May 27 coronavirus news

By Jessie Yeung, Melissa Macaya, Meg Wagner, Melissa Mahtani and Veronica Rocha, CNN

Updated 0003 GMT (0803 HKT) May 28, 2021
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7:46 p.m. ET, May 27, 2021

University of Virginia will end all Covid-related restrictions on Friday

From CNN's Yon Pomrenze

University of Virginia
University of Virginia Shutterstock

The University of Virginia announced that it will end all Covid-related restrictions on Friday at midnight, reflecting the latest executive order from Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam allowing institutions within the state to do so.

Physical distancing on campus, including in classrooms and dining halls, will no longer be required, and all limits on the size of gatherings will be lifted, according to an email sent to the university community on Thursday by President Jim Ryan and other university leaders.

"All of these changes are another sign of the progress we are making as a community and a Commonwealth to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and get back to more normal ways of life," the announcement said.

UVA will also follow the CDC's latest guidance on mask wearing. Unvaccinated individuals should continue to wear masks when around other people and vaccinated individuals do not have to wear masks, except when on certain parts of campus, including the medical center, and when using the university's transit system.

In addition, visitors will no longer be restricted from visiting campus. "Consistent with University policy, all visitors should follow University face covering requirements if they are unvaccinated," according to the email.

These adjustments come a week after UVA announced it will require all students and staff to be vaccinated against Covid-19 before they return to campus next semester.

6:11 p.m. ET, May 27, 2021

California will unveil $116.5 million in vaccine incentives

From CNN's Cheri Mossburg

People wait to receive a Covid-19 vaccine in Santa Ana, California, on Friday.
People wait to receive a Covid-19 vaccine in Santa Ana, California, on Friday. Jae C. Hong/AP

In an effort to get more people vaccinated, California is enticing residents with a whopping $116.5 million in incentives, offering gift cards and cash prizes, including a $15 million grand prize to be split among 10 Californians who have been vaccinated against Covid-19.

The $116.5 million program, touted as "the biggest in the entire country," will include every resident who has already been vaccinated, and those who receive a shot before the state fully reopens on June 15, according to a release from Gov. Gavin Newsom's office. 

Starting today, the next two million residents vaccinated will be eligible for $100 million in gift cards, doled out in $50 increments as a prepaid Visa or grocery store gift card. 

The incentive festivities will include "$50,000 Fridays." There will be $50,000 up for grabs in the form of 30 cash prizes for those getting a Covid-19 shot on June 4 and June 11, with 15 winners selected on each date. 

About 50% of eligible Californians are already fully vaccinated and another 12% have received one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, but another 12 million residents are eligible but have not yet been inoculated. More than 37 million doses total have been administered in California — more than all but five nations in the world, according to Newsom.

Should a winner under the age of 18 be chosen, the cash will be placed into a savings account for them until they turn 18. Inmates, those who work for the state's health department or for the lottery will not be eligible to win any of the prizes.

5:41 p.m. ET, May 27, 2021

Coronavirus is the top concern for Hispanics and Asians in the US, poll finds

From CNN's Lauren Mascarenhas

Coronavirus is the top concern for Hispanic and Asian people in the US, according to findings from an Axios Ipsos poll released Thursday.

The survey on race relations polled 1,875 US adults between April 28 and May 4. Four out of 10 Hispanics polled ranked Covid-19 as their top concern out of a list including topics such as crime or gun violence, racial discrimination, health care and immigration.

Coronavirus was also the top concern for 47% of Asian people polled, with crime or gun violence coming in second at 34%.

About 42% of Black people polled said coronavirus was their top concern, while 59% said it was racial injustice or discrimination.

Comparatively, 23% of White people polled ranked Covid-19 as their top concern, while 39% listed political extremism or polarization as the top concern. 

5:09 p.m. ET, May 27, 2021

The US works to get shots into arms ahead of the holiday weekend. Here are the other top headlines.

From CNN's Elise Hammond

A person gets vaccinated inside New York's Penn Station on Wednesday.
A person gets vaccinated inside New York's Penn Station on Wednesday. Noam Galai/Getty Images

Nearly half of the US population has now received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine and about 40% of people are fully vaccinated. This comes a little more than a month out from President Biden's goal of administering at least one dose to 70% of the population by July 4.

