May 26 coronavirus news

By Helen Regan, Meg Wagner, Melissa Macaya, Melissa Mahtani and Veronica Rocha, CNN

Updated 0409 GMT (1209 HKT) May 27, 2021
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5:35 p.m. ET, May 26, 2021

Children who aren't fully vaccinated still need to wear a face mask, group says

From CNN’s Jen Christensen

Students from Kingdom Kids Child Development Center pet animals during a birthday party at Springfield Baptist Church in the Shaw neighborhood of Washington, D.C., on April 2. 
Students from Kingdom Kids Child Development Center pet animals during a birthday party at Springfield Baptist Church in the Shaw neighborhood of Washington, D.C., on April 2.  Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call/Getty Images

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) said Wednesday that children who are age 2 or older and not fully vaccinated still need to wear a well-fitting face mask.

The updated guidance recommends children wear a mask at school, in child care programs, at camp, when playing with friends and playing indoor sports and outdoor sports with close contact — if the mask does not become a hazard in a sport like gymnastics. 

Face masks should be used outdoors if the child is in a large group setting, or when it is impossible to keep good physical distance from others. The AAP also recommends they wear one at home if they live with someone who is immunocompromised or at-risk for severe Covid-19.  

“The COVID-19 vaccines are remarkably effective, but we must stay vigilant,” said AAP President Dr. Lee Savio Beers in an organization news release. 

Since children under age 12 are not eligible to get the Covid-19 vaccine yet it’s “smart to be cautious and careful,” she said.  

5:03 p.m. ET, May 26, 2021

NFL expects all teams will have full capacity at stadiums next season

From CNN's Jacob Lev 

National Football League commissioner Roger Goodell said that the league expects full stadiums for all 32 team's next season.

"We do think it will be a much more normal experience than it has," Goodell said on a conference call on Wednesday. "As you know, we had 1.2 million people last year. We do expect full stadiums.”

Goodell said 30 out of the 32 teams in the league would be permitted to play in front of full capacity stadiums. 

"If we were playing today, you may have this also, 30 of our teams will be permitted to play in front of full capacity crowds. Obviously, we are going to be very focused on local and state health officials and putting safety first. We are confident the two remaining teams will follow in time for this regular season and will continue to work with health officials."

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy announced on Monday that MetLife Stadium, home of the New York Jets and Giants in East Rutherford, would be permitted to operate at full capacity next season. 

Goodell added, "A tremendous amount of optimism and excitement that we will have full stadiums across our league this year. Fans are clearly excited about getting started."


3:03 p.m. ET, May 26, 2021

EU drug regulator asks J&J to carry out more studies on vaccine following reports of a death

From CNN's Lauren Kent in London

The European Union's drug regulator has asked Johnson & Johnson to carry out more studies on their coronavirus vaccine in light of reports that a woman in Belgium suffered a fatal blood clot following her vaccination, a spokesperson from the European Medicines Agency said on Wednesday.

The EU has administered more than 1.3 million doses of the single-shot J&J vaccine — called Janssen — as of May 20, according to the latest EMA data.

"The European Medicines Agency (EMA) is aware of media reports of a blood clot with fatal outcome in a 37 year old woman in Belgium following vaccination with COVID-19 Vaccine Janssen," the EMA spokesperson told CNN in an email. 

"The woman suffered from a blood clot with low platelets (also known as thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome, TTS) and EMA, the Belgian and Slovenian medicines agencies are currently reviewing this first fatal report together with other case reports of blood clots, as part of regular intensified monitoring activities."

The Janssen vaccine is still authorized for use in the EU, but according to the EU drug regulator it "is under additional monitoring, meaning that it is monitored even more intensively than other medicines."

"In order to assess the impact of the possible link between vaccination and TTS, EMA requested the marketing authorisation holder of the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine to carry out a series of additional studies," the spokesperson added. 

"EMA and national authorities will continue to monitor the vaccine’s safety and effectiveness and provide further updates as necessary. EMA and national authorities are committed to ensuring that the vaccine is used as safely as possible."


2:21 p.m. ET, May 26, 2021

10 US states have reached Biden's goal of vaccinating 70% of adults against Covid-19, CDC data shows

From CNN's Deidre McPhillips

A member of the U.S. Armed Forces administers a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at a FEMA community vaccination center on March 2 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
A member of the U.S. Armed Forces administers a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at a FEMA community vaccination center on March 2 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Mark Makela/Getty Images

Ten states have now reached the Biden administration’s goal to vaccinate at least 70% of adults against Covid-19 by July 4 with at least one dose, according to data published Wednesday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

Pennsylvania is the latest state to reach this benchmark, joining Connecticut, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Rhode Island and Vermont.

In the United States, more than 165 million people – about 49.7% of the population – has received at least one dose of vaccine, and nearly 132 million people – about 39.7% of the population – are fully vaccinated, CDC data shows.

Overall, 289,212,304 total doses of vaccine have been reported administered, about 80% of the 359,849,035 total doses delivered.

That’s about 1.4 million more doses reported administered since Tuesday, for a seven-day average of about 1.7 million doses per day.

