May 11 coronavirus news

By Brad Lendon, Melissa Macaya, Melissa Mahtani, James Griffiths, Mike Hayes and Veronica Rocha, CNN

Updated 0007 GMT (0807 HKT) May 12, 2021
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7:52 p.m. ET, May 11, 2021

Covid-19 crisis in India is a "cautionary tale" for possible resurgence in US, Fauci says

From CNN’s Ryan Prior

The record levels of Covid-19 spread in India in recent weeks are a "cautionary tale" for the type of virus resurgence the US could see later this year if the country doesn't reach a high enough level of vaccinations.

"India had a mild to modest wave that peaked and then came down," Fauci said in a conversation on the Clubhouse app that was moderated by CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta on Tuesday afternoon. "They assumed that they were done. Then they had their big assault." 

The country had opened up too early, with many people gathering in large crowds for festivals, he said.

"When I saw those pictures in the newspaper and saw the clips on CNN, I said to myself, 'Oh my goodness, this is gonna be a problem, because this is prematurely declaring victory,'" Fauci said. "And sure enough, the second wave was an explosion."

Although the US is well ahead of India with about 45% of its adults fully vaccinated, it's important to finish strong, Fauci explained.

"The cautionary tale is it ain't over until it's over. Don't declare victory prematurely," he said. "We have a very, very good start, but we have to finish ... It's kind of like spiking the ball on the five yard line before you get into the end zone. Keep going."

7:42 p.m. ET, May 11, 2021

California will offer Covid-19 vaccine to 12-to 15-year-olds starting Thursday

From CNN's Sarah Moon

California will offer the coronavirus vaccine to children as young as 12 starting Thursday, expanding access to the shots to about 2.1 million additional residents, health officials said Tuesday.

The announcement comes after the Food and Drug Administration extended emergency use authorization of Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine to youths 12 to 15 years of age.

Appointments to receive the vaccine will be available through California's MyTurn website starting Thursday morning. The state is working to enroll more providers and clinics to administer the vaccine to younger people, California Department of Public Health Epidemiologist Dr. Erica Pan said.

Young people may also experience side effects and minimal issues with the vaccine like fatigue, fever, and headaches, California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly noted, in what he called “very typical things” seen in adults.

The state is also ramping up its vaccination efforts by partnering with micro-influencers, faith-based leaders, community-based leaders, and school leaders to encourage people to get vaccinated.

The California Department of Public Health in March launched the "Let's Get to ImmUnity" campaign, which includes using digital advertising and social media campaigns on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok to educate people on the safety and efficacy of vaccines.

7:41 p.m. ET, May 11, 2021

CDC vaccine advisers will meet tomorrow to discuss use of Pfizer vaccine in 12-to 15-year-olds

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices is scheduled to meet Wednesday to advise the CDC on whether to recommend use of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine in 12-to 15-year-olds.

CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky will then decide whether the agency will recommend the vaccine's use in the new group.

The US Food and Drug Administration expanded the emergency use authorization for Pfizer's Covid-19 vaccine on Monday to include people ages 12 to 15.

What we know: Vaccinations for 12-to-15-year-olds are not expected to begin until after that recommendation. The Biden administration has said it will quickly mobilize to ready vaccinations for 12-to 15-year-olds through the federal pharmacy program, pediatricians and family doctors.

States make the decision on who gives the vaccines, and when.

Read more about what parents need know about vaccinating children 12 and older.

6:19 p.m. ET, May 11, 2021

Kids make up close to a quarter of new Covid-19 cases diagnosed in the US, pediatrics group finds

From CNN's Maggie Fox

Children and teens account for close to a quarter of newly diagnosed coronavirus infection in the US, the American Academy of Pediatrics reported Tuesday.

The group, which represents pediatricians, reported 72,067 new Covid-19 cases among children for the week that ended May 6.

“Children represented 24% of the new weekly cases and they represent 14% of total COVID-19 cases,” the AAP said in a statement.

“As of May 6, over 3.85 million children have tested positive for COVID-19 since the onset of the pandemic. After seeing decreases in new reported cases at the end of April, new reported cases this week were similar to last week – about 72,000 new child cases.”

Overall, Covid-19 cases are falling in the United States – the seven-day average of new cases is now below 40,000 for the first time in nearly eight months – and 58.5% of US adults have received at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine. Vaccinations for people ages 12 to 15 are only just beginning, and trials are still underway for vaccines for younger children.

The AAP has been tracking Covid cases among children since the pandemic began. It gets data from 49 states and several territories, but each state defines what a child is differently and not all states provide complete data.

But overall, the data confirm that children are far less likely than adults to become severely ill from Covid-19 and less than one-tenth of 1% of infected children die from Covid-19.

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

Go There: CNN reports from Los Angeles after officials give updates on strong vaccination rates

Health officials in Los Angeles county say that at the current vaccination rate, the country could reach herd immunity by mid or late July.

Over 8 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine have already been administered in the county CNN’s Nick Watt is in L.A. with the latest.

Watch:

5:48 p.m. ET, May 11, 2021

South Carolina issues order allowing parents to decide if their kids should wear masks in public schools

From CNN’s Rebekah Riess

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster issued a new executive order today, giving South Carolina parents the power to decide whether their children should wear masks inside public schools, according to a release from his office.

