May 5 coronavirus news

By Joshua Berlinger, Brad Lendon, Aditi Sangal and Ivana Kottasová, CNN

Updated 0424 GMT (1224 HKT) May 7, 2021
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4:38 p.m. ET, May 5, 2021

Phase 2 results show booster shots increases the immune response to variants, Moderna says

From CNN’s John Bonifield and Maggie Fox

A booster shot of Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine revs up the immune response against two worrying coronavirus variants, the company reported Wednesday. Additionally, a booster dose formulated specifically to match the B.1.351 variant first seen in South Africa was even more effective, Moderna said in a statement.

Vaccine makers are trying to get out ahead of the new variants and the design of the new mRNA vaccines made by Moderna and Pfizer make this easier. The genetic material used as the basis of the vaccines is made in a lab and the sequence is easily tweaked.

Moderna tested booster doses of either its current vaccine or a version designed specifically against B.1.351 in 40 people who had already been vaccinated six to eight months before. Blood tests showed half of these volunteers had a low antibody response against B.1.351 and the P.1 variant first seen in Brazil before they got the booster shot.

Two weeks after the booster, their antibody levels had grown against the so-called wild type coronavirus – the variant most common around the world – as well as B.1.351 and P.1, Moderna said in the statement.

“The majority of adverse events were mild or moderate in severity,” the company said.

“We are encouraged by these new data, which reinforce our confidence that our booster strategy should be protective against these newly detected variants. The strong and rapid boost in titers to levels above primary vaccination also clearly demonstrates the ability of mRNA-1273 to induce immune memory,” Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel said in the statement.

The company is also testing a vaccine booster that combines the original formulation with the B.1.351 specific formula.

“We will continue to make as many updates to our COVID-19 vaccine as necessary to control the pandemic,” Bancel said.

4:31 p.m. ET, May 5, 2021

Vaccines are India's way out of the Covid surge. Here's why they are in such short supply.

From CNN's Jessie Yeung and Manveena Suri

A person takes a photo of helpline numbers after Covishield Covid-19 vaccine went out of stock at a vaccination center in Mumbai on April 20.
A person takes a photo of helpline numbers after Covishield Covid-19 vaccine went out of stock at a vaccination center in Mumbai on April 20. Indranil Mukherjee/AFP/Getty Images

India is experiencing the world's worst Covid-19 outbreak and vaccines are in short supply.

India's vaccine rollout on Saturday widened to everyone age 18 and above, yet a number of states are warning they have no shots to give.

When eligibility was expanded, just over 2% of India's 1.3 billion people have been fully immunized with one of two vaccines — significantly lower than the United States, where 29.8% of the population are fully immunized.

Experts say vaccines are the only way for India to get out of the surge, adding it is a global health issue.

"The only solution for India is to vaccinate itself out of this pandemic," said Ramanan Laxminarayan, director of the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics and Policy in New Delhi. "And the world really needs to help, because if India doesn't fix this problem, the world is not done with Covid."

Here are some of the reasons why there is a shortage of vaccines:

  • Exporting vaccines: India rapidly exported a large number of vaccine doses to other countries and through COVAX, the global initiative to provide vaccines to low-income countries. To date, India has exported at least 66 million vaccines.
  • Raw materials: The Serum Institute of India, which is producing AstraZeneca’s Covishield, has struggled to keep up the materials needed to produce the vaccine. Much of those come from the United States, but the US placed a ban on those exports to prioritize its own domestic rollout. The ban on materials has been lifted and the Biden administration said it will send vaccines to India – but it will take a while until they actually arrive.
  • Coordination with state and local governments: Due to poor coordination between the state and federal governments, certain states are complaining that they are not receiving the vaccines which the federal government had promised to supply. The government has pushed back, claiming any shortages were due to the states' own mismanagement or inaccurate reporting.
3:27 p.m. ET, May 5, 2021

Go There: CNN reports from London on the latest Covid-19 updates out of Europe

CNN international's Cyril Vanier is in the streets of London reporting on the latest Covid-19 headlines from Europe, including travel restrictions and the vaccine rollout.

Watch Go There:

3:23 p.m. ET, May 5, 2021

Biden administration supports vaccine waiver proposal

From CNN's Kevin Liptak

The Biden administration said Wednesday it would support easing patent rules on Covid-19 vaccines, which could increase their global supply, after intense internal debate and strong pushback from American drug-makers.

"The Administration believes strongly in intellectual property protections, but in service of ending this pandemic, supports the waiver of those protections for COVID-19 vaccines," US Trade Representative Katherine Tai wrote in a statement.

Biden and Tai had been weighing the issue after calls from global aid groups and liberal Democrats to support the waivers, which have been proposed by India and South Africa.

Biden as a candidate promised to support such waivers, but had been under pressure from pharmaceutical companies to keep them in place. 

“The Administration’s aim is to get as many safe and effective vaccines to as many people as fast as possible," Tai said in her statement. "As our vaccine supply for the American people is secured, the Administration will continue to ramp up its efforts – working with the private sector and all possible partners – to expand vaccine manufacturing and distribution. It will also work to increase the raw materials needed to produce those vaccines.”