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

2:17 p.m. ET, May 26, 2021

Switzerland will further ease coronavirus restrictions on Monday

From CNN's Niamh Kennedy

Switzerland will further ease coronavirus restrictions on Monday, allowing indoor dining to reopen and no longer requiring people to work from home, the government said in a statement released Wednesday.

"The Federal Council is going further than proposed in the consultation, particularly with regard to events, private gatherings and restaurants. In so doing, it is responding to the improved epidemiological situation," the Swiss Federal Council said in the statement. "Coronavirus case numbers are continuing to fall. In addition, most cantons will have completed vaccinating people at especially high risk by the end of the month."

As of Monday, restaurants will once again be able to serve guests indoors with a maximum of four people per table, according to the statement. Additionally, restaurants no longer have to close between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m.

For public events, the limit on indoor gatherings will increase from 50 people to 100 people, and the limit on outdoor gatherings will increase from 100 people to 300 people.

For private gatherings, the Swiss Federal Council is increasing the limits from 10 to 30 people for indoor gatherings, and from 15 to 50 people outdoors.

"Working from home will be a recommendation rather than a requirement for businesses that carry out weekly testing. A return to the office should be gradual so as not to jeopardise the vaccination process of staff," the government statement added.

The Federal Council will also begin piloting public events from June 1.

2:00 p.m. ET, May 26, 2021

Go There: CNN reports on US travel ahead of Memorial Day weekend and ongoing mask mandates for passengers

As the US continues to reopen, more than 37 million people are expected to travel for the Memorial Day holiday weekend.

Under federal law, travelers are still required to wear masks when using public transportation, including travel by commercial plane, which could potentially set up more conflicts and fights over mask policy during the busy weekend.

CNN’s Pete Muntean was live from Reagan National Airport in Arlington, Virginia. Watch his report:

1:34 p.m. ET, May 26, 2021

Fauci: It's in the "enlightened self-interest" of the US to help the world get Covid-19 under control

From CNN’s Jen Christensen

Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks during a hearing  on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on May 26.
Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks during a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on May 26. Sarah Silbiger/Pool/AFP/Getty Images

Dr. Anthony Fauci told the Senate Appropriations Committee on Wednesday that he thinks with the high rate of vaccinations in the United States, the country will get the Covid-19 pandemic under control “within a period of a few months.” To bring the pandemic to its end in the world, the US will need to help.

“A global pandemic requires a global response,” the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said. He and several other leaders of the National Institutes of Health were in front of the committee to discuss the agency’s proposed budget. Fauci said there’s always a danger that with the virus spreading in the rest of the world, it could create variants that might undermine the protectiveness of the current Covid-19 vaccines. 

“Not only do I think it’s a humanitarian, moral responsibility, but it’s in what I call ‘the enlightened self-interest’ for us to do that,” Fauci said.
1:10 p.m. ET, May 26, 2021

Biden tasks intelligence community to report on Covid-19 origins within 90 days

From CNN's DJ Judd

President Biden is tasking the intelligence community to "redouble their efforts" in assessing the origins of Covid-19 and report back within 90 days.

In a statement on Wednesday, Biden said he asked National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan in March to “task the Intelligence Community to prepare a report on their most up-to-date analysis of the origins of COVID-19, including whether it emerged from human contact with an infected animal or from a laboratory accident.”

“As of today, the U.S. Intelligence Community has ‘coalesced around two likely scenarios’ but has not reached a definitive conclusion on this question,” Biden writes. “Here is their current position: ‘while two elements in the IC leans toward the former scenario and one leans more toward the latter – each with low or moderate confidence – the majority of elements do not believe there is sufficient information to assess one to be more likely than the other."

In Wednesday’s statement, the President also says he’s now calling for the intelligence community to “redouble their efforts” and report back within 90 days, and in the meantime, “to keep Congress fully apprised of its work.”

“The United States will also keep working with like-minded partners around the world to press China to participate in a full, transparent, evidence-based international investigation and to provide access to all relevant data and evidence,” Biden writes.

During yesterday’s Covid-19 briefing, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, fielded questions on the origin of Covid-19, telling reporters, “Many of us feel that it is more likely that this is a natural occurrence, as has happened with SARS-CoV-1, where it goes from an animal reservoir to a human. But we don't know 100 percent the answer to that, and since this is a question that keeps being asked, we feel strongly – all of us – that we should continue with the investigation and go to the next phase of the investigation that the WHO has done.”

1:12 p.m. ET, May 26, 2021

Variants and people not getting vaccinated keep CDC director up at night

From CNN’s Jacqueline Howard

Emerging coronavirus variants, people not getting vaccinated against Covid-19 and health disparities all keep Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, awake at night.

Walensky said that during a Wednesday subcommittee hearing of the House Committee on Appropriations. Connecticut Rep. Rosa DeLauro had asked both Walensky and Dr. Anne Schuchat, CDC's principal deputy director, what keeps them up at night.

"Variants, and the concern that people won't get vaccinated and the fact that we're not serving everybody in the country equally," Walensky responded.

Schuchat, who announced last week that she will be retiring after serving 33 years at CDC, said, "I think we have to remember the rest of the world and that while it's getting better here there are many places at risk– so until we're all out of this, none of us are out of this."