World J&J Production Error; France, Italy Extend Curbs: Virus Update
COVID-19: Is Île-de-France and the Hauts-de-France really under-vaccinated?
Valérie Pécresse and Xavier Bertrand claim better vaccine coverage in their respective areas, both subjected to a reconfine for four weeks. © AFP.com/fred Tanneau Vaccination of a student in the health sector at the University of West Brittany in Brest (West) on March 12 2021 reconfined since this weekend for a period of Minimum four weeks, the Île-de-France and Hauts-de-France regions hope to see the restrictions lifted within a month.
(Bloomberg) -- A manufacturing error at a Baltimore plant affected 15 million doses worth of an ingredient for Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine. Pfizer Inc. said its vaccine was 100% effective in a final-stage trial in kids age 12 to 15, a finding that could pave the way for shots for teens and pre-teens before the next school year.
French President Emmanuel Macron said a four-week lockdown will begin on Saturday, and Italy’s cabinet extended restrictions on movement and business openings. They were the latest signs that Europe is yet again losing control of the pandemic, although Hungary plans to ease curbs.
EU Exports More Shots Than It Gives Out at Home: Summit Update
European Union leaders are meeting on Thursday afternoon for a two-day video conference, where they’ll underscore the severity of the continent’s health situation and the need for member states to continue lockdowns that have roiled their economies. They’ll also discuss a controversial new proposal that will allow the EU to block the export of vaccines from pharmaceutical companies that haven’t met their commitments to the bloc. The new rules, unveiled Wednesday, would also block shipments to countries that don’t send full doses or ingredients back to the EU or that have better health situations or vaccination rates.
Brazil reported record deaths for a second day in a row. The Latin American country also detected a new variant of the coronavirus, similar to one found in South Africa.
Key Developments:Cases pass 128.6 million; deaths exceed 2.8 million More than 590 million shots given worldwideCovid was of U.S. deaths in 2020, CDC saysWHO origin hunters as report assailed from all sidesCovid has who’s maneuvering to stay on topHow the made lamb more popular with American consumers
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J&J Production Error Affects 15 Million Doses (6:40 a.m. HK)
A manufacturing error at a Baltimore plant affected 15 million doses worth of an ingredient for Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine, according to two sources familiar with the matter, but the company downplayed the situation and said it met its most recent vaccine delivery target.
From Venice to Lake Como, Italy's tourist gems fight to stay afloat
Just over a year into the pandemic, Venice remains a ghost town. - Bleak outlook - "Deprived of tourists, Venice has become a dead city like Pompeii, it's sad when you walk down the street," said Anna Bigai, one of the city's tour guides, who has only done a dozen guided tours over the past year. Throughout Italy, overnight stays of foreign tourists fell by 54 percent to 184.1 million in 2020 and the outlook for 2021 remains bleak. "International tourism in Italy should not return to pre-pandemic levels before 2023," warned the director of the national tourism agency, Giorgio Palmucci.
In a statement, J&J said a batch of drug substance failed its quality test.
Johnson & Johnson said it beat its March delivery target, providing the U.S. government more than 20 million doses, and that it expects to deliver another 24 million by the end of April.
Pandemic Raised Risks for Pregnant Women (6:34 a.m. HK)
Pregnant women and their babies are suffering worse outcomes during the Covid-19 pandemic. Data from an analysis of 40 studies published during the last year across 17 countries found rates of stillbirth and maternal mortality increased by a third, according to a report in The Lancet medical journal.
The increases may be driven by the pressure Covid-19 put on health systems rather than measures aimed at limiting the spread of the virus, such as lockdowns, the researchers said. Studies from individual countries suggested pregnant woman reduced their care-seeking because of the fear of infection, as well as reduced provision of maternity services.
COVID-19. Do we really have in France "the least abnormal school year as possible in the world"?