“We have known for months that our schools are some of the safest places when it comes to COVID-19,” McMaster said. “With every adult in our state having the opportunity to receive a vaccine, it goes against all logic to continue to force our children – especially our youngest children – to wear masks against their parents’ wishes. Whether a child wears a mask in school is a decision that should be left only to a student’s parents.”

The governor’s new order also explicitly prohibits local governments in the state from using a state of emergency as the basis for a local mask mandate and bars all state agencies, local governments, and political subdivisions from requiring “vaccine passports” for any reason, according to the release.

“With the COVID-19 vaccine readily available and case numbers dropping, I will not allow local governments to use the state of emergency declaration as a reason for implementing or maintaining mask mandates,” the governor said. “Everybody knows what we need to do to stay safe – including wearing a mask if you’re at risk of exposing others – but we must move past the time of governments dictating when and where South Carolinians are required to wear a mask. Maintaining the status quo ignores all of the great progress we’ve made.” 

Additionally, the governor’s order prohibits any local government, state agency, state employee, or any political subdivision of the state from requiring residents to provide proof of their vaccination status as a condition for receiving any government services or gaining access to any building, facility, or geographic location, the release said.

5:43 p.m. ET, May 11, 2021

Fauci pushes back on what he calls senator's "conspiracy theory" questions

From CNN's Ryan Prior

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks during a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing to discuss the ongoing federal response to COVID-19 on May 11 in Washington, DC.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks during a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing to discuss the ongoing federal response to COVID-19 on May 11 in Washington, DC. Greg Nash/Pool/Getty Images

President Biden's chief medical adviser pushed back against what he called "conspiracy theory" questions that were lobbed at him during a Senate hearing Tuesday morning.

"It is disconcerting, Sanjay ... when you're working 17-18 hours a day, seven days a week ... And then you get there, and somebody, a senator, starts talking about things in an accusatory way that's totally conspiracy theory," Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said during a conversation on Clubhouse moderated by CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

Earlier Tuesday, Fauci sparred with Sen. Rand Paul, a Republican from Kentucky, in a Senate Health, Education Labor and Pension Committee hearing about combating the Covid-19 pandemic.

"You want to be respectful in your answers, but they talk to you in a way that just almost doesn't make any sense. And you kind of think they're just playing for the cameras,” Fauci said.

Fauci had repeatedly emphasized to Paul that the NIH has not funded a controversial type of virus research at a lab in Wuhan, China.

"I was expecting something like that to happen," Fauci said. "You just have to keep your cool, answer with the facts, with the evidence, with the data."

During the Clubhouse chat, Fauci also reflected on an approach that has seen him through political ups and downs of service guiding the nation's response to epidemics under seven presidents, dating back to President Ronald Reagan. 

"If you are consistent, and the first thing is you have to stay completely apolitical, which is what I am, you cannot even begin to step into any ideological spaces," Fauci said. "I've dealt with Republicans, I've dealt with Democrats, I've dealt with very liberal, I've dealt with moderates, I've dealt with compassionate conservatives."

His primary approach is to "stick with the science," Fauci said, later adding that the best advice he had heard for advising high level policymakers was to always tell the truth even if it meant not being invited back. 

"The 500th time I'm going to walk into the White House, I still tell myself that, you know, I whispered to myself, you walk in here, 'this may be the last time you walk into this place.'"

 

3:58 p.m. ET, May 11, 2021

About 263 million Covid-19 vaccine doses administered in the US

From CNN's Naomi Thomas

Lorena Castilla gets a Pfizer-BioNtech COVID-19 vaccination from a healthcare worker at Miami International Airport on May 10 in Miami.
Lorena Castilla gets a Pfizer-BioNtech COVID-19 vaccination from a healthcare worker at Miami International Airport on May 10 in Miami. Joe Raedle/Getty Images

About 263 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine have been administered in the United States, according to data published Tuesday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC reported that 263,132,561 total doses have been administered, about 79% of the 334,081,065 doses delivered.

That’s about 1.5 million more administered doses reported since yesterday, for a seven-day average of about 2.2 million doses per day.

Just over 46% of the population – 153 million people – have received at least one dose of vaccine, and 35% of the population – 117 million people — have been fully vaccinated.

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

3:44 p.m. ET, May 11, 2021

72% of US coronavirus sequences are B.1.1.7 variant first identified in UK, CDC director says

From CNN’s Virginia Langmaid

More than 72% of coronavirus genetic sequences in the United States are the B.1.1.7 variant first identified in the United Kingdom, the director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in an interview released Tuesday. 

“We know that there are numerous variants circulating here in the United States,” Dr. Rochelle Walensky said in an interview with CNBC taped Friday. “The B.1.1.7, otherwise known as the UK variant is now the predominant virus that is circulating here in the United States.”

“Over 72% of sequences are related to that variant,” she said. 

Walensky said the prevalence of the variant emphasizes the importance of stopping the global spread of Covid-19, to tamp down spread and creation of new variants. 

In testimony Tuesday in front of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions committee, Walensky said genomic sequencing nationwide has increased from 3,000 samples per week to 35,000 samples per week.