May 7 coronavirus news

By Joshua Berlinger, Brad Lendon, Aditi Sangal and Angela Dewan, CNN

Updated 0604 GMT (1404 HKT) May 10, 2021
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5:23 a.m. ET, May 7, 2021

Coronavirus positivity rate climbs to over 50% in India's Goa after rise in tourist arrivals

From Manveena Suri in New Delhi

The positivity rate of Covid-19 cases in the Indian state of Goa has risen to 51.4%, Goa's health minister, Vishwajit P. Rane, told CNN, linking a spike in infections to holidaymakers and lax Covid restrictions.

The state, famous with tourists for its beaches, reported 3,869 new cases on Thursday, and is one of many parts of the country struggling to slow down a devastating second wave of the virus. Goa's total number of cases stands at 108,267, including 1,501 deaths.

Rane attributed the spike to a combination of lax restrictions and an influx of domestic tourists from the start of Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, in November up until February.

“As you are aware, there were no restrictions of any kind and that is something we should have looked into at that point of time," he told CNN.

"Goa was one of the most favored destinations and people used to come and we found that people were not following the SOPs and protocols."

He added:

“Everybody was taking things for granted. No one was following social distancing. Masks are something that you cannot do away with. I’ve also said (on Twitter) that super-spreader events should be stopped … Sometimes you feel if things had been implemented at that point of time, we would not have had this situation.”

Authorities are now "seriously considering" a lockdown, Rane said.

“That is the need of the hour. If we aren’t able to put in more stringent measures, we won’t be able to slow down the spread of the virus and there will be too much pressure on the health system, which is already overloaded," he told CNN on Friday.

Goa imposed a four-day lockdown on April 29, according to CNN affiliate News18. After the lockdown lifted on May 3, non-essential business have been ordered to remain closed and political and social gatherings are also banned.

4:32 a.m. ET, May 7, 2021

Indonesian authorities have uncovered an alleged illegal Covid-19 test kit business

From journalist Masrur Jamaluddin in Jakarta

Indonesian authorities have charged a 34-year-old suspect with running a months-long illegal Covid-19 testing scam, authorities said.

The business purportedly sold thousands of unapproved test kits in recent months, according to Grand Commissioner Iskandar Fitriana Sutisna, a spoksman for the Central Java Province Police, raking in $200,000 in sales and about $70,000 in profit.

Police were tipped off to the alleged scheme by a former customer, who told authorities that he received a suspicious testing kit. Undercover officers then bought testing kits from the business that turned out not to have the proper labels -- a crime under Indonesian law.

Iskandar said the investigation led them to a warehouse, where they seized 450 boxes that each contained about 25 test kits, all of which appeared to be mislabeled with four different brands. The police also found thousands of sticks for doing swab tests.

The suspected admitted he had bought the falsified goods, authorities said. He faces a maximum penalty of 15 years of imprisonment and a $140,000 fine.

This is the second suspected scam related to Covid-19 tests Indonesian authorities have revealed in recent days.

Five employees for major Indonesian pharmaceutical company Kimia Farma were arrested on April 27 for allegedly washing and repackaging rapid antigen nasal swab kits to reuse them on passengers at the Kualanamu International Airport in Medan, North Sumatra.

4:10 a.m. ET, May 7, 2021

Forecast predicts 185 million Americans will be vaccinated against coronavirus by September, but warns of potential winter surge

From CNN Health’s Lauren Mascarenhas

A woman receives her first dose of the Pfizer vaccine at Ripken Baseball in Aberdeen, Maryland, on May 05.
A woman receives her first dose of the Pfizer vaccine at Ripken Baseball in Aberdeen, Maryland, on May 05. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

A coronavirus forecast released Thursday by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington (IHME) projects 185 million Americans will be vaccinated against coronavirus by September, but warns vaccine hesitancy could contribute to a potential winter surge.

The IHME model projects daily deaths from Covid-19 will decline, resulting in 948,859 Americans dead from coronavirus by September. That scenario accounts for continued spread of the B.1.1.7 virus variant, the one first detected in the UK, in the US and a scale up of vaccination efforts over the next 90 days.  

The team recently changed its modeling methodology to account for underreporting of Covid-19 deaths, resulting in higher death estimates than previous forecasts.