© West-France / Philippe Renault The French schools are among those who have remained the longest open since the beginning of the epidemic, as here in November in a Rennaise school. Emmanuel Macron said, followed by his ministers Jean Castex and Jean-Michel Blanquer: France is one of the countries where the CVIV-19 has the least affected the school organization. For the Minister of Education, French students had "the least abnormal school year as possible in the world".
Brazil Has Another Day of Record Deaths (5:08 p.m. NY)
Brazil hit a record number of Covid-19 deaths for the second day in a row, with 3,869 fatalities in the last 24 hours, the Health Ministry reported. Total deaths rose to 321,515 and the country reported 90,638 new cases, pushing the total to 12.7 million, the second highest tally globally.
The health care system in the Latin American country is collapsing with 18 of 27 states reporting over 90% intensive-care beds occupied, the Fiocruz foundation reported. President Jair Bolsonaro said that “only without a lockdown policy it is possible to return to normality.”
Brazil also detected a new variant of the virus Wednesday in Sorocaba, near Sao Paulo, according to the local government. The new strain is said to be similar to one found in South Africa, according to authorities.
Houston Methodist to Require Vaccines (4:32 p.m. NY)
The Houston Methodist hospital system in Texas will soon require its 26,000 employees get the Covid-19 vaccine, in what a spokeswoman said appears to be the first such move by a large U.S. hospital system.
COVID-19. France will participate in the production of vaccines from Wednesday
© Francois lo Presti / AFP An employee on a production chain of the British company of the British company GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) in Saint-Amand-les-Eaux, In the north of France on December 3, 2020. Adjuvants to the Medicago and GSK vaccine candidate are created. At least four sites will be mobilized on the national territory. The first site, managed by the Delpharm drug manufacturer and developer, in the city of Saint-Rémy-sur-Avre in Eure-et-Loir, will enter service Wednesday 7 April.
Managers have until mid-April to get “at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine or get an approved exemption,” according to an email sent by the system’s CEO. No deadline for all employees was given in the email.
Hungary Plans to Ease Restrictions (4:24 p.m. NY)
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban vowed to ease restrictions soon even as his nation has the world’s highest Covid-19 death rate and reported a big jump in fatalities. The first easing steps will include reopening stores days after Easter, followed by schools and then restaurants and hotels, he said.
“Infections are widespread and lockdowns or curbs can only slow the spread but they can’t stop them,” Orban said on state television, adding only vaccines can “kill” Covid-19.
France Heads for Four-Week Lockdown (3:22 p.m. NY)
French President Emmanuel Macron announced a nationwide, shutting down schools and business.
“We did everything we could to make these decisions as late as possible, until they became strictly necessary, which is now,” Macron warned in an address to the nation on Wednesday. “The virus is more contagious and deadlier.”
He implored people to make an extra effort as the lockdown begins to come into force on Saturday. Restrictions will be flexible this weekend, during the Easter holidays, to allow people to relocate.
U.S. Bet Big on Covid Vaccine Manufacturer Even as Problems Mounted
San Diego State’s Klara Thormalm has been named the Mountain West Swimmer of the Year as voted on by the league’s coaches. Wyoming’s Melissa Mirafuentes was selected as the MW Diver of Year.
N.J. Models Show Infections Increasing in April (1:40 p.m. NY)
New Jersey presented moderate and high-case model scenarios for Covid-19, both of which predict cases will increase in April.
Under the moderate scenario, cases and hospitalizations will reach a high in mid-April. Cases wouldn’t drop below 3,000 until June, while hospitalizations wouldn’t be less than 1,000 until August.
The high-case model assumes that the vaccines are far less effective against variants, and that people will relax their adherence to social distancing and masks, Governor Phil Murphy said Wednesday at a press briefing. If this occurs, New Jersey sees daily cases of more than 8,000 in mid-May and again in mid-June, and hospitalizations reaching December and January’s high levels in August.
