April 29 coronavirus news

By Joshua Berlinger, James Griffiths, Kara Fox and Niamh Kennedy, CNN

Updated 0002 GMT (0802 HKT) April 30, 2021
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2:34 p.m. ET, April 29, 2021

CDC's ensemble forecast now projects up to 595,000 US Covid-19 deaths by May 22

From CNN's Naomi Thomas

An ensemble forecast published Wednesday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now projects that there will be 583,000 to 595,000 coronavirus deaths reported by May 22. 

The national ensemble predicts that the number of newly reported deaths will remain stable or have an uncertain trend over the next four weeks, the forecast said. 

The previous ensemble forecast, published April 21, projected up to 596,000 deaths by May 15. 

1:37 p.m. ET, April 29, 2021

US undergraduate enrollment in "steepest decline" since pandemic started, new data shows

From CNN's Elizabeth Stuart

Undergraduate enrollment in colleges and universities saw the "steepest decline" for the spring 2021 semester since the pandemic started, according to new data from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center released on Thursday.

Overall enrollment for the spring semester was down 5.9% compared with one year ago, while community colleges saw an 11.3% drop. The largest decline in enrollment is among 18-20 year-olds, who account for more than 40% of all undergraduate students. 

The data shows growth in graduate enrollment, however, with a 4.4% increase for the spring semester.

The data was also broken down by race and ethnicity, showing that Native Americans saw the largest decline, 13%, of any ethnic group this spring. Enrollment among White students dropped 8.5%, 8.8% among Black students, 7.3% among Latinx students, and 4.8% among Asian students.

The states seeing the most undergraduate decline are Alaska, Delaware, New Mexico, Oregon and South Dakota, which all dropped double digits from last year.

Three states saw a small uptick in undergraduate enrollment: Nebraska, Utah, and West Virginia. 

1:33 p.m. ET, April 29, 2021

India suffering through the worst air quality in the world amid Covid surge

From CNN's Brandon Miller

In addition to battling an unprecedented surge in Covid-19 cases, parts of India, especially in and around New Delhi, are experiencing the worst air quality in the world at the moment.

According to AQICN.org, a global air quality index real-time aggregator, air quality in India today is the worst of any country in the world.

The air quality index at the US Embassy in New Delhi has reached the "hazardous" level (AQI greater than 300) every day this week, the worst stretch of April air quality since the monitoring began in 2014.

While India is no stranger to horrible air quality, as many of its cities top the annual rankings for the worst air in the world, these readings represent much higher-than-normal levels for April. The coldest months of November through February typically see the worst air quality in northern India, as crop-burning combines with weather patterns to trap pollutants near the surface. By April, air quality levels are typically better.

Why this matters: High levels of pollution are known to worsen the impacts from Covid-19, and research from the US has shown that you are more likely to die from Covid-19 if you live in an area with higher levels of pollution. 

1:28 p.m. ET, April 29, 2021

Mumbai announces suspension of Covid-19 vaccinations for 3 days due to shortage

From CNN’s Swati Gupta

People wait to receive a Covid-19 vaccination on April 29 in Mumbai, India.
People wait to receive a Covid-19 vaccination on April 29 in Mumbai, India. Fariha Farooqui/Getty Images

Citing a vaccine shortage, Mumbai’s municipal administration announced the suspension of all Covid-19 vaccinations across the city Thursday evening.

"Owing to non-availability of vaccine stock, no vaccination will be conducted at any Govt/BMC/Pvt CVC for the next 3 days (30 Apr-2 May). All efforts are being made to make more stock available & resume the drive," tweeted the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, the local body which oversees administration in the city.

The state government of Maharashtra, where Mumbai is located, has repeatedly issued pleas regarding the shortage of vaccinations even as India prepares to launch a massive vaccination drive on May 1 for people between the ages of 18 and 44.

The latest announcement follows an extension in Covid-19 restrictions across the state through May 15, which announced earlier Thursday.

Mumbai recorded at least 4,192 new cases, including at least 82 deaths Thursday, according to the city administration.

12:53 p.m. ET, April 29, 2021

First flights carrying emergency Covid-19 assistance for India left US last night

From CNN's Kate Sullivan

The first flights carrying emergency supplies to assist India as it battles a new wave of Covid-19 cases left the US Wednesday night, White House deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Thursday. 

“The first of two assistance flights left the US for India at around 8 p.m. and midnight last night, which was April 28. The planes carried the first tranche of assistance, which includes oxygen cylinders, rapid diagnostic tests and N95 masks to protect frontline workers,” Jean-Pierre told reporters aboard Air Force One. 

Jean-Pierre continued: “Additional flights carrying the remaining assistance, including oxygen generators and concentrators are scheduled to depart in the upcoming days.”

The White House said Wednesday it was delivering supplies worth more than $100 million in the coming days to provide urgent relief to India.  

India is facing a national crisis as the number of new Covid-19 cases rises to record levels each day and sick people are being turned away from hospitals that have run out of beds and oxygen.

11:51 a.m. ET, April 29, 2021

France announces a 4-step process to lift lockdown

From CNN’s Arnaud Siad

Lewis Joly/AP
Lewis Joly/AP

France will see a progressive lifting of Covid-19 restrictions in four steps starting Monday until June 30, French President Emmanuel Macron said in an interview released today.