Here are the other top pandemic headlines from around the world you might have missed.

  • Boosters: Top doctors, including Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said it is believed that booster vaccines will be needed, but it's not exactly clear how soon. Experts say it depends on how fast the immune response falls off as well as what variants of the virus are circulating. Walensky said this does not mean the vaccines are not effective and people should still get a shot when they are available.
  • New vaccines: The companies Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline have started conducting Phase 3 clinical trials of their Covid-19 vaccine. It will include 35,000 participants from around the world.
  • Antibodies: Research published this week in the journal Nature indicates that Covid-19 antibodies produced by those with mild infection may remain detectable for at least 11 months post-infection. However, researchers said the presence of these cells does not automatically mean a robust immune response would kick in if any of these participants were to be re-infected.
  • Virus origins: The Office of the Director of National Intelligence said Thursday that the intelligence community "does not know exactly where, when, or how" Covid-19 was transmitted initially. A spokesperson said there are two working theories: that it naturally emerged from human contact with animals or it was a laboratory accident. Biden has given the US intelligence community a 90-day window to conduct an investigation.
  • Variants: Up to three quarters of all newly diagnosed Covid-19 cases in the United Kingdom are attributed to the variant first identified in India, health officials said, adding they are focusing on testing and vaccinating people in those "hotspots."
  • Olympics: Japan's government will decide Friday whether to extend a state of emergency across much of the country, nearly two months before the planned start of the delayed Tokyo Summer Olympics. On Monday, the United States advised citizens against traveling to Japan, due to the ongoing outbreak.
4:37 p.m. ET, May 27, 2021

Booster discussion should not cause concern about current Covid-19 vaccines, US CDC head says

From CNN’s Virginia Langmaid

Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, speaks during a Chamber of Commerce Foundation event on Thursday.
Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, speaks during a Chamber of Commerce Foundation event on Thursday.

Discussions of potential booster vaccines do not mean that current vaccines are ineffective, and people should still get vaccinated when they are available, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said on Thursday. 

“If you're fully vaccinated now, you are safe now," she said at a US Chamber of Commerce Foundation event. 

“There has been some confusion, where people have thought, ‘Well, if I'm going to have to get a booster anyway I'll just wait for the booster,’ and that's not the message we're sending,” Walensky said. “We're looking at boosters to make sure that if that vaccination immunity wanes over time that we're ready for boosters if we need it.”

“We have seen data that has demonstrated that the vaccines are good out to about six months, but we also want to be ready, if for some reason we find at nine months a year, 18 months we would need the booster and so that's the work and the science that we're doing right now.”

Walensky said decisions on boosters will likely start with those most vulnerable to Covid-19. 

“Among the first people we in the country vaccinated were our frailest, they were in our long-term care facilities and nursing homes, our elderly, and they may be the kinds of people that might have a less robust immune response to begin with, which is why we really want to make sure we understand the duration of immunity,” she said. 

3:32 p.m. ET, May 27, 2021

Current wisdom suggests that Covid-19 vaccine boosters will be needed at some point, FDA official says 

From CNN's Naomi Thomas

Dr. Peter Marks, director of the United States Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, speaks during a Covid-19 Vaccine Education and Equity Project webinar.
Dr. Peter Marks, director of the United States Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, speaks during a Covid-19 Vaccine Education and Equity Project webinar.

Dr. Peter Marks, director of the United States Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, said on Thursday that current wisdom about boosters for Covid-19 vaccines suggests that they will be needed, but exactly when is not yet known. 

Participants in original vaccine trials are currently being followed so that their immune response can be looked at over time and there is some evidence that it does “fall off somewhat” over time, Marks said during a Covid-19 Vaccine Education and Equity Project webinar.  

“The exact timing of when boosters will be required will probably be a combination of two things,” he said. “One, how fast that immune response falls off, but also it may depend on what variants of Covid-19 are circulating.” 

He explained that this is because certain levels of immunity are sufficient to prevent Covid-19 with the original strain of the virus, but they may not be good enough for other variants. 