3:29 p.m. ET, May 5, 2021

Fauci: Developed countries have an obligation to ensure the world does not "suffer and die" from Covid

From CNN’s Virginia Langmaid

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci testifies before a House Select Subcommittee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on April 15.
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci testifies before a House Select Subcommittee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on April 15. Amr Alfiky/Pool/AFP/Getty Images

Countries like the United States with ample vaccine resources are obligated to aid the rest of the world in Covid-19 vaccination programs, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told The Hill on Wednesday. 

“I believe we have a moral obligation,” he said, “to make sure that the rest of the world does not suffer and die, as it were, from something we can help them with and help them prevent.”

Fauci said he would be fine with waiting patent protections for vaccines, among other options. 

“Whether that involves taking a look and examining whether you want to waive patent protection, whether it means making investments in a lot of money to have tech transfer go to the developing world so they can make their own vaccines, whether or not we want to rev up and make billions more than we normally would and essentially make it available to the developing world at a markedly reduced price,” he said, “Any or all of the above is what I would say would be fine.”

“We’ve got to get to the end game. And the end game is the equitable distribution of vaccines, so however we get there. It’s fine with me. We just need to get there,” Fauci added.

3:11 p.m. ET, May 5, 2021

More than 186,000 restaurants applied for federal relief in two days, Biden says

From CNN's Elise Hammond

President Joe Biden takes questions from reporters as he speaks about the American Rescue Plan, in the State Dining Room of the White House on May 5 in Washington, DC.
President Joe Biden takes questions from reporters as he speaks about the American Rescue Plan, in the State Dining Room of the White House on May 5 in Washington, DC. Evan Vucci/AP

In two days, President Biden said 186,200 restaurants and other food industry businesses applied for federal relief funding allocated by the American Rescue Plan.

Giving an update on his administration's implementation of the $1.9 trillion dollar bill, he said the applications came from establishments in all 50 states since the process opened on Monday.

About 97,000 were "businesses owned by women, veterans and socioeconomically disadvantaged individuals," Biden said on Wednesday.

The grants for these businesses come from the Restaurant Revitalization Fund. Biden said they have already reviewed all of the applications and will be able to provide money to about 100,000 of the businesses.

The money will "provide direct relief to restaurants and the hard hit food establishments – bars, bakeries, food stands, food trucks and caterers," Biden said.

"We're opening the doors of this program so that restaurants all over the country can open their doors again," he added.

3:02 p.m. ET, May 5, 2021

NOW: Biden gives update on implementation of $1.9 trillion Covid-19 relief package

From CNN's Kate Sullivan

Pool
Pool

President Biden is speaking now from the White House on his administration's implementation of the $1.9 trillion Covid-19 relief package.

The Covid-19 economic relief law, which passed in March, included $1,400 stimulus checks to some Americans, unemployment assistance, aid to states and municipalities, nutrition assistance, housing aid, tax credits for families and workers, funding for optional paid sick and family leave, health insurance subsidies and Medicaid, more money for small businesses and more.

Biden is also promoting the newly launched Restaurant Revitalization Fund, which was established to help struggling restaurants and other eligible businesses keep their doors open during the coronavirus pandemic.

"Restaurants are more than a major driver of our economy, they're woven into the fabric of our communities," Biden said in a speech at the White House.

The President continued: "And so for many families, restaurants are the gateway to opportunity, a key part of the American story."

Applications for the program opened on Monday. The $28.6 billion fund was established as part of the $1.9 trillion Covid-19 relief bill the President signed into law earlier this year.

3:01 p.m. ET, May 5, 2021

CDC ensemble forecast projects decrease in newly reported deaths over the next four weeks

From CNN’s Naomi Thomas

Deaths from coronavirus are likely to fall off a little in the coming weeks, according to a new ensemble forecast published Wednesday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“This week’s national ensemble predicts that the number of newly reported Covid-19 deaths will likely decrease over the next 4 weeks, with 1,400 to 5,500 new deaths likely reported in the week ending May 29, 2021,” CDC said. 

The ensemble forecast predicts 586,000 to 600,000 Covid-19 deaths will be reported by May 29. The previous ensemble forecast, published April 28, projected up to 595,000 deaths by May 22. 

2:34 p.m. ET, May 5, 2021

Average daily pace of Covid-19 vaccine doses reported administered down 20% from last week

From CNN's Deidre McPhillips

A man arrives at a Covid-19 vaccine facility in Los Angeles on May 3.
A man arrives at a Covid-19 vaccine facility in Los Angeles on May 3. Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images

The pace of immunization against coronavirus has slowed by about 20% in the US, according to data published Wednesday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

It shows nearly 250 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine have been administered in the United States.

The CDC reported that 249,566,820 total doses have been administered, about 78% of the 321,549,335 doses delivered.

That’s about 1.8 million more doses reported administered since Tuesday, dropping the seven-day average down to about 2.1 million doses reported administered per day. That’s about 20% slower than last week.

About 45% of the population — nearly 149 million people — have received at least one dose of Covid-19 vaccine, and about 32% — more than 107 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.