Greece Relaxes Limits Even as Cases Surge (1:12 p.m. NY)
Greece will ease certain lockdown measures even as new cases surge. The country will allow non-essential shops to reopen from April 5 but only with online ordering and pickup, and appointment-only in-store shopping, Deputy Citizen Protection Minister Nikos Hardalias said Wednesday. At weekends only, starting April 3, a maximum of three citizens or families will be allowed to move outside the municipality where they live for personal exercise. Greece reported 3,616 new Covid-19 cases Wednesday, the second-highest daily increase since the start of the pandemic. That followed Tuesday’s record 4,340 new cases.
Variant Accounts for 26% of U.S. Cases, CDC Says (1 p.m. NY)
A more contagious strain of the coronavirus isin five U.S. regions and accounts for a quarter of new cases nationally, the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.
India Hits Daily Record; Variant Common in U.S.: Virus Update
India recorded its highest-ever number of daily Covid-19 cases as its fight to curtail a renewed wave of infections is beset by vaccine shortages in several states and cities, including the financial hub of Mumbai. Tokyo plans to seek a return to stricter Covid measures as infections in the city hit a two-month high. The European Union failed to unify in responding to links between AstraZeneca Plc’s Covid-19 vaccine and a rare type of blood clots. EU Health ministers say they’ll continue talks on the issue.The variant of the coronavirus first found in the U.K. has overtaken the initial form of the virus in the U.S.
The B.1.1.7 variant, first uncovered in the U.K., makes up from 4% to 35% cases depending on the region, and 26% of cases nationally, Rochelle Walensky said at a press briefing Wednesday. U.S. officials had warned it could become the predominant strain of the virus in the U.S. by early April.
Pennsylvania Rolls Out Vaccine Timeline (11:40 a.m. NY)
Governor Tom Wolf announced the changes on Twitter.
NYC Administers 4 Million Doses (11 a.m. NY)
New York City has passed the 4 million mark for vaccinations, Mayor Bill de Blasio said.
“We’re absolutely confident about hitting the 5 million mark in June,” the mayor said at his daily briefing. He said he is seeing a decline in the number of people hesitant to be vaccinated.
At least a third of adult city residents have received at least one dose, while 19% are fully vaccinated, according to city data. The state lowered the eligibility age for vaccines to 30 on Tuesday.
Switzerland Cases Keep Growing (9:34 a.m. NY)
The rate of new coronavirus infections has doubled in Switzerland since mid-February, and is now approaching a so-called reproduction rate of almost 1.2, Swiss Health Minister Alain Berset told reporters. The growth rate is accelerating even if not yet an “explosion,” Berset said.
More than 900,000 people have been vaccinated in the country so far, about 10% of the population. The country has received 1.8 million doses, which will be used in the coming weeks and months, according to Berset.
Ukraine Capital to Close Schools (8:36 a.m. NY)
The Ukrainian capital will close all schools from April 5 and will limit all public transport to special permits, Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko said at a briefing.
Croatia Imposes Masks in Capital (7:52 a.m. NY)
Croatia made mask-wearing mandatory in all open spaces in the capital, Zagreb, as the British variant now accounts for 80% of new cases, Deputy Premier Davor Bozinovic told reporters. The number of new cases on Wednesday reached 2,763 in the country.
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France Said to Consider Lockdown (7 a.m. NY)
France is headed toward a nationwide lockdown to contain the latest surge, with measures that could include school closures and extending a ban on intercity travel, two people familiar with the matter said.
French President Emmanuel Macron will address the nation at 8 p.m. Paris time, and Prime Minister Jean Castex will address the Parliament for a debate and a vote on the measures needed to address the epidemic tomorrow, according to Macron’s party.
Teens Protected by Pfizer Vaccine in Study (6:45 a.m. NY)
Pfizer Inc. said its vaccine was 100% effective in a final-stage trial in kids ages 12 to 15, a finding that could pave the way for shots for teens and pre-teens before the next school year.
The vaccine is already authorized in the U.S. for people ages 16 and up. Pfizer and its partner BioNTech SE said they planned to submit the data to regulators in the U.S and Europe as soon as possible, seeking to amend their vaccine authorizations to include the younger age group.