“We’ll have to see where this all interacts. Is it possible we’re going to need a booster at some point? Yes. Is it probable? Yes. Do we know exactly when? No,” said Marks. “But if I had to look at my crystal ball, it’s probably not sooner hopefully than a year after being vaccinated for the average adult.” 

He added that it may be different for some populations, such as the immunocompromised or older adults, who may need one sooner, but “we’ll just have to see.” 

“The good news is it may turn out that the immunity lasts longer,” he said. “Someone who might have looked at the New York Times today might have seen that there’s an article on the longevity of immunity to Covid-19, but I think our wisdom is, current wisdom is that we probably will need boosters at some point.” 

2:39 p.m. ET, May 27, 2021

COVAX calls on first world nations to share 1 billion vaccine doses in 2021

From CNN’s Claudia Rebaza in London

The COVAX initiative is calling on first world nations to share 1 billion vaccine doses before the end of 2021, in order to ensure vaccines can be supplied to the poorest nations on the planet. 

“At no point in this pandemic have we seen such an acute need to look to the future challenges and not rest on the patchy achievements made so far,” COVAX said in a statement on Thursday. “The terrible surge of the virus in India has had a severe impact on COVAX’s supply in the second quarter of this year, to the point where, by the end of June we will face a shortfall of 190 million doses.”

“Even though COVAX will have larger volumes available later in the year through the deals it has already secured with several manufacturers, if we do not address the current, urgent shortfall the consequences could be catastrophic,” the statement added.

In order to tackle the shortfalls and meet its targets, COVAX is requesting $2 billion in donations, by June, to lock in supplies so doses can be delivered through 2021 and 2022; and is calling on countries with the largest supplies to “redirect doses to COVAX now, to have maximum impact.”

The initiative also said it had started to see countries stepping forward, including the US and Europe, which had collectively pledged to share 180 million doses, but says it still needs more. “At least one billion doses could be shared by wealthy countries in 2021,” the statement read. 

“Now more than ever, at the peak of the pandemic, we need ambitious, global solutions. When it comes to worldwide vaccine distribution, COVAX is the only initiative capable of rising to the challenge of this moment,” it said. “It’s understandable that some countries want to press ahead and vaccinate all of their populations. By donating vaccines to COVAX alongside domestic vaccination programmes, the most at-risk populations can be protected globally, which is instrumental to ending the acute phase of the pandemic, curbing the rise and threat of variants, and accelerating a return to normality."

3:40 p.m. ET, May 27, 2021

Nearly half of US population has received at least one dose of Covid-19 vaccine, CDC data shows

From CNN's Deidre McPhillips

A Covid-19 vaccine is administered in Immokalee, Florida, on May 20.
A Covid-19 vaccine is administered in Immokalee, Florida, on May 20. Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Nearly 166 million people – 49.9% of the US population – has received at least one dose of Covid-19 vaccine, and nearly 133 million people – 40% of the population – are fully vaccinated, according to data published Thursday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Overall, 290,724,607 total doses of Covid-19 vaccine have been reported administered – about 81% of the 361,250,445 doses delivered.

That’s about 1.5 million more doses reported administered since Wednesday, for a seven-day average of about 1.6 million doses per day.

This is the lowest seven-day average in about three months ago, since the end of February.

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

2:16 p.m. ET, May 27, 2021

Chase's CEO was asked about the record number of job openings. Here's what he said.

From CNN’s Matt Egan 

JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon testifies to the Senate Banking Committee on Wednesday.
JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon testifies to the Senate Banking Committee on Wednesday. Senate Banking Committee/AP

JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon suggested Thursday that companies are having trouble hiring in part because some Americans don’t really feel like working right now.

Asked about the record high 8.1 million job openings, Dimon said there are many causes, including issues with reopening schools and enhanced unemployment benefits enacted during the pandemic. 

“People actually have a lot of money, and they don’t particularly feel like going back to work,” the JPMorgan CEO said at a Congressional hearing.

Bigger picture, Dimon reiterated optimism about the economic recovery and the jobs market.

“Rest assured, I think we are going to see a completely booming economy and a lot of people going back to work,” he said. “Hopefully it will continue for quite a while.”