The IHME team says it expects over 70% of Americans will receive at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine by the end of May, and 65% will be fully vaccinated by mid-June. President Joe Biden announced a plan Tuesday to administer at least one dose of Covid-19 vaccine to 70% of the nation’s adult population by July 4.

“After those points, further increases will be limited by demand,” the team said.

There is the potential for a winter surge, the team said. It largely depends on how many more Americans get vaccinated and whether vaccines prove effective against virus variants.

The coronavirus surge in India, linked to the B.1.617 virus variant, has proven that under certain circumstances, virus transmission can “rapidly and explosively” rise, IHME notes. 

In a worst-case scenario, in which vaccinated people revert to pre-pandemic levels of mobility, the model estimates 984,950 US Covid-19 deaths by September. If 95% of Americans started wearing masks, the model projects 939,122 deaths by that time.

Deaths likely undercounted: An IHME analysis also found it's likely that the actual death toll from Covid-19 is likely 6.9 million, more than double the 3.2 million deaths that have been officially reported.

The institute said fatalities were likely “significantly underreported in almost every country” due to a combination of factors, including varied testing capacity to confirm Covid-19 cases and deaths and deaths among older individuals that went unrecorded early in the pandemic, particularly among those in long-term care facilities in high-income countries. 

Most of the underreporting is “unintentional,” Dr. Christopher Murray, director of IHME, said in a news briefing Thursday.

“Part of it is just lack of testing and part of it is health care systems just under pressure.”
 

The United States has reported more deaths than any other country, and the updated IHME analysis estimates the actual number of Covid-19 deaths in the US to be more than 905,000 -- about 58% higher than the reported count of about 574,000. The new analysis estimates the Covid-19 death toll in the US to rise to 949,000 by September. 

 

3:05 a.m. ET, May 7, 2021

Unaccompanied minors among Australian citizens trapped in India by travel ban

From CNN’s Angus Watson in Sydney

At least 173 unaccompanied minors are among more than 900 vulnerable Australian citizens trapped in India by their government’s ban on arrivals from the country, authorities said.

“In our database we have 173 clients registered as under 18 in India outside a family group, that is they are on their own and are seeking to return to Australia,” Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade official Lynette Wood told a Senate inquiry Friday. 

The Australian government currently bars anyone from entering Australia if they have been in India over the past 14 days. 

The ban came into effect on May 3 and will last until May 15.

The Australian government has said it will facilitate at least three flights to repatriate Australians in India between May 15 and 31. 

Vulnerable Australians will be prioritized for those flights, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Friday.

There are at least 9,000 Australian citizens in India who registered with the government that they would like to return home. 

2:15 a.m. ET, May 7, 2021

366 doctors in Indonesia have died from Covid-19

From journalist Masrur Jamaluddin in Jakarta

A doctor's hand is seen next to a Covid-19 patient's hand at a general hospital in Bogor, Indonesia, on January 25.
A doctor's hand is seen next to a Covid-19 patient's hand at a general hospital in Bogor, Indonesia, on January 25. Adek Berry/AFP/Getty Images

Covid-19 has killed at least 366 doctors in Indonesia since March 2020, according to the latest data the Indonesian Medical Association's Mitigation Team released on May 3.

Sixty-four doctors in Indonesia died in January after contracting coronavirus, making it the deadliest month for doctors during the pandemic.

Indonesia is the world's fourth most-populous nation and has experienced one of the worst Covid outbreaks in Asia. More than 1.6 million cases and 46,000 deaths have been recorded since the pandemic began, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Earlier this week, Indonesia's Health Ministry confirmed two patients with the Covid variant B.1.617 first identified in India. The country has recorded a daily average of about 5,000 Covid-19 cases in the past week.

Authorities are concerned about the impact of the upcoming Mudik holiday, in which tens of millions of people travel to see their family in their hometowns to celebrate Eid al-Fitr, the end of Ramadan.

To halt the spread of Covid-19 during Eid festivities, the Indonesian government has banned all domestic travel from May 6 to May 17. The ban covers public and private journeys, including cars, motorcycles, buses, trains, ferries, ships and planes.

