Novel Coronavirus/COVID-19 COVID-19 News from Around the Web

In Brazil, few Covid vaccines, world’s deadliest daily record and misinformation

NBC News - March 31, 2021

In the country with the most Covid-19 deaths a day and over 100,000 new daily cases, alarm and anger is growing over the lack of access and the slow pace of vaccinations amid a health care system nearing collapse.

America is now on track to vaccinate all adults by July 4

Vox - March 31, 2021

At current rates, America is administering nearly 2.8 million Covid-19 vaccine doses a day — roughly enough to vaccinate every adult (18 and older) in the country by July 4. That would mean 80 percent of the population would be able to get a vaccine.

COVID vaccine found highly effective in real-world US study

AP - March 30, 2021

The U.S. government’s first look at the real-world use of COVID-19 vaccines found their effectiveness was nearly as robust as it was in controlled studies. The two vaccines available since December — Pfizer and Moderna — were highly effective at 90% after two doses, the CDC reported Monday. In testing, the vaccines were about 95% effective in preventing COVID-19. … The study is the government’s first assessment of how the shots have been working beyond the drugmakers’ initial experiments.

Biden, CDC director warn of virus rebound if nation lets up

AP - March 30, 2021

President Joe Biden and a top health official warned Monday that too many Americans are declaring virus victory too quickly, appealing for mask requirements and other restrictions to be maintained or restored to stave off a “fourth surge” of COVID-19. The head of the CDC said she had a feeling of “impending doom” if people keep easing off. The double dose of warnings came even as Biden laid out hopeful new steps to expand coronavirus vaccinations, with all adults to become eligible over the next 5 weeks.

New U.S. COVID-19 cases rise for second week in a row

Reuters - March 30, 2021

New cases of COVID-19 in the United States rose 9% to more than 431,000 last week, the first time since January that cases have increased for two weeks in a row, according to a Reuters analysis of state and county data. Thirty-three out of 50 states reported more new infections in the week ended March 28 compared with the previous seven days, according to the Reuters analysis.

Biden says 90% of adults in U.S. will be eligible for vaccination by April 19

Reuters - March 30, 2021

U.S. President Joe Biden said on Monday that 90% of all adults in the United States will be eligible for the coronavirus vaccination by April 19 as he warned about the potential for an upsurge in infections.

Millions of Americans return to air travel as vaccines and spring break fever kick in

CBS News - March 30, 2021

Thirteen months into a pandemic that brought air travel to a near standstill, Americans are starting to take to the skies in substantial numbers again. The TSA has screened record numbers of travelers at airports across the country during the roughly two-week period in March that marks many Americans' spring breaks. For 17 days in a row now, the TSA has screened more than 1 million people U.S. airports, marking a significant milestone for the industry.

Ban on renter evictions during COVID-19 pandemic is extended

ABC News - March 30, 2021

The Biden administration is extending a federal moratorium on evictions of tenants who have fallen behind on rent during the coronavirus pandemic. The CDC on Monday moved to continue the pandemic-related protection, which had been scheduled to expire on Wednesday. The moratorium is now extended through the end of June.

Study finds carcinogen above FDA limit in several hand sanitizer brands

CBS News - March 30, 2021

Valisure, an independent pharmacy and lab that tests drug products for quality, says it tested 260 products and found elevated levels of benzene in more than 20 of them. Benzene is a known human carcinogen, and exposure to it is known to cause blood disorders, including leukemia. The leading brand of hand sanitizer, Purell, and many others had no detectable levels of benzene.

Renewed concern over COVID-19 trajectory, even as vaccinations rise

CBS News - March 29, 2021

There are renewed concerns that the trajectory of COVID-19 cases in the U.S is moving in the wrong direction. Hospitalization rates are on the increase and the number of cases is climbing in 33 states. Nearly 15% of the total U.S. population, however, is now fully vaccinated, according to the CDC, and almost half of seniors 65 and over are fully vaccinated. A daily record of more than 3.3 million shots was reported on Friday, pushing the total number of doses administered in the United States to more than 136 million.

Nearly Half Of States Will Make All Adults COVID-19 Vaccine Eligible By April 15

NPR - March 29, 2021

Jeff Zients, Biden's COVID-19 czar, said that 46 states and Washington, D.C., have announced plans to expand eligibility to all adults by May 1. Officials at the White House COVID-19 Response Team briefing noted an uptick in confirmed cases and hospitalizations, and urged the public to stay vigilant even as the country's vaccination rollout picks up speed.

Former Trump health official says later surge in Covid deaths could have been avoided

STAT - March 29, 2021

A doctor who helped guide the Trump administration’s pandemic response said that most U.S. deaths from Covid-19 could have been avoided. Deborah Birx, one of six health officials who talked to CNN’s Sanjay Gupta in an interview broadcast last night, said a crucial opportunity to prevent soaring deaths was missed. "I look at it this way. The first time we have an excuse," she said. "There were about a hundred thousand deaths that came from that original surge. All of the rest of them, in my mind, could have been mitigated or decreased substantially."

AP Exclusive: WHO report says animals likely source of COVID

AP - March 29, 2021

A joint WHO-China study on the origins of COVID-19 says that transmission of the virus from bats to humans through another animal is the most likely scenario and that a lab leak is “extremely unlikely,” according to a draft copy obtained by The AP. The findings offer little new insight into how the virus first emerged and leave many questions unanswered, though that was as expected. But the report does provide more detail on the reasoning behind the researchers’ conclusions.

Amazon, on the move in health care, is granted authorization for its own Covid-19 test

STAT - March 29, 2021

Amazon is now the developer of an authorized Covid-19 test. The company on Thursday received emergency clearance from the Food and Drug Administration for an at-home test known as the Amazon Covid-19 Collection Kit. The nasal swab and PCR-based test, developed by Amazon subsidiary STS Lab Holdco, allows users to test themselves with or without the supervision of a health care professional.

AP Exclusive: Pandemic means far fewer eyes on kids’ welfare

AP - March 29, 2021

An AP analysis of state data reveals … that child abuse reports, investigations, substantiated allegations and interventions have dropped at a staggering rate, increasing risks for the most vulnerable of families in the U.S. In the AP’s analysis, it found more than 400,000 fewer child welfare concerns reported during the pandemic and 200,000 fewer child abuse and neglect investigations and assessments compared with the same time period of 2019. That represents a national total decrease of 18% in both total reports and investigations.

Pfizer and BioNTech to begin testing Covid-19 vaccine in children

STAT - March 26, 2021

Pfizer and BioNTech said Thursday they are beginning a study aimed at showing their Covid-19 vaccine can be used in children as young as 6 months. The study follows the launch of a separate and ongoing trial in children ages 12 to 15, which was fully enrolled in January. That study could lead to results by the end of the first half of the year, depending on the data, and then to an emergency use authorization. That will depend on the FDA and the CDC.