Here's a look at the steps:

  • Monday will mark the end of certificates required for movement, as well as the end of domestic travel restrictions. 
  • Starting on May 19 curfews will start at 9 p.m local time (as opposed to 7 p.m. currently) and shops, terraces and museums, cinemas and theaters will reopen with limited capacity. 
  • On June 9, curfews pushed further to 11 p.m local time. There will also be a return to offices, and cafes, restaurants and gyms can reopen. Subject to a “health pass,” sports and cultural events of up to 5,000 attendees will be allowed. Tourists will be allowed to return, also subject to a “health pass.”
  • The fourth and last step, on June 30, would see the end of curfews, but nightclubs would remain closed.

The progressive easing of restrictions is contingent on the situation in each department, which are administrative regions in France.

“I have good hope that the entire France will be able to get to the stage of May 19th. These are nation-wide measures, but we’ll be able to pull sanitary “urgent brakes” in places where the virus circulation would be too high,” Macron said in the interview, which took place with France’s regional press on Wednesday.

France went into a national lockdown again on April 3 due to a sharp increase in coronavirus cases. The nationwide nightly curfew, which came into effect on Jan. 16, currently runs from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. local time.

10:09 a.m. ET, April 29, 2021

EU's Covid-19 certificates must facilitate free movement without discrimination, parliament says

From Sharon Braithwaite and Lindsay Isaac in London

The European Union’s much awaited “Covid-19 certificate” must "facilitate free movement without discrimination." 

The EU made the announcement in a press release published Thursday by the European Parliament.  

"The document, which may be in digital or paper format, will attest that a person has been vaccinated against coronavirus or, alternatively, that they have a recent negative test result or have recovered from the infection. However, EU Covid-19 certificates will neither serve as a travel document nor become a precondition to exercise the right to free movement," EU lawmakers said in the press release

The certificates were initially slated to be called “Digital Green Certificates” and recommended for use only by EU citizens traveling within the EU. 

The EU has already launched discussions with the United States regarding the possibility of granting certificates to vaccinated US citizens according to EU spokesperson Adalbert Jahnz. 

Under the legislative proposal approved Thursday, holders of an EU Covid-19 certificate “should not be subject to additional travel restrictions, such as quarantine, self-isolation or testing."

The proposal only applies to EU nationals who may use the certificates “for 12 months and not longer.”  

Members of the European Parliament added that in order to avoid discrimination against those not vaccinated and for economic reasons, EU countries should “ensure universal, accessible, timely and free of charge testing."

The EU Parliament and the EU Council will now begin negotiations, with the aim to reach an agreement ahead of the summer tourist season.  

9:27 a.m. ET, April 29, 2021

Indian government says it has more than 12 million Covid-19 vaccines, rebutting shortage reports

From CNN’s Swati Gupta in Delhi

People wait to receive a Covid-19 vaccine in Mumbai, India, on Thursday, April 29.
People wait to receive a Covid-19 vaccine in Mumbai, India, on Thursday, April 29. Rajanish Kakade/AP

The Indian Health Ministry announced Thursday that more than 10 million Covid-19 vaccines – both AstraZeneca and Covaxin — are currently in storage with states across India, and 2 million more will be distributed within the next three days. 

In a rebuttal to statements on severe vaccine shortages in multiple cities and districts across India, the health ministry released data detailing the free vaccine supply to different states in the coming days. 

On Thursday, the Delhi health minister Satyendar Jain told local reporters that the national capital did not have any vaccines left and had issued a request for more. 

According to the health ministry, Delhi has received 3.8 million vaccines to date, and has more than 500,000 doses in storage. 

Maharashtra state has also issued an appeal for more vaccines. 

"Because of the unavailability (of vaccines) from the central government, we are unable to cater to the needs of every center here," Maharashtra state health minister Rajesh Tope told CNN Wednesday. 

The Indian government has supplied a total of 161 million vaccines across the country.

8:52 a.m. ET, April 29, 2021

New York City mayor says he plans to "fully reopen" the city on July 1

From CNN's Kristina Sgueglia

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks at an event in New York City on April 28.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks at an event in New York City on April 28. Roy Rochlin/Getty Images

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says he plans to “fully reopen” the city on July 1.

“We are ready for stores to open for businesses to open, offices, theaters, full strength," he said on MSNBC Thursday.

When asked if that even included indoor dining, de Blasio said “based on all the progress that we’ve made in this city, we can go back to full strength.”

Asked if Broadway would be ready to go by July 1 he said it “takes time because they have to mount a whole production.” While most of Broadway is aiming for September he notes “some of the smaller shows might be able to come in earlier.”

And when pressed on whether or not the New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo could intervene and stop what the mayor intends regarding full opening, de Blasio said that federal and state governments “always have a say."

“I’m saying as leader of NYC we’re ready to come back and come back strong," he said. “We know the vaccination effort is going to grow and grow, we got to keep working hard at that but what’s amazing is every single day we’re beating back Covid more and more.”

He also said now that vaccination sites are accepting individuals without an appointment, he adds “walk in reality is changing everything.” 

“We do have work to do, I want to emphasize,” he continued. “Anyone who likes what I’m saying, help us out by going out and getting vaccinated if you haven’t already,” he said.