EU Delivers More Than 100 Million Shots (6:35 a.m. NY)
The European Union will have delivered 107 million vaccines by the end of this week, reaching the bloc’s targeted goal for the first three months of the year.
The milestone was confirmed by European Commission spokesperson Dana Spinant. It was a revised goal that had to take into account multiple delays in the deliveries from AstraZeneca Plc.
German ICU Official ‘Deeply Worried’ (6:28 a.m. NY)
The head of Germany’s intensive-care and emergency medicine association said he’s “deeply worried” about the pressure Covid-19 patients are putting on ICUs and called for tougher lockdown measures.
“I can very well understand that people are tired and everyone wants this to be over, but we are in an especially critical phase of the pandemic, if not the most critical,” Gernot Marx, president of the DIVI lobby group, said in an interview with ARD television. “If we wait longer then we’ll have 6,000 or 7,000 intensive-care patients and we are really scared about that because it would mean the system is overburdened.”
The number of virus patients in ICUs climbed to 3,668 on Wednesday and the occupancy rate rose to 86% according to the latest data from DIVI.
China’s Fosun Could Supply Taiwan (6:21 a.m. NY)
The Chinese company with the deal to distribute BioNTech and Pfizer’s vaccine in “Greater China” said it’s willing to supply Taiwan, after the contested island suggested Beijing blocked it from securing the shot.
Speaking in an interview from Shanghai, Guo Guangchang, the chairman of Fosun International Ltd. -- whose medical arm has the deal with Germany’s BioNTech -- said the company “has the responsibility, duty and willingness to offer the best vaccine to the Greater China region, including Taiwan.” Guo said he hopes this “desire can soon be realized,” without elaborating further.
WHO Origin Hunters Push Back (6:03 a.m. NY)
Nearly three dozen scientists gathered in Wuhan, China, early this winter to start the arduous task of finding the origins of Covid-19. The working group this week delivered an analysis that laid out four possible scenarios and recommended next steps for digging deeper to find the pandemic’s genesis.
Their report was immediately engulfed by criticism. The most unexpected detractor was WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who said the theory that the virus escaped via a laboratory accident -- a hypothesis that has been vigorously denied by the Chinese government -- needed to be more thoroughly vetted.
U.K. Variant Isn’t More Deadly in Study (4:30 p.m. HK)
The U.K. variant that first emerged in Kent and has spread to the rest of the world, crowding out the original in many countries, may not be more deadly after all, according to.
The study’s findings contradict data from late last year that found the variant could be 30% more deadly. The scientists noted that it did increase the risk of being hospitalized by roughly that much.
Italy May Chastise Medical Staff Who Refuse Shots (4 p.m. HK)
Italy is evaluating a measure to categorize medical staff who refuse to be vaccinated as “unsuitable” for their jobs, Labor Minister Andrea Orlando said in an interview with Sky TG24.
“We need to avoid having fragile citizens in contact with workers who don’t want to be inoculated,” Orlando said.
Hungary Posts Big Jump in Deaths (9:39 a.m. HK)
Hungary, which in recent weeks has had the world’s highest pandemic death rate, reported a big jump in fatalities amid the government’s ramp-up of vaccination efforts.
Across the country, 302 people died in a single day, a 10% increase from the previous 24 hours, health authorities said. Prime Minister Viktor Orban is ignoring a plea by doctors to further tighten virus curbs as understaffed hospitals are overwhelmed by patients.
Taiwan to Vaccinate All Medical Workers (2:22 p.m. HK)
Taiwan will provide all medical workers, including those at centralized quarantine facilities and non-health care workers at hospitals, with vaccination starting from April 6, Taiwan Centers for Disease Control said on its website.
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Immigrant aid, lifeguard shortage, Frontier Days: News from around our 50 states .
How the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting every stateStart the day smarter. Get all the news you need in your inbox each morning.