However, a poll from Indonesia's state-run Antara news agency found that an estimated 18 million people, or 7% of the population, are still planning on traveling for the Eid al-Fitr holiday despite the travel bans.

12:54 a.m. ET, May 7, 2021

India reports a record 414,188 Covid-19 cases in a single day

From CNN’s Manveena Suri in Delhi

India reported 414,188 cases of Covid-19 on Friday, a new all-time high for the number of coronavirus cases in a day, according to figures released by the India's Health Ministry

To date, authorities have identified 21,491,598 cases in the country. Only the United States has had more.

Indian authorities also reported 3,915 another Covid-19-related deaths, making Friday the 10th day in a row the daily number of fatalities has exceeded 3,000.

At least 234,083 people have died after contracting the coronavirus in India. 

As of Thursday evening local time, authorities had administered 164,876,248 vaccine doses, the Health Ministry said. A total of 32,845,736 people in India have received both doses of the vaccine -- about 2.5% of India’s 1.3 billion population.

12:13 a.m. ET, May 7, 2021

Volunteers are helping Indians who have contracted Covid-19

From CNN's Vedika Sud in New Delhi and Jessie Yeung in Hong Kong

Srinivas B.V. barely sleeps at night. His phone rings 24 hours a day with cries of help from Indians begging for oxygen supplies, ventilators, hospital beds -- whatever he can provide.

"If we miss a call, we call back and ask what we can do," said Srinivas, who leads the youth wing of the opposition Indian National Congress party.

Earlier this week, Srinivas and his team rushed an oxygen cylinder to the New Delhi home of a woman whose father was suffering from Covid-19. Despite their best efforts, the man died later that night. Scared, alone and Covid-positive herself, the woman had nobody to help cremate her father's body -- so Srinivas's team arranged an ambulance and facilitated the cremation.

Srinivas' phone rang as he spoke to CNN. It was Alok Kumar, a college professor who was frantically searching for oxygen for his Covid-positive 3-year-old son. The team rushes out the door again, an oxygen cylinder in the back of the car.

Read more about volunteers like Srinivas here:

11:13 p.m. ET, May 6, 2021

Australia to drop entry ban for citizens and permanent residents coming from India

 From CNN’s Angus Watson and Philip Wang

Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison speaks during an address at the Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce luncheon in Melbourne, on May 6.
Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison speaks during an address at the Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce luncheon in Melbourne, on May 6. William West/AFP/Getty Images

Australia will allow its citizens and permanent residents to return from India as of May 15, ending a controversial entry ban on anyone who has been in India over the past 14 days.

The ban is being enforced with a possible five-year jail term, a fine of $51,000 or both. 

There are around 9,000 Australians in India who have officially informed the Australian government that they would like to return home, according to Prime Minister Scott Morrison. He said 900 of those people are classified as "vulnerable."

While commercial flights will not resume, Morrison said the Australian federal government will put on three repatriation flights between May 15 and 31.

Only Australia citizens, permanent residents and travelers from New Zealand can enter Australia, with few exceptions. All must undergo 14 days in state quarantine on arrival.   

Around 40,000 Australians worldwide have told the government they want to return, with just over 5,000 places in quarantine available each week. 

Morrison's government has denied criticism that banning entries from India alone was racist. The Prime Minister said Friday the entry ban “is working as it was intended to” in keeping Covid-19 out of Australia. 

12:13 a.m. ET, May 7, 2021

Brazil tops 15 million Covid-19 cases as country announces plan for a major Pfizer vaccine purchase

From Fernanda Wenzel and Taylor Barnes

Brazil’s Health Ministry reported over 73,000 new Covid-19 cases on Thursday, raising the total number of cases to more than 15 million since the start of the pandemic.

The ministry also reported at least 2,550 new Covid-19 fatalities, raising the country’s death toll to at least 416,949.

While Brazil’s outbreak continues to be severe and its vaccine rollout slow, the country saw some hope on the horizon with the announcement that the government will purchase an extra 100 million Pfizer vaccine doses. The money for the acquisition was released this Thursday, and the new contract should be signed soon.

These doses are in addition to Brazil’s current contract to purchase 100 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine, one of four approved for use in the country.

The first Pfizer doses arrived in Brazil last week.