a readout from the call released by the White House did not mention sharing vaccines.